When Trent Cotchin joined Senior Coach Damien Hardwick in hoisting the silverware in the euphoric aftermath of Richmond’s 2017 AFL Grand Final triumph on the MCG, he became the first Old Paradian to captain a Premiership team.
Two years later on the hallowed turf, Trent bettered that statistic in becoming the first Old Paradian to twice captain a Grand Final-winning outfit.
Then on Saturday night at the Gabba, Trent not only completed the captaincy threepeat, but made further history in becoming the only OP in 123 years of competition to feature in three Grand Final victories.
A student through four years at Parade before crossing to Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, Trent completed his schooling at the Bundoora campus in 2005 when the accompanying College photograph was taken. That year he was part of Parade’s Year 10A Premiership team – a team which included future League footballers Daniel Currie and Patrick Veszpremi, and the Old Paradians Amateur Football Club captain Chris Kandilakis.
Trent represented Parade in football for the first time in Year 7, 2002, under the watch of his then coach the late Paul Crowe. In the ensuing years 2003-’5, he chased the leather for the College under the tutelage of Rob Peckham, a self-confessed Richmond tragic.
“Trent was always destined not just to be an AFL footballer but to be a leader. When he first spent time at Punt Road in Year 10 I joked with him how great it would be to one day see him run our for my Tiges,” Rob said in a previous interview.
“He was always an exceptional talent, but he was always working to improve himself too. In year 9 he committed himself to a pre-season with West Preston, one of the top teams in the Northern Football League, and not long after he got a placement with Richmond.”
Since the formation of the VFL in 1897, 17 Old Paradians are known to have represented their respective clubs in a total of 30 Premierships at senior level. It is also a matter of record that at least one Old Paradian has featured in a VFL/AFL Grand Final triumph in each decade (with the exception of the 1890s and 1980s) since the League competition’s inception in 1897.
Curiously, ‘Jock’ McHale lined up in a back pocket as playing coach of Collingwood’s victorious Grand Final team of 1917 , but the Magpies centreman Percy Wilson tossed the coin as the designated captain in that match.
McHale (1912-’13) and Alphonsus ‘Phonse’ Kyne (1942 and 1946-’49) both captained Collingwood, but not in Premiership years - as did Harold ‘Lal’ McLennan and Sergio Silvagni, the captains of Fitzroy in 1911 and Carlton in 1964 respectively.
Trent is one of three Richmond Premiership players to have been schooled at the College after Bob Carew and ‘Paddy’ Guinane, who died last December. A 251-game, three-time Jack Dyer Medallist as Richmond’s best and fairest player, Trent was of course adjudged the Brownlow Medallist for the competition’s fairest and best in 2012, with Peter Bedford (1964) Parade’s only other Medallist having earned the award representing South Melbourne 50 years ago this year.
In the College’s storied history, a total of 10 Old Paradians now follow Trent as dual VFL/AFL Premiership players.
The 17 known VFL/AFL Premiership players (ex-Parade) from 1897-2020 inclusive are as follows;
Trent Cotchin (2007) - Richmond 2017, ’19-’20
Edward (‘Vin’) Brown (1938) - Carlton 1945 & ’47
Blake Caracella (1994) - Essendon 2000 & Brisbane ’03
Robert (‘Bob’) Carew (1915) - Richmond 1920 & ’21
Peter Caven (1988) - Adelaide 1997 & ’98
Jack Garden (1912) - Essendon 1923-’24
Alphonsus (‘Phonse’) Kyne (1931) - Collingwood 1935 & ’36
James (‘Jock’) McHale (1894) - Collingwood 1910 & ’17
Harold (‘Lal’) McLennan (1906) - Fitzroy 1913 & ’16
Robert T. (‘Bob’) Rush (1898) - Collingwood 1902 & ’03
Patrick (‘Paddy’) Shea (1900) - Essendon 1911 & ’12
Sergio Silvagni (1954) - Carlton 1968 & ’70
Brian Beers (1957) - Collingwood 1958
Andrew Eccles (1996) - Adelaide 1998
Patrick (‘Paddy’) Guinane (1954) - Richmond 1967
Ben Johnson (1998) - Collingwood 2010
William (‘Bill’) Serong (1953) - Collingwood 1958