Almanac Footy: My Favourite 300 Gamers


Dustin Martin’s 300 game celebration on Saturday was one for the ages. I can’t remember a build up for a milestone game quite like it.  Brent Harvey’s game breaking 432nd game provided similar excitement and merchandising opportunities but the Richmond faithful, when prompted are somewhat larger in scale than The Kangaroos, with 92,000 in attendance at the MCG.


There’s no questioning Martin’s talent and capacity to ‘turn it on’ just when the Tigers needed it. He will go down as one of the great big game players such as Akermanis, The Abletts, McLeod and Hodge.


But why such hoopla for a 300th? Perhaps it’s because Martin’s aura goes way beyond the footy field. His career has been intertwined with a few off-field indiscretions but mostly it’s what we don’t know about the man that heightens the mystique.


Martin is an intensely private individual which is rare in these days of social media and self- promotion, although I think Puma would have done nicely off the back of his boots!


Despite the Brownlow and Norm Smiths, I’m sure he would be the first to agree his consistency could have been better over the journey. Having said that, his 2017 season was near perfect.


I would never take away anything from his magnificent achievements but last week got me thinking about some of my favourite 300 gamers that didn’t receive a celebration like Dusty’s but were just as worthy.


When there’s 104 players to choose from, it’s a ridiculous task so I’m going to go with my gut and pick 20. I qualified it in terms of their ‘team-first’ attitude and whether they were able to sprint to the 300 games milestone as opposed to limped.


  1. Wayne Schimmulbusch – There is a famous photo at Arden St and it’s called ‘The Effort Required’. It’s taken after the 1985 elimination final and features coach John Kennedy holding up an utterly exhausted ‘Schimma’. It says it all about this champion wingman. A fearless running machine up and down the wing in North’s 1975 and 1977 premierships.


  1. Barry Round – A monolithic  ruckman for South Melbourne/Sydney who was Captain/Coaching Williamstown in the VFA at the age of 40. his feats both on and off the field were legendary. A Brownlow winner and perhaps the epitome of the players-player.


  1. Nathan Burke – As hard as a cat’s head, ‘Burkey’ attacked contests for St Kilda like a bowling ball. A three time B&F and four time All Australian, he was a great leader and extremely versatile. He bled red, white and black.


  1. Stewart Loewe – ‘Bucket’s’ career almost mirrored Nathan Burke. He was a formidable marking machine and knocked back big offers from other clubs to stay loyal to the Saints.


  1. Shane Edwards – I don’t know what it was about ‘Tich’ Edwards but he always destroyed my Saints when Richmond played us and always went under the radar. He goes down as one of the best ‘connectors’ the game has seen. Absolutely pivotal to the Tigers three-peat.


  1. Callan Ward – ‘Cement Head’ has proven to be one of the most durable and brave players to ever play the game. He took a big risk moving to the inaugural GWS side but his courage and leadership have proven to be a great investment for both parties.


  1. Kelvin Moore – Like so many of his contemporaries such as Chris Mew and Chris Langford, Moore was as reliable and humble as they come. Moore had the added challenge of playing against some the game’s great full forwards and even a lunatic in Mark Jackson who on Moore’s 300th game notoriously bowed down and kissed his boots.


  1. Michael Tuck – 426 games and seven premierships whilst working full time as a plumber. Case closed!


  1. David Mundy – Maybe if Mundy had played in Melbourne he would have had more exposure but he seemed to be someone who had his feet firmly on the ground wherever he was. A highly underrated and intelligent player.


  1. Craig Bradley – a hugely gifted sportsman who was key to Carlton’s success in the late 80’s and 90’s. A true ‘outside’ player with an inexhaustible tank, he was running half marathons weekly and racking up possessions.


  1. Adam Goodes – I doubt there’s been a more versatile player in the history of the game and due to the way his career ended I doubt whether his career will ever receive the plaudits it deserved. His efforts in the 2012 GF carrying a torn PCL will stand as an inspirational feat in the annals of Sydney Swans history. His achievements are extraordinary both on and off the field.


  1. Eddie Betts – Although we see Eddie on TV now, he like Goodes were the poster boys for First Nations people both on and off the footy field. Eddie was a freak footballer who could fill a highlights dvd and had to withstand years of racial abuse. To be constantly having to speak out against the hatred must have been exhausting but he kept turning up and delivering with total class.


  1. Chris Grant – At six foot four, maybe if this Bulldogs legend was around today, he could play in the midfield like the current day legend Marcus Bontempelli. I have no doubt he could have but he was needed either at centre half forward or centre half back. Hugely gifted on both sides of the body, Grant was a joy to watch regardless of who you followed.


  1. Cory Enright – The next coach of The Saints, Cory was selected in six All Australians and according to his premiership team mate Matthew Scarlett he was the best player he’s ever seen. A huge rap for a humble champion.


  1. Sam Mitchell – It’s hard to believe Sam played 300 AFL games. He had to do it in a via a very difficult pathway, due to an expectation he would be drafted from TAC level but finding himself spending two years in the VFL. Even after this two years it would be as a rookie to Hawthorn and then another year before getting on the list. A diminutive stature with a giant footy brain and skills to match, his story provides hope to every budding AFL player.


  1. Simon Black – Simon won everything there was an individual, was incredibly consistent and an integral part to The Lions three-peat. Perhaps the biggest story surrounding this legend is that thirty other players were picked before him in the draft! Another humble champion from a great era.


  1. John Nicholls – According to my Carlton friends, ‘Big Nick’ is held in reverential terms at The Blues. Only six foot two he was The Blues key ruckman for a ridiculous seventeen years and represented Victoria on thirty one occasions. He also coached the club for almost a hundred games and made the AFL Team of the Century despite spending three months in Pentridge for embezzling. A true Carlton character and legend.


  1. Bruce Doull – The great Bruce would be the only player in history to match Dusty for silence. Reliable, balanced, consistent and a brilliant athlete, the ‘Flying Doormat’ was one of the greatest defenders of all time. Simply an enigma.


  1. John Blakey – If you were looking for a modern day Bruce Doull, you couldn’t go past this dual premiership player. Blakey was highly durable for both Fitzroy and North and is father to a certain mullet-headed speedster for the Sydney Swans today.


  1. Garry Foulds – Unless you’re an Essendon supporter, Garry Foulds was almost anonymous. He played in an era of greatness at The Bombers winning two flags in 1984/85 but compared to so many of his team mates he stayed well under the radar. The only thing I recall was post his career he sold boxing speedballs as he believed it was the secret to his fitness which was phenomenal. He was one of the VFL/AFL’s first taggers and was tough and disciplined.



More from Ian Wilson can be read Here.



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About Ian Wilson

Former army aircraft mechanic, sales manager, VFA footballer and coach. Now mental health worker and blogger. Lifelong St Kilda FC tragic and father to 2 x girls.


  1. A quick edit on Garry Foulds. He was definitely as described except the speedball man was Shane Heard, another virtually anonymous Essendon star and arguably the first tagger! Sorry about that. It was late!

  2. Hard to argue with such a list, Ian.

    And yes, I actually purchased a speedball from Shane Heard.

  3. Thanks Smokie much appreciated. I’m sure your abs are still in great shape!

  4. Colin Ritchie says

    Watched Garry Foulds play throughout his wonderful career. Always Mr Reliable, never flustered under pressure, and a great team player. Thought he would play on forever.

  5. DBalassone says

    You had me at Schimma!

  6. Put any of them on a plane and ask them to fly 6 hours each way fortnightly with no rehab/recovery and see how good they are. Or after doing a full day on the tools to keep the family fed.
    Bah humbug.

  7. Daryl Schramm says

    Not a bad list. 104 to pick from. I assume there would be more if all states were included.

  8. Kevin Murray and Paul Roos would have to feature in any final 300 team for me. But I might be biased.
    Roos was the smoothest of smooth, the best chest marker in the game at the time. He dominated at centre-half back but could play up the field with ease. And a top bloke. As is Kevin Murray, he of the long, long arms. A deserved Bronlow Medallist. He would have had more than his 333 VFL games if it wasn’t for a sojourn in the WAFL with the Royals. And it’s his birthday today!

  9. Hayden Kelly says

    Garry Foulds lived in Keilor he would wander into the local tote have a few bets and not many in there had any idea who he was and what he had achieved . Unobtrusive in the extreme but a very good and durable player

    I suspect Shane Heard was working for Bradley’s speedballs owned by Jim Bradley who trained multiple Stawell Gift winners but found fame when his jaw was broken in the Windy Hill bloodbath I think by Graeme Richmond .Jim is long gone but the Company isn’t .

  10. Pete have a Bex and a lie down pls! :)
    Daryl you’re right there are plenty of 300 game legends in the WAFL and SANFL
    Adam totally agree with you
    Hayden that’s all news to me about Jim Bradley. What a shocking incident that was. Big Bad Mal at his best!
    Thanks heaps gents

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