Almanac Teams – A team of great 8s

With the AFL Men’s season just over two weeks away fans are beginning to think, hope and wonder about their teams’ fortunes in 2018. My hopes aren’t high for the Pies. If they make the finals it will be nothing short of a miracle. Then again, Richmond fans were probably thinking the same thing this time last year and Jack Riewoldt stands proudly, ahead of Michael Roach, at full-forward in this team of 8s, a Tigers premiership player.


AFLW has provide a number of fantastic stories so far. Who will be the Great 8s in a few years time? Perhaps Sally Riley, Emma Zielke, Maddison Gay, Brittany Bonnici, Evie Gooch, Nicola Barr, Sarah Lampard or Monique Conti?


Who are the famous women in the local leagues that have carried numbers for numerous seasons? Nominations always welcome here.


I have attempted an equal representation from clubs in AFL/VFL history. Players from all comps are welcome to be nominated.


B: Josh Hunt (Geel)   Rick Kennedy (Foots)  Nathan Bassett (Adel)


HB: Heretier Lumumba (Coll)  Tassie Johnson (Melb)  Max Hudghton (StK)


C: Des Tuddenham (Coll/Ess)  Daniel Wells (Nth Mellb)  Dick Clay (Rich)


HF: Trevor Keogh (Carl)    Michael Roach (Rich)    Phil Krakouer (Nth Melb)


F: Darren Bewick (Ess)     Jack Riewoldt (Rich)  Brent Crosswell (Carl/Nth/Melb)


Ruck: Alan Morrow (StK)  Shaun McManus (Freo)      Robert Scott (Geel/Nth)


IC: James Clement (Coll) Beau Waters (WCE) Daryn Cresswell (Syd) Tim Notting (Bris)


Coach: Bill Stephen (Fitz/Ess)


Entertainment: The Beatles – Eight Days a Week


Links to previous Almanac Novelty Teams are here


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. Jarrod_L says

    Interesting that three “tigers” found a home in your forward line, Phil. I’m tipping Jack would feel less like Gulliver in Lilliput than he does at the moment though.

    No slight on Rove’s cousin, but must have been a dearth of good ruck-rovers wearing that most prosperous of numbers if he gets the gig.

  2. Jackie Lynch says

    Big plug from me for the silky skills of Phil Krakouer, number 8 at NMFC.

    Love the article, love the idea.

  3. Dave Brown says

    Presumably the reason why Bassett wore 8 at Adelaide – Michael Aish!

  4. *cough* Lance Whitnall *cough*

  5. McAlmanac says

    Paul Bagshaw (Sturt) is a LOT better than many of those players.

  6. Where do we fit Kevin Sheehan ? He was a handy footballer and a damn fine recruiter.


  7. John Butler says

    Always had a lot of time for Wayne Blackwell.

    And Kreuzer would beat Morrow any day. #partisan #one-eyed

    But any team with Tiger Crosswell gets a nod.

  8. DBalassone says

    Wasn’t there a song about Rick Kennedy…..

    When Ricky Kennedy took the field
    the players step aside, aside
    When Ricky Kennedy went to full-back
    the resting rovers would hide
    Because a kick in the guts was the only law that Ricky understood
    When it came to throwing big left-hooks, he was mighty good.

  9. Rick Kane says

    Dear Mr LB

    Couldn’t find a place for even one Hawker? What about Stan Spinks? Midfielder (could’ve put him on Interchange) who was runner-up 1938 Brownlow to Dick Reynolds. Or even Rubber O’Halloran (mid 70s to mid 80s – now that was a powerhouse side)! Or even Xavier Ellis (for his role in the 2008 GF!)


  10. Rick Kane says

    Entertainment could be an old time roster of bands, including The Byrds 8 Miles High, REM Driver 8, Eminem 8 Mile Road and so on. Cheers

  11. Andrew Starkie says

    For a split second, I thought you had left out Phil K, Phillo. Would have been trouble. R Scott, much underrated. Watch 96 gf.

  12. Rick you could get the Straight 8’s to reform. They’ d do a red hot version of the old Jackie Brenston classic Rocket 88.


  13. Rocket Singers says

    Des Tuddenham could fight in any weight division!

  14. From down Geelong way.

    Ronnie Burns – GFC legend
    Paul Vinar – Tough utility/backman. Could drop kick it 70 metres plus when he timed it right. Won World of Sport champion kick in the sixties.

    TV entertainment: Reruns of Eight is Enough with Dick Van Patten

    Cheers, Burkie

  15. I had a big man crush on Beau Waters. He was BOG in a Prelim Final when Geelong flogged us – 2011. A man among boys at WCE.
    The Ron Howard “8 Days a Week” doco on the Beatles live clips is a gem. Who will be Number 9; Number 9; Number 9…………………………..

  16. Rick Kane says

    Great call Glen, love it.

  17. E.regnans says

    Des Fothergill would be worth a crack.

  18. haiku bob says

    According to ‘official statistics’, G. Coventry wore the number 8 for a few years, as well as number 7, and maybe others. So, he might come under consideration.

  19. Terry barnstable says

    Brent Crosswell wore number 17 at Carlton then number 8 at North

  20. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Welcome back Phil. You’ve been missed.

    Random SANFL No8s – Budget 1972

    John Reid – South
    Lyndon ‘Beefy’ Andrews – Centrals (g’day Beefy if you’re reading this)
    John O’Connor – Woodville
    Michael Leonard – Torrens
    Peter Oatey – Norwood
    Paul Bagshaw – Sturt (correct McAlmanac)
    Colin Thompson – West
    Geoff Graubner – Glenelg
    Peter Ford – North
    Brian Cunningham – Port

    Also Adelaide’s first #8 was Eddie Hocking.

  21. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great responses folks – Thank you.
    Jarrod – Rove’s cousin served the Dockers well over the journey. Maybe not the best ruck-rover but certainly a worthy Freo rep.

    Thanks Jackie – Trying to kick left foot I tried to emulate the great P.Krakouer…quite badly unfortunately.
    Old timer for North Jim Adamson wore number 8 in 11 of 13 season between 1929-41 over 180 games.

    Dave – Aish and Bassett both worthy of a spot here, I reckon.

    Litza – Thought of Lance Whitnall . Michael Roach just shaded him for CHF. Fred Fitzgibbon a fiery old time number 8 who jumped of the bench (while suspended) in the 1945 Bloodbath and joined the fighting. He also played in the 1947 Premiership where the Blues won by a point over the Bombers.

    McAlmanac – I’ll take yours and Swish’s word on Paul Bagshaw.

    Glen! Kevin Sheehan a good nomination for the Cats. Paul Vinar and Ronnie Burns as mentioned by Burkie also rate. David Haynes? Denis Lenaghan?

    JB – Kreuzer a shoo in if not dogged by injury as much. Blackwell a fair player. Was considered.

    Damo – Nice poem. Rick Kennedy one of the few not fazed by Plugger. Tough and talented.

    Slim – Stan Spinks was ceratinly considered and D.O’Halloran probably should be in the 22. Ellis? Yeah-nah…Kevin Heath and Delicate Des Dickson? 8-Mile a great film and soundtrack.

    Starkers – I have watched the ’96 GF and R.Scott was excellent. Gave great service to the Cats also.

    Glen! Straight 8s were a Thursday night fixture at the Royal Derby Hotel in the early 1990s. Enjoyed their rockabilly style back then. So much beer and stomping of the feet while watching the 8s!

    Rocket Singers – Des would have to be skipper here right?

    Burkie – Eight is Enough was enough back then. Some pretty bad haircuts in that family.

    PB – Beau Waters seemed to improve every year. Early days he was a wayward kick, but became an Eagles stalwart. Daniel Metropolis? Jeremy Humm?

    ER – Des Fothergill to replace Keogh on the half forward flank. Re-issue please !! Great get.

    HB – Coventry wore 8 in 1930, 31 and 1937. If he’d stuck to it for a couple of more years, he’d be a certainty. Jason Croall? Jack Hamilton? Butch Edwards?

    Terry – You are correct that at Carlton ‘Tiger’ Crosswell was more known for wearing no 17. However he also wore number 8 for the Blues for one game in 1975 and took the number to Nth and Melbourne thereafter.

    Swish – Eddie Hocking one of the cult pioneers of the early Crows. Nice get.

    Chris Smith from Fitzroy was also stiff to miss out

    First number 8s in VFL/AFL

    Carlton – Rod McGregor 1911
    Collingwood – Jim Jackson 1912
    Essendon – Billy Griffith 1911
    Fitzroy – Jimmy Freake 1912
    Geelong – Neil Freeman 1912
    Melbourne – Frank Harris 1912
    St.Kilda – Basil Nehill 1912
    South Melbourne – George Deas 1912
    Richmond – Alan O’Donoghue 1912
    University – Dave Greenham 1912
    Hawthorn – Jim McCashney 1925
    Footscray – Jimmy Rudd 1925
    North Melbourne – Billy Smith 1925
    Brisbane Bears – Michael Richardson 1987
    West Coast – Stephen Malaxos 1987
    Adelaide Crows – Eddie Hocking 1991
    Fremantle – Shaun McManus 1995
    Port Adelaide – Fabian Francis 1997
    Gold Coast – Luke Russell 2011
    GWS – Callan Ward 2012


  22. While Dave beat me to it hopefully this expresses my feelings about Michael Aish and yes Bagshaw could seriously play

  23. Mick Jeffrey says

    I may have plumped for Barney Gumble and Japanese Conceptual Artist to provide the entertainment

    As for nominations, if you put Daniel Southern next to Rick Kennedy no forward line would want to go near it.

  24. Jarrod_L says

    Mick, will you be behind the bar to hand out single plums, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat?

    Phil, that he was. One of my favourite Freo players in their early years too.

  25. Surely South Melbourne great, Billy Gunn, captain in 1955, should get a mention

  26. G’day Phil,

    Jack Riewoldt is a good forward and I am happy to see him here. And Monique Conti is a great AFLW player. I am always impressed with her performances. Can’t believe it’s her first year!

    And you picking best players in numbers is awesome. You are GBU crew of Footy Almanac.



  27. Phil, I’m struggling with Geelong No 8s. But R. Burns does come to mind.

    Jan, when I was talking to old footballers there about 15 years ago, Billy Gunn’s name came up a lot. He was considered a star by his peers. He had a lot of injuries over the years. Fred Goldsmith told me the story of how South recruited them at the same time – for a pair of socks I think. One Sunday morning when a big black car rolled up to Spotswood or Willy or somewhere down that way. Bill said, “I’ll only sign if you sign Fred too.” Callan Ward is Bill Gunn’s grandson. I reckon Peter Hanlon wrote an excellent article about the family some time ago.

  28. Dave Brown says

    And, yes, I should have pointed out that before Michael Aish the No. 8 at Norwood was a favourite of the Oatey family (all three Oateys to have played league footy for the club having worn 8 at some point). With 777 matches coached, winning 66% of those matches along the way to 10 SANFL premierships, Jack Oatey might be worthy for consideration as coach.

  29. Thanks John. I would have been at all Billy Gunn’s games, even though I don’t really remember them that well. But I can still see the faces of the players – especially Billy’s, and his number 8 guernsey. I read about Callum Ward and that connection, and will try and seek out Peter Hanlon’s article.

  30. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks Book – Great piece on Michael Aish. Worthy of a spot for sure.

    Mick – Barney Grumble a cracker. Southern and Kennedy – two mean blokes who could also play footy.

    Jan – Billy Gunn a fine nomination. Bloke called Arthur Hiskins played 185 games for the Bloods including the 1909 flag. He played in number 8 between 1920 – 23. No love for Kurt Tippett or Simon Minton-Connell?

    Thanks Yoshi. GBU crew definitely an inspiration. Have they popped up anywhere else on radio?

    JTH – J.Kolodhashnij a future contender?

  31. Luke Reynolds says

    Phil, glad you got James Clement in. I’d have had him in the starting lineup ahead of Lumumba. Magnificent footballer and no doubt would have captained Collingwood in 2008 and possibly beyond had he not retired prematurely.

  32. Peter Fuller says

    Phil (& ER) Des Fothergill is certainly worthy of inclusion, as according to his reputation he has claims to being the mightiest Magpie of all – two Copelands in his first two seasons when the Pies made Grand Finals (as a 16 & 17 yo)!!, a Brownlow, goal-kicking wins from a non-full-forward etc. All that happened in a career truncated by desertion to Williamstown, war service and injury, leading to premature retirement – so shades of John Greening.
    I have a lovely if somewhat obscure 2nd hand anecdote about this great man.
    Michael Costigan former priest, writer and editor and brother of the more celebrated Frank and Peter, spoke of the major events in his life:
    ” I have met three Popes, but (more significantly) I travelled in a lift with DesFothergill.

  33. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Cheers Luke – I remember feeling worse about Clement’s premature retirement than Buckley’s at the end of 2007. He so easily could have played in a premiership that year had we got over the line against the Cats in the prelim. The fickle fortunes of fate. Superb defender. Harry/Heretier was fantastic between 2007-2014. Inspirational in 2010.

    Peter – What a brilliant story about Michael Costigan, the Popes and Des Fothergill. A Priest with a sound moral compass !
    Fothergill’s and Todd’s defection to Williamstown knocked the stuffing out of the Pies in the WW2 years. Terrific story. Thank you.

  34. Late entry Phil.

    Bruce Neish (Essendon) #8 – 21 games/13goals 1970/71.

    Neish transferred to the Western Oval in 1972. His one appearance (20th man) in Tri-colours came in Round 7 of that year against Geelong at Kardinia Park.

    At three quarter time Bob Rose dragged Bill Godridge and sent Neish into action. Footscray’s 16.15-111 to 15.18-108 win was their first victory at KP in 27 years. In a 30 minute career with the ‘Scray Neish managed to savour something that eluded club greats such as EJ, Box, Donald, Sutton, Schultz, Henderson, Jillard, Dunstan and Templeton during their Dog days. (KT was part of a Melbourne side that left Moorabool Street with the points on Anzac Day 1983).

    Non footy #8 – Jimmy Greenhoff Man Utd (1976-1980). John Motson referred to Brian’s older brother as “the master craftsman” following his winner in the replay of the1978/79 FA Cup Semi Final against Liverpool. Credited with the winning goal in the 1977 FA Cup Final (v L’pool) after Lou Macari’s shot deflected off him and past Ray Clemence. He certainly had a knack of sticking it to the Scousers.

    Looking forward to the next instalment.


  35. Good morning Michael.

    The sole game Bruce Neish played for you chaps remains the saddest game of football i ever attended.

    On another note Neish kicked four goals on his Essendon debut; that was against Melbourne on an interesting May weekend in 1970.

    More on that weekend will appear on the Almanac.


  36. Hello Glen, look forward to your tale.

    Make sure you describe Charlie Pagnoccolo’s first goal in VFL football as best you can.


  37. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Cheers Mic,
    For the Doggies I also found Alan Mannix 1965-72, 112 games, Ian Morrison 1975-80 in number 8 and Bernard Toohey 1992-3.
    Frank Lampard a handy soccer number 8.

  38. Hello Phil.

    “Doc” Mannix was an extremely handy player for the Dogs in what were very tough times for the club. Went to Coburg in 1973 and played in their 1974 2nd Division premiership winning team. Had a spell at Werribee after that (teammate of Mervyn Gregory Hughes).

    “Van” Morrison. Fine servant of the FFC. “Doggie Almanac” contributor.


  39. LB,
    thank you for including the great Brent “Tiger” Crosswell.

    Jan / JTH,
    I played a lot of footy with Bill Gunn’s son, Ramon. I attended Bill Gunn’s funeral, at which the late EJ Whitten delivered an extraordinary eulogy which he delivered off the cuff. It was humourous, stirring, emotional, brilliant.
    Sadly, Ramon (Ray) also passed away some two years ago now.

  40. G’day Mic.
    I’ve got some historical pieces in the pipeline, 1970 is amongst them. Jog my memory re Charlie’s first goal.


  41. You are correct about the Rick Kennedy song, by Greg Champion to the tune of The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallence, the title changed to ‘The Man Who Snotted Ricky Kennedy, he was The Bravest Of Them All’.

    He had a massive calcification on his thigh from memory, and a particularly bad temper so it seemed, he shoved Doc Wheildon’s head into the goal post out at the Western/Whitten Oval one day and also surfed on Jason Dunstall’s back when he fell over on the boundary line out at Waverley.

    Greg Smith was a handy number 8 for South/Sydney.

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