Almanac Teams: Catch 22 (1980- )



Carlton’s Robert Klomp [Source: Author]



A team of more obscure/lesser known players to wear the Number 22 jumper since 1980.



Here’s my second team of players to wear the Number 22, mostly from 1980 onwards but I have made exceptions, such as Glynn Hewitt in the 19 team.



It is a light-hearted team based on cult figures, forgotten/lesser known players or stats/cameos associated with them, players known for other deeds, sons, fathers & brothers and forgotten players.


My criteria, similar to my previous efforts was:


  • Attempt to include one player per club
  • I have tried to create as balanced side as possible but this was not a priority


Stats are based on their time in that number





FB:        David Ceglar (NM)           Mal Michael (Ess)                       Jaymie Graham (WCE)


CHB:     Robert Klomp (Carl)        Ian Aitken (Carl)                         Mark Neeld (Geel)


C:           Robert Murphy (WB)       Chris Connolly (Melb)               Larry Watson (Ess)


CHF:     Travis Tuck (Haw)            Simon O’Donnell (St.K)             Ted Whitten Jnr (Foots)


FF:         Ken Hinkley (Fitz)            Warren Ralph (Carl)                  Irving Mosquito (Ess)


Ruck:    Mick Nolan (NM)              Brendan McCormack (Fitz)      David Bain (Bris)


Interchange: Phil Carman (NM), Wayne Deledio (Carl), Steven Stretch (Fitz), Dean Towers (Syd)


No players from Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Port Adelaide or Richmond.



Games in Number 22 (Years played)

David Ceglar 7 (1986-1987)

Mal Michael 37 (2007-2008)

Jaymie Graham 35 (2006-2008)

Robert Klomp 84 (1979-1982)

Ian Aitken 61 (1987-1992)

Mark Neeld 42 (1991-1993)

Robert Murphy 3 (2000)

Chris Connolly 84 (1982-1989)

Larry Watson 25 (1976-1978)

Travis Tuck 19 (2008-2009)

Simon O’Donnell 24 (1982-1983)

Ted Whitten Jnr 144 (1974-1982)

Ken Hinkley 1 (1988)

Warren Ralph 21 (1984-1986)

Irving Mosquito 4 (2020)

Mick Nolan 107 (1973-1980)

Brendan McCormack 19 (1989-1990)

David Bain 86 (1989-1993)

Phil Carman 13 (1982)

Wayne Deledio 1 (1975)

Steven Stretch 25 (1994-1995)

Dean Towers 57 (2014-2018)



David Ceglar – Ceglar was a tall defender at North Melbourne who managed seven games in two seasons after being recruited from North Melbourne’s zone of Wodonga. David’s son Jonathon is a bit taller at 204cm and was drafted by Collingwood in 2010 but never played a game there. He was picked by Hawthorn in 2012’s Rookie Draft and has played 101 games since 2013 and was an emergency for the 2014 Grand Final.



Mal Michael – Michael is best known for his 140 games at Brisbane where he played Full Back in three premierships and was considered one of the best full backs of his era. Michael was also one of the first players born in Papua New Guinea to play in the AFL. He did not move to Brisbane until he was three. Michael played his junior footy at Morningside but Brisbane was beaten to the punch by Collingwood who drafted him in 1996’s Rookie Draft. He made his debut in 1997 and showed so much promise he finished eighth in the Magpies’ Best & Fairest. At end of 2000 he was traded back to Queensland to join Brisbane for Jarrod Molloy. Michael retired at end of 2006 at only 29 years of age, though he was coaxed out of retirement to join Essendon where he played every match in 2007 before retiring again at end of 2008. His career totalled 238 games.



Jaymie Graham – Graham was drafted from Kalgoorlie onto the West Coast Eagles rookie list in 2004. In 2005 Graham made his debut wearing Number 48; he played two games. In 2006 he played every game until the Grand Final, where he was dropped for David Wirrpanda who was returning from injury. Graham was named emergency and won best first year player for the season. Graham played just 11 games between 2007-2008 and retired aged 25 at end of 2008 due to family reasons in that he was the legal custodian of his much younger sister. He continued to play for South Fremantle in the WAFL and was made captain in 2011 but had to retire due to knee injuries. Graham joined West Coast as an assistant coach in 2016 and in 2018 he coached West Coast in Round 2 to a 51 point over the Bulldogs in Melbourne as Adam Simpson had to go back to Perth due to a family health drama.



Robert Klomp – Klomp was born in the Netherlands before moving to South Australia. A key member of Sturt’s 1974 and 1976 premiership teams, he kicked two goals in the 1976 game and was amongst the best on ground. Klomp joined Carlton in 1979 and in his debut season played every game including the grand final, finished equal seventh in the Brownlow and won Carlton’s best first year player. Klomp only missed one game in 1980 but did not appear in the second half of 1981 (another premiership season) due to a severe hamstring injury. He was far more fortunate in 1982 with injuries (he played all games bar two) and won his second premiership. After playing three games in 1983 Klomp switched over to Footscray mid-year. Klomp only played nine games at Footscray before he returned to Sturt in 1985. He is also famous for having won a television. In the 1970s and 1980s there was a Tuesday Night competition with all VFL clubs and the top WAFL and SANFL clubs that took place between March and July at VFL Park. In a match against Fitzroy in 1979 Lou Richards – who was unprepared – was asked to give the player of the match award. On the spot Lou said he was impressed by Robert Klomp’s game and Klomp won the prize; an 18″ colour television. As this was announced his stats were given on the screen: 6 kicks, 0 marks, 6 handballs.



Ian Aitken – Aitken made his debut in 1987 aged 19 and despite a broken jaw in Round 14, went onto play 16 games. Aitken was superb in his first year, winning the players association’s best first year player and also playing CHB in Carlton’s 1987 premiership team. Aitken unfortunatley had his jaw broken for a second time later in 1987 in an exhibition match in London. In a match dubbed ‘The Battle of Britain’, North Melbourne’s Alistair Clarkson king hit Aitken. This led to several fights on the ground with instruction from Robert Walls to the Carlton side that Clarkson was not allowed to walk off the ground…Walls even threw his walkie-talkie at North coach John Kennedy in anger at his tactics. Alistair Clarkson received a four week suspension for his hit. Aitken though was never the same player and had lost form and confidence, even though he played 29 games in 1988 and 1989. Between 1990-1992 Aitken played only 16 games including just two in 1990. He then joined St Kilda for five games in 1993.



Mark Neeld – Neeld debuted in 1990 wearing Number 55 and played the last six games of the season on the half back line. In 1991 he only missed four games in a Geelong side that made the Preliminary Final; he became a very useful utility, able play in defence or up forward, highlighted by three goals against Hawthorn in a semi final and two goals against West Coast in the following preliminary. Neeld though was in and out of the seniors in 1992 and 1993, he played just 21 games (zero finals) and kicked only three goals. Neeld was traded to Richmond in 1994 where he was also in and out of the side, he ran out for 26 games in three seasons he was delisted. Neeld was not part of Richmond’s 1995 finals campaign. His highlight was four goals in a quarter against Collingwood in 1994. Neeld was a successful coach at Ocean Grove where he won four premierships in a row, he then coached the Western Jets for three season before becoming a respected assistant coach at Collingwood during their 2010 Premiership and 2011 Grand Final seasons. Neeld was appointed coach at Melbourne in 2012. Unfortunately this only lasted 33 games for five wins. Neeld was an Essendon assistant coach for two seasons after he left Melbourne.



Robert Murphy – Murphy was drafted with Pick 13 in 1999 from Warragul as a very skinny half back/forward. Murphy’s debut in Round 19 of 2000 included 13 disposals and a goal, enough to keep him in the side for the next two games. Murphy became a regular for the Bulldogs from 2001 in Number 2, with an ability to play either end (he kicked 34 goals in 2008) but made the All Australian team in 2011 and 2015 as a HBF, 2015 had him named captain of the representative side. Murphy played 312 games for 183 goals and was skipper from 2015 until his retirement in 2017 but sadly missed the 2016 Premiership due to a knee injury.



Chris Connolly – Connolly is another player in this side who was born overseas having being born in Minnesota, USA.  Connolly was recruited from Melbourne’s zone of Shepparton and made his debut in 1982. He played three games and was also U19 captain that year. In his second year Connolly played 21 games and finished fourth in the best and fairest averaging 22 disposals as a centre. Connolly was a regular between 1984-1985; he played 33 games. In 1986 Connolly again finished fourth in Melbourne’s Best & Fairest despite only having played 12 games, he also made the Victorian squad. In Round 5 of 1987 Connolly suffered a knee injury, as a result of which he did not play another game until 1989. He played just 10 games in 1989 due to injuries and would suffer a recurrence of his knee injury in Round 22. Connolly missed all of 1990 before his retirement at age 26. Connolly became the inaugural coach of the Eastern Ranges in 1992 for four years, he then went to Hawthorn as reserves/assistant coach from 1996-2001. Connolly coached Hawthorn for one game in 2001 for a win after the siren against Carlton while Peter Schwab was ill. Connolly was appointed coach of Fremantle in 2002 and got Fremantle to their first finals appearance in 2003, an Elimination Final loss to Essendon. Fremantle missed the finals in 2004 and 2005 but in 2006 Fremantle finished third, beat Melbourne in the Semi Final before losing to Sydney by 35 points in the Preliminary Final. Amazingly after Round 15 with Fremantle 6-9 Connolly resigned as coach, only 15 games after making a Preliminary Final. Connolly missed out on the Melbourne coach position in 2008 but was appointed as General Manager of the Dees intead. He was suspended and never reappointed in 2013 for his involvement in Melbourne’s tanking saga of 2009.



Larry Watson – Larry is Tim’s older brother by four years and made his debut for Essendon in 1975 aged 17 wearing Number 47. Larry wore Number 22 the next year in 1976 and in 1977 he was joined by Tim. Larry and Tim played together eight times for Essendon but after 31 games in four years Larry joined Fitzroy in 1979. He only played four more games and none of them were against Tim. Larry ended up at West Adelaide and played in a SANFL premiership in 1983.



Travis Tuck – Travis was the Pick 38 in the 2005 National Draft for Hawthorn. The son of Hawthorn great and record game holder Michael, Travis debuted in 2007 wearing Number 38 for one game. He wore Number 22 the next year and played the first four games and then four more late in the year in a successful Hawthorn side. Tuck played Round 1 in 2009 and gathered 31 disposals, after this he was in and out of the side over 11 games. Travis did not play a game in 2010 and was suffering from clinical depression when he was found unconscious in his car in August due to alleged drug overdose from prescription drugs. Tuck received a third strike and was suspended for 12 matches and delisted by Hawthorn. He played for Werribee and then West Adelaide until 2016.



Simon O’Donnell – O’Donnell made his debut for St Kilda in 1982 aged 19 as a high marking forward from Assumption College. O’Donnell played the first nine games which included three goals in a match in successive matches. He played 16 games for 14 goals in 1982, however in 1983 O’Donnell was in and out of the side and played just eight games for four goals. His last ever match came aged 20 in Round 22. Just over 16 months later Simon O’Donnell was playing on the MCG again, this time for the Australian cricket side in a one day match as hard hitting all-rounder. Later in 1985 O’Donnell played five Ashes tests in England and carved out a cricket career that included six tests and 87 one day matches for Australia – including a key role in the 1987 World Cup win. O’Donnell is now heavily involved horse racing ownership with a best result being part-owner of second place Bauer in the 2008 Melbourne Cup.



Ted Whitten Jnr – Ted Junior made his debut just after his 17th birthday in Round 4 of 1974, virtually four years after his father Ted Senior retired in Round 5 of 1970. While his father was a key position player Ted Jnr was known as an onballer/half forward. After 15 games in his first two seasons, Ted Jnr became a regular in the Footscray side from 1976, he played 144 games for 133 goals with his last game in 1982 aged 25 when he suffered a terrible ACL injury and never played again. Like his great father Ted Jnr also played for Victoria and since his father passed away he has being heavily involved in fundraising for prostate cancer research.



Ken Hinkley – Coming from Camperdown, I followed Kenny’s career with keen interest. He had a season in Fitzroy reserves in 1984 but struggled with Melbourne life. David Parkin convinced Hinkley to re-join in 1987 aged 20. Hinkley wore Number 48 in his first year and played 10 games as a HFF, he kicked 20 goals including nine in the last two games of the year. Hinkley wore Number 22 in 1988 and played in Round 2 against Collingwood for 18 disposals and one goal but then quit Fitzroy for life back in Camperdown. In 1989 Geelong convinced Hinkley to join with the promise of more country-style living and he was traded from Fitzroy. Hinkley only played one game in 1989 but with the Cats struggling in 1990 Hinkley played 15 games for 27 goals but lost some form late in the year and was moved to a HBF where he polled four Brownlow votes in his last three games. Hinkley spent the rest of his career as a HBF, made the All Australian side in 1991 and 1992, came third in the 1992 Brownlow, represented Victoria and was co-captain of Geelong in 1995. After coaching Camperdown to two premierships, Hinkley was offered an assistant coach job at St Kilda under Malcom Blight. With Blight sacked mid-season, Hinkley left also and coached Bell Park in the Geelong League. Hinkley served as an assistant coach at Geelong in 2007 & 2009 premierships and then as assistant coach at Gold Coast in their inaugural two seasons before being appointed Port Adelaide coach since 2013 where he has led them to three preliminary finals.



Warren Ralph – Ralph debuted for Claremont in 1980 aged 21 and kicked 87 goals in his first year; he kicked 127 goals in 1981, 115 in 1982 and 128 in 1983. Ralph then joined Carlton as FF in 1984 after Ross Ditchburn returned to the West. Ralph debuted in Round 1 against North Melbourne and kicked nine goals in his first game and followed up with six the next week. Ralph played 14 games including two finals in 1984 for 55 goals with a bag of eight in a Qualifying Final loss to Hawthorn after being dropped for the games prior. Ralph struggled with injuries and form in 1985 and 1986, he played only two games in 1985 and five in 1986. Ralph kicked 12 goals in Round 21 and 22 of 1986 but no goals in the Elimination Final. After 1986 he tried to get to Fitzroy or North Melbourne but failed to obtain a clearance and returned to Claremont after 21 games and 72 goals. In 1988 while playing at Glenelg, Ralph won lotto with a collect of $882,000.



Irving Mosquito – Mosquito was a cult figure at Essendon for having one of the great names. Mosquito made his debut in the Dreamtime in Darwin and looked exciting, he kicked two goals. Sadly Mosquito tore his ACL two games later and due to being injured during a Covid-19 interrupted 2021, returned back home to Halls Creek during the year, indicating he did not want to return to Melbourne.



Mick Nolan – Nolan was a cult figure at North Melbourne nicknamed the ‘Galloping Gasometer’ by Lou Richards for his frame of 194cm and 135kg. Nolan was recruited from Wangaratta, part of North Melbourne’s zone in 1973 aged 24 and after 22 games in his first two years he played every game in 1975 including a premiership and came third in the Best & Fairest. Nolan played 19 games in 1977 but was dropped after the Semi Final. He did play in the 1976 and 1978 losing Grand Finals. Nolan played only six games in 1979 and three in 1980 to finish with 107 games aged 30. Nolan was described by Barry Cable as the best tap ruckman he had played with. One funny incident that involved Nolan was when Mark Maclure ran into Mick Nolan who was standing still and bounced off him (worth a look on YouTube).



Brendan McCormack – McCormack made his debut in 1989 aged 18 in Round 1. Fitzroy were a young side in 1989 that finished sixth, one game away from the top five and finals. McCormack was a key part of this side as an emerging big bodied midfielder; he played 15 games and was considered to be one of the recruits of the year in 1989. McCormack suffered from second year blues in 1990 and only played four games in 1990 and after a good start to 1991 he was in and out of the seniors. His best game came in 1992 against Adelaide where he had 44 disposals but he then suffered more injuries perhaps from lack of fitness and increased weight. McCormack quit Fitzroy at end of the season and was drafted with Pick 2 in the preseason draft by Brisbane where he played 12 games in two seasons. Still teasing with his talent, McCormack kicked four goals against Sydney and then had 29 disposals against Essendon the following week. McCormack’s last game was at age 23 after 56 games; a talent that was seemingly wasted.



David Bain – Bain was drafted with Pick 16 in 1988 from East Perth after winning the 1988 Sandover Medal. In 1989 aged 22 he played 20 games and polled 11 Brownlow votes. In 1990 Bain shared Brisbane’s Best & Fairest with Martin Leslie and polled 14 votes and finished equal fourth in the Brownlow. Bain was be a regular again in 1991-1992 however in 1993 he played just nine games and was traded to Fitzroy where he played one season and 12 games before being delisted aged 28 with 98 total games to his name. Bain moved back to Queensland where he won four premierships with Southport and two Grogan Medals – the QAFL equivalent of the Brownlow Medal.



Phil Carman – North Melbourne was Carman’s fourth club in nine seasons. When Carman joined North Melbourne he was 31 and had played 87 games. Carman managed 13 games in 1982 to take his total to 100 and kicked 16 goals to take his total to 204. Carman’s 13 games for the season included both of North Melbourne’s finals – he kicked three goals in the Elimination Final. Carman career in the VFL was headlined for unfortunate incidents like eight weeks missed in his debut season at Collingwood due to a broken foot, being three votes behind the Brownlow winner, suspended in the 1977 Semi Final and missing 1977 Grand Final and replay and being suspended for 16 weeks for head-butting a boundary umpire in 1980. Carman played in the ACT in 1983 but was suspended for touching an umpire. Carman coached Sturt between 1995 to 2001. Sturt did not win a game in his first year but ended up on top of the ladder in 1998 before losing to Port Adelaide.



Wayne Deledio – Wayne is the father of Brett and played one game for Carlton in 1975 aged 19. Wayne was recruited from Carlton’s zone of Dunolly and had one kick in his only game.



Steven Stretch – Stretch was a very good wing for Melbourne between 1986-1993, particularly when Melbourne was making the finals between 1987-1991 and even won their Best & Fairest in 1987. Stretch played 164 games for 71 goals. In 1993 Stretch played 14 games and was delisted at end of the year aged 30, but was given another chance by Fitzroy with Pick 5 in 1994’s Preseason Draft.  Stretch played 19 games in his first year at Fitzroy but struggled with injuries in 1995 and played just six more games before retirement. Steven’s son Billy played 47 games for Melbourne from 2015-2019.



Dean Towers – Towers was a mature aged first round recruit for Sydney, drafted with Pick 22 in 2012. Towers was recruited from the great club Colac Otway. A utility player who could play either end as well as even on-ball ruck. In 2016 Towers played all matches from Rounds 13 to 22 but missed out playing in the finals; he played 19 games in 2017 including both finals before finishing up in 2018 after eight further games aged 28.



Some of the forgotten Number 22s are Peter Turner (Adel), Adam Garton (Bris), Tim Powell (Carl), Jason Wild (Coll), Chris Duthy (Fitz), Travis Edmonds (Freo), Nathan Turvey (Haw), Jeff Hilton (Melb), Bowen Lockwood (PA), Ben Nason (Rich), and John Peter-Budge (St.K), Gavin Rose (Syd), Shane Ellis & Hamish Brayshaw (WCE) Peter Quill (WB)





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  1. As Richie would say from the big commentary box in the sky “Marvellous team that”.

  2. Thanks Dan

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