Alan Toovey aside, Collingwood’s defence right now is an AFL nursery.
There will be times in Sunday’s game against the Western Bulldogs when Toovey will have more AFL experience than his five fellow backmen combined.
And at just 27 years of age and 124 games, Toovey is hardly a veteran.
But the more impressive statistic is that only Fremantle and Sydney – teams renowned for their defensive grunt – have conceded less points this season than the Magpies.
Toovey’s fellow defenders include Lachie Keeffe and Paul Seedsman (30 games apiece), Marley Williams (27), Jack Frost (13) and Tom Langdon (11) – a total of 111 games.
Heritier Lumumba (189) and Clinton Young (128) will also spend time in the back half, but Toovey will be easily the most experienced of the permanent defenders against the Dogs.
The numbers are skewed this weekend because Nick Maxwell is out with a calf injury, Alex Fasolo has been dropped and Ben Reid is yet to play in the AFL this season.
Even so, it’s a young defence doing an impressive job.
“It is a really young group, but the way they go about it this year, it’s been great,” Toovey said.
“Young blokes doing their homework, getting their research done on their opponents and playing their role for the team – it’s gone a long way to get us where we are at the moment.”
Collingwood are fourth and will start strong favourites against a team that is struggling to kick goals.
Toovey said it is important his young teammates make sure they keep it that way.
“There will be blokes in their forward line who none of us have played on before,” he said.
“It’s going to be a bit of a challenge.
“For the young guys in our team, it’s getting an advantage over opponents they might be playing against for years.
“So get in early and be the ones on the front foot.”
After missing most of last season with a knee reconstruction, Toovey has only missed two games this season.
“There’s a few little things I’ve had to work on and improve as the season has gone on – just adjustments from missing a year,” he said.