Almanac Teams: Duck and Dive…Twenty-five (1980- )



Essendon’s Scott Lucas [Source: Author]


This is a team of best players to wear the Number 25 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:           Lachlan Henderson (Geel)         Ben Rutten (Adel)                Ted Richards (Syd)


CHB:       Ryan Hargrave (WB)                   Robbie Tarrant (NM)          Shannon Hurn (C) (WCE)


C:             Nathan Brown (Melb)                 Dom Cassisi (VC) (PA)        Jason Norrish (Freo)


CHF:       Peter Curran (Haw)                     Scott Lucas (Ess)                  John McCarthy (Fitz)


FF:           Barry Hall (St.K)                          Brendon Fevola (Carl)         Geoff Jennings (DVC) (Foots)


Ruck:      Brendon Gale (Rich)                    Jack Crisp (Coll)                   Andrew Bews (Bris)


Interchange: Sam Collins (GCS), Tom McDonald (Melb), Billy Picken (Coll), Barry Round (Syd)


Emergencies: Tim Clarke (Haw), Sam Fisher (St.K), Josh Fraser (Coll), Roger Merrett (Ess)


Coach: Alex Jesaulenko


No player from GWS, a second Bulldogs player is named to get a little balance.



Games in Number 25 (Years Played)

Lachlan Henderson 89 (2016-2021)

Ben Rutten 229 (2003-2014)

Ted Richards 228 (2006-2016)

Ryan Hargrave 184 (2003-2012)

Robbie Tarrant 174 (2010-2021)

Shannon Hurn 301 (2006- )

Nathan Brown 143 (2000-2007)

Dom Cassisi 155 (2002-2008, 2013-2014)

Jason Norrish 128 (1995-2002)

Peter Curran 109 (1983-1990)

Scott Lucas 270 (1996-2009)

John McCarthy 71 (1993-1996)

Barry Hall 88 (1996-2001)

Brendon Fevola 187 (1999-2009)

Geoff Jennings 137 (1974-1983)

Brendon Gale 244 (1990-2001)

Jack Crisp 157 (2015- )

Andrew Bews 75 (1994-1998)

Sam Collins 45 (2019- )

Tom McDonald 191 (2012- )

Billy Picken 207 (1974-1983)

Barry Round 193 (1976-1985)



This jumper number is the quarter of century, it stands out somewhat on a jumper, especially on a bigger player…what I have found is Number 25 is handed to a lot of key position players. When you think of 25 you think of the back of Barry Round with his big broad shoulders with the red digits on the white jumper. This was a hard side to pick; there are many very good players which is indicated by the fact there are ten unlucky players listed – all are key position players too. The midfield is the worst yet; I may need Barry Hall to start in there so he can frighten the midfield to give him the ball or bring in Roger Merrett! I picked two Bulldog players with Geoff Jennings in the starting 18 ahead of Sam Collins of Gold Coast just to bring in something close to a balanced side.



Teams with multiple options were Brisbane with Andrew Bews picked as midfielder ahead of perhaps better credential players Matthew Campbell and Daniel McStay, Collingwood had Jack Crisp, his 2021 Best & Fairest pushes him over the line ahead of tall Magpies Billy Picken, Ron McKeown and Josh Fraser, Essendon Roger Merrett, Scott Lucas and Jake Stringer, Hawthorn with John Hendrie, Peter Curran, Tim Clarke and Ryan Schoenmakers, Melbourne Nathan and Tom McDonald, North Melbourne, Donald McDonald and Robbie Tarrant, Richmond with Brendon Gale, Troy Chaplin and Toby Nankervis, St Kilda with Barry Hall and Sam Fisher, Sydney Barry Round, Andrew Schauble and Ted Richards, Western Bulldogs with Geoff Jennings and Ryan Hargrave.



The defence is tall so we would need to be creative with match ups or keep the ball in the air if we are playing a small side. Full back had four options in Henderson (196cm), Rutten (192cm), Tarrant (196cm) and Richards (193cm). I think Rutten is the best of these, also he rarely featured at CHB or as a third tall. Tarrant I have at CHB but he could play as intercepting tall defender; Henderson would also be capable in that role. Tarrant probably has a more attacking style, though Henderson did play up forward a bit at Carlton. Ted Richards at 193cm was a very good full back at Sydney but was mobile enough to play on players smaller than him and this quality could see him play on a Charlie Cameron type if needed. Ryan Hargrave at 190cm is also mobile and could adapt to playing on a HBF as a more running defender. Shannon Hurn is a genuine HBF who is great kick of the football and would be needed to play small and be distributor of the ball from the backline. Other players that can play in defence that could play on small forwards are Bews, Crisp, Norrish, Brown and Cassisi, though the problem is: who goes into the midfield? Lucas, Collins, McDonald and Picken are also key position defender options.



The midfield is the worst midfield I have put up so far, with a ruck and five role players, though very good role players at that. Benny Gale made his name as a CHF for Richmond but his last five years he played mainly ruck, changing with Brad Ottens and was very good marking player one kick behind play. Jack Crisp this year won a Best & Fairest as very good running onballer/wing who would also play a role as a negating player still getting kicks. Andrew Bews named first rover played the position for Geelong and Victoria but was more of a back pocket while at Brisbane. Cassisi played a lot on ball as a run-with player but is still able to play that role as a HBF. Nathan Brown and Jason Norrish are better known as small defenders that could play on a wing, but in this side are needed for on ball roles. The midfield is definitely solid but lacks genuine class and creativity in there. Other players that could play midfield are Barry Round in the ruck, Geoff Jennings, Shannon Hurn and maybe even Barry Hall for the scare factor.



The forward line once again is very tall, with Fevola (191cm), Lucas (192cm), Curran (192cm) and Hall (194cm). Fevola is FF, Lucas is at CHF and was very mobile and could also play on a flank. Barry Hall named in forward can play FF/CHF and was mobile enough for a flank or forward pocket. Peter Curran is surprisingly taller than I thought and really was a third tall forward behind Dunstall and Brereton. John McCarthy is named HFF at 185cm though he played a bit at CHF and was fantastic aerial mark rather than a mobile HFF. Geoff Jennings is named in a forward pocket, he mainly played as a rover but averaged a goal a game in his 136 games with his best haul five goals in a match and 34 for a season. Other players that can play up forward are Barry Round, Bill Picken, Tom McDonald, Andrew Bews, Brendon Gale and Lachlan Henderson.



The bench is not that flexible, I left Sam Collins out of the starters for Jennings on team balance reasons so he gets one spot. The next three players are probably the next best three available. Barry Round is a Brownlow Medallist ruck and unluckily missed out to Ted Richards in the 18, there is also really no second ruck option in the side. Billy Picken was a fantastic CHB for Collingwood and at 185cm is now smaller than today’s key position players, so he could play on HBF/BP. Picken was not a particularly mobile player so he couldn’t help in that area. Tom McDonald gets the fourth spot in the side for his ability to play up forward or down back and may be more mobile than Sam Fisher, Josh Fraser or Roger Merrett. Tim Clarke is the only midfield/running option on the emergencies or unlucky list but was not as good as player so this side will be a kick and mark side rather than run and carry. I would have loved to put Toby Nankervis in as a current favourite player but that might be a tad biased!



There are four club captains in the side; I’ve named 2018 Premiership captain Shannon Hurn as skipper, Dom Cassisi vice-captain and Geoff Jennings is deputy ahead of Barry Round as Round is on the bench.



The unlucky players were Daniel McStay (Bris), Ron McKeown (Coll), Jake Stringer (Ess) Alex Pearce (Freo), John Hendrie & Ryan Schoenmakers (Haw), Donald McDonald (NM), Troy Chaplin & Toby Nankervis (Rich), Andrew Schauble (Syd), and Laurie Keene (WCE)





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