Updated: Thursday 2.30pm
Thorold Merrett received an early birthday present on Thursday.
The former Cobden man, who played 180 games for Collingwood, will celebrate his 90th birthday on Saturday.
Mr Merrett headed along to Collingwood's training session on Thursday, where players sang happy birthday and presented him with a cake.
Earlier: All Thorold Merrett wants for his 90th birthday is to see Collingwood win a flag.
It would be the ultimate double for Mr Merrett, who played 180 games for the Magpies after his talent was recognised by Jack Murphy.
The former Collingwood player began coaching at Cobden and was impressed by the skills of Mr Merrett, who was 16 at the time and had a unique training tool.
"My father Jock taught me to kick the ball through a tyre hanging from a tree," Mr Merrett said.
When Mr Murphy suggested he had what it took to play in the VFL, Mr Merrett was thrilled.
"I couldn't get there quick enough," Mr Merrett said.
His father's training trick worked, with Mr Merrett getting picked up by the Magpies as soon as he got to Melbourne.
For Mr Merrett, it was a dream come true.
The wingman played in four premierships - with Collingwood winning two.
The first win was in 1953 against Geelong, while the second was in 1958 against Melbourne.
It was a change of pace for the boy from Cobden, who worked at a sports store while playing for Collingwood.
Most players had regular jobs back then and would head to training each Tuesday and Thursday night and play on Saturday.
Mr Merrett was one of the youngest players in the VFL when he made his debut.
He finished in the top 10 in the Brownlow Medal on two occasions and won the Copeland Trophy - Collingwood's best and fairest - twice.
Mr Merrett said it was incredible to be part of a premiership side.
"They were beautiful - those premiership days," he said.
"I had good players around me and the fans were magic."
Mr Merrett said he would love nothing more than a win for the Magpies on Saturday.
"It would be the best birthday present I could get," he said.
Mr Merrett will watch the game alongside family members at the retirement village he lives at in Melbourne.
"I'll have a beer - I'll have several - if they win," Mr Merrett said.
He is the great uncle of Zach Merrett, the captain of Essendon.
Mr Merrett said he was very proud of Zach.
"He kicks very much like me," Mr Merrett said.
"He's a left footer."
He always watches Zach's games.
"I watch them after Collingwood," Mr Merrett laughed.
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