Almanac Teams: A Perfect Ten (1980- )


Easton Wood of the Bulldogs. [Source: Author]


A team of best players to wear the Number 10 jumper since 1980.



The criteria is:


  • Starting 18 will be one player from each club. I have tweaked it after the Number 3 team.  Brisbane Bears & 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 number for example Gavin Wanganeen Number 1 & 4
  • Stats are based on their time in that number.




I 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 etc.




FB:          Gary O’Donnell (DVC) (Ess)           Danny Hughes (Melb)              Easton Wood (WB)


CHB:       Marcus Ashcroft (Bris)                    Laurie Serafini (Fitz)                 Michael Braun (WCE)


C:             Chance Bateman (Haw)                  Travis Boak (VC) (PA)               Scott Pendlebury (C) (Coll)


CHF:       Shane Edwards (Rich)                     Matthew Robran (Adel)            Dion Prestia (GCS)


FF:          Dylan Smith (GWS)                          Peter Everitt (St.K/Syd)            Michael Walters (Freo)


Ruck:      John Mossop (Geel)                         Anthony Stevens (NM)              Barry Mitchell (Syd)


Interchange: Gary Foulds (Ess), Josh Francou (PA), Don Pyke (WCE), Paul Williams (Coll/Syd)


Emergencies: Ben Cunnington (NM), Brad Hill (Haw), Chris McDermott (Adel), Daniel Rich (Bris)


Coach: Kevin Sheedy



No Carlton player in the starting 18.



Games in Number 10 (Years played)

Gary O’Donnell 197 (1990-1998)

Danny Hughes 124 (1984-1990)

Easton Wood 145 (2012- )

Marcus Ashcroft 308 (1990-2003)

Laurie Serafini 140 (1978-1985)

Michael Braun 221 (1998-2008)

Chance Bateman 177 (2000-2012)

Travis Boak 170 (2007-2012, 2018- )

Scott Pendlebury 307 (2007- )

Shane Edwards 265 (2007- )

Matthew Robran 89 (1997-2001)

Dion Prestia 95 (2011-2016)

Dylan Smith 89 (2012-2017)

Peter Everitt 180 at St Kilda (1993-2003) 39 at Sydney (2007-2008)

Michael Walters 144 (2013- )

John Mossop 134 (1979-1986)

Anthony Stevens 275 (1991-2004)

Barry Mitchell 163 at Sydney (1985-1992) 38 at Carlton (1994-1996)

Gary Foulds 246 (1978-1989)

Josh Francou 156 (1997-2005)

Don Pyke 112 (1991-1996)

Paul Williams 170 at Collingwood (1992-2000) 117 at Sydney (2001-2006)





The Number 10 team is controversial for containing no Carlton players in the starting 18. The best I could do was Barry Mitchell who wore Number 10 for Carlton, but was really picked for his services at Sydney. It was a surprise to me that there hasn’t been a significant player for Carlton to wear the jumper since 1980; the names to have worn it are: Rod Waddell, Mark Buckley, Brad Shine, Michael James, Sean Charles, Brett Backwell, Michael Mansfield, Mick Martyn, Brett Johnson, Dylan McLaren, Richard Hadley, Matthew Watson and Harry McKay. Mansfield has played the most games with 52. Generally I will select a player if they played more than 50 games at a club, but I thought the selected names from Fitzroy, Gold Coast and GWS were better players, so I made a ‘captain’s call’ and omitted Mansfield. Harry McKay in a couple of years might make the side at the Full Forward.



This team may be the weakest so far with a solid but not brilliant defence and a forward line that lacks goal-kicking prowess (Everitt much more a ruck than a forward). The midfield is quite strong though with both class and bottom of packs ball-getters.



Adelaide was a tough pick between Robran and McDermott but I went with Robran; he was very good in Adelaide’s premiership years and I needed height in the forward line. Ashcroft and Rich was a hard to split for Brisbane, as were O’Donnell, Foulds and McVeigh for Essendon, Walters and O’Reilly at Fremantle and Hawthorn’s Bateman and Hill. Stevens and Cunnington at North Melbourne have both been very similar players. Boak and Francou at Port Adelaide, Everitt and Baker at St Kilda and Wood, Egan, Hunter and Eagleton for the Western Bulldogs round out my hardest selection issues. Paul Williams just missed out to both Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) and Barry Mitchell (Sydney).



The defence is solid, reliable and has a good mix of tall defenders, intercept markers, negating players and running defenders but does not have the sheer brilliance of some other sides. Danny Hughes was a mongrel defender who was hard to score goals against in era of John Northey, Laurie Serafini was a Victorian defender in the early 1980s before injury wrecked his career. Easton Wood is All Australian defender in what has been a very good Bulldogs side. Gary O’Donnell started as a Back Pocket before moving into the midfield while Braun and Ashcroft can play a run-with role or provide pace off half back. There are no spare tall defenders but Pyke or Foulds could play in the backline.



The midfield is real the strength of this side; Scott Pendlebury and Travis Boak are two of the best midfielders in the last decade and a half, either can play on-ball or on a wing, Chance Bateman on the other wing was a handy Hawthorn premiership player. Barry Mitchell was one of the premier rovers in the competition when at the Swans, Anthony Stevens the same at North Melbourne – and was brilliant in their premiership years. John Mossop is first ruck with Everitt as alternative ruck, starting at full forward; both were known for their mobility. Other midfield options are O’Donnell, Braun, Edwards, Prestia, Walters, Williams, Pyke and Francou. They all provide slightly different options: get the hard ball, great ball users, run-with roles or explosive run and carry.



As mentioned the forwards lack for goal-kicking options and Full Forward would be one of Everitt or Mossop. Everitt did kick a bag of nine, two bags of seven and three bags of six over his career, while Mossop kicked totals of seven, six and five. Robran was a good Centre Half Forward in Adelaide premiership years. Michael Walters and Shane Edwards can play as very classy smaller forwards, both have the ability to kick multiple goals but are best at utilising their skills to set up goals. Devon Smith is a very good defensive forward that also wins plenty of the ball, Prestia though is more a pure midfielder. The remaining mids are not known for the forward exploits and Paul Williams may be the only other who can play there.



The bench has Paul Williams who could have easily made the side as a Pie or Swan but just misses out to greats of each club, he gets in representing both clubs on the bench. Josh Francou was a Brownlow Medal runner up, Don Pyke was a Best & Fairest in 1993 (between flags) and Garry Foulds is one of the most underrated players of 1980s, finishing with 300 Games. As there was little depth available for talls, Ben Cunnington seems the most unlucky player.



Club captains in the side are Gary O’Donnell, Easton Wood, Scott Pendlebury, Travis Boak and Anthony Stevens. Pendlebury is the obvious choice as captain, and has been recognised as one of the best captains during his time leading the Pies.



The unlucky players were Mark McVeigh (Ess), Stephen O’Reilly (Freo), Rhys Palmer (Freo), Daniel Ward (Melb), Nick Daffy (Rich), Steven Baker (St.K) Scott Selwood (WCE), Michael Egan, Mark Hunter and Nathan Eagleton (WB).




Phil Dimitriadis has an all-time version HERE





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  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Excellent choice as captain, he may well be the best Collingwood player I’ve seen let alone the best number 10. Pomborneit CC Under 16 premiership player and Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood as DVC?

  2. Fair call he perhaps should be, ended up being a premiership captain

  3. Garry Foulds must have played the first 50-odd games for Essendon in a different number.
    Still 300-gamer, premiership player, a Sheeds favorite.but obviously rated below Bateman and ODonnell.
    But, otherwise a perfect team.

  4. Thanks Dan, Founds started in 38.

    Could have gone either way with O’Donnell and Founds both very good players

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