Almanac Teams: Jonestown, Best of Number 38 (1980- )



Essendon’s Sen Denham [Source: Author]


This is a team of best players to wear the Number 38 jumper since 1980.


  • Starting 18 will be one player from each club. I have tweaked it after the Number 3 team. Brisbane Bears and 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 Eddie Betts numbers 18 and 19.




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.



FB:               Jack Henry (Geel)                          Josh Gibson (NM)                          Steven Morris (Rich)


CHB:           Brett Jones (WCE)                         Dale Morris (VC) (WB)                  Luke Ryan (Freo)


C:                 Clint Jones (St.K)                           Roger James (PA)                           Lachlan Sholl (Adel)


CHF:           Leon Harris (DVC) (Fitz)              Jeremy Howe (Melb/Coll)            Jesse Joyce (GCS)


FF:               Jeff Garlett (Carl)                           Lance Franklin (Haw)                   Daniel Lloyd (GWS)


Ruck:           Mike Pyke (Syd)                             Tom Rockliff (C) (PA)                    Sean Denham (Ess)


Interchange: Mark Harvey (Ess), Anthony Jones (Freo), Shane Robertson (Carl), Dion Scott (Bris)


Emergencies: Adrian Barich (WCE), Majak Daw (NM), Austin McCrabb (Geel), Brett Scott (Syd)


Coach: Mark Harvey


All teams are represented in the starting 18, with Jeremy Howe from both Melbourne and Collingwood.



Games in Number 38 (Years Played)

Jack Henry 96 (2018- )

Josh Gibson 65 (2006-2009)

Steven Morris 87 (2012-2017)

Brett Jones 102 (2004-2011)

Dale Morris 253 (2005-2019)

Luke Ryan 49 (2017-2019)

Clint Jones 50 (2007-2009)

Roger James 147 (2007-2015)

Lachlan Sholl 37 (2020- )

Leon Harris 166 (1980-1989)

Jeremy Howe 100 at Melbourne (2011-2015) 108 at Collingwood (2016- )

Jesse Joyce 64 (2016-2020)

Jeff Garlett 107 (2009-2014)

Lance Franklin 20 (2005)

Daniel Lloyd 69 (2017- )

Mike Pyke 110 (2009-2015)

Tom Rockliff 154 (2009-2017)

Sean Denham 142 (1993-2000)

Mark Harvey 60 (1984-1986)

Anthony Jones 52 (1995-1998)

Shane Robertson 80 (1983-1991)

Dion Scott 73 (1993-1999)



The 38 side is really keeping up with the Joneses and a couple of Morrises. The 38 is a high even number and is served well in each position, with its strength mainly in defence.



Clubs with multiple options are Brisbane with Dion Scott and Tom Rockliff, Carlton with Shane Robertson and Jeff Garlett, Essendon with Mark Harvey and Sean Denham and West Coast with Adrian Barich and Brett Jones.



As mentioned, defence is the strength of the side with multiple options for key posts who can play tight or as an intercept marking defender. Josh Gibson, Jack Henry, Dale Morris, Luke Ryan and Brett Jones can play any of FB, CHB or third tall defender with Dale Morris and Luke Ryan also having the ability to play as a small defender. Josh Gibson is named at FB, having shown promise at North Melbourne before going to Hawthorn; he had the ability to play on and beat ‘Buddy’ Franklin in a couple of matches, especially in the 2007 Semi Final. Dale Morris at CHB was one of the best negating defenders of his era, he was All Australian in 2008 and had a great Grand Final in 2016 (also on Buddy). While not a big possession earner he had the ability to lock down tall or mid-sized opponents with his mobility and closing pace. Jack Henry is the nominal third tall at Geelong or main key defender if Blicavs is playing on ball or ruck. Henry is known for his marking and is very good kick. Brett Jones is a 2006 premiership player who was tight defender that could also play on mid-sized forwards. Luke Ryan at 186cm plays taller and was All Australian and a Best & Fairest winner. Steven Morris takes the small back pocket that can provide dash – he was also crazily brave with his tackling and courage. Other defenders are Dion Scott and Anthony Jones as talls, Jeremy Howe as an intercept marking defender and Clint Jones, Jesse Joyce and Shane Robertson as smalls. Mark Harvey can also play in defence though that was later in his career as a wearer of Number 1.



The Canadian Mike Pyke takes the role of first ruck; he was a premiership winning ruck and an important contributor over this period. Sean Denham is first rover and was great run-with midfielder for Essendon in their 1993 Premiership and had great duels with the likes of Greg Williams. Roger James and Tom Rockliff are high disposal winners in the midfield. James’s best seasons were 2001-2004 as a midfielder in Port Adelaide finals teams. Rockliff was a midfielder in a weaker era at Brisbane but produced some big numbers, he got over 40 touches ten times with best of 48. On the wings are Clinton Jones who had pace and would be able to play a run-with role if needed and Lachlan Sholl, who is an emerging wing at Adelaide and is a similar player to his dad Brett. Other midfielders are Dion Scott as a second ruck and Leon Harris and Shane Robertson as on ballers.



Lance Franklin in his first year wore 38 and they were signs then that he was an athletic freak. Hawthorn did not have any other real options so Buddy is in; in his first year he played 20 games for 21 goals with a best haul of three. Jeremy Howe has made his name in defence but did started his career as a high flying forward. This team needs forwards and Howe is at CHF and at Melbourne he played 100 games for 80 goals with a best haul of four. Daniel Lloyd has been a handy addition at GWS as a mid-sized forward, he has kicked 60 goals from 69 games. Jeff Garlett is the most noted goalkicker in the side as a quick crumbing forward pocket with 183 goals at Carlton. Leon Harris played most of his career as second rover to Gary Wilson, rotating through the forward line with a best of five goals in a game. Jesse Joyce was more of a defender but there was no room for him there so I have picked him as a defensive forward. Other forwards in the side are Dion Scott and Jack Henry who has played as a tall forward at times, Tom Rockliff and Mark Harvey.



The bench is the best four players available with Mark Harvey the best of these. Harvey played 60 games for 97 goals in Number 38, including two premierships, Victorian representation and VFL Team of the Year with a best game haul of seven goals. With these credentials he is valuable player in a team lacking goalkickers. Anthony Jones was an underrated yet injury prone defender for Fremantle over 82 career games in nine seasons. Jones was 185cm but often played above his height at CHB; he may allow Jack Henry to play more forward. Shane Robertson was a fringe tagging midfielder or defender for nine seasons but when Carlton played in Grand Finals in 1986-1987, Robertson had his best years with 38 games and premiership medal in 1987. Dion Scott is 190cm but played a lot of his footy at Brisbane as a backup ruck/CHF/half back. Scott did kick 61 goals from his 73 games so he would be playing more as a CHF/ruck role.



Tom Rockliff is the only club captain in the side so he is skipper here. Dale Morris was a premiership vice captain, so he gets VC next to his name and Leon Harris was a vice captain at Fitzroy so he landed the deputy role.


The unlucky players were Rohan Welsh (Carl) and Angelo Petraglia (Foots)



You can read all of Rodney’s ‘best of’  Here.




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  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Very good team for a higher number.

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