Alan Didak

Collingwood Cult Figures: Alan Didak

By Joel

Guernsey number: 4
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 84kg
Recruited From: Port Adelaide Magpies (SANFL)
Debut: 2001
Date of Birth: 15th of February 1983
Games: 67*

Alan Didak is one of the biggest cult figures to play in the black and white colours for a long time. His arrival to Collingwood even sparked a website called, dedicated solely to Didak. That website has a annual medal presented, called the ‘Didak Medal’, which is given to the best player every year. No surprises to see who wins it each year. Although, Nathan Buckley did tie for the award last year.

Didak originally played for a team called Pooraka in S.A.A.F.L., before progressing up the ranks. He was then given a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport AFL Academy, where he played in several Under-17 International Rules games against Ireland. He also captained the Australian squad. On top of this, he was also given the captaincy for the South Australian Under 18 team. Theses accolades are potentially an indication of Dids’ leadership abilities, a role he may fulfill at Collingwood in the future.

Collingwood picked him up at number 3 in the 2000 National Draft, where he was considered the best midfielder on offer. Didak came to Collingwood after playing for the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL. He was a ready-made Pie.

Didak made his debut in 2001. Didak, or “Dids”, as the magpie faithful often refer to him, played five games in his first season with the Pies in 2001. Dids came to Collingwood as a highly touted and skillful footballer, with excellent evasive skills, and an uncanny resemblance in body shape to former Collingwood great, Peter Daicos. This had some touting him as the next Daicos, comments that were made perhaps a little too early in his career. Nevertheless, Dids impressed many Pie supporters with his long sweeping kicks, and goal sense, which made him a favourite in the eyes of Collingwood supporters.

In 2001, Didak bided his time playing for Collingwood feeder side, Williamstown. He was impressive, yet inconsistent, so he was given time at Williamstown to adjust to the demands and rigors of top-level AFL football.

In 2002, Didak continued to show improvement; earning himself a Rising Star nomination against Richmond. In that game he picked up 13 quality possessions and kicked two goals. However, it was in a game against Hawthorn, on the 9th of August 2002, that Dids showed Magpie diehards what he could really do. In that game, Didak kicked five goals from 11 possessions and thrilled Magpie supporters with his mercurial goal kicking abilities.

Dids managed to play 19 games in 2002, a considerable difference to the 5 games he played in his debut year in 2001. He also scored 24 goals, and picked up 193 disposals. Didak showed he had goal kicking ability, and plenty of skill to burn.

In 2003, Dids played a total of 25 games (inc. finals), in what was probably his most successful season to date. He kicked a total of 36 goals, 22 behinds and along the way picked up 254 disposals, playing most of his football in the forward line. Again, he impressed, and it was in the finals in 2003 where he really began to shine. In the first final against Brisbane at the MCG, Didak helped revive Collingwood’s chances in the game when all looked lost early on. Brisbane had shot out of the blocks and looked like they would beat the Pies. However, the team fought back, and eventually hit the front. However, the lead was still up for grabs and could have gone either way. Enter Alan Didak. Dids kicked two goals to help seal the game, in a pressure cooker environment that even the greatest footballers have often buckled under. One memory that will forever be stuck in the minds of Collingwood supporters watching that game, is Dids’ kick from the boundary on an impossible angle that no one really thought would have gone through. It did, however, and it sent Magpie fans into a frenzy. Dids goals were crucial in sending the Pies straight into the Preliminary Final.

After beating Port Adelaide in the Preliminary Final, the Pies again met Brisbane in the GF (the second time in two years). The Pies played a shocker, however, Dids was one of the shining lights on the day, kicking three goals and in the process showing a never die attitude.

At the end of the season, Dids name was rumoured to be involved in trade talks. Port Adelaide player, Nick Stevens wished to return to Victoria to play football and his club of choice was Collingwood. Port Adelaide pressured Collingwood to trade Didak for Stevens, but Collingwood was reluctant to do so because Dids didn’t want to leave, and the football department could see plenty of potential in him. Collingwood declined the offer, and Didak remained a Pie. In the end, Stevens ended up at Carlton via the Pre-Season Draft, after former Collingwood captain and current Port Adelaide coach, Mark Williams, refused any further offers. Collingwood supporters were split over whether Collingwood should have declined the trade, and the general football supporting public felt that Collingwood were trying to trade for Stevens by giving up players that weren’t as good.

In 2004, Pie fans hoped that the team could go one better after the previous two seasons. However, it was not too be. The season was plagued by injuries to key players, and bad form to others. Dids missed four games in 2004 due to facial injury that was suffered against Geelong. However, he returned late in the season to play the last couple of games.

The year 2004 season was relatively good for Dids, but some supporters expected more, and wanted him to step up and dominate games on a more regular basis. Dids had a good return in his 18 games of 228 disposals; however, he was inaccurate in front of goal kicking 21 goals and 36 behinds. In 2004, Dids began to play more football in the midfield, especially with the absence of players like Nathan Buckley on occasions. Dids showed plenty of promise for a midfield role, and it is hoped we get to see more of him in that role in 2005.

Dids had several career highs in 2004. Including, 22 disposals in one game, and he had a career high of 20 kicks and 9 marks in the same game. Dids also recorded a high of 7 handballs against the Kangaroos, and 4 tackles against the Port in a game late in the season. Dids should continue to improve upon these figures in 2005.

It seems that Dids enjoys playing the Hawks. In a big win against them, he had 22 disposals, nine marks and four tackles and kicked four goals. Dids began to show what he could do playing in the midfield, and running forward. He showed he could be creative, and hard at the ball.

Dids finished off 2004 with a spot in the International Rules Squad that toured Ireland.

Dids will be back in 2005, and the cult status of Didak will continue to grow.

Here’s to a big year in 2005.

Alan Didak, Collingwood Cult Hero.