Can anyone (else) reach the 10,000 disposal mark?

On Thursday, the football world witnessed history when Collingwood champion Scott Pendlebury notched up his 10,000th career disposal.

Despite some initial debate as to how many Pendlebury needed to reach the milestone pre-game - whether it was four or five touches - it was fitting that it occurred during one of the calendar's biggest days, ANZAC Day.

A 29-year shared history between Collingwood and Essendon, dating back to its first contest in 1995, which like yesterday, ended in a draw.

In true Pendlebury fashion, the six-time All-Australian was heading toward a near-perfect split between kicks and handballs as he hit the record.

However, when crossing the uncharted waters into the immortal abyss of football legendary, the midfielder registered 5,003 handballs and 4,997 kicks.

Unfortunately, the moment history was written was during play and it wasn't in the script to stop and savour the former Pies skipper.

Last year, Pendlebury passed St Kilda superstar Robert Harvey's disposal record of 9,656, taking the number one spot in record books.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07: The scoreboard shows a graphic after Scott Pendlebury of the Magpies breaks the all-time disposal record during the 2023 AFL Round 17 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Collingwood Magpies at Marvel Stadium on July 7, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

But it now begs the question, can anyone reach Pendlebury's newest heights?

The super-consistent Pie debuted back in 2006 and has featured in 390 games across his career, averaging 25.7 disposals.

Port Adelaide's Travis Boak is the next closest current player, standing at 8,292 across his storied career but won't make it by the time he hangs up the boots.

Melbourne's Clayton Oliver currently has the mean possession count per game (29) under his belt but will need to rely on longevity in the competition.

Oliver has played 168 AFL games and will need to double that number whilst still collecting the same amount of touches to reach 10,000 disposals.

Pies Teammate and young gun Nick Daicos has made an impressive start to his career, currently averaging 28.4 possessions in his 54 games and has rarely missed matches since debuting in 2022.

Brisbane ball magnet Lachie Neale is also another genuine candidate at age 30, amassing 27.2 disposals a game across his 251-game career.

Neale would need to add another 116 matches to his resume at the current rate he's going to achieve the remarkable 10,000-disposal feat.

Games Disposal Ave. Total disposals Games to 10,000 disposals (at current rate)
Lachie Neale (BRIS) 251 27.21 6,829 117
Clayton Oliver (MELB) 168 29 4,872 177
Nick Daicos (COLL) 54 28.4 1,532 298
Adam Treloar (GWS/COLL/WB) 237 27.79 6,586 123
Rory Laird (ADE) 230 27.03 6,216 140
Sam Walsh (CARL) 101 27.56 2,784 262

(*genuine candidates to reach 10,000 disposals)

However, what Pendlebury has proven over the past 19 seasons is his incredible ability to be fit and healthy each week, despite the rigours of AFL football.

Since the beginning of the 2006 season, Collingwood has played in 433 games.

Pendlebury debuted in Round 10 of that year, and since has featured in 92% (390/424) of matches.

The two-time premiership player's preparation has been well documented and is second to none, making the feat all that more impressive and unlikely to ever be topped.

Top 10 all-time disposal leaders

  1. Scott Pendlebury* (Collingwood) - 10,019
  2. Robert Harvey (St Kilda) - 9,656
  3. Brent Harvey (North Melbourne) - 9,213
  4. Kevin Bartlett (Richmond) - 9,151
  5. Gary Ablett Jnr (Geelong/Gold Coast) - 8,898
  6. Craig Bradley (Carlton) - 8,776
  7. Joel Selwood (Geelong) - 8,746
  8. Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn/West Coast) - 8,687
  9. Michael Tuck (Hawthorn) - 8,423
  10. Travis Boak* (Port Adelaide) - 8,292

(*Still playing)