Almanac Teams: Greatest Number 5s


The number 5 will arguably be the toughest team to pick in this series. The number features a champion player from just about every team apart from GWS and GSC. Many fine players will miss out on this one and I leave it up to the Almanackers to submit their nominations.


These sides don’t necessarily need to be made up of champions that have played 200 plus games or won individual awards. They may have shined bright for a season or two and that may be etched in the memory of the fan. Therefore, the idea is to get an even spread of representation across the 20 VFL/AFL clubs. As always, this admittedly Vic-centric scribe welcomes nominations from other leagues, for the benefit of my own education and others that mistakenly believe only the best ever must have played in the VFL/AFL.



From the backline: (Victorian Rules)


B: Dwayne Lamb (WCE)       Gary Malarkey (Geel)          Tony Ongarello (Fitz)


HB: Andrew McKay (Carl)     Terry Daniher (Ess)              John Rantall (Sth/Nth)


C: Geoff Cunningham (StK)  Nathan Buckley (Coll)         Vic Thorpe (Rich)


HF: Ryan O’Keefe (Syd)          Bernie Quinlan (Fitz)           Gary Ablett (Geel)


F: Syd Dyer (Nth)                    Fred Fanning (Melb)            Peter Crimmins (Haw)


R: Polly Farmer (Geel)            James Hird (Ess)                   Sam Mitchell (Haw)


IC: Scott Thompson (Adel) Peter Box (Foots) George Elliott (Uni) Barry Price (Coll)


Coach: Brad Scott


Umpires: Bill Deller – Jeff Crouch 5 Grand Finals apiece.


Entertainment: The Jackson 5





More funny teams can be found here

About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Theo Harms. Fitzroy JFC

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Good on you Theo. Was the number your choice or did Dad sit you down and tell you how great Gary Malarkey used to be?

  3. Syd Jackson.

  4. John Butler says

    Ahem, Chris Judd?

    Also, Syd Jackson, Ken Sheldon.

    Not to forget Steve Da Rui.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    From 1997 Phil (as are a few of yours already)

    Kym Koster (Adel)
    Nathan Chapman (Bris)
    Andrew McKay (Carl)
    Nathan Buckley (Coll)
    James Hird (Ess)
    Daniel Parker (Fre)
    Daniel Harford (Haw)
    David Schwarz (Mel)
    Stuart Anderson (N Mel)
    Shane Bond (Port)
    Jamie Tape (Rich)
    Austinn Jones (St K)
    Craig O’Brien (Syd)
    Anthony Lovell (WC)
    Rohan Smith (WB)

  6. Hello Phil.

    I’d swap Quinlan and Daniher. Bernie played some great footy for the ‘Scray at CHB. If they’d played under a roof during his time with the Dogs he would’ve kicked 50 a season running out of the back half!

    A couple of nominations for the #5’s

    Max O’Halloran Footscray (1972-1974) 13 games/2 goals. Max debuted in 1972 wearing #39 – It’s previous owner/occupant/wearer – Dennis Cometti.

    Max wore the #5 in 6 games for the Dogs (1973-1974). He was traded to Carlton prior to the June 30 clearance deadline in ’74, the Dogs receiving Ian Robertson in the deal. O’Halloran made his VFL debut Round 11 1972 for Footscray against Carlton at the Western Oval. His last game of VFL football was for Carlton in their Round 18 1974 visit to Footscray.

    Max and Robbo played at Oakleigh (VFA) in 1975.

    Non footy nomination: Jim Lefebvre Chicago Cubs manager (1992/1993) Lefebvre wore the #5 during his two season stint in charge at Wrigley Field and posted a .500 record as the Cubs skipper – 162 wins/162 losses. Lefebvre won the 1965 National League Rookie of the year with the Los Angeles Dodgers. LA defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-3 in that years World Series.

    In 1967 Lefebvre made cameo appearances in two episodes of Batman (Batman’s Anniversary & Riddling Controversy) playing one of the Riddlers henchmen – “Across”

    Love ya work Phil.


  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Syd Jackson very close. Great nomination JTH and JB.

    JB – Judd? He captained a West Coast Premiership side wearing number 3, so there’s that. As Yoshi demonstarted when in Melbourne, Judd more famous at Carlton for chicken wings and pinching Dane Swan’s Brownlow in 2010 !!
    Ken Sheldon solid nomination. Wasn’t a bad coach either. Da Rui tried to take on Darren Millane at VFL Park one day. Bad move. Harry Haughton was an early Blue to wear 5 from 1913 to 1919.

    Swish – That 1997 was pretty handy.
    Austin Jones just missed out. Had to include Joffa Cunningham (Many fine games for the Big V) Schwarz was considered, but Fred Fanning’s 18 goals in a game deserves a spot. Kym Koster made the move at the right time.

    Mic – Ripper yarn re: Max O’Halloran. And thanks for the Baseball history lesson !!
    Rohan Smith and Matthew Boyd unlucky.
    Ian Bryant wore 5 between 1962-69
    Peter Featherby in 1975-76
    Another interesting note: The late Ron James wore it in 1988-89 before his tragic death. Another Ron James also wore it in 1930 for the Dogs.
    Most intriguing for me is Charlie Stewart who wore it for 20 games including the GF in 1961 and never played VFL again. What happened there?

  8. Nice one Phil. My first footy jumper bore number was 5 in worship of Ronnie Wearmouth.

    From Ronnie McKeown to Bucks to Maxy then Jamie Elliott, it’s been a revered number for the black and whites over my time. I wear it with pride on a Wednesday night in O/30’s Gumby Grade basketball!

  9. Hello Phil.

    I don’t know as much about Charlie Stewart as I should. He played reserve footy for the Dons in the late 50’s, with just the one season at the Western Oval (61). He was involved in Rodeo’s (plural?). Returned to the Goulburn Valley. He appeared on Marngrook Footy Show a couple of years ago.

    Would very much appreciate it if a fellow ‘Nacker could shed more light on what Charlie did post ’61.

    Max O’Halloran is on the Cairns Regional Council.


  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says
  11. Many thanks Gerry.


  12. Rocket Singers says

    Ian Harlow Stewart #5 St Kilda.

  13. Rocket Singers says

    So what happened to Charlie Stewart after the 1961 VFL Grand Final>

    He went back to Kyabram.
    Won the 1963 Morrison medal.
    Wore #7.

    Coached Ky 1964-65 to grand finals – beaten by Shepp under Tommy Hafey.

    Coached Stanhope in GVL 1967-1969 – first finals appearance since 1948.
    Owned and operated the butcher shop.
    Played Stanhope until 1971 then a couple of seasons with Girgarre in Kyabram DFL.
    Coached Stanhope Under 17s – I played under him.

    Went to Sydney in the mid-70s.
    Worked as a chimney sweep.

    Took him to a Swans game in the mid-80s when Tommy was coaching.
    Went into the rooms before the game and Tommy greeted him as an old friend.

    Now living in Nyah West.

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    JD – Loved Ronnie McKeown. Saw him kick 8 against Essendon at VFL Park in 1986. Also had some great duels with Tony Lockett and more than held his own. Stiff to miss in 1990 and here.
    Jamie Elliott will be considered if he learns to be more astute with his proclivity for public urination.
    Bruce Abernethy was a class player off half-back in his too brief stint at the Pies.
    Graeme Atkins ring a bell?

    Mic , Gerry and Rocket – Thanks for the update on Charlie Stewart. Love the stories that develop from these threads.
    Swish – Terrific video on Sonny Morey. Thanks for the education.
    Ian Stewart a bad oversight on my part. Has to be in the first 18.

    List of first number 5s in 1912 (First year numbers widely worn) and 1925 for HAW-FOOT-NM:
    Carlton – George Challis
    Collingwood – Percy Gibb
    Essendon – Fred Baring
    Fitzroy – Jack Cooper
    Footscray – Sid Thompson
    Geelong – Bert Dalton
    Hawthorn – Les Woodford
    Melbourne – Bill Hendrie
    North Melbourne – Alf Goonan
    Richmond – Vic Thorp
    St Kilda – Ernie Sellars
    South Melbourne – Les Charge
    University – George Elliott

    Brisbane Bears – Brad Hardie
    West Coast – Dwayne Lamb
    Adelaide – Bruce Abernethy
    Fremantle – Todd Riley
    Port Adelaide – Shane Bond
    GCS – Jarrod Harbrow
    GWS – Dylan Shiel

  15. Great thread this, LB.

    Could I nominate John “Barrel” Scholes.
    Legendary Victorian cricket player / coach, and North Melbourne player (1968 – 71).

  16. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Smokie – John Scholes? Didn’t know he played footy. Great get. Jason McCartney 1998 -2003. Who can for get that memorable effort against your nemesis Richmond in ’03?
    I was sure you’d squeeze Stuart Anderson in there somewhere or Doug Smith at least…

  17. North haven’t exactly had an illustrious list of #5’s.

    John Scholes played 30 games from 67-71 until his career was ended by a knee injury. Could well have been a 75 immortal as a small forward/rover.

  18. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    SANFL 1978

    Tim Evans (Port)
    Ian Stasinowsky (Norwood)
    Dean Schutz (Woodville)
    Peter Carey (Glenelg)
    Robin White (South)
    Don Welch (Sturt)
    Pat Tocaciu (North)

  19. The late Ian Stasinowsky very good full back and good bloke a lot of TABs and pubs are far worse off re his passing

  20. As for Chris Judd, my thought had been the same as Phil’s comment back to John Bulter. His chicken wing tackle that I demonstrated at North Fitzroy Arms cost his position here. Ten many people think Judd has contributed more at West Coast, seeing him at the number three team is more reasonable, I think. Cheers – Yoshi

  21. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Swish – Tim Evans a peculiar story. Spent 4 unspectacular seasons at half-back for Geelong and then became a gun full-forward at Port. Nice beard , too.

    Yoshi – Judd was excellent at Carlton. He carried them for most of his time there, but his success at West Coast – team and individual, far exceeds his exploits at the Blues – despite the Chicken Wing !!
    Gilbert McAdam also wore 5 for the Saints between 1991-93, famously in the Winmar match at Vic Park in 1993, where the Saints won and humanity evolved a little, afterwards.

  22. Shane ohnson says

    T Evans was originally from Parklands High School in Burnie Tassie I think!

  23. Terry barnstable says

    Charlie Stewart won a Senior B&F at Waaia as a14 year old,was a champion according to an old timer who played with him.His parent’s occupied the same farm that the family of Anthony Steven’s moved to in early 1980’s

  24. I’m unsure if we need a team of 5’s. On the half forward flank is a name who was more than a match for any side.

    His Nom De Plume, God, said it all. The best player I’ve seen, most likely the best to have ever pulled on a football boot.


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