Almanac Teams: Fourteen karat gold (1980- )


Brisbane’s Danny Dickfos [Source: Author]


This is a team of best players to wear the Number 14 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 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:         Danny Dickfos (Bris)                        Stephen Paxman (PA)           Antoni Grover (Freo)


CHB:     Grant Birchall (Haw/Bris)               Michael Brennan (WCE)      Rodney Grinter (Melb)


C:           Bachar Houli (Rich)                           Joel Selwood (C) (Geel)       David Mackay (Adel)


CHF:      Matthew Armstrong (Fitz/NM)     Shane Watson (Coll)             Tim Taranto (GWS)


FF:         Rod Ashman (Carl)                            Tony Lockett (St.K)              Trent Dumont (NM)


Ruck:     Luke Darcy (DVC) (WB)                  Paul Kelly (VC) (Syd)            Jason Johnson (Ess)


Interchange: Luke Ball (St.K), David Calthorpe (Ess), Greg Dear (Haw/Rich), Michael Sexton (Carl)


Emergencies: Matthew Connell (Adel), Jarryn Geary (St.K), Michael Hibberd (Melb), Shane Wakelin (Coll)


Coach: Allan Jeans


No Gold Coast player in the starting 18.



Grant Birchall has worn Number 14 at Hawthorn and Brisbane, is picked for Hawthorn

Matthew Armstrong wore Number 14 at Fitzroy and North Melbourne, is picked for Fitzroy

Greg Dear wore Number 14 at Hawthorn and Richmond.




Games in Number 14 (Years Played)

Danny Dickfos 65 (1996-1999)

Stephen Paxman 138 (1997-2003)

Antoni Grover 193 (2001-2012)

Grant Birchall 232 at Hawthorn (2007-2019) 26 at Brisbane (2020- )

Michael Brennan 179 (1987-1995)

Rodney Grinter 134 (1985-1994)

Bachar Houli 202 (2011- )

Joel Selwood 320 (2007- )

David Mackay 236 (2008- )

Matthew Armstrong 132 at Fitzroy (1987-1994) 43 at North Melbourne (1995-1996)

Shane Watson 141 (1992-2000)

Tim Taranto 84 (2017- )

Rod Ashman 236 (1973-1986)

Tony Lockett 81 (1984-1987)

Trent Dumont 101 (2015- )

Luke Darcy 225 (1995-2007)

Paul Kelly 224 (1991-2002)

Jason Johnson 173 (1999-2008)

Luke Ball 142 (2003-2009)

David Calthorpe 79 (1994-1998)

Greg Dear 137 at Hawthorn (1985-1993) 53 at Richmond (1994-1996)

Michael Sexton 200 (1990-2000)



The Number 14 has two of the best captains in the last 25 years in Paul Kelly and Joel Selwood with Selwood just edging Kelly to get the nod for skipper. The defence is pretty solid, especially with great depth in tall defenders including on the bench and emergencies. In the midfield too there is plenty of depth with some of the forwards selected better known as midfielders. The forward line only really has one true forward, but it is Plugger and if he plays like 1987 Brownlow winner Plugger then the forward line is good!



The toughest choices for the one player per club in the starting 18 were Adelaide between David Mackay and Matthew Connell, Carlton between Rod Ashman and Michael Sexton, Hawthorn between Alan Martello, Greg Dear and Grant Birchall, Melbourne between Rodney Grinter, Lynden Dunn and Michael Hibberd and St Kilda between Tony Lockett, Luke Ball and Jarryn Geary.



The defence has a lot of depth in key position, Stephen Paxman was a best and fairest winner at Port Adelaide, Michael Brennan was a vice captain under John Worsfold for a few years that could play FB or CHB. Antoni Grover could play key position but also was agile enough to play on smaller players. Danny Dickfos was cult figure at Brisbane for his dash and once again he could play tall or run off HBF. Birchall would provide the dash in backline and the precise kicking while Grinter would make the opposition forwards look over their shoulder. The defence does lack a genuine small defender who would provide a lock down role; this could be done by David Calthorpe or even Paul Kelly who started his career in defence. Other players who could play in defence would be Bachar Houli who really is a HBF rather than a wing and Michael Sexton who was an All Australian tall defender. Shane Watson could also play across the half back line.



The midfield is led by two tough nuts in Joel Selwood and Paul Kelly, while Jason Johnson is picked as rover and was a key onballer for Essendon in 2000. Luke Darcy is first ruck who was All Australian and has help with Greg Dear who was a very good tap ruck in a successful Hawthorn era. David Mackay has being a good wing for Adelaide over 200 games, Bachar Houli is picked on the other wing, Trent Dumont could also play on the wing. There is plenty of depth for midfielders with Rod Ashman being a Brownlow favourite one year when moved to first rover, Matthew Armstrong was a very good centre at Fitzroy, Tim Taranto won a Best & Fairest in a Grand Final year as a midfielder and Luke Ball and David Calthorpe on the bench can run through the midfield.



Tony Lockett is full forward and is best remembered for wearing Number 4. Lockett however wore Number 37 in his first year, then moved to Number 14 in 1984; he played 81 games for 333 goals in four years including a total of 117 in 1987, his Brownlow year. With Lockett in the forward line, it would be dangerous. Rod Ashman was named as a forward pocket in Carlton’s team of the century, he kicked 370 goals from 236 games. Taranto, Dumont and Armstrong are not really forwards, but with my criteria I have named them there, my thinking is with Lockett in the team he needs space so it will be an open forward line with extra mids. Shane Watson is named as CHF and could be the decoy alternative. To be fair to Watson he started his career as forward with 14 games and 20 goals in his first year, before moving to HBF, he then played forward again in 1998 kicking 33 goals from 21 games – he managed to kick five goals on three occasions. Luke Darcy could play forward with Dear in the ruck as he kicked 183 goals from 226 games and often played CHF at start of his career with Scott Wynd in ruck, his personal best haul was six. Paul Kelly is another who could play forward as he has been known to pinch hit there. Kelly kicked 200 goals from 234 games, he kicked four plus goals seven times.



The bench has the best four players available that may cover the team weakness. Michael Sexton was unlucky to miss the 18 and had to be in 22 as he was very good player in a strong Carlton side of the mid-1990s. Luke Ball was a tough midfielder and played a similar game to other midfielders but was too good to leave out. Greg Dear is a good second ruck and would allow Darcy to help up forward. Calthorpe helps in midfield/defence as a run-with player and played this role very well in Essendon’s premiership season; he also won the Whitten Medal for Victoria.



There are four club captains in the side: Joel Selwood, Paul Kelly, Luke Darcy and Luke Ball. This was a tough choice between Selwood and Kelly as they are two of the most respected leaders in the last 25 years. I went for Selwood, but both would be top five captains overall in the past 25 years.



The unlucky players were Brad Fisher (Carl), Jordan Ridley (Ess), Darren Flanigan (Geel), Allan Martello (Haw), Lynden Dunn (Melb), Ben Buckley (NM), and Craig Bird & Callum Mills (Syd).




Read more of Rodney’s teams HERE.





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  1. Love your work as usual, Rodney. Very happy to see Bachar there, he’s been a champion.

    How far off was Weller from the Suns? I know you try to fit a player in from each side, but based on the quality of the other selections, I can see why he missed out.

  2. Thanks Jarrod for your kind words and editing.

    Weller missed out as GWS/Gold Coast and Fitzroy take the last 2 spots of starting 18. I had Matthew Armstrong and Tim Taranto ahead of him. In saying it is an oversight Weller is not listed at least in the unlucky s as I did write him down but forgot to type it up.
    Matthew Armstrong was a great player for Fitzroy, probably forgotten how good he played when Fitzroy were finishing just outside the eight.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Any team with Danny Dickfos in it is a good team.

    Shane Watson was a favourite, started as a promising forward, but played best at half back, think he got a Big V guernsey during his time as a defender. Loved seeing him back up forward in 1998. And he never reviewed an LBW decision.

  4. Thanks Luke
    Watson did like goal review though Luke.

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