Vale: Billy Picken

Updated: Jul 29

Our thoughts with the Picken family and our Collingwood Cricket club members who played with the dual-sport star something that just doesn't happen these days.

Originally from Macarthur in western Victoria, Picken played many games with the club including 31 first-grade cricket for Collingwood and had the dubious honour of being the first first-grade player suspended by the Victorian Cricket Association for striking an opponent during a match!

He made a first grade 100 against Essendon and was a well loved club member. Russell Thomas told me during the week he once made a century, Billy got 50 and he got promoted!

Born in 1956, Billy made his debut for Collingwood FC in Round Five, 1974 against rival Carlton and he went on to play 212 games for the Magpies, kicking 46 goals during a career that spanned 11 seasons.

A member of the Collingwood Team of the Century, Billy was a dashing defender who could take a spectacular mark. One of the most popular and beloved players to ever play for Collingwood, Billy was a two-time winner of the E.W. Copeland Trophy (1978 and 1983) and was also selected as an All Australian in 1983.

One of the game’s great characters, Billy ranks alongside Dick Lee, Ron Todd and Jeremy Howe as the most prolific and spectacular high marking players Collingwood has ever known.

Picken was recruited by the Sydney Swans as the big marquee signing to help the club on and off the field after they’d finished 11th on the 12-team ladder in 1983 and were in dire financial trouble.

He played 28 games in the harbour city before he returned to Collingwood as Reserves captain-coach in 1986 while playing a further five AFL games.

He also went on to be involved in the racing industry as secretary of the Hamilton Racing club while playing local football.

But he was first and foremost a football man from a big football family. Older son Marcus played 25 games with Brisbane from 1999-2001 and spent 2002-03 at the Western Bulldogs without a senior opportunity, while younger son Liam forged a wonderful 198-game career with the Bulldogs that included a starring role in the 2016 premiership before he was forced into early retirement due to concussion. Picken was also the uncle of ex-Brisbane champion Jonathan Brown.

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