Adelaide’s final selection at this year’s Rookie Draft was inside the four walls of his former AFL club when his name was called out by Crows recruiters last Friday morning.
Former Magpie Ben Crocker told AFC Media he was with Collingwood’s Leadership and Culture Manager Nick Maxwell at The Holden Centre when he found out his football dream had been revived.
“I went into the club to watch it and that just shows the type of club that Collingwood is,” Crocker said.
“They let me back, I’ve been training there for the last couple of weeks.
“I went back and actually watched it with Nick Maxwell, but then I had a few boys come in. They were actually training at the time, so there were boys running in, congratulating me.
“We then sat down, had lunch with them (and then) got told I had to give my key passes back.”
Crocker, who grew up a Collingwood supporter, admitted ‘it was kind of heartbreaking’ to be delisted by the Magpies in October.
But despite not being offered a new contract to remain on Olympic Boulevard, the 22-year-old still had nothing but love for the team who drafted him with pick No.65 in 2015.
“I really do love that club, the playing group we had there was just awesome. I absolutely love them to bits,” he said.
“I know when I left, I said, ‘you boys are like my family’ and I really did mean that.”
The popular team man was widely lauded by Collingwood and its supporters across social media when news filtered through Crocker would be at Adelaide in 2020.
The Magpies’ media team posted a video of the 26-game player leaving their headquarters and Crocker admitted to being overwhelmed by the response.
“I was reading a few of the comments and a few of them were saying ‘not even Swanny got this type of send-off’,” he said.
“I couldn’t thank the Club enough. For all the supporters - I’ve received nothing but love from them, so it makes the transition here a bit easier.
“I’m looking forward to a fresh start at a new club, with a new coach, new coaches, looks like a really young, talented list so I reckon Adelaide should be really pumped for what we can hopefully produce next year.”