Magpies reveal Didak's injury secret - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies reveal Didak's injury secret

By Justin Chadwick 03/10/2010 06:36:48 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood have finally come clean about Alan Didak's shoulder injury, revealing the influential forward played the entire finals series with a torn pectoral muscle that should have ended his AFL premiership dream.

Magpies coach Mick Malthouse feared Didak's season was over when the 27-year-old suffered the serious injury against Adelaide in round 21.

But both coach and player decided to roll the dice, with Didak rested for a week before returning to the finals stage with a heavily strapped left shoulder.

The club repeatedly played down the extent of Didak's injury in a bid to protect him from opposition players.

But a day after Collingwood's 56-point premiership win over St Kilda, president Eddie McGuire and coach Mick Malthouse revealed the seriousness of the injury.

"This man has played with a pectoral muscle that's ripped straight off his bone," Malthouse told an estimated 20,000 Collingwood fans who packed Gosch's Paddock on Sunday to celebrate the club's drought-breaking premiership win.

"That's why one's tough and the other one's floppy.

"What an amazing effort.

"... (Didak's) shoulder (injury) was something that scared the life out of me.

"He (the surgeon) said yes, he should have it operated on straight away, but it's not without possibility that we can wait."

McGuire praised Didak's courage and likened his effort to former Magpies premiership hero Darren Millane, who famously played through the club's successful 1990 finals campaign with a fractured thumb.

"In the rooms after the game (in round 21) we all looked at it as though season over, Alan Didak out scratched," McGuire said.

"Now he played with an injury ... that would put most people on work cover on a year."

Didak was quiet in the drawn grand final but bounced back on Saturday, tallying 21 possessions and kicking two goals in the 56-point win.

His crowning moment came in the third quarter when he smothered Jason Blake's handball and snapped truly from 40m.

"It (the premiership) has taken a while but finally got it," said Didak, who played in the club's losing 2002 and 2003 grand finals.

But Didak almost never got the chance to taste premiership glory after his infamous involvement in Heath Shaw's drink-driving misdemeanour in 2008, with McGuire affectionately labelling the forward a "scallywag".

Several Collingwood players were feeling the worse for wear on Sunday after a big night of celebrating, with Dale Thomas wobbly on his legs and Darren Jolly left with hardly a voice.

McGuire also paid tribute to hard luck stories Josh Fraser, Tarkyn Lockyer, Leon Davis, Paul Medhurst, Brad Dick and Simon Prestigiacomo, while Malthouse saved the last word for the fans, who had waited 20 years to celebrate another flag.

"The football club is only as good as the strength of its army, and how many armies are as strong as that of Collingwood?" Malthouse said as the crowd erupted with cheers.

"None. So thank you and it's been a great pleasure to be able to share this wonderful cup with you guys."

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