Almanac Teams: Noteable Nineteens (1980- )



Geelong’s Neville Bruns [Source: Author]


This is a team of best players to wear the Number 19 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 number 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:         Greg Strachan (Rich)        Matthew Bishop (PA)                       Steven Sziller (St.K)


CHB:      Nick Haynes (GWS)         Mark Stevens (Adel)                          Sam Wright (NM)


C:            James Walker (Freo)        Michael McLean (DVC) (Bris)        Graeme Wright (Coll)


CHF:      Karl Langdon (WCE)        Tom Lynch (VC) (GCS)                    Michael O’Loughlin (Syd)


FF:          Eddie Betts (Carl)             Jason Dunstall (C) (Haw)                Darren Bennett (Melb)


Ruck:     David Hille (Ess)              David McMahon (Fitz)                     Neville Bruns (Geel)


Interchange: Jamie Charman (Bris) Sam Gilbert (St.K), Jack Gunston (Haw) Shaun Higgins (WB)


Emergencies, Anthony Daniher (Syd), Ben Dixon (Haw), Matthew Egan (Geel), Peter Somerville (Ess)


Coach: Luke Beveridge


No Western Bulldogs in the starting 18 but I do have Shaun Higgins on the bench. Generally I pick two out of Fitzroy, Gold Coast and GWS but these three teams had better options than the Bulldogs for starting 18 positions. This won’t make my father-in-law Jim happy, as he thinks I don’t give the Bulldogs much love but there were limited options from the Bulldogs: Terry Love, Zeno Tzatzaris, Luke Beveridge, Paul Gow, Liam Jones and Lukas Webb. Cody Weightman will hopefully be an automatic selection in a few years. I do have Luke Beveridge as coach for all Doggies supporters.



Games in Number 19 (Years Played)

Greg Strachan 154 (1978-1987)

Matthew Bishop 128 (2001-2006)

Steven Sziller 118 (1995-2000)

Nick Haynes 164 (2012- )

Mark Stevens 101 (1998-2005)

Sam Wright 132 (2010-2019)

James Walker 147 (1999-2007)

Michael McLean 88 (1991-1997)

Graeme Wright 201 (1988-1998)

Karl Langdon 100 (1988-1995)

Tom Lynch 118 at Gold Coast (2012-2018) 62 at Richmond (2019- )

Michael O’Loughlin 292 (1996-2009)

Eddie Betts 218 (2005-2013, 2020-2021)

Jason Dunstall 269 (1985-1998)

Darren Bennett 74 (1989-1993)

David Hille 172 (2003-2013)

David McMahon 218 (1973-1984)

Neville Bruns 223 (1978-1992)

Jamie Charman 129 (2001-2009)

Sam Gilbert 208 (2006-2018)

Jack Gunston 195 (2012- )

Shaun Higgins 32 (2006-2008)



The Number 19 team has no true midfielders in the side but does have a great forward line and solid backline. For some reason the jumper seems to be worn either by taller players or half back/forward flankers. If the ball can get down to the forward line there is plenty of options to kick goals with Dunstall, Bennett and Lynch as talls, O’Loughlin midsize and Betts crumbing the packs.



Clubs that had multiple options were Brisbane with Michael McLean and Jamie Charman, Collingwood with Craig Davis and Graeme Wright, Essendon with Peter Somerville and David Hille, Geelong with Neville Bruns and Matthew Egan, Hawthorn with Jason Dunstall, Ben Dixon and Jack Gunston, Richmond with Greg Strachan and Tom Lynch, St Kilda with Steven Sziller, Sam Gilbert and Rowan Marshall and Sydney with Anthony Daniher and Michael O’Loughlin.



The defence is not too bad, it has height in key positions, negotiating tall and small defenders and a very good intercept marker, but does lack run and carry out of defence. Matthew Bishop, Greg Strachan and Mark Stevens are premiership key defenders, I chose Bishop at FB as he is taller at 195cm to Strachan’s 188cm. Both players were very good role players for their teams with Bishop perhaps more attacking and has the ability to take more intercept marks. Mark Stevens could play CHB or CHF, playing more as a CHB when he first started in 1998-1999 at Adelaide but did kick 38 goals in 2002. Nick Haynes is one of the best intercept marking defenders in the league at the moment and is perhaps the most attacking defender in the side. Sam Wright named on the HBF was a utility who could play either on a flank or wing, in this side he will be needed to provide some run from defence. Steven Sziller is named in the back pocket to play on small forwards, but could also play as a tagger. Other players who could play in the midfield are Michael McLean (more of back pocket than onballer but needed on ball for his creativity), James Walker, Graeme Wright and Sam Gilbert. Gibert could also play partially in defence.



The midfield starts with David Hille who was a fine ruck for Essendon; mobile and could take a grab up forward. He also has support with Jamie Charman. The wings are very good with Graeme Wright on one side who was runner up in the 1990 Brownlow Medal when Collingwood won a premiership; James Walker on the other is very quick, having won the Grand Final Sprint in 2003 and 2004. Michael McLean (as mentioned in this side for his class in the midfield) could swap with Sziller if Sziller is needed for a tagging role. David McMahon is named as ruck rover, he was more of a creative half forward but gets an opportunity to show his class in the middle. Neville Bruns as first rover did play there a fair bit before Andrew Bews started his career and then moved to a wing. Other midfield options would be Shaun Higgins, Sam Wright, and at various times we may put Eddie Betts or Michael O’Loughlin in there for some class…or Langdon to make the opposition think twice.



If we can get the ball into the forward line we are set. Full forward is Jason Dunstall, who alongside Tony Lockett has claims to be the best FF in the past 40 years. Dunstall was a great lead, mark and set shot at goal but was also very good with second efforts. Next to him I have Darren Bennett who was one of the best long kicks for goal in the AFL, so good he made a second career out of in the NFL. Bennett was a major feature in the forwardline until Allen Jakovich came along with 87 goals in 1990. Next to them in the forward pocket is Eddie Betts, the best small forward in the AFL. Betts made the Number 18 side for his career at Adelaide where he was probably at his peak, but at Carlton he still kicked 330 goals from 218 games and led their goal-kicking twice. Tom Lynch was a very good CHF when at Gold Coast; an All Australian and winner of two Best & Fairests. Michael O’Loughlin takes one flank, and while he spent a lot of time closer to goal he did start HFF/FP when Lockett was still in the side. Karl Langdon was a premiership CHF for West Coast but is mobile enough to be on a flank and would provide protection for his fellow forwards. Jack Gunston, Shaun Higgins and Graeme Wright are other players that could play forward.



The bench with Charman, Gunston and Gilbert are probably the next best three players available with Charman a second ruck, Gunston a forward and Gilbert a defender. Neither is a midfielder and Gunston and Gilbert while tall are mobile enough to play on a flank. The fourth player on the bench is Shaun Higgins who wore Number 19 for three seasons before changing to 7. Higgins received a rising star nomination and showed a lot of promise with his silky skills on the forward flank/midfield and with the team lacking mids he gets in instead of Anthony Daniher as the unluckiest player.



There are two club captains in the side: Jason Dunstall and Tom Lynch. Jason Dunstall I chose as captain, Tom Lynch vice and Michael McLean (who was in the leadership group at Brisbane) is DVC.



The unlucky players were Craig Davis (Coll) Brad Pearce (Carl), Dean McRae (NM), Rowan Marshall (St.K) and Michael Gardiner (WCE).





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  1. Not ideal to put the FIL offside, Rodney, but I think you’ve put your case forward well.

    The current Carlton version of Liam Jones, while probably not quite on the same rung as Haynes, would probably get a call up in this side I reckon…possibly not of much comfort to Jim!

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Graham Wright was a star for a few seasons, 1990 me thought he was robbed of the 1990 Brownlow. 2021 me still believes it.

    Ripper forward line, surprised Karl Langdon only played 100 games, felt like he was around for many more games than that.

  3. I agree Luke, Langdon really left an impression beyond his games total. Feels like he inhabits the same rarefied air as Worsfold, McKenna, Kemp and Matera.

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Not in the league of those four as a player but no less a household (and schoolyard) name in those times.

  5. Oh no doubt, I think that team was just such a superpower even the B-graders felt like behemoths.

  6. Thanks Jarrod , Carlton version of Liam Jones would have, I didn’t have in my squad of 14s either but he has kicked on as a defender. Jim was not a fan of his at Bulldogs. I make it up to Jim in a few weeks. I thought Langdon played more as well, only played 8 more games after 92 Premiership in 3 seasons.

    Libber was a surprise winner of Brownlow, I actually thought Wright was a surprise to be up there as was thinking Daicos, Milanese were high contenders and Shaw not a big vote getter in front of umpires. Milanese was suspended but found article

    10/9 Greg Anderson favourite
    7/2 Stewart Loewe
    5/1 Stephen Kernahan
    6/1 David Bain
    12/1 Paul Salmon, Tony McGuinness, Tony Shaw
    14/1 Stephen Silvagni, Peter Daicos, John Longmire
    16/1 Graeme Wright, Brett Lovett, Terry Wallace

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