Almanac Teams: 24/7 (1980- )



Brisbane’s Roger Merrett [Source: Author]


This is a team of best players to wear the Number 24 jumper since 1980.


  • Starting 18 will be one player from each club. I have tweaked it after the Number 3 team. Brisbane Bears and Brisbane Lions will be one club, with Fitzroy, Gold Coast and GWS competing for the last two spots in the starting 18.
  • Teams will try to be as balanced as possible but if a number has several rucks as its best player an alternative will be picked. I will explain my selections below the team
  • Players may appear under multiple numbers, for example Eddie Betts number 18 and 19.



Stats are based on their time in that number.



I also have two teams per number, one is a best of and the other is based on players picked for different obscure/unusual reasons like cameos, unknown brothers, fathers, known for other reasons.




FB:         Sean Dempster (St.K)          Chris Langford (Haw)              Tim Pekin (Fitz)


CHB:     Steve Wallis (Foots)              Mark Bos (Geel)                        John Worsfold (C) (WCE)


C:           Nick Stevens (Carl)                Joe Misiti (Ess)                           David Swallow (DVC) (GCS)


CHF:     Brett Burton (Adel)                Russell Robertson (Melb)         Jarman Impey (PA)


FF:         Tarkyn Lockyer (Coll)           Roger Merrett (VC) (Bris)          Craig Sholl (NM)


Ruck:    Matthew Burton (Adel)         Mark Coughlan (Rich)              Jude Bolton (Syd)


Interchange: Gary Dempsey (NM), Peter Knights (Haw), Dane Rampe (Syd), Jamie Turner (Coll)


Emergencies: Trent Croad (Haw), Sam Jacobs (Adel), Joel Patfull (Bris), Matt Rosa (WCE)


Coach: John Worsfold


No player from GWS.



Games in Number 24 (Years Played)

Sean Dempster 168 (2008-2016)

Chris Langford 225 (1987-1997)

Tim Pekin 107 (1984-1989)

Stephen Wallis 261 (1983-1996)

Mark Bos 189 (1980-1989)

John Worsfold 209 (1987-1998)

Nick Stevens 104 (2004-2009)

Joe Misiti 234 (1993-2004)

David Swallow 175 (2011- )

Brett Burton 177 (1999-2010)

Russell Robertson 219 (1998-2009)

Jarman Impey 75 (2014-2017)

Tarkyn Lockyer 227 (1999-2010)

Roger Merrett 164 (1988-1996)

Craig Sholl 227 (1990-2000)

Matthew Burton 70 (1995-1999)

Mark Coughlan 92 (2001-2009)

Jude Bolton 325 (1999-2013)

Gary Dempsey 122 (1979-1984)

Peter Knights 264 (1979-1985)

Dane Rampe 167 (2014- )

Jamie Turner 160 (1984-1993)



The 24 side is a reasonable side for a team in its 20s. It has some good running players, depth in all areas of the backline and players that can play in the midfield. I had four options for the ruck and probably chose the fourth best but that was due to balance as there was no other option from Fremantle in the starting 18, and Adelaide, Carlton and North Melbourne had other options. One weakness lies in the forward line, with the lack of crumbing forward and while there are multiple goal kicking options up forward, it does lack a reliable goal kicker that is capable of kicking five or six goals on most weeks. As for the midfield, while it has depth, perhaps lacks class and pace.



Teams with multiple options are Adelaide with Brett Burton and Sam Jacobs, Brisbane with Roger Merrett and Joel Patfull, Carlton with Matthew Allan and Nick Stevens, Collingwood with Jamie Turner and Tarkyn Lockyer, Geelong Mark Bos and Jed Bews, Hawthorn with Peter Knights, Chris Langford, Trent Croad and Ben Stratton, North Melbourne with Gary Dempsey and Craig Sholl, St Kilda with Jason Heatley and Sean Dempstar, Sydney with Jude Bolton and Dane Rampe, West Coast with John Worsfold and Matt Rosa and Fitzroy with Bob Beecroft and Tim Pekin.



The defence is well led by Chris Langford, who was one of the best full backs of his era. Langford was not only a great stopper but very athletic, a good kick and mobile enough to play CHB if match ups needed. Bos named at CHB is one of the most underrated defenders of the 1980s, he played several times for Victoria. Bos was more of a flanker at 185cm but could play taller if needed and did play on likes of Dermott Brereton and Gary Lyon. Dempster at 191cm is taller than Bos but played a lot as a third tall intercepting defender who was mobile enough to play on smaller forwards. Dempster was a premiership player in his first year at Sydney and All Australian at St Kilda in 2012. John Worsfold is on a back flank, he whould make the opposition forward line nervous and will probably play the on a small dangerous forward and allow Stephen Wallis and Tim Pekin to provide run and carry from the backline with Wallis also playing on an opposition small forward. Other players that can play in defence are Dane Rampe and Peter Knights in key posts, Jamie Turner, Tarkyn Lockyer as small defenders, Craig Sholl started his career as a half back and Jarman Impey and David Swallow can play off half back if needed.



The midfield has Matthew Burton in the ruck who at 210cm was the tallest ever player in the VFL/AFL when he debuted. He is probably the fourth best available as mentioned above but was still a very good tap ruck. Joe Misiti in the centre is a consistent ball winner who was very good at feeding the ball out to better ball users which would be the running half backs and wings. Nick Stevens on one wing was very good player for Carlton who would play on wing or on ball and was big kick accumulator. David Swallow is similar to Nick Stevens, able to play anywhere on the ball although he can also play a defensive role. Mark Coughlan and Jude Bolton are tough on ballers though not known for their ability to drift forward and kick goals. Bolton rarely played a bad game and was always at the bottom of the pack while Coughlan unfortunately had his career interrupted by injury after he won a Best & Fairest in his third year, but when he played he showed he could be a top class midfielder. Gary Dempsey is picked as back up ruck while other midfield options are Tim Pekin, Stephen Wallis and Jarman Impey.



The forward has multiple options that could play out of the square. Roger Merrett made his name as CHF at Essendon and then Brisbane before finishing his career out of the square. Merrett, like Worsfold, would make the opposition worried when he was around. His best year was 1993 with 60 goals at age 33. At CHF I have Russell Robertson who can play FF/CHF or as a third tall. Robertson was very mobile and could take a high mark and kicked 40+ goals six times, including 73 in 2005. Craig Sholl in the forward pocket is an ideal player here as lead up marking forward while Merrett with his strength or Robertson with his aerial work could stay in the square. Sholl started as HBF and played for Victoria there before moving to the forward line in 1996 when John Longmire was injured. Sholl had 21 goals in his first eight years but then 144 in his last five, his best total was 40 goals in 1997; he kicked seven goals in his last ever game, the 2000 Preliminary Final. Tarkyn Lockyer is best known as a back pocket but did kick 149 goals in his career, being swapped occasionally up forward before he played as a permanent forward most weeks in 2009 with a return of 32 goals. Impey on one HFF is good role player, he can play HFF or as an extra mid or possibly on a HBF. Brett Burton is on the other HFF who won Adelaide’s goal kicking twice, with 51 goals in 2002 his best, he can also play out of the square. The problem could be Burton and Robertson flying for all the marks up forward, Roger and the opposition defence may have sore backs, though it could be exciting especially if Peter Knights plays there as well. The only other option up forward is Peter Knights.



With the interchange I have Gary Dempsey, Sam Jacobs and Matthew Allan as ruck options. I went with Gary Dempsey who also wore Number 23 at Footscray in the 1970s and won a Brownlow. I have memories of him on Channel 7’s Big League taking mark after mark (he held the record for most marks in the VFL/AFL) and always being on the leaderboard on Brownlow night. Sam Jacobs is emergency and very unlucky as is Matthew Allan who is listed below as unlucky. Dane Rampe beats Joel Patfull as the second interchange spot and maybe needed for opposition tall forward line allowing Bos to play third tall defender. Peter Knights is another key position who gets picked ahead of Trent Croad due to his versatility in playing CHF/FF. Jamie Turner gets in for his ability to play on small forwards, Rosa is extremely unlucky but I thought I already had players of his ilk like Pekin, Wallis, Swallow and Impey that were similar.



There are five club captains in the side. John Worsfold was the standout having led West Coast to two premierships, Roger Merrett is vice-captain who was captain of Brisbane when they started to emerge and captained the side in its first two finals campaigns. David Swallow is deputy ahead of Chris Langford and Stephen Wallis who were skippers for just one season.



The unlucky players were Matthew Allan (Carl), Jed Bews (Geel), Bob Beecroft (Fitz), Matt De Boer (GWS), Ben Stratton, and Jason Heatley (St.K)




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  1. As usual , a well-structured team. Personally I would love to see Peter Knights in the starting 18 as good as Langford was. When i think of number 24 he is the first player i think of. His duels with Paul Van der Haar were legendary.

  2. Thanks Dan, appreciate your kind words

    Unfortunately like Lethal, I never saw Knights live but saw plenty of highlights.
    I went with Langford
    – He was more from my era 1980 +
    – I needed a full back and 1980’s and 1990’s him along with Silvagni and Pert were the best.

    I put Knight on the bench as from what I saw he was really good and could play either end. He match with Van Der Haar highlights are great and to be runner up in Brownlow after missing half the year shows how good he was

  3. Thanks Rodney, I forgot it was from 1980 onwards and Knights was more of a star in the 1970s. (But Knights was picked in the Hawthorn team of the century and Langford wasnt.)

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Nice to see Tarkyn Lockyer in, 2010 was just a year too late for him, Jaryd Blair overtaking him. Very good career in black & white.

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