Doing “damage” in the finals is Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury’s 2020 quest as he racks up a club games record with the same hunger and desire with which he began his stellar career.
The Magpies captain will play game 314 on Monday against Port Adelaide, passing 1990 premiership captain Tony Shaw’s games record at the club.
Pendlebury will also break his coach Nathan Buckley’s Collingwood captaincy record, leading his team out for the 162nd time, firmly entrenching himself in the debate over who is the best Magpie of all time.
The 32-year-old is not interested in that, however, instead he still wakes up every day hungry to be better and determined to make the club’s upcoming finals campaign one to remember.
“When I retire eventually I want to make sure I didn’t leave any stone unturned, and at this stage I have done that. But there’s still a little bit more to go I think,” Pendlebury said on Thursday.
“The reason why I assume most guys play is to try and get a flag, and I feel like I have given myself a fair opportunity of trying to get it.
“We’re up here (in Queensland hub) for business. Whether we finish, sixth, seventh or eighth, I’m confident we can do some damage in the finals.”
Pendlebury said Collingwood was growing in confidence after last week’s demolition of the Gold Coast, thanks to four goals form returning star Jordan De Goey.
The skipper was brimming with confidence about the future, knowing what he has learned from his past, which includes 23 finals, and three grand finals.
“Playing finals early, regardless of wins and losses, you understand the magnitude of those games and they are ones you want to be in,” he said,
“I’d love to be 3-3 from (grand finals), I am one from three, but I have given myself the opportunity, the club has given itself the opportunity, and you’d rather be in the hunt than not at all.
“We think there’s a bit of growth in our performances. We look to build on that on Monday night, then finals and get there in good form and, once we are there, do some damage.”
Pendlebury said he had spoken to teammate Steele Sidebottom, who left the team hub for the birth of his first child, but didn’t even talk about the potential for him to return for the finals.
It’s believed club officials have investigated Sidebottom returning to Queensland through Darwin, where quarantine restrictions are less rigid.
“But there’s no pressure from us, and I certainly haven’t asked the question about whether he wants to come up and do the 14 days quarantine,” Pendlebury said.
“Family overrides football, so whatever Sidey and (his partner) Alicia think is best for them, we’ll support that.”
Pendlebury said reaching milestones made him reflect on how lucky he had been and how he was a long way from done.
“I don’t feel 32, I don’t feel like I have played as many games as I have … it feels like I am about 150 or 200 games in and still looking for ways to get better,” he said.
“I still think I have a bit left in the tank too.”