If you cock your head towards Melbourne’s Olympic
Park precinct at the moment, you can hear the unmistakable sound of the Magpies
imploding.

Premiership captain Tony Shaw and President
Eddie McGuire indulged in increasingly hysterical name-calling over the weekend,
sparked by Shaw’s calls for Tarrant’s sacking and then his umbrage over
McGuire’s claim that the club culture was “rat infested” when Shaw was coach.
Meanwhile, the man who replaced Shaw, current coach Mick Malthouse, thought it would
be a good move to bring Lebanon, serial killer Ivan Milat and Jack the Ripper into the ongoing
debate over Tarrant and Johnson, the two Collingwood players involved in a
pre-dawn car park fracas that hospitalised a man a week ago.

It all raises the larger question: what the hell is going on at Collingwood?

With the club sitting in sixth place and
with a genuine shot at a top four finish, it’s bizarre that those in charge are
not concentrating on the task at hand. Last week’s Tarrant/Johnson media frenzy
was dying down by Friday, until McGuire went on 3AW and made the “rat infested”
claims against Shaw. Boom! A whole new front of the bushfire sparked up. It
hadn’t died down by this morning, with Shaw now accusing McGuire of not telling
the truth.

Clearly, this is no longer about two senior
Magpies getting into trouble when they should have been home in bed eight days
ago. Much deeper rivers of tension are now obvious for the public to see. Eddie
hasn’t been as visible in the football landscape since moving to Sydney but he was
back, and loudly, all of last week and into the weekend.

Shaw is perceived by many at Collingwood
and among the fan base to have been unnecessarily harsh on his old club since
moving into the media following his replacement as coach by Malthouse. Shaw
would vehemently deny he is carrying personal grudges into his media role yet
he was vocal when his nephew, Rhyce Shaw, wasn’t being played, and then last
year Malthouse delisted Tony’s son, Brayden.

He’s also been challenged by Tarrant’s
manager to criticise the key position player face-to-face. Our advice to
everybody would be… don’t. Collingwood needs to take a collective deep breath
and turn their minds to Essendon on Friday night. For once, they actually
should be taking things one week at a time.

Peter Fray

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