Former Collingwood recruiter Matt Rendell says Bulldogs ruckman Tim English would have been a Magpie, were it not for a misunderstanding.
A towering talent from the West Australian wheat belt, English was drafted to Whitten Oval with a first round selection five years ago.
He could have pulled on the black and white 12 months earlier, however.
“If you’re a Collingwood supporter, you’ll want to turn off for about two minutes,” Rendell told SEN’s Dwayne’s World on Thursday afternoon.
“Tim English went to a Catholic school in Perth, and one of our part-time recruiters was a teacher there.
“He said, ‘Can you come and have a look at this bloke? He’s got some talent, he’s a big skinny kid, (but) I don’t know if he’s competitive enough. Come and have a look, and see what you think’.
“I go over and watch him and I thought, ‘He’s got some serious talent, (and) you’re right, he’s not quite competitive enough.’”
Rendell was nevertheless sold on the 18-year-old, but a hurdle loomed with the season coming to a close.
English was yet to play a state league game, ruling him ineligible for draft selection under present rules.
“I said, ‘Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. There’s one game to go in the WAFL, what’s his home team?’” Rendell recalled.
“He lived in Claremont. Claremont weren’t in the finals, they had one game to go.
“I said, ‘Take him down on Thursday once all the paperwork’s in, we’ll qualify him and he can play the game’.
“‘I’ll come over and watch. Hopefully he doesn’t go too good, and we’ll take him as a rookie in the draft’.”
The twist came too late, with Rendell’s scout in Perth informing him on the Thursday that the paperwork had been knocked back.
Before boarding at Christ Church Grammar School in Perth, English lived on a farm with his family in the South Fremantle catchment, and had not lived in Claremont for the three years required to switch his allegiance.
“So Claremont can’t play him. South Freo weren’t in the finals but they’ve finished training, (and) it’s a Thursday, so he doesn’t play on the weekend,” Rendell added.
“(So) I can’t pick him. The next year he plays at South Fremantle, kills it and gets picked what, (19) in the draft. I go, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’.
“Poor Collingwood supporters, they missed out on Tim English because of that.”
English has kicked eight goals in four games for the Bulldogs this season, his game rejuvenated with veteran recruit Stefan Martin shouldering the majority of the ruck contests.
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