Almanac Footy Teams – Bert and Ernie Muppets both, a footy team they’d love to coach

Ernie Hug


Bert and Ernie were two popular names pre-1970.


Sesame Street and The Muppet Show brought ‘bachelors’ Bert and Ernie together and they became a part of popular culture in the lives of children and adults throughout the 1970 and 1980s.


Bert Newton and Ernie Sigley were two of Australia’s premier comperes, entertainers in the 1970s. They were also huge footy fans with Bert following the Roys and Ernie a devout Footscray fan.


Below is Sigley butchering Sinatra’s classic, ‘My Way’.


Adelaide, Brisbane, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Port and West Coast have not had a Bert or Ernie represent them in the VFL/AFL.


Trivia Question: Who was the last Bert or Ernie to play in the VFL/AFL?


Almanackers, here is your chance to nominate your favourite Berts and Ernies from Australian Football. Nominations outside the VFL/AFL always welcome and encouraged.



B: Bert Mills (Haw)               Ernie Hug (Coll)        Bert Foster (Rich)


HB: Ernie Coward (Ess)      Bert Deacon (Carl)    Ernie Wilson (Coll)


C: Bert Rankin (Geel)          Ernie Henfry (Carl)   Ernie Jenkins (Fitz)


HF: Ernie Newling (Geel)    Bert Franks (SthM)   Ernie Utting (Coll)


F: Ernie Sellars (StK)           Bert Hyde (Haw)       Bert Johnson (NthM)


Ruck: Bert Clay (Fitz)            Bert Hurrey (Uni)     Ernie Cameron (Ess)


Inter: Bert Lenne (Fitz)  Ernie Atkins (Uni)  Bert Harper (Ess)  Ernie McIntyre (StK)


Coach: Bert Chadwick (Melb)


Umpires: Burt Wregg and Ernie Clarke


Entertainment: Ernie Sigley




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About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Wally from Williamstown says

    ahhh hum, Ernie Hug also played with South Melbourne if ya don’t mind umpire, to quote Jack Dyer

    One famous Bert you missed was the man who got dragged in the 1970 grand final to allow a little bloke called Ted Hopkins on the ground and the rest, as they say, is history …. Bert Thornley, although he was a Gilbert as distinct from an Albert.

    Bert Johnson later played with Williamstown and was in a bad car accident on Footscray Road near the old wholesale fruit & veg market after training just before the 1969 grand final along with captain-coach Max Papley and gun full-forward Dallas Patterson. Papley & Patterson both played and Williamstown won, Papley kicking three goals & Patterson, who played with a face guard,one.

  2. Wally from Williamstown says

    Forgot to mention, but back in the day, where i hail from an ‘Ernie Hug’ was rhyming slang for a jug (of beer, naturally!)

  3. Favorite snack for the team would have to be Bertie Beetles. Anyone in this team would have to earn his place.Perhaps the team could borrow Lord Bertie Lissie from Biggles’ team. I’m sure Captain W E Johns wouldn’t mind.

  4. And they called him ERNIE and he drive the fastest milk cart in the west. That Ernie or Bert the chimney sweep from Mary Poppins could vie for team mascot.

  5. Rabid Dog says

    Ernie Wenske (well known to lots of SA football followers – CARN THE PECKS!) could be No1 supporter.

  6. #1 Ticket Holder – Ernie Dingo (West Coast Eagles 95/96). Closest I could get.

  7. The whole left or right wing should be populated by Berts or Ernies, just to confuse the comentators

  8. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Wally – Yes, Ernie Hug played 2 games for South Melbourne in 1971. When I think of the 1970 GF my mind goes blank, hence the oversight with Bert Thor…what was his name again? Cheers

    Love the wordplay Fish. Robert Dipierdomenico was often called ‘Bertie’ before he became ‘Dipper’.

    Rabid – Nice nom from SA. Any famous South Australian Berts ?

    PB – Ernie Dingo was considered for entertainment, but Sigley … geez, what would have Sinatra thought watching that performance? Bert Bacharach perhaps. You being a lover of Golf, Ernie Els or ‘Eeels’ as a tipsy Steve Bracks once referred to him.

    6% – Playing the Bert or Ernie side of the ground. That would be funny.

    A couple of more:
    Bert McTaggart – Carlton and Footscray
    Ernie Collihole – South Melbourne

    Bert is a great shortener : Robert, Filbert, Gilbert, Bertrand, Eggbert, Vasbert, Engelbert…

  9. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Great work again your Lordship Bogan

    I have a challenge for you: how about a team of players with christian names we’ve only seen once …. Sav Rocca springs to mind as an opener.

  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Well done Phil, clever.

    Bertie Johnson was a West Adelaide premiership player in 1961.

    Ernie Sigley’s brother in law was prominent Adelaide Advertiser photographer Barry O’Brien (who Fisho would also know as coach of Central Districts Baseball Club for many years).

    Ernie Merrick could add some heft to the coaching stocks.

    PB probably regrets following a few of Bert Day’s specials.

    Former Middlesex ‘keeper Ernie Clifton was SACA’s coach during 70s and had a lot to do with Salisbury DCC in its early days.

    Ian Chappell was known to some as “Bertie”

  11. Rulebook says
    Bert Baulderstone for President enormous respect

  12. Cmon Phil how dare you forget
    Ernie Smith !

  13. John Bertram (he of winged keel fame) could sail around the oval whilst Bert Hinkler could fly over it.
    Half time entertainment could come from Burlington Bertie.
    Yes Swish, I know all about Barry O’Brien, I believe he’s read many of my baseball books

  14. Swish – West Adelaide’s indigenous Bertie Johnson that you mention is the same person that Phil named in the forward pocket as Bert Johnson (North Melbourne). He played 87 games for Westies and 31 for North over 12 seasons from 1957-68. Not sure why he played so few games. He was a brilliant if spasmodic/mercurial player under Neil Kerley at the Blood and Tars. Injury, suspension, form??? No doubt he copped enormous abuse and “attention” as a brilliant, indigenous player in an era where there were few in SA. Only Roger Rigney and David Kantilla come to mind.
    Rulebook – thanks for the family shout out. “Uncle” Bert was a source of wonderment as a kid. We were of modest means with a great grandfather who was a train driver from Mile End on the wrong side of the tracks. The Baulderstone Construction name adorned every building site in Adelaide growing up (and still does). The only explanation I ever got was “second cousins twice removed”. An anonymous family member booked a lunch table at the Redlegs Club 20+ years ago. Went to the counter to pay at the end of the meal and was greeted with “put it on the company account Mr Baulderstone?” Nodded and didn’t go back.

  15. From cricket the great wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield from the Bodyline era is immortalised in the Paul Kelly song:
    “Summer 1932 and Captain Douglas had a plan
    When Larwood bowled to Bradman it was more than man to man
    And staid Adelaide nearly boiled over as rage ruled over sense
    When Oldfield hit the ground they nearly jumped the fence
    Now Bill Woodfull was as fine a man as ever went to wicket
    And the bruises on his body that day showed that he could stick it
    But to this day he’s still quoted and only he could wear it
    “There’s two teams out there today and only one of them’s playing cricket.”
    The ruggedly handsome Ernie Toshack played 12 Tests post WW2 under Bradman as an accurate backup left arm medium pacer (a la Underwood) to Lindwall and Miller. Dubbed the Black Prince because of his good looks.
    Bert “Dainty” Ironmonger was a left arm finger spinner and 45 years old (fourth oldest) when he debuted for Australian in 1928. Took 74 wickets in 14 Tests with a best of 7/23 in the era of uncovered pitches (he was unplayable on a ‘sticky’).
    He was perhaps the worst fielder of his day, and undoubtedly the worst batsman. It is to him that is attributed the story of a phone call to the pavilion, when the caller had offered to hold on learning that he had walked out to bat. In the second Test of the Bodyline series at Melbourne, Don Bradman was on 98 in the second innings when Ironmonger had lumbered out as the last man. Under his breath, the 50-year-old had reassured the young batsman less than half his age — “Don’t worry son, I won’t fail you.” Wally Hammond was bowling, and Bradman later recalled that he had never seen two balls pass as close to the stumps. But, he kept his word and did not get out until Bradman had scored his century. (Source – Cricket Country)

  16. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Yes PB, I knew that it was the same bloke. I’ve found this, which might help explain his low game tally.

    Bertie Johnson

    Bertie Johnson cont

  17. Rulebook says

    PB you should have been a Norwood man could have had a hell of a lot of free lunches !

  18. Excellent stuff, LB.
    I continue to be amazed at how you keep coming up with these.

  19. Wally from Williamstown says

    Phil, Ernie Hug played 15 games for South in 1971, according to Wikipedia

  20. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Hey Zitter – Always a joy seeing your comments on these pages. Thanks for the suggestion. The unique name concept is one I’ve been thinking of for a while: Sav, Reno, Zeno, Cornelius ? Will start doing some research soon. Cheers

    Swish – Didn’t know of the Sigley Adelaide connection. Bouncin’ Bertie Johnson could have been anything by the looks of it. Great pic and article.

    PB – Paul Kelly’s ‘Bradman’ makes the hair stand when I play it. “When Bert Oldfield hit the ground…” What a wonderful song. Toshack, Dainty Ironmonger. Great names. Uncle Bert Baulderstone sounds like a generous fella. As Book asks: How could you not be swayed by Norwood?

    Book – I can’t believe I forgot Ernie Smith. Major oversight on my part !

    Cheers Smokie. Glad you enjoy the teams and appreciate your positive comments.

    Hi Wally – My mistake. He wore number 2 in those 15 games. Got my stats columns mixed up there. Apologies.

  21. Ernie Hug had a tragic end when a tree fell on him whilst working on his farm.

    I recall, though this may be an urban myth, Ernie Hug used to arrive at training in a Rolls Royce. True or false?


  22. Wally from Williamstown says
  23. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Phil, I didn’t figure on there being any Cornelius’s who’d played AFL? The one in ‘Planet Of The Apes’ rivals Dr Zaius as one of the more successful RNG (random name generator) approaches in cinema.

    Thrilled to hear that unique names has been on your radar. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a piece around the corner. And hope Cornelius, whoever he or she was, is good enough to make the team. But not at the expense of Val Perovic.

  24. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Further on Val getting a guernsey at the expense of Cornelius, that goes for Ilija Grgic too!

  25. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Glen ! Sir Ernie?

    Zitter – Cornelius ‘Con’ McCarthy, a Collingwood captain who also played 30 games for Footscray as Caprtain-Coach in 1925-26 !
    Haven’t found a Zaius or a Galen, yet. Sharrod and Marley on either side of Val at CHB. Gaining momentum.

  26. Colin Ritchie says

    Some fab comments!
    PB – my late dad had a pair of batting gloves that belonged to Berie Ironmonger, how he came to get them I’m uncertain. Every so often when cricket was being discussed he’d bring them out to show everyone and tell stories of Bertie’s exploits on and off the field. I now wish I’d paid more attention to these stories as a kid. Whatever happened to the gloves I’ve no idea.

  27. G’day Phil.

    Any chance of a Clarrie or a Horrie getting a berth ?


  28. Colin Ritchie says

    PB – I got it wrong! Dad had Ivor Fleetwood-Smith’s batting gloves not Ironmonger’s as I thought.

  29. Luke Reynolds says

    Great theme Phil!

    Not enough notable players for a full Ernie/Bert cricketing XI, but a few more in addition to those mentioned by Peter B-
    Ernie Jones (Australia). 64 wickets in 19 Tests, Australia’s leading fast bowler in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s.
    Ernie McCormick (Australia) 36 wickets in 12 Tests prior to WW2.
    Bert Strudwick (England) 28 Tests as wicket-keeper between 1911 & 1926
    Bert Sutcliffe (New Zealand) 42 Tests, 2727 runs at 40.10. The first great Kiwi batsman.
    Bert Vogler (South Africa) 64 wickets in 15 Tests. One of the first bowlers to regularly use the googly in Test cricket.

  30. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Col – Yes,a great thread. Love how these teams trigger so many vivid memories.

    Glen ! Not sure that there enough quality Horries and Clarries to make a proper, positional team.

    Luke – Cheers mate. Always appreciate your cricket connections to the old names. Vogler must have been a talent. Bert Sutcliffe definitely a Kiwi pioneer.

  31. Dave Brown says

    In addition to Rulebook’s Redlegs contribution, the most prolific Bert or Ernie at Norwood was Bert Schumacher who played 104 games as a rover between 1920 and 1927. It would appear most Ernests at the club went for Ern or something entirely different. Most interesting and best name, perhaps, is Ethelbert ‘Bert’ Luxmore Renfrey who played football in SA, WA, NSW and Victoria (St Kilda) at the start of the 20th century.

  32. I’m surprised that this has not been mentioned as the theme song:

  33. Smokie, i nominated Benny Hill’s ERNIE back on march the 8th along with Bert the Chimney sweep from Mary Poppins

  34. Apologies, Fisho, so you did.
    I missed that comment!
    Great minds think alike and all that…

  35. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Dave – Ethelbert is a brilliant name. Great get !
    Smokie – Benny Hill’s Ernie a cracker.
    Bert Bacharach was considered along with Engelbert Humperdinck who probably should have got the nod after this intro:

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