Almanac Teams: A Team of Footy Franks

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With Don Smallgoods re-emerging out of the 1980s as an official partner for Essendon, I thought it would be a good time to assemble a team of Footy Franks.


Of course, Hutton’s is the ‘Don’t Argue’ brand. However, Don remained competitive in the smallgoods wars with their catchy, if somewhat racist, ‘Is Don, is Good’ ad campaign.


Frank was popular name throughout the 20thcentury, although it did seem to reach an apex in the 1960s and70s as this team indicates.


North’s Frank Crapper wouldn’t take any shit from opposing defenders, that’s for sure!


It’s a ‘Frankless’ task beyond the 1980s.


No Franks have represented Adelaide, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Port or West Coast.


Who was the last Frank to play in the VFL/AFL ?


This team was inspired by Gigs and Swish, who posted the ad on Twitter.


What would be the most apt collective noun for a team of Franks?


Almanackers, here is your chance to nominate your favourite Franks from Australian Football. Nominations outside the VFL/AFL always welcome and encouraged.



B: Dunell (Ess)                            Gumbleton (NthM)            Johnson (SthM)


HB: Curcio (Fitz)                         Tuck (Coll)                Considine (Haw)


C: Marchesani (Fitz/Carl)          Coghlan (StK)             Adams (Melb)


HF: Anderson (Carl)                   Crapper (Nth)                  Murphy (Coll)


F: Giampaolo (Melb)                   Aked (Foots)                 Dimattina (Rich)


Ruck: Nash (Ess)                         Davis (Melb)                   Maher (Ess)


Inter: Kerr (University), Mockridge (Geel), Bizzotto (Fitz) Raso (Coll)


Coach:  ‘Checker’ Hughes (Rich/Melb)


Umpires: Spokes, Schwab, Pierce


Entertainment: Franken Furter – Rocky Horror




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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. A collective noun? How about a ‘stein’ of Franks? Or perhaps a ‘stamp’ of Franks? Or a ‘brief’?

  2. Ha Ha, Ian. FRANKENSTEIN and FRANK KING indeed. Then again should young lovers be Frank and Ernest? How about Frankie and Johnny?.

    Frank Sinatra, old blue eyes himself, could serenade our team. The team could be stationed in Frankston.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Swift response, well played Phil.

    No love for Frank Zappa or Frankie Goes To Hollywood?

    How about a “burst of Franks” in recognition of those giant vats of plump red smallgoods on sale at your local ground. Bonus points for fluffy white buns and red and white checked tablecloths on a rickety card table.

  4. Here’s an old song I remember (from the fifties, I think) about good old FRANK – it goes like this
    I called my baby on the telephone
    And she answered me with a heart of stone
    She said we can’t live on love alone
    You’ve gotta have money in the Bank, FRANK
    And I’ll give you my heart.

  5. Perhaps Frank Miller could draw the graphic novel about the team – his work on BATMAN is well known and his latest work is a re writing on SUPERMAN

  6. Frankly Phil, how can you not list Frank Costa as president ?

    Unsure about Frank Davis as a ruck rover. my memory of him was on the halfback line, or back pocket.

    Ditto re Frank Dunnel in the back pocket,i recall him further down the ground.


  7. Frank Sawley, father of the famous Brian Sawley (of John peck fame) played 27 games for the Redlegs.

    Frank Stemper was a brilliant half back flanker for Woodville then Norwood in the eighties.

  8. Dave Brown says

    Norwood also had a Frank Chapman. Undistinguished career but appropriately smallgoody name:

  9. Great stuff, Phil.

    Ian, for a collective noun I’d go for a ‘simmering’ of Franks. Now excuse me while I go and make hot dogs.

  10. Was Frances Bourke ever ‘Frank’?

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Nice team Phil. Frank Costanza is my favourite Frank of all time. “Serenity Now!!”

    Frank Raso, Collingwood’s finest number 46 pre Mason Cox?

    Tried for a Test cricketing team of Franks, after appointing Sir Frank Worrall as captain the ranks at Test level were decidedly very thin.

    I remember Frank Rugolo kicking many goals for Sandringham in a strong era for that club, and being a member of their 1992 VFA premiership team. Having just looked up his career, I didn’t realise he had also played 11 games for Melbourne from 1983-86.

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    I assume doing this team has used up all of your franking credits Phil?

  13. Dave Nadel says

    I would have chosen Frank Virgona as one of the three umpires. Even though he umpired VFA rather than VFL, Virgona established something of a cult following as an umpire and was certainly more entertaining than most of his contemporaries umpiring in the VFL at the time.

  14. Frankly speaking this is one of your finest efforts Phil – phenomenal finally.
    Love going through lists of names and how it prompts memories of ordinary footballers who were great Australians in other walks of life.
    Frank Galbally played 6 games for Collingwood in 1942 under Jock McHale but went on to become Australia’s most prominent criminal defence lawyer. Had an 80+% acquittal rate. No doubt why he represented the Painters and Dockers Union in the (Frank) Costigan Royal Commission into organised crime. Wrote the government report that led Australia to move from an assimilation policy to multiculturalism. The annual fundraising footy match for Reclink between Victorian barristers and solicitors is played for the Frank Galbally Cup. Who said all Collingwood players were dumb?
    I saw the name Frank Mockridge on the Interchange. He played 72 games for Geelong between 1925-31. Wonder if he was any relation to Russell Mockridge – the Geelong Flyer in cycling (perhaps an Uncle?). I was fascinated by the Russell Mockridge as a kid because he looked so nerdy but was so athletic. Won 2 Gold Medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics before turning pro and competing in the Tour De France (can’t wait for my Tour De Couch to start on Sunday night). Tragically killed by a turning bus during a race in Clayton North in 1958 at age 30.
    And Frank Curcio who is on the half back flank has one of the most interesting back stories in footy. A ruckman and defender he played 249 games for Fitzroy from 1932-48 and was captain for 4 seasons. The first great player from an Italian background. A violinist with the MSO he famously told North Melbourne’s Fred Fairweather “hit me as hard as you like, but don’t hurt my fingers”. Sadly missed Fitzroy’s last flag in 1944 while serving with the RAAF in New Guinea (there is a famous photo of him listening to the game on the radio). Then broke 3 fingers in a Services match in 1945 which ended his musical career.

  15. Frank Vergona, there’s a blast from the past.

    He was famous for his immovable hair piece, he also umpired six VFA Grand Finals, three in each division. One of those was the 1980 First Division Grand final where Port Melbourne beat Coburg for the fourth time in the year.

    I recall chatting to Peter Chisnall a few years back about a narrow Port Melbourne loss out at Preston. Kevin Goss took it particularly badly: a controversial umpiring decision against him by Frank in the dying stages was costly. Peter spoke of the need to placate him post match so he wouldn’t go into the umpires rooms to confront Frank.

    Ohh, the sweet VFA.


  16. Great work once again, LB.
    I am thrilled that Frank Gumbleton is at the top of the piece. My dad would often describe him as being “foolproof”. Alas, had he punched the ball instead of trying to outmark Ross “Twiggy” Dunne at the end of the drawn grand final in 1977, it is possible that North would not have needed an extra match to win the flag!

  17. For music, I would have Frank Turner (one of my current faves) rather than Frankenfurter. But that’s just me.

    Footnote: Frank Vergona was a Latin teacher at Xavier College.

  18. Perhaps former Italian president,GENERAL FRANKO could be the number 1 ticket holder. There again – perhaps not.

  19. PS As a young man i read several books by the Australian author FRANK CLUNE. The most memorable, to me anyway, were his books on Australian bushrangers, in particular Ben Hall and Ned Kelly. He not only researched official records but interviewed descendants of the outlaws, lawmen and blacktrackers making reading them both informative and enjoyable..

  20. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Hi All,
    Great nominations and contributions.

    Ian – if we lined up the footy cards to look like windows we could have a ‘Fenestration of Franks’.

    Fisho – Thought of Sinatra and even Frank Ifield, but I couldn’t resist the double entendre !

    Swish – Welcome to the Pleasure Dome is a very underrated album. Frankie say: No War !

    Glen ! Frank Costa would make a fine president. Dunell was one of Sheedy’s swing men, often thrown in the midfield, but a mainstay in the backline, overall.

    Dave B – Always great to learn of SA champs. Cheers

    Gigs – Thanks for the idea ! A ‘simmering’ is a beauty. If the footy franks contained pork could we call them a ‘Farrow of Franks’ ?

    Luke – Serenity Now ! Insanity later. One of my fave Seinfeld episodes. I found myself yelling ‘Hoochie Mama !’ at the TV last night during the Pies’ dismal last quarter. Frankie Raso a good Preston boy and one of Shawry’s proteges.

    Dave N – Frank Vergona a great VFA nomination. Synonymous with Fred Cook, Phil Cleary and other great names from the VFA in the 1970s/80s.

    Peter B – Thanks kindly. I enjoy putting the teams together because they trigger a memory, a connection which leads to another memory and another connection and hopefully a feeling. Galbally would look after any legal issues affecting the team and ‘Mussa’ Curcio could be the entertainment. Didn’t know about the Mockridge connection. Great stuff !

    JTH – Can’t recall Frances Bourke ever being referred to as Frank. Frank Bourke sounds like the name of a baddie on Homicide or Division 4.

    Smokie – Frank Gumbleton a terrific defender in North’s first golden era. Could play fullback if it weren’t for the brilliant David Dench.

    I used to find it mildly amusing and a tad irritating that Don’s Smallgoods would use an actor with a heavy Scottish accent to play a stereotypical, Italian mafia Don, with a Russian sounding accent. All sorts of cultural malappropriation going on here ! Enjoy:

  21. G’day Fisho, i read the Frank Clune’s books in my youth: last century.

    However the General you talk of is the Spanish fascist, Franco.


  22. Frank must have been a big wheel in France for they named their money after him but they spelled it FRANC. Nowadays they use the euro. However, I believe the Swiss still have a Franc.

  23. Glen, I reckon it was in the late sixties when I was a fan of Frank Clune’s books and yes, you’re spot on about General Franco, silly me. From memory he gets a mention in “Biggles in Spain” by Captain W E Johns.

  24. Rod Oaten says

    Did Frank Thring ever played footy.?

  25. If Frank Thring ever played footy , as a fine actor, I’m sure he would have been sensational at staging for frees.

    In reference to Frank Clune’s books about Australia’s “Wild Colonial Boys”, FRANK GARDNER (THE DARKIE) was another notorious bushranger. Gardner was never shot or hung, he eventually migrated to America and virtually disappeared from sight.

  26. DBalassone says

    Comprehensive work Phil, as per usual. I can’t add much more, except perhaps a bit of Mozza…

  27. G’day Fisho,didn’t Frank Gardiner adopt the pseudonym Frank Christie ?

    I have a feeling he died from a ‘fight’ in a salon he ran in San Franciscso, or so legend has it.


  28. Yes Glen – top marks. Our Frankie was a clever lad, well most of the time.There have been quite a few books written about what might have happened to him in Yankee Land.

  29. I feel a furt of Franks would be fantastic
    A bit further afield Frank Sparrow with Swan Districts was the most versatile player ever.
    Frank Pyke for Perth

  30. Frank Taylor says

    Top effort Phil and others, excellent stuff!
    Perhaps Frank will make a comeback in women’s football in the decades to come as the girl name “Frankie” is relatively fashionable in young parent circles recently.
    Watch this space…
    Floreat Pica
    Frank Taylor

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