When the League decided to award retrospective Brownlow Medals to players who originally had missed out on the countback system, Harry Collier carved yet another place for himself in football history.
His 1930 retrospective Brownlow (he and Footscray’s Allan Hopkins had lost to Richmond’s Stan Judkins on countback) made it a belated double for the Collier brothers as bigger, but younger, brother Albert had won the 1929 Brownlow Medal. The Colliers are the only brothers to have won Brownlows. Harry perhaps should have won the 1930 Medal in his own right as one vote was simply for “Collier” without saying which one. The umpire later said it was “the little one” which was Harry.
Harry Collier, a brilliant rover with great goal sense and uncanny ball skills, also had played with Ivanhoe and won the best and fairest there in 1924. Incredibly courageous, Collier teamed superbly with brother Albert and was enormously popular with Magpie fans.
In fact, 2500 Collingwood supporters signed a petition when the champion rover was suspended for 14 matches following a highly-controversial incident in 1938. Collier was accused by the Carlton Football Club of striking Blues player Jack Carney and even though no umpire had made a report, Collier admitted the offence and apologised.
He played just one game in 1940 to complete 15 years with the Magpies and coached Essendon Reserves to the 1941 flag before rejoining Collingwood as a committeeman and talent scout.
He also became a popular commentator in television’s early years in Melbourne from 1956. Collier’s career was one of the greatest of any at Victoria Park as he won two best and fairests (1928 and 1930) and was captain from 1935-9.
He played in six Collingwood premiership sides – 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1935 and 1936.