Comedian Merrick Watts has delivered his Unconventional Preview for Collingwood.
The radio veteran joined Garry Lyon and Tim Watson on SEN Breakfast, and answered questions about his hopes and expectations in the wake of a tumultuous offseason for the Pies.
Collingwood last year stunned West Coast with a one-point elimination final win in Perth before exiting meekly at the hands of eventual runners-up Geelong.
Which player will be a surprise top five finisher in the best-and-fairest?
Watts: “Isaac Quaynor. As a ball carrier he could break the lines for Collingwood and make that difference penetrating the ball into the forward line … he just looks like he’s going to jump out of the blocks.
“I don’t want to put pressure on young shoulders but if Isaac Quaynor does not make the top three this year, Collingwood will not win a premiership for 20.”
What will be the biggest distraction for the club?
Watts: “Collingwood have a few distractions. Darcy Moore’s hair style is often a distraction, Jordan De Goey’s hair can often be a distraction. It depends on who is dyeing their hair that week.
“The big distraction will be (Nathan Buckley)’s contract and whether or not he goes around next year. There’s a lot of turmoil in the club as everyone knows.”
Which new Pies (either recruit or draftee) excites you most?
Watts: “There’s a young kid called Anton Tohill. I don’t know much about him but I figure if your name is Anton and you’re playing football, you’ve got something to prove.
“His old man played Gaelic football and international rules. He’s got good speed, he’s tall, he’s agile and he did really well in the draft combine so I’m going to keep an eye on him.”
Which player on the list who you’re a bit unsure about will win you over?
Watts: “John Noble. When he first started some of his decision-making was letting him down. He had good skills, he’s not stupid (and) you can’t question his attack or his desire to win games, but sometimes he would use the ball ineffectively.
“He’s starting to string smarts together with experience, when his skills all fall together he’ll be a real weapon.
“Anyone can improve. Look at Maynard, he writes in his diary with a crayon but he’s shown anyone can grow smarter in football.”
Who are the four players you’d invite to a dinner party and why?
Watts: “I’d have Maynard, De Goey, Sidebottom and I’d get Chris Mayne, but only to drive the rest home.
“Out of Maynard, De Goey and Sidebottom, somebody there is going to kick my television, put a foot through the telly. I think it might be Maynard.”
If you were to have a chat with the coach, your one suggestion would be…
Watts: “I don’t like telling coaches how to do their jobs, but I would say win games. Is that a good tip? Win some more games.
“Stick to your methods, stick to your plan but I like an attacking Collingwood side more than a defensive Collingwood side.”