Almanac Funny Teams – A Team of Top-Notch 12s


The number 12 is one of the most symbolic numbers in human history.

We have:


  • The 12 Gods of Olympus
  • The 12 Apostles
  • 12 signs of the Zodiac
  • 12 days of Christmas
  • 12 VFL Teams from 1925 to 1986
  • 12 months of the year
  • Telly Savalas was in the ‘Dirty Dozen’
  • A dozen or more examples to illustrate the point


Back to the footy. Who are your favourite number 12s Almanackers and why ?

Nominations welcome from all leagues around Australia.

Mickey Conlan, No. 12


B:  Ron Hovey (Geel)            Charlie Dibbs (Coll)     Ken Montgomery (Nth Melb)


HB:  Brad Sewell (Haw)        Gary Colling (StK)        Robert Shirley (Adel)


C:  Des Healy (Coll)           Barry Armstrong (Carl)   Che Cockatoo Collins (Port)


HF:  Mick Crisp (Carl)      Nick Riewoldt (StK)   Mick Conlan (Fitz)


F:  Jason Akermanis (Bris)      Jack Titus (Rich)         Matthew Richardson (Rich)


Ruck: Barry Capuano (Ess)     Nick Fosdike (Syd)   Alex Gardiner (Foots)


IC: Denis Banks (Coll) Jack Mueller (Melb) Simon Tregenza (Adel) Todd Viney (Melb)


Coach: Bert Mills


Entertainment: The Dirty Dozen theme song


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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. Mark Giuliano says

    Some number 12’s that pop into my head for no apparent reason:

    Neville Fields (Ess, SM)
    Norm Goss (SM, Haw)
    Kevin Dyson (Syd)
    Craig Braddy (Fitz, Syd)
    Ian Paton (Haw)

  2. Micky kindly handed the number 12 on to none other than Doc Wheildon, who wore it proudly for four seasons at The Roys

    Norm Goss was also a handy number 12 at South 1972-77

  3. Mark Browne and Brad Sholl both wore the 12 with aplomb in their time @ the ‘Cattery.’


  4. Dave Brown says

    Reckon Daniel Talia is already the Crows’ most accomplished No. 12. From a Norwood perspective, Frankston product Greg Nicholson played 157 games in the number for the Redlegs including the 1975 and 1978 premierships on the ball and in a back pocket. Current holder of the number, Simon Phillips, spent some time at Sydney and Port Adelaide and has collected three premierships at the Parade as a freakish forward pocket. Would be a legend of the club by now if he wasn’t so consistently let down by his body.

  5. Citrus Bob says

    Jack Mueller would eat Capuano as well as kick goals and Dave B is right. Daniel Talia is one of the best backmen in close checking that I have seen in 70 years of football watching.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Andy Bichell

  7. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Fosdike sure, maybe, ok … but at the expense of ‘OUR’ Josh Kennedy?

  8. Keiran Croker says

    Phil, agree with Mathilde above. Good get to have 2005 Premiership player Nic Fosdike in the team, a very good player, though he is trumped by current Captain and 2012 Premiership star, Joey Kennedy!

  9. Good grief Swish, how do you remember cricketer’s shirt numbers? The only one i can recall is Warnie’s no. 23 and the big deal that used to made about it, being Michael Jordan and Dermott Brereton’s number.

  10. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Some great names coming through folks.
    Mark – Neville Fields wore number 1 for Essendon and number 12 for South. General Paton for Hawthorn might deserve a spot in the ruck. Stephen Lawrence probably shades him, though. Dyson, Braddy, Goss excellent nominations.

    Gerry – Doc Wheildon a great get. So much talent. When he was on song a pleasure to watch for the Roys.

    Glen ! Mark Browne ! Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in yonks. Remember having his footy card. Brad Sholl stiff to miss. 1963 Premiership player Gordon Hynes, Trent West also vying.

    Dave – Fair enough call on Talia. I do try and avoid those who are still playing in most cases.

    Citrus – Quality number 12 rucks were hard to find. Will take your word on Mueller. And I believe he did it with 7 good fingers?

    Swish – Will see your Andy Bichel and raise you Geoff Dimock !

    MdH and Keiran – Yeah, alright you got me there. Joey probably should be in, if not captain. Liked how Fosdike went about it. Underrated by many Victorians I reckon. No love for Ed Considine?

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Don’t think Bichell had #12 on his ODI shirt Gerry (Michael Bevan did, Bichel looks to have worn #34), but he carried the drinks a lot in Tests.

  12. ah ok, 12th man, i get it, at least he did play a few tests, the one and only test that Jamie Siddons was selected in he carried the drinks …..

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Three good Collingwood names there Phil. As a kid I loved D.Banks.
    A few other Magpie number 12’s from my time-
    The great Luke Ball. So important for us in 2010, five really good seasons for us. Plus one of the best guests at an Almanac lunch I’ve been to.
    Andrew Schuable- rated him highly, was really disappointed when he left to play for Sydney.
    Jason McCartney showed promise in the number but ultimately played better football elsewhere.
    Steve McKee was a battler who did his best.

    From memory watching footage of games from the 1970’s think Ross ‘Twiggy’ Dunne wore the number at some stages of his career as well? If so was he close to making this team?

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The 1996 AFL #12s were

    Simon Tregenza (Adel)
    Troy Clarke (Bris)
    Adrian Gleeson (Carl)
    Andrew Schauble (Coll)
    Michael Symons (Ess)
    Matthew Primus (Fitz)
    James Cook (Foot)
    Jamie Merillo (Frem)
    Brad Sholl (Geel)
    Stephen Lawrence (Haw)
    Todd Viney (Melb)
    John Blakey (NMel)
    Matthew Richardson (Rich)
    Shane Wakelin (StK)
    Kevin Dyson (Syd)
    Mitchell White (WCE)

  15. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The 1976 SANFL #12s were

    Ian Jackman (Port)
    John Cummins (Wood)*
    Michael Cousins (WT)
    Barry Norsworthy (CD)
    Greg Hollick (WA)
    Graham Cornes (Glen)
    Rex Eatts (NA)
    Greg Nicholson (Nor)

    * Leon Twelftree wore #11

  16. Great work again Phil and others.

    Swish- Rex Eatts farmed near Kimba and played footy locally well into his forties. On and off the field he was reminiscent of Super Carey. His daughter is Sharona.

  17. Colin Ritchie says

    Barry Capuano was a winger for the Bombers, not a ruckman. You may have been thinking of Matthew Capuano who was a ruckman for Nth Melb.

  18. Rabid Dog says

    Graham Cornes SA’s most famous #12.

  19. Slippery Dick Anderson went From Adelaide Uni out to play for Norwood ( spells at Solontown in Port Pire intertwined) playing 52 games winning a b and f and playing state footy,drafted by Richmond with choice 4 he chose to continue re his teaching career ( remember those days in the 80s ) unfortunately a back injury curtailed his career and Slippery Dick did more than ok off the ground.Dave well played re Nicho

  20. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Cheers Luke – Banksy was a frustrating footballer for many years. Injury prone and not really suited to any particular position. He made up for it with a glorious late 1990. Integral to the flag breakthrough.
    Twiggy Dunne a bit before my time. My brother reckons he was a good player honest CHF who just lacked the strength among bigger bodies in packs. Who can forget his torp from 20 meters out in ’77 ?
    Schauble was ok, but found out against class forwards. McCartney? What coulda been. Steve McKee battled hard against odds in 2002 like much of that team. Almost part of a fairy tale. Will always be thankful for Luke Ball coming over in 2010. Let’s hope Scharenberg has a good run with luck. He has been like a new recruit this year.

    Swish – Whatever happened to Jamie Merillo? Adrian Gleeson a solid nom.

    Colin – Must have got my Capuanos in a tangle. Barry was a bloody rover size at 175cm. What was I thinking? ! Apologies. Andrew Welsh a solid contender.

    Rabid – Graham Cornes a good SA nom. Wore number 11 for North in ’79.

    Rulebook – Slippery Dick? Name says it all really !

    Cheers all.

  21. Great work once again, LB.

    Montey is a worthy North selection, but John Blakey (224 games) would have to be a little unlucky!!

    I nominate Tim Cahill – has been 12th man for the Socceroos for years now.

  22. Dave Nadel says

    I would put include Twiggy Dunne in your 22 12s. He played a lot of his footy at Centre Half Forward including (as you mentioned) a memorable role in the 1977 drawn Grand Final. When he kicked that crucial goal in the last quarter he was the man I most would have liked to have the ball because he had the temperament not to be rattled by the pressure of the situation,

    He also played quite a few games in the back pocket. You would have to prefer Nick Riewoldt at Centre Half Forward, but Twiggy would be at least as worthy of selection in the back pocket as Ron Hovey.

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