Anyone who’s seen Adam Treloar play AFL would consider him a confident and assured footballer — but on the inside, during the 2018 season, he was broken, vulnerable and considered himself a “terrible human”.
- Collingwood: From The Inside Out follows the Magpies during the 2018 AFL season
- In the film, midfielder Adam Treloar opens up about his struggles with mental health issues
- Nine-year veteran Jarryd Blair is also shown being told he is no longer required, as are the scenes after losing the 2018 grand final
“I remember being in the spa and getting really, really upset and I started to cry,” Treloar says in the new film Collingwood: From the Inside Out.
“I just put my head under the spa, wiped my face and the tears away, and hopped up and continued the chat with whoever I was with because all the boys were there.”
Players and coaches candidly discussing everything from mental health, football mortality and even the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery, Kintsugi — it all features in this unconventional sports documentary, to be aired on the ABC.
“One of the drivers of wanting to do it was wanting to make a footy documentary that pushed past just the footy audience because is it that universal, human story,” co-director Josh Cable said.
“Anyone can connect with what’s going on in this film.”
Cable previously worked at the club in its digital department where he built key relationships with players and staff.
He spent almost 12 months filming behind the scenes at a time when the club was addressing its identity — an identity vastly different to the chest-beating, arrogant, angry mob persona once held by the Magpies.
“They had a really good understanding of what I was trying to do and they really believed in that,” Cable said.
Filming began ahead of the 2018 season and culminated at the start of this year’s pre-season, but the real stories are off the field.
This is not your average AFL documentary
As well as his mental health struggles, Treloar shares intimate details about his childhood where his family “didn’t have much money” and, at times, “struggled for food”.
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“He’s such a great guy and I think he really understood that it was a good platform — a longer-form, more in-depth story — for him to share,” Cable said.
“I told him along the way that what he had to say was going to be really powerful and would have a positive effect on other people and he understood that well.”
Nothing was off limits during filming, nor did the club ask to change anything after it saw the final cut.
The camera was allowed in when Nathan Buckley addresses his team shortly after the Magpies’ narrow loss to West Coast in the 2018 grand final.
Usually intimidating and assertive, the documentary captures a side of Buckley that is rarely seen: distraught and unguarded.
“I don’t know how to lead you right now,” he said in his address to the playing group.
Heading into the season, the club was in crisis and Buckley had been tasked with turning around the side’s poor on-field performances.
And the way the coach conducted himself — as a person and a tactician — was also under scrutiny.
“Bucks, especially, believed in the value of story-telling and what this project could be,” Cable said.
“It’s really interesting how that [loss] makes Bucks question success … and comes to the realisation that there is more than just winning a flag.
“It’s not a fairytale story and I think people are used to seeing those in footy and sport documentaries.”
The vision of Treloar’s one-on-one counselling session with sport psychologist Jacqui Louder provides a raw insight into the unseen struggles that some AFL players face.
Meanwhile, Jarryd Blair’s delisting after 157 senior games in the black and white captures what is arguably the worst moment for any footballer.
“I think the delisting was the most difficult thing to film,” Cable said.
“That was his call and I do commend the club on leaving that solely to Jarryd; that was really good of them.”
For a code more comfortable in discussing the weekly game plan, Collingwood: From The Inside Out humanises the game and its players.
It also shows a club that comes to realise personal relationships are just as important as on-field match-ups.
“You could definitely see how connected everyone was inside the club,” Cable said.
Although the film is only about the Magpies, Cable said it was the portrayal of everyday matters that made it more than just an Aussie rules story.
“For people who don’t support Collingwood, or people [who] aren’t footy fans, if they can watch this and get something out of it, that’d be great — and I think they will,” he said.
Collingwood: From The Inside Out premieres Tuesday, 3 September on ABC and ABC iview.