Jordan De Goey appears “as invested as he’s ever been” on the field, according to St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt, as fellow Fox Footy pundit Mark Robinson called for Collingwood to put its contract offer back in front of the star.
De Goey missed three games last month due to a quad injury, while he also missed another after taking personal leave in the wake of footage emerging of him at a Bali nightspot during the Pies’ mid-season bye.
The latter incident led to Collingwood pulling its $3.2m contract offer – two years, with a trigger for another two years, on $800,000 per season – to De Goey, who’s unsigned beyond this season and eligible for free agency.
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But the 26-year-old has been in blistering form for Collingwood since returning to the senior side. He booted two goals from 23 disposals against Port Adelaide before a one-goal, 25-disposal outing in the Magpies’ telling win over reigning premiers Melbourne on Friday night.
Appearing on Fox Footy’s On The Couch on Monday night, Riewoldt pointed to vision from Friday night’s game of De Goey working hard defensively after two centre bounce clearances, sprinting into the back 50 to apply pressure and intercept the ball. He finished with 46 pressure points against the Dees – his best result for the year so far.
“He looks as invested as he’s ever been,” Riewoldt told On The Couch.
“We know what an offensive talent he is, ball in-hand he charges forward … but the defensive work is what stood out for me on Friday night.
“If you’re looking for attitude and you’re looking for effort from Jordan De Goey … we know we get it one way with the footy, but he’s showing it the other way as well.”
With contract talks between De Goey and the Pies on hold, multiple rival clubs have been circling the on-baller, most notably St Kilda.
But Robinson said the Pies should now make De Goey a signing priority.
“I wasn’t happy with what he did (off the field), but I accept that people make mistakes in life and it’s what you do afterwards. But if you make a mistake again, you get frustrated,” Robinson told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.
“But what he’s doing at Collingwood as a player, I can’t believe that the board or the executive are still thinking ‘we don’t want Jordan’. He was your problem child, help him – because I tell you what, when he goes on the field, he’s playing extraordinary football in his two games back from injury.
“I don’t think it’s a big decision. I think they should say: ‘Right it’s back on the table, what do you want to do? Let’s get it done. Do you want to be here? If you do, let’s get it done.’”
Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy said the Pies would be “crazy” to let De Goey go.
“It would be a big call to get rid of De Goey,” Healy told 3AW’s Sportsday.
“He looks happy and is playing fantastically well, it would be a big call for him to go even for extra money as he knows his surroundings. If you go to a new club, it’s a challenge.
“His form has been pretty fair and he was excellent on the weekend, Collingwood is in premiership contention and they’ll be in it next year unless something goes wrong.”
Collingwood coach Craig McRae told reporters on Friday night he’d “love” De Goey to stay at the club beyond this season amid uncertainty around the star free agent’s future.
“We’ll just live in the moment and let Jordy keep being himself in our environment and make us better. Nights like tonight are good examples of his assets that make us better,” McRae said.
“I thought it was his best game for the year. I thought he was a star. I thought he genuinely flipped the game around clearance.