Collingwood faithful exalt Eddie’s legacy

He said McGuire had personally given the Collingwood faithful countless grand final and preliminary final appearances, “making the club great again”.

“More importantly, Ed in his first years as president, he brought all the supporters together,” he told The Age on Monday night.

Joffa celebrates in the last quarter of the 2010 grand final replay with Collingwood fans.Credit:Justin McManus

“Before he was president – through nobody’s fault – it was just horrible times for Collingwood.

“I’m pretty sad and devastated that he’s gone, but I appreciate that he probably feels he’s done all he can and it’s time to move on. So we have to respect that, and we’ll move on to the next chapter at the club.”

Joffa said McGuire ‘the person’, rather than the club president, was ultimately “misunderstood” by the public.

“If you had Eddie as a mate, you had a mate who would back you up and be with you. Lots of people are wrong about him – I just love the bloke.”

Luke Humphries is also a staunch defender of the outgoing club president. Born in 1998 – the year McGuire joined Collingwood – he runs the Pies Nation podcast and said McGuire was responsible for the team’s current success.

Collingwood fan Luke Humphries is a big supporter of outgoing president Eddie McGuire.

Collingwood fan Luke Humphries is a big supporter of outgoing president Eddie McGuire.

“Everything he has ever done has been for the betterment of the Collingwood Football Club and I will always be grateful for what he built this club into today,” he said.

“I was born the year Eddie started his presidency at Collingwood so for me he is Collingwood. Always has been and always will be.

“I wish him nothing but the best for what’s to come and hope we can send him off with another premiership.”

Joffa said he truly believed there would be a statue of McGuire cast in gold, towering outside the MCG for his broad contribution to AFL.

“Eddie will be part of the history of Collingwood forever,” he said. “He saved the club.”

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Seventh heaven for Eddie’s England

England booked their place in the Autumn Nations Cup final by beating battling Wales 24-13 at Parc y Scarlets.

Coach Eddie Jones oversaw a seventh successive England win thanks to tries by centre Henry Slade and prop Mako Vunipola, while Owen Farrell kicked four penalties and a conversion for a 14-point haul.

Wales led through an early Johnny Williams try and it was unquestionably their best performance of the autumn campaign, but the harsh reality now reads seven defeats from the last eight Tests under head coach Wayne Pivac.

Two Dan Biggar penalties kept them in the hunt after Leigh Halfpenny converted Williams’ score, yet England never came under sustained threat.

England march on, and they can look forward to France – the last team they were beaten by – as probable Nations Cup final opponents at Twickenham on Sunday week.

Many pundits had predicted an overwhelming England win in Llanelli, and while it was more workmanlike than world-beating from the visitors against organised and resilient opponents, they still made it a comfortable case of job done.

Flyhalf George Ford returned to the England starting line-up as a solitary change from the side that saw off Ireland last weekend, with skipper Farrell moving into midfield alongside Slade.

Wales, meanwhile, were without five injured British and Irish Lions, with rookie flankers Shane Lewis-Hughes and James Botham, grandson of cricket legend Sir Ian Botham, handed starts in addition to 19-year-old Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit.

Wales stunned their opponents against the early run of play through an 11th-minute try after Biggar charged down Slade’s kick on halfway.

Bigger reacted quickly to lead a strong counter-attack and Williams then won the touchdown race, scoring on only his second Wales appearance.

Williams, whose father is from Rhyl, only returned to professional rugby in January this year following chemotherapy treatment for testicular cancer.

England required only four minutes to reply, breaching Wales’ defence when Slade made amends for his earlier error by crossing wide out, but Farrell drifted a second successive kick wide.

Both sides looked to keep ball in hand before Farrell found the target from his third attempt, landing a 30-metre penalty that edged England a point ahead 10 minutes before halftime.

When Wales conceded a scrum penalty and Farrell kicked the points, England enjoyed an 11-7 interval advantage.

England’s relentless forward pressure took its toll after the break as Vunipola touched down and Farrell converted for an 11-point lead.

Biggar reduced the arrears when he kicked a penalty with 25 minutes left, and then a second successful three-pointer shortly afterwards reminded England that they were not home and dry.

But Farrell completed his penalty hat-trick 15 minutes from time before a fourth successful strike broke Wales’ resistance and ensured that England continued on an unbeaten run that has lasted since early February.

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Eddie’s the most intelligent coach: Youngs

England’s centurion halfback Ben Youngs has heaped praise on the team’s mentor Eddie Jones, saying that no other coach “has ever come near” the rugby intelligence of the Australian.

The accolade came before Jones, who became England boss in 2015 and has since led the side to a World Cup final and three Six Nations titles, named a much-changed team for Saturday’s opening match of the Autumn Nations Cup against Georgia at Twickenham.

Youngs, who retains his place after winning his 100th cap against Italy, told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly: “I have never worked with anyone who knows the game as well as Eddie. No one has ever come near.

“If he watched a game now, he could come up with a game plan and exploit both teams’ weaknesses within 10 minutes. It is incredible.”

Youngs, who has become a favourite of Jones after playing under him for five years, said he admired the Australian’s direct leadership style, which saw an unorthodox first meeting between the pair.

“He told me I needed to lose some weight because I wasn’t fit enough and he needed me to be sharper,” Youngs recalled.

“He threw a big family pack of sweets at me and said, ‘do you want it?’. I said ‘no’ and he replied, ‘that’s it mate’.”

Jones has made nine changes, two positional, from the side which beat Italy 34-5 two weeks ago to win the Six Nations.

Wasps flanker Jack Willis, voted England club player of the season, will make his debut, and another uncapped player, Bristol utility Max Malins, is in the reserves as cover for the back three.

Will Stuart makes his first start at tighthead, and Worcester centre Ollie Lawrence earns his second cap after appearing as a replacement against Italy.

Maro Itoje will be on the blindside flank for the first time in three years, allowing for Joe Launchbury and Charlie Ewels to partner in the second row.

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