Came from: Juniors Went to:
First game: 28 May, 1978 Last game: 30 May, 1992
Appearances: 209 Goals: 308
League Rep.: ? Club best and fairest: 1986 & 1988
Other clubs played for: 1982 Aberfeldie.
"HE just loved to play. He'd play with a broken leg if he had to." That is how Griffith Australian Football Club senior coach Les Parish described one of the club's favourite sons and longest serving players - Darrell Collins.
Darrell Collins has been involved with the Griffith since the late seventies and is one of the greatest players ever to pull the red and white. He has played some 160 senior games, won two club best and fairest awards and represented the Riverina League with great distinction. He played all his senior football with Griffith, with the exception of one season with Melbourne suburban club Aberfeldie, even though offers have come from rival clubs.
When talking of the greats of the Griffith Football Club over its proud history, names like Sid Robins, Bill Tyndall, John Foley, Grant Luhrs and Kevin Kirkpatrick are banded around. Well it is time one more name is added to that prestigious list - the name of one D. Collins.
Since entering first grade in 1978 at the age of 17, Collins has been the club's most consistent performer. Brilliant players have come and gone over the past 10 seasons, but Collins still remains the club's most consistent performer. Two club best and fairest and numerous runners-up trophies are testament to the ability, drive and determination of the man that has sported number five on his back for many seasons.
Not blessed with a great slice of natural ability compared to some of his teammates, Darrell Collins has achieved these great heights through hard work and determination.
Some may not consider him the best player they have ever seen, but no one can deny Collins is one of the most dedicated players in the club's history.
It is nothing to see him hobbling laps the Monday night after injuring an ankle or starring on Sunday's although suffering from severe back pain or illness. "He plays with pain every week," coach Les Parish said, "he's got a severe back complaint. "Darrell epitomises the whole clubman, he's been a tremendous to us this year."
Collins has been assistant coach of the senior side for five seasons, providing Ian Geddes, Martin O'Donnell and now Parish with valuable support. When the side is down, it is invariably Collins who will do the "team thing" like putting his body on the line or kicking a steadying goal.
On the training track it is the same. He is always there with a word of encouragement for a young player or helping under 18's.
Over the years, Collins has served on the club committee and has been the backbone of the supporters' club for many seasons.
Despite all his achievements, football's greatest honour has eluded him - a Swans senior premiership. In fact, Collins has never played in a semi final despite his 160 games. He has played in four sides that finished fifth, including this year when the Swans missed a finals berth by only percentage.
He played in the 1978 reserve grade premiership under present second grade coach Kevin Kirkpatrick, but that is the only taste of premiership or finals glory Collins has tasted.
Collins' mother of course is long serving club secretary, Mary Collins, who ha been the backbone of the Griffith Football Club for so long. Father Jack is also involved in the club and was awarded with the clubman award at the presentation night last Friday night. Greg Collins, Darrell's younger brother played three seasons of senior football with Griffith and is currently playing in the Canberra Monaro League.
The Collins brothers achieved the rare feat of winning the same award in the same year, but in different towns. Darrell was awarded the Joan Hicks Memorial award for being the most conscientious player, while Greg took out the trophy of the same name for being voted the "Players' Player" in the Monaro League.
There was talk of retirement next season, but that has gone out the window because of the improvement in club strength and a chance at the elusive finals appearance. It would have been fitting for Collins to play in a finals series next year with long -time teammates like Martin O'Donnell, Wayne Bottcher, Ian Geddes, Gerry Toscan and Robbie Owen.
When Collins does decide to call it a day, there is no way he will be lost to the club. Football is in his veins and always will be.
(By Peter Lonergan - The Area News, Friday, October 13, 1989).