"Reuniting the 1990's Superstars: An Epic Encore Performance!"1990s,Superstars,Reunion,EncorePerformance,Music,Nostalgia
"Reuniting the 1990's Superstars: An Epic Encore Performance!"

“Reuniting the 1990’s Superstars: An Epic Encore Performance!”

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## AFL Stars of 1990 Revamp Collingwood: A Nostalgic Reunion

by | October 1, 2023

The Collingwood Football Club is currently in the midst of a remarkable revival, with the stars of the team’s 1990 premiership campaign, Craig Kelly and Graham Wright, once again playing key roles. The reunion of these players, who achieved one of the club’s greatest triumphs over Essendon 33 years ago, has captured the imagination of fans and commentators alike as they hope for yet another flag in 2023.

### A Tale of Influence and Character

The dominance exhibited by coach Leigh Matthews and his talented players in the 1990 grand final not only showcased their skills but also left a lasting impact on the game of Australian Rules football. The continued influence of these individuals speaks to their character and the deep connections they forged with the Collingwood Football Club.

Graham Wright, who finished second in the 1990 Brownlow Medal count, and Craig Kelly, a strong on-field lieutenant to captain Tony Shaw, have both carved out successful careers beyond their playing days. Kelly, in particular, has been a prominent figure at Collingwood, serving as a key powerbroker before eventually returning as the club’s chief executive.

### Succession Planning at Collingwood

President Jeff Browne has identified Kelly as the ideal candidate to replace him in the future, acknowledging his strong leadership qualities and prior experience with the club. However, the timing of this succession remains uncertain, and discussions have remained private among the board members.

The path to Collingwood for Wright and Kelly was not without its complexities. While Wright’s arrival preceded Kelly’s, the latter initially showed reluctance to join Collingwood, leading to negotiations by the club’s president and football boss to secure his transfer. Despite these initial challenges, both players went on to play integral roles in the team’s success and have since gone on to have notable careers in football administration.

### The Rise of Powerbrokers

Kelly’s journey as one of the AFL’s most influential powerbrokers is well-documented. Beginning with his role as marketing manager at Collingwood, he eventually transitioned to positions of greater influence within the league, including managing player contracts and licensing memorabilia. His entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to the game have made him a sought-after figure in the football industry.

Wright, too, faced challenges in his post-playing career. After retiring due to injury, he found himself at a crossroads before being employed as a junior recruiter with the Brisbane Lions. This opportunity, coupled with his decision to pursue an MBA in sports management, set him on a path to become one of the league’s most respected list managers. His return to Collingwood in 2021 marked a turning point for the club, as he was instrumental in the selection of Craig McRae as the team’s new coach.

### The Band Comes Back Together

The reunion of Kelly and Wright at Collingwood has been likened to getting the band back together. The team of 1990, unfortunately, was unable to replicate their success in subsequent seasons due to various factors, including tragic events such as the untimely death of Darren Millane in a car accident. Despite these setbacks, the legacy of the 1990 team endures, and their influence on the club remains strong.

The support and leadership of individuals like Tony Shaw, the 1990 premiership captain and Norm Smith medallist, should not be underestimated. Shaw’s influence was pivotal in Jeff Browne’s successful bid for the presidency, highlighting the enduring impact of the 1990 team on the Collingwood community. Other past players, including Peter Daicos, have also expressed their support for the Browne ticket, further cementing the nostalgia and unity surrounding the current Collingwood administration.

### Nostalgia and the Future

While the 1990 premiership team may not have had many standout players outside of Peter Daicos, it was their collective effort and evenness that made them special. The reunion of Kelly and Wright, who played significant roles in breaking Collingwood’s premiership drought, symbolizes a continuation of the spirit and determination that defined the 1990 team.

As the Magpies vie for another premiership in 2023, there is a palpable sense of excitement and nostalgia surrounding the club. The reunion of past stars and the injection of their knowledge and experience into the current administration provide hope for a bright future. Fans and supporters can relish in the joy of watching the sons of former players take the field, creating new memories to enrich the Collingwood legacy.

So, for Collingwood, it truly is a case of getting the band back together, as the stars of 1990 bring their collective wisdom and passion to steer the club towards continued success. Only time will tell if this reunion will result in another premiership triumph, but one thing is certain – the spirit and camaraderie of the team of 1990 lives on in the hearts of Collingwood supporters and the entire Australian Rules football community.

is a current affairs commentator and columnist for The New York Times. He specializes in Australian football and provides insightful analysis on various sporting events. Follow him for more updates on the AFL and other sports.


"Reuniting the 1990
<< photo by Johnny Cohen >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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Edwards Jake

G'day, I'm Jake Edwards, the man on the street. I've been crisscrossing this great country, bringing you the human stories that make Australia what it is. From interviews with local legends to the everyday Aussie battlers, I'm here to tell your stories. So let's yarn, Australia

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