Almanac Teams – “Writers, from the backline…”

Players walk around the rooms, bounce lightly.
Locker doors slam.
“Carn guys! Big one today!”


Pats on bums, drinks, stretches.
The coach calls attention.


“Righto, let’s go. Take a seat, take a seat.”


“From the backline…”

Arthur          Graham (232 Hawthorn games, 1955-68, Premiership captain 1961)
Conan          Gary Ayres (269 Hawthorn games, Norm Smith Medal 1986, 1988, B&F 1986)
Doyle           Robert (77 South Melbourne games, 1969-75)


Much whooping.
“Carn Sherlock!”
“I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of daily life.”


“Half backs…”

David (Davey)    Aaron (9 Port Adelaide games, 178 Melbourne games, 2002-13)
Foster               Peter (7 Fitzroy games, 163 Footscray games, Footscray B&F 1990)
Wallace            Terry (174 Hawthorn games, 11 Richmond games, 69 Footscray games, 1978-91)


Clapping, sporadic yelps.
“You guys..!”
“Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.”



Robert(s)         Neil (169 St Kilda games, B&F 1955, 1958, Brownlow 1958, Captain 1959-62)
Louis (Lewis)   Chris (53 Claremont games, 215 West Coast games, B&F 1990, Premiership team 1992, 1994)
Stevenson         Bill (88 St Kilda games. 1957-63)


“Ah, ha!”
“Lead us to the treasure, boys!”
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”



George           Alf (33 Essendon games, 55 Melbourne games, 1906-15)
Bernard(i)     Christina (Collingwood Women 2017-)
Shaw              Tony (313 Collingwood games, 1978-94, Premiership 1990, Captain 1987-93, Norm Smith medal 1990, B&F 1984, 1990)


“This is your day!”
“Let’s do it!”
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”



Frank(s)       Bert (40 North Fremantle games, 99 South Melbourne games, 1903-13, South Melbourne Premiership side 1909)
Lloyd            Matthew (270 Essendon games, 1995-2009)
Wright         Graham (201 Collingwood games, 1988-98, Premiership side 1990)


“Nothing in the tank!”
“Make it happen!”
“If you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”



F(rancis)     Tony (47 Norwood games, 142 Collingwood games, Premiership team 1990, B&F 1991, 19 St Kilda games)
Scott            Chris (215 Brisbane Bears, Lions games, Premiership side 2001, 2002)
Fitzgerald   Len (96 Collingwood games, 125 Sturt games, 1945-62, Magarey Medal 1953, 54, 59)


“Too good, guys, too good.”
“Let’s do it.”
“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”


“The bench…”

Phil(l)ip(s)  Greg (343 Port Adelaide games, 84 Collingwood games, 1977, 79, 80, 81, 88, 89, 90, 92 SANFL premierships, 1988 Port B&F)
K(ay)            Fred (11 Collingwood games, 1897)
Dick              Billy (53 Fitzroy games, 100 Carlton games, Carlton captain 1914-17, Premiership 1915)


“Burn ’em up.”
“Come on!”
“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”


The coach pauses.


All eyes are on her.
“Now get out there – the page is blank. Write your own story.”


For more in this rolling series of Almanac Novelty Teams click HERE.

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He is married and has two daughters and the four of them all live together with their dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. KB’s dream, a two man bench: James Joyce.

  2. E.regnans says

    Tony Tea: perfect.

  3. Shirley – Robert (151 Adelaide games)
    Hardie – Brad (Brownlow Medalist, 140 South Fremantle games, 47 Footscray, 101 Brisbane Bears)
    Jackson – Daniel (Jack Dyer Medalist, 156 Richmond games)

    Late out after a horror season, just can’t seem to buy luck.

    “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.”

  4. That Irish recruit William Butler Yeats must be thrusting his name before the selectors..
    (Diesel) William(s)
    (Dan) Butler
    (Graeme) Yeats

  5. You’re ruining my day ER. I can’t get writers’ names out of my consciousness.

    What about Henry Handley (sic) Richardson?
    (Josh) Henry
    (Stephen) Handel(ly)

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Brilliant ER. Love the way you snuck Gary Ayres in under Conan. Taking it up a notch now !
    John (Bomber) Henry
    (Viv) Valentine
    Keith Miller

  7. Dave Brown says

    Very good! A forward line featuring:

    J(ames) Hird
    M(atthew) Pavlich
    Barrie Robran

    would go alright

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Stephen Edgar
    Ben Allan
    Myles Po(holke)

  9. D Brown

    That’s it now. If we’re going with initials as good enough my day is officially over.

  10. Dave Brown says

    Haha, JTH, the JM in JM Barrie does actually stand for James Matthew, so I’m not entirely cheating… just couldn’t leave Barrie out of it, correct spelling and all

  11. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    A slightly wobbly backline could perhaps use

    PATRICK Ambrose
    VICTOR Belcher
    Darryl WHITE

    …at least in an Australian International Rules team.

  12. Mind bending (boggling) creativity ER.
    JAY Schulz (194 games;Richmond and Port Adelaide; 2003-16)
    Jack KAY (183 games; South Adelaide, North Adelaide, Sturt; 1891-1909)
    Barry ROWLING(s) (234 games; Hawthorn, Richmond; 1975-86)

  13. E.regnans says

    Great additions.
    Initials… Love it.
    Let the can of worms out of the bag.

    Still unable to find any Australian footballers named: Gabriel, García or Márquez.

  14. Across the full back line, the current day line up of:
    Caleb DANIEL (Bulldogs)
    Sam DAY (Gold Coast)
    Jordan LEWIS (Hawthorn; Melbourne)
    would go alright. (Surely creative types beyond authors are permitted in the side).

  15. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Stephen OLIVER
    Leigh NEWTON
    Gareth JOHN

    JAY Schulz
    JAY Viney
    John CAHILL

  16. Rod Oaten says

    ROBERT Shaw Essendon
    LOUie Abrahams Fitzroy
    Owen?? STEPHENSON Geelong/Richmond.

  17. Rod Oaten says

    Scrap my idea ,Euc. regnans had already named them.
    Sorry, Rod Oaten

  18. Dave Brown says

    Notorious killers often do the three name thing, too. For example:

    Scott LEE
    Robert HARVEY
    Lance OSWALD

  19. All criminals DB. Who was Ronnie Barker’s character in Porridge?

    ER, I was going to go with Shelley only I couldn’t remember a Bysshe strapping the boots on anywhere.

  20. Dave Brown says

    Ooh, yeah, a good backline:

    David NORMAN
    Rhys STANLEY
    Dustin FLETCHER

  21. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    George HAMS
    Michael CHRISTIAN
    Graeme ANDERSON

    All Collingwood
    Slight tweaks…

  22. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    It’s a dramatic midfield/half forward line that includes

    Graham ARTHUR (Hawthorn)
    Marcus ASHER(CROFT) (Brisbane)
    Touk MILLER (Gold Coast)

  23. That made me laugh Lord Bogan. Could open the way to yet another genre.

  24. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Infinite possibilities JTH. It’s all about embracing the void left to us by the AFL.
    Bill HENRY
    George ARCHIBALD
    Jamie LAWSON

  25. “A Confederacy of Dunces” (A Recent History of the Carlton Football Club) won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Literature awarded posthumously 11 years after the suicide of its author:
    JOHN James (Carlton; 195 games; 1953-63; 1961 Brownlow Medal)
    Josh KENNEDY (Carlton – 22 games; West Coast – 196 games; 2006 – current; 2015/16 Coleman Medal; 2017 All Australian)
    Harry TOOLE (Carlton; 59 games; 1921 – 1925)
    A book and author that qualifies on multiple fronts.

  26. Phil

    Do you think that by 2058 the AFL’s core business will be selling hamburgers?


  27. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    JTH – To quote Peter Cook: “Hamburger stands, but no fucking hamburgers, just the fucking stands.”

  28. Politically speaking, in honour of Carlton stalwart and Liberal Prime Minister (1939-41; 1949-1966) some working class footballers:
    ROBERT Murphy (Bulldogs; 312 games; 2000-17)
    Wayne GORDON (Collingwood; 100 games; 1973-81) (or GORDON Agars leading Adelaide sporting journalist and Uni Blacks luminary)
    Doug MENZIES (Footscray; 14 games; 1937-39)
    Assassinated US President:
    Graeme JOHN (East Perth and South Melbourne; 144 games; 1959-69)
    Len FITZGERALD (Collingwood and Sturt; 221 games; 1945-62; Magarey Medals 1952, 54, 59)
    Josh KENNEDY (Hawthorn, Sydney; 217 games; 2008 – current; 3x All Australian)
    British WW2 Prime Minister 1940-45; 1951-55:
    WINSTON Abraham (Fremantle, North Melbourne; 110 games; 1995-2001)
    Peter SPENCER (East Perth, North Melbourne, Subiaco, Claremont; 232 games; 1974-87; Sandover Medal 1976, 84)
    Bill CHURCHILL (South Melbourne; 1928-29; 17 games)
    Winston Churchill controversially won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 (he always wanted the Peace Prize he never received).
    British WW1 Prime Minister 1916-22:
    DAVID Rhys-Jones (South Melbourne, Carlton; 182 games; 1980-92)
    Sam LLOYD (Richmond; 55 games; 2014-current)
    Max GEORGE (Swan Districts, Fitzroy, Central Districts; 115 games; 1969-81)
    And the 41st and 43rd US Presidents:
    Jack GEORGE (Collingwood, St Kilda, South Melbourne; 73 games; 1930-36)
    Des HERBERT (Collingwood, Fitzroy, West Adelaide; 103 games; 1980-87)
    Bill WALKER (Swan Districts; 305 games; 1961-76; Sandover Medals 1965, 66, 67, 70)
    Tom BUSH (Melbourne; 5 games; 1942-44)

  29. I’ve surprisingly found a Makepeace (Troy) but no Thackeray. No Luther for MLK (Tom Boyd went to Luther College).
    This is addictive. Curse you E2R.

  30. E.regnans says

    Hamburger stands – ha.
    Ohhh, there’s something in that.

    PB – the field is wide open.
    Criminal XVIII
    Political XVIII
    Political criminal XVIII

    I failed to select an umpire.
    Probably only one field umpire required (halcyon days).
    Umpire: Socrates

  31. Luke Reynolds says

    Bruce ANDREW (Coll 1928-34, 62 games)
    Colin BARTON (Geel 1955-59, 38 games)
    Jack PATERSON (Geel 1920, 1924-26, 23 games)

  32. Cue Banjo music? Good one Luke.
    Also in a musical vein, the great Jack Oatey coached Sturt team of the late 60’s (5 flags 1966-70) had 2 Malcolm Jones. Ruckman MS “Jeep” Jones and full forward ME “Emmy” Jones.
    Malcolm “EMMY” Jones (Sturt; 58 games for 205 goals before breaking his leg playing for SA on the MCG; 1965-68)
    LOU Richards (Collingwood; 250 games; 1941-55)
    Leon HARRIS (Fitzroy; 186 games; 1979-89)

  33. From other sports, 1991 British Open golf winner:
    IAN Stewart (St Kilda, Richmond; 205 games; 1963-75; Brownlow Medals 1965, 66, 71)
    Leon BAKER (Swan Districts, Essendon; 150 games; 1981-88)
    Fred FINCH (Hawthorn; 37 games; 1925-27)
    And cricket writer and broadcaster:
    CHRISTOPHER Dylan Judd (West Coast, Carlton; 279 games; 2002-15; Brownlow Medals 2004, 10)
    Dustin MARTIN (Richmond; 190 games; 2010 – current; Brownlow Medal 2017)
    Josh JENKINS (Adelaide; 127 games; 2012 – current)

  34. Well played, e.r.
    You really started something here.

  35. Peter Fuller says

    I’ve come to this late but it’s fun and I want to stick my oar in:

    A four-man bench with:
    C. (Charles): Sean (Melb) 1992-97 or Justin (Foot/Rich) 1989-98.
    M. (Manning) : Andrew (St.K/Ess) 1985-91.
    H. (Hope): George (Gee) 1917-19.
    CLARK: Jim (Carl) 1943-51.

    H. (Herbert) Harry (Gee.) 1952-57.
    G. (George): Alf (Ess./Melb) 1906-15.
    WELLS: Greg (Melb/Carl) 1969-82.

    D. (Davey*) Aaron (Melb.) 2004-13
    H. (Herbert) Harry (Gee) 1952-57
    LAWRENCE: Barry (St.K) 1969-76.
    (* I doubt that David ever used the contraction!)

    J. (John) Graeme (East Perth/Sth. Melb) 1964-69
    K. (Kennet(h): Fred (SM) 1928 (or notable Hawthorn President)
    GALBRAITH: Col (Melb) 1944

    J. (John) Graeme (as above)
    Maynard: Rod (Adel) 1991-95.
    KEYNES: usually pronounced Caine(s) Frank (Carl/Ess) 1905-14; infrequently Keene(s) Laurie (WC) 1987-90.

    The obsolescent three player line required a contrivance as most authors middle names are comparatively unknown. I was tempted by Thomas Michael Keneally and Robert Lee Frost, as well as Vance Palmer (given name Edward) and the contemporary Flanagans Martin and Richard with their virtually unknown qualifying middle names. Ray Bradbury and John Fowles also fell at the hurdle of the unused middle name.
    I did consider Jean-Paul Sartre (but felt that Peter Sartori was a stretch too far).

  36. Brilliant Er. I`ve been enjoying this immensely. Of course, Frank Lloyd Wright was a talented and creative player who contributed much to the free-flowing, organic style of football so beloved in the stands.

  37. Dave Brown says

    Nice Peter. Another option for a four person bench might be:
    Max GEORGE
    Bruce R(AYMOND)
    R(ICHARD) Champion
    MARTIN Pike

  38. Can Lewis Roberts-Thompson play himself? or does he have to become

    Dale LEWIS
    Michael ROBERTS

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