Almanac Teams: Diamond dozens (1980- )

Fitzroy’s Micky Conlan [Source: Author]


This is a team of the best players to wear the Number 12 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 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 Gavin Wanganeen in Number 1 & 4


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 etc.




FB:           Brad Sholl (Geel)               Daniel Talia (Adel)                      Mitchell White (WCE)


CHB:       Denis Banks (Coll)             Graham Polak (Freo)                  Greg Eppelstun (Foots)


C:             John Blakey (NM)              Brad Sewell (Haw)                      Andrew Welsh (Ess)


CHF:       Michael Conlan (Fitz)        Nick Riewoldt (C) (St.K)            Matthew Lappin (Carl)


FF:          Jason Akermanis (Bris)     Matthew Richardson (Rich)      Sam Day (GCS)


Ruck:     Jackson Trengove (PA)       Todd Viney (VC) (Melb)            Josh Kennedy (DVC) (Syd)


Interchange: David Astbury (Rich), Adrian Gleeson(Carl), Lindsay Thomas (NM), Simon Tregenza (Adel)


Emergencies: Luke Ball (Coll), Nic Fosdike (Syd), Robert Shirley (Adel), Michael Symons (Ess)


Coach: Matthew Primus



No GWS player in the starting 18



Games in Number 12 (Years Played)

Brad Sholl 169 (1995-2002)

Daniel Talia 200 (2011- )

Mitchell White 127 (1993-2000)

Denis Banks 166 (1979-1991)

Graham Polak 67 (2003-2006)

Greg Eppelstun 101 (1987-1992)

John Blakey 224 (1993-2002)

Brad Sewell 182 (2006-2014)

Andrew Welsh 147 (2003-2011)

Michael Conlan 210 (1977-1989)

Nick Riewoldt 336 (2001-2017)

Matthew Lappin 196 (1999-2007)

Jason Akermanis 210 (1997-2006)

Matthew Richardson 282 (1993-2009)

Sam Day 131 (2011- )

Jackson Trengove 153 (2010-2017)

Todd Viney 233 (1987-1999)

Josh Kennedy 245 (2010- )

David Astbury 121 (2011- )

Adrian Gleeson 176 (1986-1996)

Lindsay Thomas 205 (2007-2017)

Simon Tregenza 106 (1991-1998)



The Number 12’s strength is flexibility in its tall players; tall forwards in Riewoldt and Richardson are very mobile and can both play on the wing. Trengove, White and Polak can play defence or forward. The midfield is probably the weak link of the side with no recognised ruck and the midfield – while very good ball getters – lack a bit of class and run.



Number 12 didn’t really have a big squad to choose from. Adelaide was the team that probably had the most contenders between Daniel Talia, Robert Shirley and Simon Tregenza, Carlton had Adrian Gleeson and Matthew Lappin, Collingwood: Denis Banks and Luke Ball, Essendon: Andrew Welsh and Michael Symons, Hawthorn: Ian Paton and Brad Sewell, North Melbourne: John Blakey and Lindsay Thomas, Richmond had Matthew Richardson and David Astbury and Sydney had Nic Fosdike and Josh Kennedy.



The defence is very solid, lead by Daniel Talia who has been one of best full backs in last decade and while not as offensive as others, he is rarely beaten. Graham Polak showed promise when an early draftee at Fremantle as a strong marking defender. Mitchell White was a very good third tall at West Coast as a defender or forward and could play on tall or small players. Denis Banks was another player who could play HBF or CHF and was one of Collingwood’s bravest (though injury-prone) players in the 1980s. Brad Sholl was a very good small back pocket that attacked and still did a job on his opponent and Greg Eppelstun is very much a lesser-known player but was solid for the Bulldogs in the late 1980s (he made the Victorian State Squad). Help in defence comes from David Astbury and Jackson Trengove as tall defenders, Matthew Lappin and Jason Akermanis who played back pocket under Leigh Matthews in his early years as coach, and Andrew Welsh and John Blakey named on wings are better known as Half Back Flankers.



The midfield is the weak link in the side, there is no recognised ruck with part timer Jackson Trengove picked as first ruck; help could come from Sam Day or maybe Polak. The only other option in the squad was Ian Paton. The midfield has great accumulators in Kennedy, Viney and Sewell with Sewell also able to provide a run-with role, it does lack a bit of pace and maybe class with the wings mentioned earlier better known as Half Backs. Simon Tregenza named on the bench is a pacey winger, with Matthew Richardson also able to play there, having famously ran third in the 2008 Brownlow playing predominantly on the wing. Adrian Gleeson is a pacey rover that can help in midfield and Akermanis is obviously a classy and quick player that would spend a lot of time in the midfield.



The forward line has two mobile goal kickers in the key posts in Riewoldt and Richardson. Sam Day is handy tall player at Gold Coast who has had some bad injuries but when fit is reliable marking forward. Michael Conlan in 1980s was one of the most exciting half forwards in the game with his explosive pace and strength. Matthew Lappin and Jason Akermanis are classy small forwards around goal that can change position further up the ground. There is also Lindsay Thomas named on the bench who is a goal kicker as well as Mitchell White, Denis Banks and Graham Polak who can play forward.



The interchange bench was picked to be the best four players still available, but it also helps to cover some weaknesses. David Astbury playing in key defence gives depth if White or Polak are needed elsewhere, Gleeson does give a pace as a rover in the midfield, Lindsay Thomas as a small forward allows Akermanis or Lappin into the midfield and Simon Trengenza is the recognised winger that the starting 18 does not have.



There are three club captains in the side – Todd Viney, Josh Kennedy and Nick Riewoldt. The latter is the standout and was named as captain, due mostly to having played the most games as captain of St Kilda.



The unlucky players were: Jonathon Patton (GWS), Ian Paton (Haw) and Russell Morris (St.K)



As mentioned, this is not the first time a number twelve team has been suggested on The Footy Almanac, Phil Dimitriadis gave his version of an all-time list HERE.



Read more of Rodney’s teams HERE.






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  1. Luke Reynolds says

    How ripped was M.Conlan on that footy card!

    Loved Denis Banks, the Collingwood version of a Pakistani cricketer with his dodgy birthdate.

  2. Thanks Luke
    Conlan physique was one of first I noticed watching football, especially when oiled up.

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