Almanac Teams: Fifteen minutes of fame (1980- )



St Kilda’s ‘Mordy’ Bromberg [Source: Author]



A team of more obscure/lesser known players to wear the Number 15 jumper since 1980.



Here’s my second team of players to wear the Number 15, mostly from 1980 onwards but I have made exceptions, such as Ross Oakley in Number 12.



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:           Anthony Banik (Rich)                      Peter McCormack (Rich/Fitz)     Michael Wilson (PA)


CHB:        David Teague (Carl)                         Murray Rance (Foots)                   Val Perovic (Carl)


C:              Nick Dal Santo (NM)                       Mordecai Bromberg (St.K)           Tom Swift (WCE)


CHF:        Brett Allison (Syd)                            Alan Martello (Rich)                     David Rodan (PA)


FF:            Winston Abraham (Freo/NM)      Allan Jennings (Foots)                  Ryan Fitzgerald (Adel)


Ruck:        Justin Charles (Rich)                      Max Richardson (Fitz)                  Wayne Otway (Ess)


Interchange: Doug Booth (St.K), Bernie Evans (Carl), Steven Lawrence (Bris), Russell Morris (Haw)



No players from Adelaide, Collingwood, Geelong, Melbourne, Gold Coast or GWS.




Games in Number 15 (Years played)

Anthony Banik 31 (1991-1994)

Peter McCormack 4 at Richmond (1986) 1 at Fitzroy (1986)

Michael Wilson 98 (1997-2001)

Val Perovic 97 (1980-1985)

Murray Rance 40 (1986-1987)

David Teague 50 (2004-2006)

Nick Dal Santo 62 (2014-2016)

Mordecai Bromberg 20 (1980-1981)

Tom Swift 34 (2009-2012)

Brett Allison 9 (2000)

Alan Martello 32 (1981-1983)

David Rodan 111 (2007-2012)

Winston Abraham 38 at Fremantle (2005-2007) 72 at North Melbourne (2008-2011)

Allan Jennings 9 (1982)

Ryan Fitzgerald 8 (2002)

Justin Charles 54 (1995-1998)

Max Richardson 30 (1979-1980)

Wayne Otway 36 (1982-1983)

Doug Booth 4 (1982)

Bernie Evans 148 at South Melbourne/Sydney (1978-1985) 37 at Carlton (1986-1988)

Steven Lawrence 68 at Brisbane (1997-2000) 39 at St Kilda (2001-2003)

Russell Morris 74 (1985-1990)




Anthony Banik – Banik was Number 1 draft pick in the 1989 Draft at just 16 years old. Banik was a highly junior talent from Won Wron-Woodside in Gippsland, and was well developed for his age. It was hoped that he would be an onballer, though he may have lacked a yard in pace. Banik started off in the Number 45 jumper and played his first game in Round 3, going on to play 18 games across the HBF. Banik played 20 games in 1991 and was mainstay in Richmond defence averaging almost 17 disposals a game and finished sixth in their Best & Fairest. Sadly Banik was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 1992 and played only five games in 1992 and one game in 1993. In 1994 Banik’s health had improved (but so had Richmond as a team) and after five games early in the year, Banik played just six in 1994 – he also won Richmond’s reserves Best & Fairest. Banik was delisted after 1994 and finished with 49 games and his AFL career over aged just 21. He then played in the SANFL for West Adelaide and won two Best & Fairests while there.



Peter McCormack – McCormack was a Collingwood regular for a decade, playing 165 games between 1976-1985 including the 1979, 1980 and 1981 Grand Finals. After 16 games in 1985, McCormack (like many players) found himself in the Collingwood/Richmond trade war. After being sacked by Collingwood he joined ex-Pies teammates Phil Walsh, John Annear, Craig Stewart, Neil Peart and Noel Lovell at Richmond. After playing the first four games of 1986 season, McCormack was dropped and then midyear swapped to Fitzroy where he played in Round 11 against Collingwood; this was his last VFL/AFL match.



Michael Wilson – In Port Adelaide’s inaugural year Wilson won the AFL’s Rising Star award and was also a premiership player in 2004. Wilson started his career wearing Number 15 until 2002, where he missed the season due to a second knee reconstruction. When Wilson returned in the 2003 season he wore Number 21.



Val Perovic – Perovic was the original ‘Woof’ at Carlton before Ang Christou came along. Perovic started his career at St Kilda before being traded to Carlton for Alex Jesaulenko. Perovic loved his time at Carlton and played in the 1981 and 1982 premierships alongside a defence that included Doull, Hunter and Howell/Bortlotto/Southby. Perovic was able to play as a third tall from a back pocket or half back which suited his run and long kicking; hence the cries of ‘Woof’. He also garnered double-digit Brownlow votes in 1980 and 1983. Perovic fit Carlton’s mantraof: ‘Play well on Saturday, celebrate well on Sunday’ culture, once drinking 37 cans of VB in two hours. Although a defender it is a  surprising fact that the raking kicks of Perovic scored only one goal.



Murray Rance – Rance joined Footscray from Swan Districts aged 24 and played 40 games across CHB. He then returned to WA to play in 1988 for the West Coast Eagles. In 1989 Rance was appointed captain (replacing the retired Ross Glendinning) but was himself replaced by Steve Malaxos in 1990. Rance retired after 1991 after 97 games having not played a game during the season with the emergence of Jakovich/McIntosh. This in the end would be good news for Richmond decades later as it meant his son Alex was not eligible as a Father-Son pick.



David Teague – David Teague was considered a junior Glenn Archer type at the start of his career for his attack on the ball and bravery in defence at North Melbourne. Teague played 33 games in three years but was traded to Carlton in 2004 to join his former coach Denis Pagan. In his first season at Princes Park he played 22 games and won their Best & Fairest. He played 21 games in 2005 but in 2006 his form tapered off and he appeared in only seven games. It was still a surprise to see Teague delisted just two years after winning a Best & Fairest as he was still only 25 years old. Leadership was one of his strong suits and as such he was appointed playing coach of the Northern Bullants in 2007 (Carlton’s then reserves team). Teague remained coach until 2010 and then joined West Coast in 2011 for three seasons, went to St Kilda for one year, three years at Adelaide before returning to Carlton in 2017. He took over as caretaker coach in 2019 and was appointed senior coach from season 2020.



Nick Dal Santo – Dal Santo was a champion player for St Kilda over 260 games from 2002-2013. In 2014 Dal Santo joined North Melbourne as a free agent aged 30. At Arden Street Dal Santo played another 62 games to pass the 300 game mark and played in three finals campaigns including two Preliminary Finals. Despite finishing seventh in the 2016 Best & Fairest, Dal Santo (along with other veterans like Brent Harvey and Drew Petrie) was told his time at North Melbourne was up.



Mordecai Bromberg – Bromberg had cult-figure status at St Kilda in the early 1980s, perhaps for his ‘ethnic’ name (he was born in Israel) or perhaps for his hair style. Bromberg started in Number 17 in 1978 before switching to 15 for 1980-1981. Bromberg best season netted 16 games in 1980 as an onballer; good enough to get him on a footy card.  After four games in 1981 Bromberg was delisted after 34 games from 1978-1981. Bromberg studied law after footy and was admitted to Victorian Bar in 1988 before his appointment as a federal court judge in 2009.



Tom Swift – Swift was a highly rated junior footballer and was taken at Pick 20 in the 2008 Draft by West Coast. This was a huge vote of confidence in Swift as he had suffered an ACL injury in an AIS Academy game in 2007 and then 2008 missed most of the year after a hyper extension of his knee. Swift made his debut in 2009 and played 10 games for the year and 13 more in 2011 showing promise as onballer/wing. Swift struggled for games in 2012 playing only 11 games, several as substitute. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, he retired aged 22 to commence medical studies.



Brett Allison – Allison played 219 games for North Melbourne between 1987-1999 including the 1996 and 1999 premierships. He also took Mark of the Year in 1991. Allison was released by North Melbourne after 1999 premiership with a request to move back to Sydney, he was drafted with Pick 70 in the draft. Allison played a further nine games (for nine goals) before retiring. After hanging up the boots he served as assistant coach until 2010.



Alan Martello – Martello played 223 games for Hawthorn between 1970-1980. He played in three premierships and was the youngest player ever to play 200 games (25 years and 359 days). Martello joined Richmond in 1981 aged 28 and mainly played as defender, he wore yellow and black in 32 games for three goals. Martello missed the first 13 games of 1981 due to injury, then had his best season of 16 games in 1982 including the Grand Final where he played CHB. Martello retired after 1983 and was long-term ‘around the grounds’ for 3AW.



David Rodan – Rodan started his career at Richmond in 2002, where he played 65 games in five years (though missed 2005 due to a knee reconstruction) with a highlight being the 2002 Goal of the Year. Before being drafted Rodan had won the Morrish Medal in 2000 and 2001. Rodan was delisted by Richmond and was taken with Pick 86 by Port Adelaide in 2006. Rodan was a regular at Port Adelaide and played 111 games in six years including the 2007 Grand Final. Rodan finished up his career at Melbourne with nine games in 2013. In 2017 Rodan went on to become an AFL goal umpire.



Winston Abraham – Abraham was a bit of a ‘human highlight reel’ over his 110 games and 159 goals for Fremantle and North Melbourne in seven seasons. He came to notice after he kicked six goals in just his fourth game but despite his ability and pace he was traded to North Melbourne at end of 1997. Abraham was a regular in a very strong North Melbourne side and played every game in 1998; he kicked 40 goals and lined up the in the Grand Final before another 23 games in 1999 for 37 goals and a Premiership (in which he kicked two goals). His career was over at age 26 in 2001 after he injured his knee and then had an unsuccessful reconstruction. He also took Mark of the Year in 1998 in Canberra.



Ryan Fitzgerald – Fitzgerald was drafted with Pick 4 in the 1998 Draft by Sydney but did not play in 1999 due to a shoulder injury. Fitzgerald made his debut Round 1, 2000 in Number 18 and kicked five goals against St Kilda then four two weeks later against Melbourne. He ended the year with 10 games for 15 goals. Fitzgerald missed 2001 due to a knee reconstruction and then sought a trade back home to Adelaide for 2002. Fitzgerald played the opening eight games of 2002 for the Crows and kicked eight goals in those games, but as luck would have it he suffered another knee reconstruction. After further surgery in 2003 Fitzgerald retired and went on to appear on Big Brother in 2004 which helped to launch a successful media career including radio on Nova and TV on programs like Before the Game and Front Bar.



Allan Jennings – Jennings was a Bulldogs recruit from their zone of Traralgon. He came in aged 23 and had an immediate impact: five goals each in Rounds 1 and 2 and three more in Round 5. Jennings played the first seven games of the season but only two more after that to finish his VFL/AFL career with nine games and 15 goals. Jennings returned to Traralgon in 1983 as he was not a fan of a city lifestyle. From what I have read he was not a brother to former captain Geoff who played around that time but unsure if were related as both were from Traralgon.



Justin Charles – Charles started his career at Footscray where he played 36 games in five years as a second ruck/forward option. His best season was 1991 with 16 games but only played nine more in 1992-1993. Charles retired in 1994 to try his hand at baseball in the USA minor leagues with the Florida Marlins as he also played in Melbourne’s Summer. After no luck in the US, Charles had another crack at the AFL and was drafted by Richmond in 1994. He played 17 games in the strong 1995 side starting on the bench and playing as a second ruck/forward. In 1996 Charles had a great year where he played every match and averaged 17 disposals as first ruck. Charles polled 17 Brownlow votes (only four votes behind the winner), finished third in the Richmond Best & Fairest and made the Victorian squad. In 1997 Charles struggled with a groin injury and missed games over three stints on the sidelines. In a desperate move Charles was caught using anabolic steroids and was suspended from the first 16 matches of 1998 season. Charles came straight back into the senior side but had little impact and was dropped after two matches and then retired at season end, due to his ongoing injury.



Max Richardson – Richardson, like brother Wayne, was a Collingwood champion over 211 games from 1969-1978, he was Collingwood captain for one year in 1977 (the year they played a drawn Grand Final). Richardson was sacked from Collingwood after 1978 and joined Fitzroy in 1979 for two years as a player and one year as reserves coach. Richardson played 23 out of 24 games for Fitzroy in 1979 (including finals). He kicked 34 goals in the process as an onballer/HFF including a bag of six against South Melbourne. In 1980 Richardson played just seven games in a Fitzroy side that finished on the bottom of the ladder; after Round 14 Richardson stayed in the reserves while younger players were given a try.



Wayne Otway – Otway was big name recruit from East Perth in 1982, targeted to share roving and forward pocket duties with Tony Buhagiar. Otway had an immediate impact, he played 22 games for 46 goals. In his first match for Essendon he kicked five goals from 28 disposals against Footscray and finished the year averaging 20 disposals. He also ended the season just behind Simon Madden for total goals at the Bombers. Though he didn’t have quite the impact as the year before, Otway still played 14 games for 19 goals in his next season – but missed finals due to injury. Otway though returned to WA to in 1984 aged 27 where he played three more seasons with East Perth.



Doug Booth – Booth started his career in 1976 and played 20 games in three years as a defender, but did not play any games between 1979-1981. Booth play four games in 1982 but is best remembered for a match against Collingwood in 1978 where he attempted to kick a stray dog that came onto the ground during the match.



Bernie Evans – Evans was very good goalkicking rover for Sydney over 148 games and made my ‘best of’ side. He joined Carlton in 1986 aged 28 for 16 games including the 1986 Grand Final. He kicked 26 goals for the Blues including five goals in a semi-final. In 1987 injuries meant Evans only played 13 games but he was in the side for the semi-final win over Carlton where he kicked two goals. He was reported and suspended for striking Greg Dear, which caused him to miss the 1987 Premiership, replaced by Fraser Murphy. Evans played eight games in 1988 including two finals and also played in a reserves premiership.



Steven Lawrence – Steven is the son of former saint Barry Lawrence who captained St Kilda and made St Kilda’s Team of the Century and was Peter Hudson’s opponent in the 1971 Grand Final. Steven could have started his career at St Kilda as a Father-Son pick but in remarkable circumstances he was also eligible for the Brisbane Bears. This was only possible by the fact that Steven was a very promising junior footballer for the Southport Sharks in the QAFL. Brisbane were keen on a Queensland local and thought maybe Steven was keen to stay with family in Queensland. Brisbane could pick up any player as father son if they had played one game in the QAFL. Steven’s dad Barry aged 49 was picked and sat on the bench all game for Southport seniors so Steven could qualify for Brisbane. Steven played 81 games between 1995-2000 then was traded to St Kilda in a twist of fate for 39 games in three years.



Russell Morris – Morris started his career in 1984 wearing number 37 and played 19 games though was dropped after the 1984 Qualifying Final, he was still considered one of the recruits of the year. Morris played 22 games in 1985 and in 1986 he struggled with injuries but did play in a premiership. In 1987 Morris played every game and played for Victoria and received All Australian selection. He was knocked out by a crude Jim Edmond elbow at Carrara (Edmond was suspended for six weeks) and the scoreboard operator was sacked for flashing up ‘Cop that’ in response. Morris’ career stagnated after that, he played eight games in 1988, but did not play a game in 1989 and 10 more in 1990. Morris was traded to St Kilda in 1991 where he regained form over 66 games in four years and made the Victorian squad again.



Some of the forgotten Number 15s are: Adam Richardson (Adel), Neil Hein (Bris) Tony Lynn & Sam Cranage (Carl), Andrew Smith & Brad Smith (Coll), Ryan Gamble (Geel), Piers Flanagan (GC), David Donato (Fitz), Vin Catoggio (Melb), Tim Barling & Ben Marsh (Rich), Michael Dunstan (WCE) and Jason Tutt (WB)




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  1. Excellent stuff.

  2. Dr Rocket says

    Great story about Barry Lawrence sitting on the bench for Southport at age 49.
    Apparently Allan Jeans rated him the toughest player he ever coached…

    Russell Morris started his career at St Ives footy club on the north shore of Sydney.

    The piece would have been enhanced with a brief acknowledgement of where these players originally came from…..

  3. Bernie Evans played three seasons at Port Melbourne, 1975-1977. He was a member of the Port Melbourne 1977 VFA Centenary premiership team.

    He then went to South Melbourne. When the VFL decided to dispense with South Melbourne, and make up the fiction the Sydney side was a continuation of South Melbourne, he refused to leave Melbourne, crossing to Carlton.

    Sadly, due to suspension, he never added a VFL premiership medallion to his VFA premiership medallion.

    Good footballer Bernie Evans.


  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Also enjoyed that Barry Lawrence story enabling Steve to be selected as a father son for Brisbane, hadn’t heard that one before.

    Which North mark of the year do you rate higher, Allison’s or Abraham’s?

  5. Thanks Dave, it’s great for someone like you who has written on Marlion Pickett to comment

    Thanks Dr Rocket, Barry Lawrence played Peter Hudson in 1971 Grand Final. I think I did couple of recruited from for obscure locations will keep in mind.

    Thanks Glen was unaware of that re Bernie Evans, I had him in my best of 15 side. Can remember him playing well a lot when Sydney played every second Sunday.

    Thanks Luke, saw the Allison mark live, so will go with that, he got really high.

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