A Team Of Bruisers

Would anyone dare take the field against this lot?


B           Dale Kickett            Rod Grinter               Ron Andrews

HB       David Rhys-Jones  Don Fraser                Mark Lee

C           Phil Carman            Greg Williams          Gary Ablett

HF         Barry Hall              Dermott Brereton     Michael Regan

F            Dale Weightman    Tony Lockett              Jack Dyer

R           Carl Ditterich           Jim Krakouer            Robbie Muir

19th       Robert Dipierdomenico

Coach     Mal Brown


With thanks to Dave Warner.


About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. No Bob Chitty or Jack Williams?? Dale Kickett only let rip in one derby match, Mark Lee on a half-back flank? Who in the hell is Michael Regan??

  2. Leigh Matthews? Don Scott? Neil Balme?

  3. Would line up with a half dozen players every week. The rest on extended enforced leave. What’s the dividing line between tough and thug?
    Peter Hudson rang and nominated Cowboy Neale.
    Speculating about those that were calculated (Brereton, Weightman) and those with sporadic white line fever (Carman, Krakouer) and those permanently afflicted (Muir).
    Grave Danger (Port Adelaide) fits with the permanently afflicted. Would rather have a fight than a feed. Should have been banned for life early on. Shame SANFL shame.
    Lethal Leigh, Teddie Whitten and Neil Kerley knew how to intimidate. But also how to play.

  4. Byron Pickett!

  5. Good to see you’ve got Mopsy in there Earl, although Balmey and Robbie McGhie would have a right to feel badly done after being left out. The General & The Flea qualify, but they were pussy cats compared to some of the old timers.

    Ken Hands & Bluey Shelton would surely be in the starting XVIII, and that Bomber who was always blueing with Dermie. Can’t bring his name to mind, but he and The Kid carried out a love-hate affair for years. Bill Duckworth. See, I’m not senile after all.

    Nor would you wouldn’t want to be standing between The Duck & the Pigskin, although he was always fair. Can’t say the same about his Shinboner of The Century tannate though. And I’d also swap Conan The Barbarian for Dale Kickett every time.

    What about a team of snipers? I’ll start you off with the Swamp Hog. Sheeds would qualify too, I reckon.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Mark Ricciuto

  7. Who was the ‘Swamp Hog’? I know who the Swamp Fox was ….

    Robbie Walls was a self-confessed sniper also

  8. I’ll see your Mark Ricciuto Swish, and raise you a David Rhys-Jones.

    It was a derogatory name from opposition supporters for the Swamp Fox Gerry.

    And there was an Australian of The Year, whose name we dare not speak who wasn’t bad at the caper either.

  9. Tricky criteria.
    But Des Tuddenham may force his way in front of the selectors.
    Darren Millane.
    Murray Weideman.

  10. There’s a few names from the old VFA that’d put this team to shame.


  11. Shane John Backx says

    No players from the last 15 to 20 years need apply to be selected nor should the selectors consider any of them full stop.

  12. Shane John Backx says

    Mark Lee?????? On a half back flank????? Surely you jest young sir.

  13. Shane John Backx says

    Actually you could pick a dozen sides of thugs throughout history!!

  14. You aren’t referring to Ita Buttrose Wrapper, but u are right his name cannot be mentioned ….

  15. I’m with you Glen, the old VFA was open warfare. The 1967 GF was played at Punt Road. Eddie Melai used to buy his fuel at the same service station. And get this, the proprietor used to have a forty-four full of iced beer out the back and as we’d finish work and refuel our lorries, we’d slip out the back for frosty. Aghh, those were the days. Actually, I’m not sure Eddie wasn’t the mechanic. Maybe he just hung around for the beer. But there’s more to it – Murray Carter used to tune & house his racing car at the same garage. I’ve included a couple of links for the history minded. Thanks again Wikipedia.



  16. Brett Crosswell, Mick McGuane, both handy with the gloves.

    Yes, ‘The Wrap’, thanks for your comment. The Port Melbourne sides of my youth had some tough nuts. Names like Allen, Goss, Harland, Holt, Thompson and Profit, all good footballers, all terrified their opponents. No wonder we won 8 flags in six years: 1974 -1982.

    Go Burras !!!!


  17. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Welcome to the ‘Footy Almanac Teamster’s Union’ Earl.
    Some excellent selections here:
    ‘Mopsy’ Fraser peerless at CHB – Dyer thought he could have won a Brownlow if he played the ball only.
    I’d replace Grinter with Ric Kennedy at Full Back and replace Mark Lee with Albert ‘Leeter’ Collier (The only man Dyer feared on the footy field)
    Honorable mentions:
    Shane Kerrison, Roger Merrett, John Worsfold, Shane Mumford

  18. Roger “The Hitman” Merrett

    In fact, that recently retired Brisbane player Daniel Merrett might go ok in this company

  19. Peter warrington says

    Who was that sa maniac who went troppo in one of the early games against the Irish?

  20. Matt Boland says

    “Dirty Des” Dickson and John Peck from Hawthorn warrant inclusion

  21. Paul Minogue says

    Re Peter Warrington’s question, could have been Scott Salisbury from Glenelg. He was one tough player. Back him against many in the suggested side, some of whom were just mad and/or dirty.

  22. Byron Pickett would have to be in my team. As tough as they come and would put fear into his opponent’s minds.

  23. Most of these are thugs (and should’ve been banned) and are not ‘bruisers.’ Maybe a proper Thug team and Bruiser team? John Wynne captain for the bruisers, Grave fucking Danger and ray hayes for the idiots.

  24. Mopsy could also play some brilliant tearaway footy too Phil. I’m old enough to have watched him. It was before duffle coats, but I’d had one it would have carried the #21 Mopsy wore. However, he had a short fuse and the opposition thugs would wind him up to put him off his game. Slip some valium into his OT and he’d fit into the current Richmond backline like a hand into a glove. Velvet not boxing.

  25. Ray Card.

    And I’m thinking of blokes who split packs sending nine pins flying.

  26. And Matthew N – I’m with you on Byron Pickett. The human canon ball. I can’t remember a more lethal tackler. If you can call what he did tackling.

    Thugs – Bruisers – Mad Dogs – Strong Men – Enforcers – Protectors – Snipers – Just Naturally Gifted Hard Men. Where do you stop? How does this look for starters?

    JNGHM = Big Bad Jonathan Brown?

    Enforcers = Glen Archer?

    Protectors = Big Nick?

    Mad Dogs = Robbie Muir – Fabulous Phil – Mopsy Fraser

  27. Shane John Backx says

    Harmsy, Magro -Jezza 1979, Worthington-Doug Smith 1978, Fowler-Big Nick 72 to name 3.

  28. Bustling is also a good word in so far as pack-splitters are concerned. Micky Conlan? Doug Barwick? David King had the build and the look but was he a bustler?

  29. Shane John Backx says

    You can add Ablett snr to that lot, ask Dipper.

  30. and Johnny Gastev

  31. And that young St Kilda bloke – name? And Sean Wight – who just stood his ground so bravely.

  32. JTH. It was Kristian Bardsley. Ablett nearly killed the poor little bugger as he fended him off while trying to snap a goal. Must be said though it wasn’t a great tackling attempt by Bardsley. Gazza got a month for his trouble.

    A few other Cats who had opponents looking over their shoulder from time to time were Doug Wade, John Devine, John (Gunner) Scarlett and, more recently, Darren Milburn. All could play.

    Cheers, Burkie

  33. The kid from Bayswater High who played full back on me could go…

  34. McDougall. Think he was a Croweater?


  36. Dave Nadel says

    I can’t believe that none of the older almanacers mentioned Barry “Hooker” Harrison. Get a reference from Ron Barassi.

  37. I remember Hooker Harrison well too Dave. Without Hooker’s job on Ronald Dale it’s liklly that Melbourne would have set an unsurmountable six on the trot Premiership run.

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