Almanac Teams: Best 22 (1980- )


Collingwood’s Tony Shaw [Source: Author]


This is a team of best players to wear the Number 22 jumper since 1980.


  • 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 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:      Glenn Manton (Carl)                 Bill Duckworth (Ess)                Farren Ray (St.K)


CHB:   Chris Scott (Bris)                       Jason Saddington (Syd)           Scott Thornton (Freo)


C:         Mitch Duncan (Geel)                Shane Woewodin (Melb)          Steele Sidebottom (DVC) (Coll)


CHF:   Ben Harrison (WB)                   David Hynes (WCE)                  Barry Rowlings (VC) (Rich)


FF:       Luke Breust (Haw)                   Charlie Dixon (PA)                     Andy Otten (Adel)


Ruck:   Todd Goldstein (NM)               Josh Kelly (GWS)                      Tony Shaw (C) (Coll)


Interchange: Richard Loveridge (Haw), Brent Moloney (Melb), Ian Perrie (Adel), Mark Roberts (NM)


Emergencies: David Bain (Bris), Jake Carlisle (Ess), Chris Connolly (Melb), Josh Mahoney (PA)


Coach: Chris Scott


No Fitzroy or Gold Coast players in the side, two from Collingwood.



Games in Number 22 (Years Played)

Glenn Manton 157 (1995-2003)

Bill Duckworth 126 (1982-1990)

Farren Ray 130 (2009-2015)

Chris Scott 215 (1994-2007)

Jason Saddington 142 (1998-2005)

Scott Thornton 88 (2002-2009)

Mitch Duncan 236 (2010- )

Shane Woewodin 138 (1997-2002)

Steele Sidebottom 264 (2009- )

Ben Harrison 85 (2001-2005)

David Hynes 73 (1991-1995)

Barry Rowlings 152 (1979-1986)

Luke Breust 239 (2012- )

Charlie Dixon 112 (2016- )

Andy Otten 109 (2008-2019)

Todd Goldstein 273 (2008- )

Josh Kelly 155 (2014- )

Tony Shaw 308 (1979-1994)

Richard Loveridge 136 (1982-1989)

Brent Moloney 122 (2005-2012)

Ian Perrie 116 (1998-2007)

Mark Roberts 125 (1991-1999)



Matt Zurbo said in the Number 21 the teams are getting a bit thin; the Number 22 side is evidence of this, as it is probably the weakest side so far. Midfield is probably its biggest strength with good depth and fine midfielders in the team. The forward line lacks goals and defence lacks a bit of class.



Teams with multiple options for a starting spot were Adelaide with Ian Perrie and Andy Otten, Brisbane with David Bain and Chris Scott, Carlton with Ian Aitken and Glenn Manton, Collingwood with Tony Shaw and Steele Sidebottom, Essendon’s Bill Duckworth and Jake Carlisle, Geelong with Paul Jeffreys and Mitch Duncan, Hawthorn with Richard Loveridge and Luke Breust, Melbourne with Chris Connolly, Shane Woewodin and Brent Moloney, North Melbourne with Mark Roberts and Todd Goldstein, Sydney with Craig Holden and Jason Saddington and the Western Bulldogs with Ted Whitten Jnr, Ben Harrison and Dylan Addison.



The defence covers all areas but lacks a bit in key positions for both strength and height. Duckworth made his name as a FB but really could play anywhere down back; he also won a Norm Smith in 1984 for his work in the forward line. Duckworth is probably suited as a third tall but then so are Jason Saddington at 194cm and Glenn Manton at 188cm, however two of them will be required in the key posts. Chris Scott won the Rising Star off half back and is capable also of playing CHB. Although Scott is only 182cm he was very intimating in the backline and could play small or tall and with Saddington would be the main intercept markers in the backline. Scott Thornton I was surprised is also 194cm but is probably more of a running defender and will be needed for that role along with Farren Ray who was midfielder/small defender who would play on the small forward. Other options in defence are Andy Otten who can play a key defender role, Mark Roberts and Ben Harrison can pinch hit in a key post or provide run off half back, Tony Shaw if needed can play back pocket on small forward. Mitch Duncan and Shane Woewodin can also play in defence.



The midfield is the strength of the team and starts with Todd Goldstein who has been one of the best rucks in the last ten years. Tony Shaw is named first rover, who while often joked that he was ‘slow, can’t kick over a jam tin and carried a bit of weight’, was a very good player over his 300 games. Shaw won a Norm Smith medal and Best & Fairest in a premiership year, he could play on ball, play a tagging role in the midfield or chase his own kicks. Josh Kelly is a very good player who would provide the class in the starting midfield and Shane Woewodin can play on ball, wing or half back and like Shaw can play a defensive role or chase his own kicks. The wings in Mitch Duncan and Steele Sidebottom are versatile running players that are known for high kick count and able to play on ball; Duncan can play half back and Sidebottom half forward. There is fair bit of depth in the midfield, though not too much in terms of classy ball users. David Hynes is a backup ruck and if needed Andy Otten and Mark Roberts have performed this role as well. Brent Moloney named on the bench was a very good centre who like Shaw was always at the bottom of the pack feeding the ball out, Richard Loveridge was a very good rover in a very good Hawthorn team who knew where the goals were. Other midfield options are Farren Ray, Ben Harrison, and Barry Rowlings.



The forward line is okay but lacks a lot of goal kicking depth and a lot will rely on Charlie Dixon and Luke Breust. At FF is Charlie Dixon. While Dixon looks capable and fearsome, he’s a bit hot and cold with 200 goals from his 112 games in Number 22. David Hynes at CHF was a versatile big man who could play at either end or ruck, he was not a big goal kicker with his best haul four. Andy Otten is the third tall forward named. He is better known as a defender but in 2017 (the year Adelaide made the grand final), he pinch hit as a forward and kicked 20 goals in 19 games. Luke Breust is the best forward in the side who is dangerous as a small or lead out forward and has been one of the best and most accurate set-shot kick at goals in the league since his debut. Breust has 239 games for 441 goals, has three times kicked over 50 in a season and his best total is 57 goals. The half forwards are better known in other areas of the ground but can play there. Ben Harrison while more wing/half back at Bulldogs, he did play CHF a bit at Richmond and kicked four goals in a match three times. Barry Rowlings was an onballer/rover who would swap with Robert Wiley and Dale Weightman on the forward flank, he kicked six goals in a match in 1980. Other options up forward are Ian Perrie as a tall forward whose best season was 39 goals in 2005. Mark Roberts at North Melbourne was a goal kicking half forward who could swap with Ben Harrison. Manton and Duckworth can pinch hit up forward if needed, Steele Sidebottom can also do so and Loveridge can play as a crumbing small forward when not roving.



On the bench I have two very good midfielders in Brent Moloney and Richard Loveridge who were great at getting their own ball and could allow Shaw and Woewodin to play other roles. Ian Perrie is needed really as a traditional tall forward and can allow Hynes to play in ruck or in defence if they need a strong big body there. Mark Roberts is versatile and with Ben Harrison could play on either flank or wing; at North Melbourne he was more of a running half forward who kicked 47 goals in their 1993 side that also contained Carey and Longmire. While they filled vital roles in covering weakness they are also probably the best four players. The last spot was between Perrie and Carlisle with the need for an extra forward more important than another defender.



The unlucky players were Ian Aitken (Carl), Paul Jeffreys (Geel), Josh Caddy (Rich), Craig Holden (Syd), and Ted Whitten Jnr (Foots)




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  1. Can we sneak in Robbert Klomp and his Rank Arena TV on the half back flank….. Surely!!?

  2. Thanks John, Klomp features next week.

  3. Had to laugh at Klomp’s nickname “Clickitty” Also, there wouldnt be many VFL/AFL players born in The Netherlands.
    He is most famous for winning that TV though as you correctly point out John.

  4. Had to laugh at Klomp’s nickname “Clippity” Also, there wouldnt be many VFL/AFL players born in The Netherlands.
    He is most famous for winning that TV though as you correctly point out John.

  5. Thanks Dan, wasn’t aware until looking up for next team.
    Hope he played on Paul Van Der Haar

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