Almanac Footy: Footballers who became famous for something totally different – Part 2

After the first post, People who tried a VFL/AFL career before becoming famous for something totally different on September 1 on various forums and on Facebook I have updated and expanded the list to what you see below.


Some entries are missing information and some may actually be inaccurate or even incorrect. If you have the missing information for a certain player, I’d love for you to provide it.


Of course, if you can think of any others who tried a VFL, WAFL, SANFL, Tassie, VFA or ACT career in the Under 19’s, Reserves or Seniors teams over the years career before becoming famous for something totally different, let us know!


So far, I have these, from all clubs.


Can you think of any others?


VFL Seniors:


Simon O’Donnell (cricket), St.Kilda 1982-83, 24 games


Max Walker (cricket), Melbourne, 1967-72, 85 games and North Hobart in TFL


Jamie Siddons (cricket), Sydney 1984, 2 games


Don Chipp (politician), Fitzroy 1947, 3 games


Lindsay Fox (trucking businessman), St.K 1959-1961, 20 games


Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald (radio host), Sydney/Adelaide, 1999-2002, 18 games


Bill Lang (boxer), Richmond, 1908-09, 14 games


Nick Jewell (cricket for Victoria), Richmond, 1997, 1 game (son of Tony Jewell).


Darren Bennett (WCE, Melbourne AFL) – American NFL player, most for the San Diego Chargers he is regarded as one of the greatest players of the 1990s and a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He is the most successful Australian to play NFL in the US.


Stephen Patterson (Collingwood 1995–2000, 96 games) played SANFL for Norwood, then for Collingwood. He was Mayor of the City of Holdfast Bay in Adelaide in 2014 and is now the Minister for Trade and Investment in the South Australian Liberal Government.


Graeme John former CEO of Australia Post played for South Melbourne late 60s/ early 70s. And coached in 73/74. Player, Coach & President at South and AFL Board member – he went on to be CEO at TNT Transport and Australia Post.


Brian Dixon (Melbourne 1954–1968, 252 games as a player, North Melbourne coach 1971 and 1972) In 1972, Dixon was promoted to the new Victorian Liberal ministry as a MP. He variously served in several portfolios including Youth, Sport and Recreation, Housing and Aboriginal affairs. His best-remembered achievement was introducing Norm and the iconic Life. Be in It. program in 1975.


Bill Mildenhall (St.Kilda 1974–79, 1981–82, 77 games) Mildenhall refereed in the NBL between 1979 and 2011, and also officiated in the 1992 Barcelona and 2000 Sydney Olympics including the 2000 men’s final at Sydney Olympics. In 2005, Mildenhall became the NBL league record of officiating in 802 matches. He also holds the record for being awarded “NBL Referee of the Year” on the most occasions.


Alan Stretton (St.Kilda 1946-47, 16 games) After Cyclone Tracy decimated Darwin in 1974 Stretton played a major part in helping the city get back on its feet. Stretton was head of the National Disasters Organisation and by this stage was also a Major General in the Australian Army. Between 1975 and 1979, when there were two categories for The Australian of the Year, Stretton was a recipient of this honour in 1975.


Laurie Morgan (2 Equestrian Gold Medals at 1960 Rome Olympics), Fitzroy 1937-39, 34 games


John Watts (Radio broadcaster & TV personality), Geelong 1963-65, 52 games (including 1963 Premiership), East Perth Premiership player 1956, 1958 and 1959.


Keith Miller (Australian Test Cricketer), St Kilda, 1940-1942 & 1946, 50 games


Brett Stephens (Fitzroy 133 games 1987-93) Became fitness coach of Pete Sampras & Mark Philippoussis.


Treva McGregor (Fitzroy 1966–71, 47 games) is the last VFL/AFL footballer to win the Stawell Gift. He ran 2nd in 1970 before returning in 1971 to win it.


Matthew Liptak (Adelaide 1991–1999, 116 games) is an Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in sports injuries and joint replacement, particularly involving the knee and hip.


Justice Simon Whelan of the Coodabeens


Alex Keath (played 7 games for Victoria in State cricket) before turning to football first for Adelaide and now the Bulldogs. He is the last person to play AFL and state cricket.


Ray Groom was a Minister in the Fraser Government and later Premier of Tasmania. He had a decent career at Melbourne. Ray Groom former tassie premier (Melbourne early 60s). Ray Groom: 92 games for Melbourne 1963-8 (didn’t play in the ’64 GF); Tasmanian Premier, 1992-6. Also served in the Fraser Ministry in two positions but left Federal politics in ’84.


John Winneke Hawthorn Premiership ruckman 1961 had a distinguished legal career culminating in senior judicial appointments, QC and judge and legal eagle for the horrible religious cult The Family. Of course, Sir Henry, John’s father was Governor of Victoria.


Des Bethke (Sth. Melb.) was town clerk of Melbourne City Council, i.e. the most senior local government adminisrator in Victoria. He features in Jan Courtin’s book.


Mac Holten (Collingwood,1940s and later Wangaratta) was a Minister for a term in the Gorton/McMahon Governments. I’m sure that John’s Wangaratta correspondent has written about him, but I can’t locate it in the KBHill archive.


Stephen Jurica (Richmond 1995-97, 18 games) is now a Barrister specialising in Commercial Law, Property, Planning and Sports Law at Lennon’s List Barristers Melbourne. He also works today as a AFL Match Review Officer.


Warren Ralph (Carlton 1984-86, 21 games, 72 goals). Played 123 games and kicked 564 goals for Claremont between 1980-1983, 1987 &1989. Won Claremont premierships: 1981, 1987, 1989 and was WAFL leading goalkicker: 1981, 1982, 1983. Just prior to his first game with Glenelg in the SANFL in 1988, Ralph won over $880,000 in the X-Lotto lottery. Ironically, he joined Glenelg after refusing to take a 60% pay cut from Claremont, with his two-year contract at Glenelg being $40,000.


Bill Cannon (St.Kilda, 1975, 1 game) became a journalist/news/sport producer at Channel 7 Melbourne between 1987-2000 and a Producer at Fox Footy in Melbourne from 2002 to the present day.


Chris Stone (St.Kilda 1978-1981, 23 games) successful businessman in Europe and married to Belgium Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes. Last VFL player to wear goggles while playing.


Robert Hickmott (Melbourne 1990-91, 2 games), Melbourne Cup winning trainer (Green Moon in 2012 and Almandin in 2016) and Lloyd Williams private trainer. Hickmott also played in the 1990 Reserves Grand Final for Melbourne vs Carlton.


Ben Buckley (North Melbourne 1986-1993, 74 games) Captained North Melbourne Under 19’s in 1996, vice captain for Nth Melb senior team in 1990-92. AFL General Manager (1999–2006), FFA CEO (2006–2012), Executive Director in Foxtel and Chairman of North Melbourne.


Jim Wilkinson. Played 15 games for South Melbourne between 1970 -1972 before returning to Hobart where he played footy and cricket for Sandy Bay, including some first class cricket. He went on to a career in the media and Parliament for sometime. Still practices as a lawyer.


Andrew Demetriou (1981-88 North Melbourne and Hawthorn, 106 games), CEO of the AFL between 2003 and 2014. Demetriou has interests in factories in Brazil and India which manufacture dental products and exports them to 70 markets, including Australia.


Glen Coleman (Fitzroy, Sydney, Footscray 1980-1993, 194 games) With Footscray teammate Scott Wynd, started a garbage disposal business that they sold for a reported $25 million AUD.


Brett Montgomery (Footscray & Port Adelaide 1997-2007, 204 games) captained the under-19s Victorian cricket team and in 1992 and 1993 he played club cricket in the Durham League and Middlesex League in England.


Barry Ion (Radio personality in Adelaide, Sydney & Melbourne) – Footscray, 1961-65, 40 games


Brad Green (Melbourne 2000-2012, 254 games) captained the Australian under-15 cricket team in 1995 and trialled with Manchester United spending a month at Old Trafford in 1996 as a 15-year-old he trained with Walsall, a lower division English club.


Mike Fitzpatrick (Carlton, 1975-1983, 150 games) won a flag at Subiaco in 1973 and 3 at Carlton (1979, 1981, 1982), former company director for Rio Tinto, Telstra, Chair of AFL Commission, Victorian Funds Management Corporation & Australian Sports Commission. Rhodes Scholar.


Shannon Hurn (WCE 2006-, 278 games) played Under 19’s cricket for Australia during the 2004-05 season alongside Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade, Aaron Finch.


Adrian Barich (WCE, 1987–1992, 47 games) played AFL and NRL for Western Reds. Since 1995 Barich has been a TV sports reporter and presenter with Channel 7 Perth. In 2010 Barich won the coveted Geoff Christian Medal for the best football journalist in WA.


Ray Biffin (Melbourne 1968–1979, 170 games) played first class cricket for Tasmania in 1967.


Craig Bradley (Carlton 1986–2002, 375 games) missed the last half of the 1983 SANFL season (he won Ports B & F in 1982 aged 18) for Port Adelaide to tour England with the Australian Under 19s cricket team. He played a couple of first class games with SA and district cricket for the Melbourne Cricket Club between 1988-1992.


Saverio Rocca and Ben Graham also deserve mentions after building decent NFL careers


Earl Spalding played state cricket for WA


Graeme Watson (Melbourne 1964-65, 18 games) was an emergency in the 1964 Melbourne premiership side. An all-round cricketer for Victoria, he gained an Australian green cap when touring South Africa in 1966-67 making a 50 on debut. Later, he played cricket for WA & NSW, getting a recall to the Australian team.


Todd Breman (WCE/Rich, 1989-1993, 52 games) also played 10 Shield games for WA in 1985/86.


Peter Bedford (Sth Melb & Carlton 1968-1978, 186 games), played 39 matches for Victoria between 1966–67 and 1972-73.


Bruce Duperouzel (St.Kilda & Footscray 1974-1984, 250 games), played five first-class cricket matches for WA in 1971.


Robert ‘Bob’ Cockerell (Footscray, 1971-72, 21 games), Partner of KordaMentha – investigation of the most complex and serious fraud, corruption and drug matters in Australia.


Scott Wade (Hawthorn 1981-83, 12 games). Tassie AFL CEO and former Commonwealth Bank Manager, Tasssie career: 282 senior games and played in 3 premiership teams at Clarence. Father of cricketer Mathew Wade.


Geoff Cayzer (St.Kilda 1967 & 1971, 4 games) played seniors for St.Kilda as a ruckman owns Cayzer Real Estate in Melbourne.


Justin Madden, Victorian State Minister


Darrel Baldock was a State Minister in the ALP in the Tasmanian Parliament for 15 years between 1972-1987. Resigned to go over and coach St Kilda.


John Rombotis (Fitzroy/Port Adelaide/Richmond 1995-2000, 48 games). 1,000th player to play for Richmond, now a Real Estate mogul.


Brian Cook (Melbourne, 1977, 4 games). Played for Box Hill in the VFA, Melbourne (4 games), Subiaco and East Perth and coached East Perth to two premierships in the reserves in 1981 and 1983. In 1986 he took over as senior coach at Ainslie in the ACTFL. He was the CEO of West Coast for 9 years and has been CEO of Geelong for 21 years.


Craig Ellis (Footscray & Melbourne, 1994-2002, 122 games). Cult Australian bikini brand Triangl was founded in 2012 by Erin Deering and Craig Ellis and Ms Deering was ranked on last year’s Rich List with an estimated worth of $35 million.


Joel Bowden (Richmond 1996–2009, 265 games) Former Union Leader, Bowden was elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly at the 2020 Johnston by-election, representing the Australian Labor Party (ALP).


Don Pyke (WCE, 1989–1996, 132 games and Adelaide coach 2016–2019) also extremely wealthy, has his finger in the pie of the Norwegian Oil reserves after forming a business with two Norwegian guys to do seismic data which helped in oil and gas exploration before selling the business. Coaching just a bit of a hobby. Don also represented WA under-19 cricket team in 2 matches at the 1987–88 Australian Under-19 Championships, playing alongside Brendan Julian. Dad Frank Pyke played for East Perth (1959-1966, 1972-1973, 130 games) before he went to the US and became a world renown sports scientist and educator and was famous with the rehabilitation of Dennis Lillee’s cricket career after a serious back injury. Don was born in the US.


Murray Thompson (Richmond, 1973–1976, 14 games) Thompson was admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1982, and set up his own suburban legal practice, working as a solicitor before entering politics in 1992. He served on the Liberal frontbench in a range of portfolios in opposition, between December 2002 and February 2008. He was the member for Sandringham for 26 years.


Jamie Cooper (Fitzroy 1984-87, 30 games) played about 30 odd games for Fitzroy.Cooper is best known for his painting career, and became internationally known for his large-scale historical “dream scene” sporting portraits, featuring a team’s star players (all AFL clubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid) from throughout different eras, all depicted in their prime of their careers.


Rob Dickson (19 games for Hawthorn and Brisbane 1988-1991) was an award-winning film director (The Passion to Play, Shane Crawford Exposed and The Essence of The Game) and the winner of the first edition of the reality game show Australian Survivor in 2002.


David Muir (Fremantle 1995-96, 20 games) Was on WCE list in 1993 and North Melbourne’s list in 1994 but didn’t play a senior game before playing for Fremantle. After retiring from football, Muir became a big-wave surfer and stand up paddle surfing and competed in the Stand-Up World tour, finishing each year between 2010 and 2012 in the top twenty, with eighth place in 2010 his best overall result.


David Polkinghorne (Hawthorn, 1975–1984, 164 games) played in two premierships (1976 & 1978) with Hawthorn is one of the top civil engineers in the world. He was responsible for the building of the Friendship Bridge which linked Laos and Thailand. He was also project manager on the new Parliament house.


Greame Wilson played 14 games at South Melb 1974-76 and later became Australia’s High Commissioner to South Africa and was the head of the RAMSI mission in the Solomon Islands.


Mark Gamble (St.Kilda 1986-88, 35 games) was a judge of the County Court played for St Kilda in the ’80’s (and was known to say bitterly in later times that he was always made to stand Plugger at training).


Michael Roberts (St.Kilda, Richmond, Fitzroy, 1978-87, 91 games) TV sports/football journalist and reporter with the Nine Network and Triple M and model on the TV quiz show Sale of the Century.


Barry Perry (Collingwood 1961, 2 games). He began working in the Victorian Ombudsman’s office in 1974, shortly after the creation of the role. He ended up serving as Victoria’s Ombudsman from 1994 until he suffered a severe stroke.


Wayne Carroll (South Melbourne 1979-85, 56 games). Cousin of Dennis Carroll he won the VFL Mark of the Year award in 1984. The last few decades he’s been a handy race horse trainer in Wagga Wagga.


Daniel Gorringe (Gold Coast & Carlton 2011-2017, 26 games). Gorringe appeared in Channel 7’s Big Brother Australia 2020 reboot where he finished runner up in the competition. At the time he was a Twitter sensation and now has a writing role with Sportsbet.


Trent Nichols, played with Richmond, West Coast and North Melb was a TV presenter/newsreader on WIN Television in Tasmania for a number of years.


David Rodan (Richmond, Port Adelaide, Melbourne 2002-2013, 185 games), AFL goal umpire from 2017 on


Geoff Parker (Essendon 1987-89, 3 games), Victorian and South Australian Shield cricketer who also captained Australia Under 19’s to the Youth World Cup in 1988. He is currently the head recruiting manager for AFL club Port Adelaide.


Mordecai “Mordy” Bromberg (St.Kilda 1978-81, 34 games) is an Australian judge who was appointed to the Federal Court of Australia in 2009. He was previously a senior barrister.


Nick Gill (Adelaide, 2007-09, 16 games). Spent time on lists with Melbourne (2001) & North Melbourne (2003) but didn’t play any games. Moved into radio in Adelaide; last known to have been with Triple M in Newcastle.


Garry Baker (Footscray, Melbourne, Sydney, 1972-1983, 147 games). Used to host a radio show in Hobart on the old Triple-T FM called “Drop, Kick and Punt” and also owned/owns a chain of restaurants in Hobart.


Jordan Banninster (Essendon & Carlton 2001-2009, 67 games), AFL field umpire 2010-2016.


Darrel Baldock (St K/East D’Port/Latrobe/New Norfolk)


Gil Langley won a best and fairest for Sturt, played a few games for Essendon during the war, Test cricket and then retired to become state MP for Unley for thirty years.


Ken Bennett, rover in the 1958 Collingwood premiership was national secretary of the Labor Party.


John Devine was a Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly at the same time as Darrel Baldock, in the period between their VFL playing careers and their coaching stints.


Karmichael Hunt & Israel Folau, NRL players played for the Gold Coast & GWS.


Luke Ball & Jimmy Bartel played in the 2000/01 Under 17 Victorian Cricket Team


Mark Bairstow, Bill Barrott, Darrel Baldock and Denis Pagan are all horse trainers




Shane Warne (cricket), St.Kilda, 1988, 1 game and a full season in Saints U19’s.


Dennis Cometti (football commentator), West Perth 1967-1971 38 games, 70 goals, Footscray, 1971, 4 games


Graeme Richmond (Richmond administrator), Richmond, 1952-53


Mike Willesee (TV host), South Melbourne, 1964, 8 games


Tony Wilson (author), Hawthorn, 1990-92


Brad Hodge (cricket), Melbourne, 1994, 1 game


James Tomkins (Oarsome Foursome Rower), Melbourne, 1989, 7 games. 200cms. Was in Hawthorn Under 19’s squad in 1984 and played for Carey Grammar as a schoolkid.


Colin Ridgway (Dallas Cowboys NFL 1965), Carl, 1955


Rodney Hogg (cricket), Collingwood, 1970, 3 games in the reserves + 8 games in Under 19’s in 1970


Geoff Walsh (Collingwood General Manager), Collingwood, 1973-75, 55 games


David Morgan (former CEO of Westpac), Richmond, 1967


Graeme Sampieri (bookmaker), 1958 Hawks Reserves Premiership player


Harry Beitzel (3KZ, 3AW, 3AK, ABC VFL Commentator) Played in Fitzroy Under 19’s in 1944 and 3 games for the Fitzroy reserves in 1945 as an 18-year old. Was a VFL umpire between 1948-1960 in which he officiated in 182 senior games (including the 1955 Grand Final). He also umpired 21 country Grand Finals.


Trevor O’Hoy, ex CEO of Fosters Group, North Melbourne Board member) played on the wing for 3 years with the St Kilda reserves team (1972-74) and was runner-up for the Gardiner Medal in 1973. His teammates at the Saints included Mick Malthouse and Grant Thomas.


Shayne Bennett played under 19’s for North Adelaide in 1990 and Collingwood Under 19’s (13 games, 45 goals in 1991 including an 11-goal haul vs Carlton) and Collingwood reserves (13 games, 12 goals in 1991). Played in Collingwood’s Under 19’s 1991 Grand Final team vs North Melbourne. Left for the US aged 19 in 1992. Went on to become a Major League Baseball pitcher in the USA for the Montreal Expos 1996-2000. His brother, Peter played 293 games & kicked 320 goals for North Adelaide between 1983-1995.


Under 19’s:


Brad Robinson (Australian Crawl) Hawthorn, 1976


Lindsay Gaze (basketball), Melbourne, 1955


Jamie Cox (Tasmanian cricket captain), Essendon 1987, seniors for Glenelg (SANFL)


Ray “Slug” Jordon (football commentator & coach of VFL & reserves teams), Richmond, 1953-55. Wicketkeeper for Victoria


Sam Pang (comedian and TV host), Collingwood, 1991, 6 games


Richard Pratt (businessman, Visy owner), Carlton, 1953 (won 1953 Morrish Medal)


Ahmed Fahour (former CEO of Australia Post) played at half-back flank for 2 games in the Carlton’s Under-19 team in 1985 with Geoff Southby as coach. He said that he gave up his football ambitions because he couldn’t match his contemporary Stephen Silvagni in the under 19s. Fahour served on the Carlton Board as a director between 2007-2015.


Jeff Browne (Former Head of Channel 9 & lawyer), Collingwood, 1972. Brother of Pies player Murray Browne (Collingwood & Fitzroy 1981-86, 53 games).


David Buttifant (Collingwood’s sport science director), Collingwood, 1983. David also played 2 games for Richmond seniors in 1987


Chris Brent (son of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs) played for the Fitzroy Under 19’s in 1981 alongside Paul Roos and Gary Pert. He kicked 91 goals for the 1981 season (his only season), a Lions’ Under 19’s record which placed him 2nd in the competitions Under 19’s goal kicking behind Melbourne’s David Cordner who kicked 111.


Brett Hartin Richmond U/19s in 1991, finished 11th in the 1991 B & F. Member of The Puppetry of the Penis from 1998.


Clinton Casey, (Businessman, ex-President of Richmond FC), played Under 19’s at Essendon in 1978.


Peter Cameron played Richmond U19s in 1969 and umpired 306 AFL matches between 1977 and 1993


Keith Schlieger (The Block), Played for Victoria in the AFL Under 16’s Schoolboys team and Under 19’s for North Melbourne. Played district cricket for Nth Melb too. Now is the foreman on the TV show The Block.




Gil McLachlan, AFL chief once trailed with Carlton and was on their supplementary list in 1996-97.


Eddie McGuire, Collingwood President once trailed with Nth Melbourne U-19’s in 1982.


Mitch Marsh (Australian Test cricket) played for Western Australia at the 2008 AFL Under 18 Championships at full forward alongside Nic Naitanui, Chris Yarran, Stephen Hill, Michael Walters, Daniel Rich, Mitch Duncan, Neville Jetta, Anthony Morabito, Clancee Pearce, Matt de Boer and cousin Brad Sheppard.


Alex Carey (ODI cricket) captained & won GWS’s B & F the year before they joined the AFL.


Travis Fimmel (Vikings actor ‘Ragnar’), was recruited to St.Kilda in 1997 but badly broke his leg while training and never played a Under 19’s or reserve game.


Mark Robinson, Chief Herald Sun football writer, played mostly Under 19’s and reserves football for Sandhurst (plus a few senior games) in the Bendigo League between 1986-1993 plus West Preston and North Old Boys in Brunswick. Robinson played in the midfield, centre-half forward and full forward. He actually won the 1987 Bendigo League Reserves B & F and played in a Premiership team for Sandhurst Reserves in 1992.


Darren Lockyer (NRL), Lockyer started playing Aussie rules for Springwood in Brisbane, finishing runner-up in the best and fairest award in his first season when he was 6. The following season he won the club’s best and fairest award by 17 votes. He only switched to Rugby League at age 9 when his family relocated to Roma.


Travis Martin-Beynon (‘Candyman’ and FreeChoice tobacco empire heir). Beynon played for Southport in QLD had a standout 1989 Teal Cup carnival. He was drafted to North Melbourne as pick #4 in the 1989 pre-season VFL draft and did a pre-season at North Melbourne but suffered a debilitating back injury and didn’t play any senior games. He spent 1990 on the North Melbourne list and was traded to the Brisbane Bears in 1991 where he also didn’t play any senior games.


Mark Taylor (Australian Cricket Captain) played Under 17’s Teal Cup for NSW (his football club was Parramatta) in 1981 and played in the same team as Hawks player James Morrissey and Collingwood player Paul Hawke.


Patty Mills (basketball) was a very good junior footballer. Mills was invited to train with the Sydney Swans 2004 but Mills declined.


Nathan Chapman (78 games for Brisbane & Hawthorn 1993-2000) – Was a rookie at NFL team Green Bay Packers and went on to form a company, Prokick which is the pathway to the NFL for aspiring Aussie punters.


Ben Simmons (NBA Basketball) was a very good junior footballer playing for Keilor Under 14s.


Mike Codd won the Mulrooney Medal (the ACT Brownlow) in 1962. He was a senior public servant in the Hawke years, serving as secretary of Prime Minister’s & Cabinet Department – so virtually the top banana.


Lleyton Hewitt (Lleyton’s dad Glynn played for Rich reserves in 1973-74, got a flag in 73, his uncle Darryl played for St.K seniors in 1981-82) was a moderately skilled junior footballer.


Anthony Hudson played for Fitzroy Reds where they were the Uni Reds in the VAFA. The Uni Reds back then would have been in lower grades back then.


Tom Trbojevi? was in Sydney Swans Academy as a 12-year old before choosing the Manly Sea Eagles in the NRL.


Kalyn Ponga at 13 was placed in the Brisbane Lions Talent Academy after being spotted at a representative Rugby NRL match where he was considered an outstanding prospect. He went onto play in the NRL for Newcastle Knights & North Queensland Cowboys.




Mike Sheahan played for Werribee in the VFA between 1966-1970 & 1973 (33 games, 54 goals) and North Hobart Demons in the TFL between 1971-72.


Richard di Natale (Greens Leader) played for Coburg & Oakleigh in the VFA, 1988-1994.


Merv Hughes, once trailed with Geelong U19’s in 1979 & played for Werribee in the VFA, 1978-82, 95 games.


Phil Cleary. Member for Wills between 1992-96, former ABC VFA/VFL commentator. For Coburg, played 205 games, kicked 317 goals between 1975-1987, won 1979 Premiership, coached the club between 1984–92 (captain coach between 1984–87, upon which he retired as a player), before leading them to back-to-back premierships in 1988–89.


Les Twentyman, a very well-known social worker and youth outreach worker, played in the VFA for the Williamstown reserves in 1967, he captained the Williamstown Under 19’s in 1966. He is also a VFA Reserves Premiership winning coach for Williamstown? Les coached Yarraville Reserves to a Premiership in 1977 and coached the Yarraville Senior team in 1981.


John Curtin (Prime Minister 1941-45) played seniors in the VFA for Brunswick between 1903-07.


Vance Joy (aka James Keogh) played for Coburg in the VFL, 2008-09.


Cameron Johnston (NFL), who was on Melbourne’s rookie list in 2011 and played senior football with Casey Scorpions, but spent most of the year in the Casey reserves. Now a professional American football punter for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL.


Ken Piesse (football and cricket journalist) Played for the Beaumaris Football Club in the VAFA in XXX


Jon Anderson (football journalist) played for Prahran reserves in the VFA in XXX


Craig Hutchison played for Prahran reserves in the VFA in XXX




Geoff Marsh (cricket) played 5 senior games for South Fremantle in the WAFL in 1978. He made his first-class cricket debut for WA as a 19-year-old in the 1977–1978 Sheffield Shield season.


Kim Hughes (Australian Test Cricket Captain) played for Claremont reserves in 1973 and 1974 in the WAFL but never played senior football. Hughes played at full forward and in the centre. His brief football career was interrupted by injury, he broke his neck falling off a desk at Teachers College. Kim Hughes played for Norwood Reserves in 1975, while studying to be a teacher. 18 months later he played his 1st Test for Australia.


Mick Malone (Australian Test & ODI Cricket 1977-1982) – He played in the Subiaco 1973 flag in the WAFL with Ross Smith, Peter Featherby, Brian Sierakowski & Mike Fitzpatrick. Played 103 games and kicked 148 goals for Subiaco in the WAFL between 1970-78. He top Subiaco’s goalkicking in the 1978 season with 58 gaols, 1 year after his Australian Test debut during The Ashes 1977, when he took a five-wicket haul in his first innings and then scored 46. Didn’t play in the VFL as he couldn’t get a clearance from Subiaco but kicked 5 goals from CHF in a scratch match for South Melbourne in 1977.


Graeme Wood (Australian test cricket), played 14 games and kicked 13 goals for East Fremantle between 1975-77.


Tim Zoehrer (Australian test cricket), played 4 games for East Fremantle in 1982.


Jo Angel (Australian Test Cricket Player) played for Swan Districts reserves in the WAFL in XXX


Dean Brownlee (NZ Test Cricket Player) played for West Perth reserves in the WAFL in XXX


Des Hoare (cricket) played 26 games East Fremantle between 1954-1961.


Rod Marsh played Colts & Reserves at South Fremantle in the late 60s? Which year?


Terry Alderman played a few reserve games for Subiaco in XXX


James Brayshaw played a few reserve games for Claremont in XXX


Martin McCague (England Test Cricket Player 1993) played for East Perth reserves in the WAFL in XXX. Martin MacCague as the last league footballer (Nth Adelaide in 1990) to have played Test Cricket, and certainly the only ever to have played for the Poms.


Basil Zempilas (TV presenter), played 24 games and kicked 25 goals as a forward and ruckman for West Perth in the WAFL from 1990-1994 before retiring due to injury and moving into broadcasting for Channel Seven. Kicked 5 goals in the 1993 Semi Final vs Claremont and 2 goals in the 1993 Preliminary Final win for West Perth over Subiaco. He missed the Grand Final vs Swan Districts through injury. West Perth lost.




Bruce McAvaney played for Woodville’s Under 19s in the SANFL in 1972. Craig Bradley’s father, Lionel was the coach and a 8 year old Craig Bradley was the mascot!


Wayne Jackson played 71 games between 1965–1971 for West Torrens in the SANFL and also coached them in 1974, Chairman 1975-78, President 1979, before becoming CEO of the AFL (1996 to 2003) and CEO of Hardy’s Wines.


David Hayes (horse trainer & Melbourne Cup Winner in 1994 with Jeune) Under 19’s premiership in 1980 with Central Districts in the SANFL, state triple jump champ and 3rd in the nationals.


Gary Sweet (Actor). Played for the Glenelg reserves in SANFL in 1977-79 before moving to Melbourne in 1980. He kicked a goal at Adelaide Football Park as a dashing wingman with Glenelg in the 1979 reserves Grand Final. Glenelg lost to South Adelaide in the GF. the under-19 state team. In Melbourne, he played for Port Melbourne in the old VFA and, while in Sydney, he tried his hand at rugby.


Vic Richardson (114 games for Sturt in SANFL 1915-1927, won 1920 Magarey Medal) captained the Australia cricket team, SA Australian rules football team, representing Australia in baseball and South Australia in golf, winning the South Australian state tennis title and also being a leading local player in lacrosse, basketball and swimming.


Peter Barnes won the 1979 Reserves Magarey Medal and played some SANFL league games for West Torrens. Would have played a lot more but concentrated on his medical studies. Became team doctor for the gold medal winning Australian Olympic cycling team. Pioneer of sports medicine and founded a highly successful Adelaide practice.


Ken McGregor won the 1952 Australian Open tennis, runner up at Wimbledon 1951, played Davis Cup for Australia. Was ranked #3 in the world in 1952. After his retirement from tennis at the age of 25 in 1954 he returned to Australian football and played 5 seasons for West Adelaide in the SANFL who made 3 grand finals in 1954, 1956 and 1958. He also played State Football for South Australia.


Brian Martin, Double premiership (1966 & 1968) full forward for Sturt (Sturt won 5 consecutive flags: 1966-1970), Martin played 63 games, kicking 68 goals for in the SANFL between 1966-1972. He was a Director of the Adelaide Crows from 1994 to 1998 and subsequently Director of Commonwealth Prosecutions and NT and SA Supreme Court judge. Presided over Snowtown trial and Royal Commission into Juvenile Detention.


Darren Lehmann (Australian test cricket player and coach) played under 19’s and reserves in 1989-1991 for Central Districts in the SANFL.


Greg Blewett (cricket) played junior footy for Norwood.


Tim May (cricket) played junior footy for Norwood.


Peter Sleep (cricket) played junior footy for Norwood.


Glen Bishop (Australian ODI cricket 1987) played reserves for Central Districts in the SANFL


Peter Oatey (Norwood SANFL 1965-1972, 120 games) made the QF at the 1968 Australian Open as a doubles tennis player and become an eminent South Australian Neurosurgeon.


Eric Freeman. Played SANFL for Port Adelaide (1964-1971, 115 games, 390 goals), and test cricket for Australia in 1968-1970. He was 4th in Port Adelaide’s all time goalkickers.


Tasmanian League:


Ricky Ponting (cricket) Ponting played cricket and football in his early years and in 1995, he was talented enough to play for the North Launceston Under 17’s aged only 14. He broke the humerus in his right arm in a match and his arm was so badly damaged that it had to be pinned. Told to endure a 14-week lay-off, he never played competitive football again.


David Boon (cricket) outstanding junior at North Launceston in the Under 17’s in 1976. Big Carlton fan.


Grant O’Brien (businessman) played senior football for Clarence in Tasmania in the mid 1980’s. He later became CEO of Woolworths in 2014.


Matthew Wade (cricket) Wade represented Tasmania in junior football for Lauderdale in the Tasmanian Football League, got drafted to the Tasmanian Devils in the VFL and also played Pura Cup for Tasmania, vice-captaining the Tassie Mariners in the Under 18’s 2006 TAC Cup, where he played alongside future AFL players Sam Lonergan, Grant Birchall and Jack Riewoldt. Wade also played 10 VFL games for the Tasmanian Devils in 2006. Matthew Wade is the cousin of Melbourne and Collingwood player Jeremy Howe.




George Pell The sentence ‘Richmond signed Pell as a ruckman in 1959 and he played for the club’s reserves’ is incorrect.  George Pell never played for Richmond Seniors, Reserves, Under 19’s, or even trained. He was good enough to be signed for Richmond in 1959 as a likely rucking prospect but declined the invitation as the lure of the priesthood won out and he went to Werribee seminary instead. St Patrick’s College Ballarat teammate, journalist Paul Bongiorno says Pell ‘had speed, bulk and height he was tailor-made to be a ruckman’.


Peter Brock didn’t play any games for Collingwood’s Under 19’s or the reserves in the mid 1960’s. He was a decent junior footballer and a huge Collingwood supporter. Brock was elected a Collingwood Board Member when Ranald Macdonald and the New Magpies swept into power in September 17 1982. Peter Brock was selected as 1 of the 12 Pies directors on Sept 17, 1982 but didn’t make the final 7-man administration 12 days later. Peter Daicos was one of his close friends and Daicos spoke at Brock’s funeral in 2006.



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  1. When Mike Willesee (TV host), South Melbourne, 1964, 8 games joined the quarter time huddle, did he look his team-mates in the eye and say, “Thanks for joining us.”

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    John Watts who played with Geelong in the early 60s also wrote the lyrics to the team theme song which is still sung today.

  3. Gary Sweet must have been a handy sportsman; he once played the great Don Bradman i recall.
    I assume the list does not include all those that have succeeded in non-football media eg Tim Watson. Also, did you list Craig Bradley who kept wickets for Victoria (i think he played a few games for Carlton and Glenelg?or some SA team). George Pell rucked for the Richmond u19s.

  4. My apologies, Big Kev, didnt read to the rumours section where you dispelled (pardon the pun) the myth about Pell being an under 19s player. Also, of course, you covered Bradley who i thought was in the Vic shield squad in the early 1990s. Great research.

  5. Sam Kekovich – has possibly become more famous now for his promotion of lamb than when he was a North 1975 premiership player.

    Denis Pagan – recently trained a winning racehorse at Flemington

    Gary Sweet also played in the VAFA for a long-defunct club called GTV9 in the Club XVIII comp

  6. Peter Fuller says

    Given that Jordan Bannister’s rise (or fall) to the umpiring ranks is noted, there are a couple of other inclusions. Mark Fraser, son of Ken, (Collingwood 45 games, Essendon 65 games, spanning 1992-2000) and current umpire Leigh Fisher (St. Kilda 55 games, 2003-08).
    Congratulations on an impressive piece of research, Big Kev.

  7. Interesting.

    East Perth champions Derek Chadwick and Ken McAllay were both opening batsmen for WA (together sometimes).

    Ian Brayshaw (father of James & Mark) was a premiership player for Claremont in 1964 and once took 10/44 in an innings against Victoria at the WACA in 1967.

    Swan Districts champion Keith Slater played one Test for Australia

  8. McAullay

  9. Sir Doug Nicholls
    Michael Long
    Erin Phillips

  10. George Young (Subiaco & St Kilda) made a century on debut for WA

  11. For the Westralians, Stan Heal is worthy of a mention. Whilst serving in the RAN he played in Melbourne’s 1941 premiership side, one of 8 games he played for the team. A week later he played in West Perth’s flag winning side, for whom he came second tin the Sandover the year prior .

    After the war ended he returned to West Perth coaching them to two flags, also captaining the ‘Sandgropers’.

    He was a long serving ALP parliamentarian in Westralia. From 1953 to 1962 he represented the seat of West Perth in the Legislative Assembly, then he held the seat of Perth until 1965.


  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Finally someone besides me gives my childhood buddy Bish a mention. An Almanac first.

    I’m excited Big Kev

  13. Surprised no-one has nominated ex-Geelong player and Fremantle coach, Damian Drum, who has been a National Party MP at both State (Victoria) and Federal levels for a number of years. He is currently the Federal Member for Nicholls.

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks for that reminder Stainless. I was on the Coodabeens quiz a couple of weeks ago. I flew through the first four questions on the topic of Doug Nicholls, but had a mental block when asked about the Member for Nicholls. The best I could come up with was the “bloke in glasses” before bailing unceremoniously.

  15. Keith Miller : played with St.Kilda, Australian Test cricketer all rounder
    Simon O’Donnell : Played at St Kilda, Australia Test and ons day all rounder, big in horse racing

  16. Peter Lines says

    Footballers who became famous for something totally different.


    Dean Brogan (Port Adelaide 142 games, GWS Giants 19 games)
    NBL Basketball – Adelaide 36ers 1998-1999
    Barnaby French (Port Adelaide 62 games, Carlton 71 games)
    Member of the Australian under 23 Rowing Team.
    Jack Madgen (Collingwood 17 games)
    Cairns Taipans Basketball.
    Darryl Hewitt (VFL St Kilda 26 games)
    Racehorse Trainer. Trained 2007 Murray Bridge Cup winner ‘Moet Now’.

    Barrie Robran (North Adelaide 201 games)
    SA Shield Cricketer – 3 games, 70 runs @ 14
    Duane Edwards (West Adelaide 14 games)
    SA State Lawn Bowls
    Scott Field (Sturt 125 games)
    United Nations Political Affairs Officer as Special Envoy in Syria
    Darryl Hewitt (West Adelaide 51 games, South Adelaide 121 games, Woodville 61 games)
    Racehorse Trainer. Trained 2007 Murray Bridge Cup winner ‘Moet Now’.
    Richard Hill (Sturt 38 games)
    Adelaide 36ers Assistant Coach and Board Member.
    Phil Howlett (South Adelaide 106 games)
    Emeritus Professor – Adelaide University. School of Mathematics

    Amateur Football in SA
    Alex Bolt (Mypolonga) Australian Tennis Player.
    Andrew Bolt (Warramboo) Newspaper Columnist and Political Reporter.
    Kyle Chalmers (Lincoln South) Rio Olympics Gold Medal 100 metre freestyle
    Darryl Cotton (Christies Beach) Lead Singer of 1960s Rock Band, Zoot.
    Paul Cronin (Mount Barker) Actor ‘The Sullivans’ and ‘Matlock Police’.
    Rick Darling (Waikerie) Australian Test Cricketer
    John Fitzgerald (Ramblers) Australian Tennis Player
    Steele Hall (Owen) 36th Premier South Australia 1968-1970.
    John Olsen (Kadina) 42nd Premier South Australia 1996-2001.
    Anthony Lehmann (Brown’s Well) Comedian, Radio and TV Presenter. Channel 10 ‘The Project’.
    Dean Lukin (Waybacks) Olympic and Commonwealth Weightlifting Gold Medallist.
    Alby Mangels (Millicent) Adventurer and Documentary Film Maker. ‘World Safari’.
    Peter O’Brien (Jervois) Actor ‘Underbelly’, ‘Neighbours’, ‘White Collar Blue’.
    Larry Perkins (Murrayville) V8 Touring Car and Formula I Racing Driver.
    Allen Scott (Milang) Trucking Magnate and Businessman.

  17. Mickey Randall (SANFL Central District) 1981, 4 games in Samboy Cup- went on to make self-reverential comments on Footy Almanac posts.

  18. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    You taught me well Mickey.

  19. david n kempe says

    Marg Jude Australian rep cricket and hockey

  20. david n kempe says

    Faith Coulthard (Thomas)…. recognised as the first Indigenous person to play Test Cricket for Australia
    Thomas was born at the Nepabunna Aboriginal Mission in South Australia. Her mother, Ivy, was an Adnyamathanha woman and her father German.[1] Her mother took her to the Colebrook Home for Aboriginal Children in Quorn when she was a baby.[2][3] She played cricket with other children at Colebrook using stones as balls, and making bats from wood they found.[1]

    Nursing career
    Thomas completed her nursing training in 1954, and was South Australia’s first Indigenous nurse to be employed as a public servant.[4][5] Thomas undertook midwifery training in Adelaide at Queen Victoria Hospital in Adelaide and in 1958 was employed to work at Raukkan (known then as Point McLeay Aboriginal Reserve).[4]

    Cricket career
    After being introduced to cricket by a colleague at Royal Adelaide Hospital, she soon made the state women’s team. She played for the South Australia Women’s cricket team between 1956 and 1958.

    In 1958 she was selected for the Australian national team.[6] She played her only international match against England.[2][7][8] She was the first Aboriginal woman to be selected to represent Australia in sport, and until 2019 (following the selection of Ashleigh Gardner)[9] was the only Indigenous woman to play test cricket for Australia.[10][11]

  21. david n kempe says

    and of course former Australian Cricket Captain….VY Richardson
    Victor York Richardson OBE (7 September 1894 – 30 October 1969) was a leading Australian sportsman of the 1920s and 1930s, captaining the Australia cricket team and the South Australia Australian rules football team, representing Australia in baseball and South Australia in golf, winning the South Australian state tennis title and also being a leading local player in lacrosse, basketball and swimming.

    Richardson won the South Australian National Football League’s highest individual honour, the Magarey Medal, while captain-coach of Sturt in 1920.

  22. Major General Alan Stretton, who oversaw the restoration of Darwin after Cyclone Tracey, played 16 games for St Kilda straight after WW2

  23. In the match when George Young made his century for WA, his team-mates included sometime VFL and/or WAFL footballers Ken McAullay, Graeme Watson, Ian Brayshaw, Paul Nicholls and Bruce Duperouzel. In the South Australian opposition were Eric Freeman. and long-time SANFL umpire and rent-a-gob Ken ‘K.G.’ Cunningham, the team captain. As the last game of the 1972-73 season and between the two leading teams, it was a virtual Sheffield Shield Final, and won by WA on their home pitch by an innings.

  24. Darrin watson says

    Did Garry sweet play for Port Melbourne VFA and what year??

    Or did he play for Port Melbourne Colts??

    I do remember seeing a photo of him in a port colts jumper, my Aunty had that photo of him years ago

  25. Darrin I don’t recall Garry Sweet playing for Port Melbourne. I followed the Burra’s from the mid 1970’s, and I say it’s more likely he was playing for Port Melbourne Colts.

    Whilst on Port Melbourne.

    Norman Yemm the actor, played for Port Melbourne, as well as being a runner of note winning 96 races. I remember going to VFA finals @ the Junction Oval seeing Norman run in the footraces held in the 1/2 time break.


  26. Yeah, it was Clubbies.

    Gary Sweet moved to Melbourne in 1980 and between 1980 and 1989 he played for Port Melbourne Colts reserve team in the old VAFA and for a long-defunct club GTV9 in the Club XVIII comp.

    Gary won 1987 Steve Mason Medal as the Best and Fairest in the G Section of the VAFA.

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