Almanac Teams: 100 Games – No Finals: A Team of Star-crossed stars

Tom Lynch will hopefully no longer be on this list when, injury and suspension aside, he will play in his first AFL Final for the Tigers.


Many champions and excellent players in this team have not had a whiff of the rarefied air that comes with playing in finals.


Trevor Barker, one of the most talented and flamboyant players of the 1970s and 80s, played 200 games without representing the Saints in a final.


Ted Whitten Jnr was an underrated midfielder for the Bulldogs in some of their darkest times.


4 Brownlow Medalists turn out for this team: Bunton, Smallhorn, Austen and Hopkins.


Interesting that Carlton, Essendon and Geelong are not featured here. Carlton’s last 6 years aside, the Blues, Essendon and Geelong have rarely been out of finals for prolonged periods.


Over to you Knackers: The only qualification is that your nominations need to have played at least 100 games.




B: Tony Free (Rich )               Ray Biffin (Melb)                    Martin Leslie (Bris)


HB: Gary Hardeman (Melb) Trevor Barker (StK)         Mark Zanotti (WCE/Bris/Fitz)


C: Wilfred Smallhorn (Fitz) Ted Whitten Jnr (Foot)    Harold Bray (StK)


HF: Bert Hurrey (Uni)            Tom Lynch (GCS)          Wally Carter (Nth)


F: Allan Hopkins(Foot)         Mark Richardson (Coll)          Bruce Duperouzel (StK/Foot)


Ruck: Jim Taylor (SthM)        Col Austen (Haw)       Haydn Bunton (Fitz)


Inter: Clive Waterhouse (Freo) David Swallow (GCS) Don Mckenzie (Foot) Jim Dorgan (SthM)


Coach: Alan Killegrew (StK/NthM)



Entertainment:  Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good




For more teams from Phil, click here:


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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. I’m quite surprised by Richardson. From an SANFL perspective, you could almost all of the Peckers,Centrals 1964-70 (Mick Daly and Colin Studley immediately spring to mind), or Sturt in the dark days of the early 90s.

  2. Alan Killigrew coached the Norwood Redlegs to losing grand finals in ’60 and ’61 and the first and second semis in ’62 so he doesn’t qualify as coach of the team.

  3. Oops – ’62 should read 1st semi and prelim final, not second semi – going senile in my old age.

  4. Colin Ritchie says

    Love these teams Phil! Couldn’t help noticing the Bombers had two players with hyphenated names this match and wondered whether you have you done a team of hyphens previously? There wouldn’t be too many I’d imagine, only a handful come readily to mind at the moment.

  5. Ray Biffin, Gary Hardeman two very fine players for a poor team.

    I’m suprised Teddy junior didn’t play in the 1976 elimination final. Fair enough he only played a few games in 1974, but in 1976 he was getting a regular spot.

    Don McKenzie also never coached a finals match so he could be assistant coach.

    Bruce Duperouzel may not have played a finals match but he played Sheffield Shield cricket for Western Australia.


  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks Rabid – Mark Richardson was an interesting one. Played 141 games between 1991 and 2002 without turning out in a final.

    Fisho – Judging Killa on VFL/AFL record so thanks for the Redlegs update. Cheers.

    Colin – Glen ! assembled a team of hyphens last year:

    Glen ! Melbourne, St Kilda, South Melbourne over-represented due to long finals droughts in the 70s/80s. I also thought Teddy Jnr might have played in 1976 as he played 18 games that season. Stiff to not get at least one final. Didn’t know that ‘Duper’ played Shield for WA. I learn so much from the feedback after submitting these teams !

    A few more candidates:

    Geoff Spring – Richmond 147 games between 1948 – 1957
    Jeff Hogg – Richmond and Fitzroy 184 games between 1986 – 1996 (Should be at Full-forward)
    Robert Elphinstone – St Kilda 157 games between 1980 – 1989
    Leon Higgins – Sydney and Hawthorn 122 games between 1987-96

  7. DBalassone says

    Great team Phil. Geez, doesn’t the great Trevor Barker stand out. A crying shame he did not get to experience finals. Thank god Skilton and Flower didn’t end up on this list, indeed I remember the hysteria around Flower in 1987 finally making it to September in his final season. One of my favourite footy memories.

    Re coaches, I reckon Gerard Neesham must be one of the most innovative coaches never to coach a final. His gameplan centred around keeping possession of the footy – something that every team does these days. Who knew?

  8. Over here in good old South Oz, very few (if any) Norwood or Port Adelaide players would qualify as both teams rarely missed playing finals footy.

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Damo – Tough for Barker as the Saints didn’t play finals between 1974-90. Good point about Skilton (1 final ) and Robert Flower. Stan Alves was fortunate to have crossed to North in ’77. 226 games at Melbourne without a final.
    Gerard Neesham a solid nomination for coach. Ahead of his time with the chipathon.

    Fair point Fisho – Woodville, Sturt, Centrals ?

  10. Zanotti starred in Subi’s 86 premiership against Old Easts, winning the Simpson Medal. He had played in the losing 85 GF as well. Just noting. Cheers

  11. DBalassone says

    Phil, a few more unlucky players….(not counting D.Zorko and S.Martin who will play their first final in two weeks time):

    Paul Morwood
    Joffa Cunningham
    Lynden Dunn
    Jack Watts
    Tom Rockcliff

    and not forgetting your MCC nemesis Steven Smith.

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    Before I read this Phil, was scratching my head in regards to any Collingwood inclusions. Despite early promise as a forward, Mark Richardson had a very handy career as a key defender in a tough era for Collingwood. Had he still been around in 2003 he may just have been a better inclusion up forward than the talls employed on that awful day.

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