Brant Colledge: M&J Chickens Player of Round 15

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 1:54 PM

WHEN Perth welcomed back Brant Colledge from his time in the AFL system at the start of 2017, they were hoping for a seasoned, versatile and dominant WAFL footballer who could be a real difference-maker in games in their young side.

His body was the biggest reason why he was limited to three AFL matches across 2014 and 2015 with the West Coast Eagles because he had the size and build, and skill and agility to play just about any role on the field and to make a real impact in games.

But injuries meant he couldn’t string enough of those standout performances together but he showed good loyalty to return to his original WAFL club, Perth, for the start of 2017 with the aim of helping the Demons back into being a competitive outfit.

That didn’t quite work on a personal front or as a team in 2017 with Colledge restricted to 14 games and not quite having the impact he would have hoped and Perth unable to rise up the ladder claiming another wooden spoon.

Both Colledge and Perth then made a slow start to 2018 as well. He didn’t quite look in good enough condition early on to go into the middle of the ground to have the full impact his talent is capable of while the Demons also lost six of their first eight games to be struggling.

But Colledge's past seven games could very well be the best extended run of form he has produced throughout his career where he's been splitting his time between playing in the midfield and across half-forward.

As a result in the past seven matches, Colledge has averaged 27.9 possessions while kicking six goals and having significant impact in wins against South Fremantle, East Fremantle, Swan Districts and Peel Thunder in between competitive defeats to Subiaco, Swan Districts and West Perth.

There is now great excitement surrounding Demons with them sitting in fourth position on the WAFL ladder as they chase a first finals appearance since 1997 and there's no question that Colledge's consistently outstanding form is a big factor in that.

His presence and ability to win the contested ball using his big body around the ball, being fit enough to run out games and get into space and play both on the ball and across half-forward, and then to use the ball cleverly and efficiently is now a key part of the way Perth is playing.

While he is getting plenty of help around the ball from fellow midfielders Clint Jones, Corey Yeo and Cody Leggett with Michael Sinclair anchoring the back-line and the Michael Bennell and Cody Ninyette exciting forward, Colledge could well be the most important piece of the Demons puzzle.

He was superb once again Saturday's eight-point win over the premiers of the past two seasons, Peel Thunder, at Lathlain Park. He finished with 28 possessions, eight inside-50 entries, six marks and two goals to have as big an impact on the end result as anybody.

At 23 years of age and having now played 73 games across both Perth and East Perth along with his time in the AFL, Colledge is coming into the peak of his powers.

He showed loyalty to return to the Demons with the faith that the club could find a way to return to finals action in more than 20 years and now with the form he's in, it's more than possible to happen in 2018 with him at the forefront of how far they can go.

M & J Chickens Players of the Round
Round 1 – Rhys Palmer (Swan Districts)
Round 2 – Fraser McInnes (East Perth)
Round 3 – Cody Leggett (Perth)
Round 4 – Shane Nelson (West Perth)
Round 5 – Patrick McGinnity (East Perth)
Round 6 – Marlion Pickett (South Fremantle)
Round 7 – Andrew Strijk (West Perth)
Round 8 – George Hampson (East Fremantle)
Round 9 – Nick Suban (South Fremantle)
Round 10 – Ben Howlett (Peel Thunder)
Round 11 – Michael Bennell (Perth)
Round 12 – Kyal Horsley (Subiaco)
Round 13 – Lachlan Delahunty (Subiaco)
Round 14 – Cody Ninyette (Perth)
Round 15 – Brant Colledge (Perth)

Originally published here.

Image credit: Phil Barnes Photography.