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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies


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1894, 1896

12 CFC Games Played

5 CFC Goals

Recruited From
Clarence (junior club)
Collingwood Debut
Round 4, 1894


Few players who donned the Collingwood colours in the club’s first decade enjoyed as promising a beginning as the man known only as ‘Piper’. Yet here we are, more than 130 years later, and we still don’t know his first name!

Unfortunately that’s a fate that has befallen a few of his teammates of the time, when newspaper reporting was often sketchy and players were frequently referred to by surnames only. But none of those enjoyed quite the positive reviews that he did.

In Piper’s case, all we know is that he came into the team early in the 1894 season, and that he was a youngster from a Clifton Hill-based team called Clarence, that played in a third level competition.

But boy, did young Piper make a noise when he arrived. He was tall and strong and immediately made an impression, especially after he’d played his first game against Essendon, the power team of the era. The Argus said: Collingwood like size in their colts, and Piper is another lusty youngster of the Hailwood stamp. His high-marking was immense, and his general play in such company very creditable indeed.” The Leader agreed, saying he was an “exceedingly promising aspirant for senior honours”, while The Sportsman said he had “more than justified his inclusion”. “His high marking was a treat to see,” the paper said.

He kicked a goal in that first game, two in his second against Fitzroy and another in his third. His combination of height and power seemed to make him a formidable opponent.

“No man did better high marking amongst the forwards than Piper, a youngster of fine physique from a third-rate junior team out Clifton Hill way,” wrote The Australasian after his second game. “The Woodsmen will find him a valuable addition to their team when he grows more used to his new surroundings.” Another paper said he had created “havoc” when playing forward.

The praise continued, as did the early comparisons with the great Frank Hailwood. “Piper and Hailwood were a pair of big men whose presence forward gave confidence to the lighter members, and neither of them were idle whilst the ball was on the nether side of the centre line,” wrote The Australasian later that year.

In all, Piper played 11 games and kicked five goals in 1894 and looked every inch a future champion. But he then disappeared in 1895 – extensive searching has shown no signs of where, or if, he played football that year. He returned to play one more game early in 1896, but thereafter again disappeared from the footballing radar.

So we don’t know Piper’s first name, we don’t know where he played in 1895 and we don’t know what he did after the second round of 1896. What we do know, however, is that he was a seriously good player whose star shone only briefly at senior level. The rest of his story, sadly, remains a mystery.

– Michael Roberts


CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
0 0 0 %

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC VFA Debut Number


VFA Matches Played at Collingwood
CFC Debut
Round 4, 1894
Recruited From
Clarence (junior club)
Full Name

* Player statistics include VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.

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