Almanac Teams: Forty Winks; Obscure 40s (1980- )



Collingwood’s Nick Hider [Source: Author]


A team of more obscure/lesser known players to wear the Number 40 jumper since 1980.



Here’s my second team of players to wear the Number 40, mostly from 1980 onwards but I have made exceptions, such as Mark Alves in the Number 39 side.



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:      Scott Clayton (Fitz)           Andrew Dunkley (Syd)          Ian Nankervis (Geel)


CHB:  Brad Bootsma (Freo)        Terry Daniher (SM)                Jacob Heron (GCS)


C:        Paul O’Brien (Melb)          Brett Ratten (Carl)                  Daryl Vernon (Rich)


CHF:  Darren Bolton (Freo)        Wayne Carey (NM)                 Brent LeCras (NM)


FF:      Nick Hider (Coll)               Matthew Westhoff (PA)         Craig Moller (Freo)


Ruck:  Chris Bryan (Coll)             Dennis Carroll (Syd)               Sudjai Cook (Adel)


Interchange: Adrian Burns (Ess), Luke Darcy (Foots), Wes Fellowes (Coll), Julian Kirzner (Ess)


No players from Brisbane, GWS, Hawthorn, St Kilda or West Coast Eagles.




Games in Number 40 (Years played)

Scott Clayton 160 (1981-1990)

Andrew Dunkley 18 (1992)

Ian Nankervis 325 (1967-1983)

Brad Bootsma 23 (2000-2001)

Terry Daniher 1 (1976)

Jacob Heron 13 (2018-2019)

Paul O’Brien 21 (1981-1983)

Brett Ratten 1 (1990)

Daryl Vernon 4 (1981)

Darren Bolton 2 (1999)

Wayne Carey 4 (1989)

Brent LeCras 6 (2005-2006)

Nick Hider 2 (1995)

Matthew Westhoff 6 (2008-2009)

Craig Moller 1 (2013)

Chris Bryan 30 (2007-2009)

Dennis Carroll 14 (1981)

Sudjai Cook 7 (1998)

Adrian Burns 11 (1990-1991)

Luke Darcy 1 (1994)

Wes Fellowes 17 (1981-1982)

Julian Kirzner 1 (1994)




Scott Clayton – Clayton joined Fitzroy from Hobart aged 21 and made his debut in Round 7, 1981. Clayton remained in the side for the rest of the year and played 13 games, including both finals. He earned a reputation as one of the better taggers of opposition midfielders and also as a small forward in the 1980s over 160 games for 23 goals and played in all of Fitzroy’s finals. Despite being a tight tagger, Clayton still averaged 16 disposals a game and it can be said he was at his peak when he retired aged 30 in 1990. He claimed a Best & Fairest in 1990 and in his last ever game Round 22, 1990 Fitzroy won by 12 points and Clayton had a career best 37 disposals. Post playing career Clayton has being one of the most successful recruiting managers. Clayton started at Brisbane in 1991 straight out of retirement, he worked there until 1997 and brought in several players that were part of Brisbane’s triple-premiership era. Clayton was at the Bulldogs from 1999-2008 with coincided with another great era for and then was the initial recruiting manager for the Gold Coast Suns until 2019. In 2020 Clayton joined North Melbourne as Head of Player Personnel.



Andrew Dunkley – Dunkley was taken with Pick 56 in the 1991 Draft and debuted in 1992 aged 23 for 18 games. Dunkley moved to Number 6 in 1993 and played 217 games for Sydney from 1992-2002. He played in the 1996 Grand Final in controversial circumstances having being reported via ‘trial by video’ for striking James Hird. The report did not come through until Wednesday and was scheduled to be heard on the Thursday. Sydney obtained an injunction on the Thursday for the case to be heard after the Grand Final. Dunkley played in the Grand Final and then was suspended for three weeks afterwards. Andrew’s sons despite being eligible under Father-Son did not want to join the Swans. Josh joined the Bulldogs in 2016 and played in a premiership in his first year – ironically against the Swans – while Kyle played five games for Melbourne.



Ian Nankervis – Ian started his career in 1967 aged 19 and played just one game for the year. From 1968 Nankervis was a regular for the Cats starting off as a rover before moving to the back pocket. He played 325 games for 203 goals before he retired in 1983. Nankervis played 12 times for Victoria, won three best & fairest and led the goal kicking in 1975; he is also a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Captain from 1978-1981 and in 1983, Ian was Geelong’s skipper *after* his two-year younger brother Bruce captained the Cats in 1976-1977. In the 1980s with Ian in the back pocket and Bruce on half back flank they were known to share the ball a lot between themselves and covered a fair bit of ground doing so, this earned them the nickname the ‘Leyland brothers’ after the Australian travellers Mike and Malcolm Leyland.



Brad Bootsma – Bootsma was picked up by Fremantle with Pick 2 in the 2000 Preseason Draft at the age of 27 from South Fremantle. Bootsma debuted in Round 8, 2000 and played 13 of the last 14 games, in 2001 he played the first ten games of the year but with a change of coach from Damian Drum to Ben Allan in Round 10 Bootsma was dropped in Round 11 and did not play another game. Bootsma played 162 games for South Fremantle until 2005 and captained the club from 2002-2005. His son Josh played 14 games at Carlton from 2012-2013.



Terry Daniher – Daniher is the eldest of the four Daniher brothers and was recruited to South Melbourne from Ungarie in 1976. He debuted aged 18 in Round 8 against Hawthorn and ended up with 19 disposals but did not play another game for the year. In 1977 Daniher moved to Number 2 and played 18 games including a final. The next year South Melbourne wanted Neville Fields and traded Terry Daniher. Father of the brothers Jim Daniher advised that the Swans as such had waivered their rights to a promising Neale Daniher and allowed him to join his brother at Essendon. Terry was a regular from game one at Essendon and at 188cm while mainly a forward he often played CHB. Like Ian Nankervis, Terry took over the captaincy from his younger brother Neale (who was appointed captain in 1982 but never captained the club). Terry played 313 games 294 for Essendon and 19 for South Melbourne and retired in 1992. Daniher kicked 469 goals with 64 in 1983 his best year and eight goals in a match his best. His honours are Essendon captain 1983-1988 with two premierships as captain, VFL MVP in 1983, Best & Fairest in 1982, two time leading goalkicker at Essendon and inductee into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. He also comes across as one of the better footy personalities for his laidback country demeanour.



Jacob Heron – Heron was rookie listed in 2018 as Academy Pick from Palm Beach-Currumbin. Heron debuted in Round 9, 2018 against Port Adelaide at Jiangwan Stadium in Shanghai. As such became the first and so far only player to make their AFL debut in China. Heron kicked one goal and had ten disposals for the game; he played eight games in 2018 and five games in 2019.



Paul O’Brien – O’Brien debuted in Round 20, 1980 against Richmond wearing Number 50. In 1981 O’Brien moved to Number 40 and played six games. 1982 was O’Brien’s best year – he played 13 games and averaged 18 disposals on a wing. He also represented Melbourne in the 1982 Grand Final sprint where he ran fourth; running ran in the family as Paul’s brother Dallas O’Brien won the 1983 Stawell Gift. 1983 was not a great season for Paul who played in the first two games but in Round 2 did his knee and required a reconstruction. O’Brien never played for Melbourne again, he spent 1984-1985 in the reserves before he joined North Melbourne in 1986 for no games. He then joined Essendon in 1988 and played his first game in Round 5 aged 27, just over five years since his last game. O’Brien played three games in 1988 and finished with 25 games in total.



Brett Ratten – Ratten was recruited from Yarra Glen and debuted in Round 22, 1990 against Fitzroy (funily enough Scott Clayton’s last game). Ratten had 14 disposals and kicked one goal. He then moved to Number 7 in 1991 and was a mainstay of the Carlton side from 1991-2003, firstly as a small defender then a midfielder. Ratten played 255 games from 1990-2003 and his honours included three Best & Fairests (once in a premiership season, 1995) All Australian 2000-2001 and Carlton captain 2002-2003. Ratten took over from Denis Pagan mid-2007 as Carlton coach and coached until 2012, the Blues made the finals in 2009-2011. After being sacked as coach Ratten was an assistant at Hawthorn from 2012-2018 and then joined St Kilda as an assistant before taking over from Alan Richardson mid-2019.



Daryl Vernon – Vernon started at Richmond U19s in 1978 and tied the vote in the Morrish Medal but a suspension during the year ruled him ineligible. He made his senior debut in Round 9, 1981 and played four games for one goal with a best of 16 disposals. Vernon shared the Gardiner Medal in 1981 with Malcolm Reed of Geelong. In 1982 Vernon played for South Fremantle before he joined Sydney in 1983; he played the first four games of the season and then Rounds 2-5 in 1984. He then re-joined Richmond for 1985 wearing Number 42 and played five games. After retirement Vernon coached Phillip Island to a premiership in 1990 and then Leongatha. Daryl’s son is Beau Vernon who played TAC Cup footy with the likes of Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas at Gippsland Power and trained at Richmond and Collingwood. At age 23 while playing for Leongatha he was made quadriplegic. Beau has since coached Leongatha for three years for three Grand Finals and one premiership and then Phillip Island for one year for one premiership.



Darren Bolton – Bolton was drafted from Peel Thunder with Pick 2 in the 1999 Rookie draft having won the Best & Fairest at Peel in 1998. Bolton debuted aged 22 in Round 3, 1999 against Hawthorn and then played the week after against Carlton. Those were his only two games as he was delisted at end of 1999. Darren is the father of current Richmond player Shai Bolton.



Wayne Carey – Carey was born in Wagga Wagga and started his career at North Adelaide. Carey was zoned to Sydney but was transferred to North Melbourne. Legend has it that after North Melbourne secured a transfer for John Longmire, they enquired about the availability of Carey and secured him for just $10,000. Carey joined North Melbourne in 1988 and won an U19 premiership under Denis Pagan. He debuted aged 18 in Round 11, 1989 against Fitzroy. Carey played four games for no goals in 1989 and the following year moved from Number 40 to 18. Carey had a breakout year in 1990 – 21 games for 38 goals. After 60 games and aged 21 Carey was appointed North Melbourne captain. He went on to play 244 games at North Melbourne and 28 with Adelaide for 727 goals. His CV  includes two-time premiership player and captain, seven-time All Australian, four Best & Fairests, five-time leading goal kicker and two-time Leigh Matthews Trophy winner.



Brent LeCras – Brent is five years older than Mark and was drafted by North Melbourne with Pick 56 in the 2003 Draft. At 190cm Brent is 7cm taller than Mark but both played as forwards. Brent debuted aged 23 in Round 9, 2005 and played four games for one goal. In 2006 he played Round 6 against Hawthorn and had 16 disposals however the next week was his last game. Brent went on to play 141 games for West Perth and won a Simpson Medal in 2003 as best in a WAFL Grand Final and again 2009 as best for his state. In 2021 Brent played with Mark for their original club Cervantes.



Nick Hider – Hider was spotted by Collingwood playing at Camperdown where he won the Hampden League’s Maskell Medal in 1994. During 1994 Hider also played for Collingwood’s Reserves as a top up player when it did not clash with Camperdown; Hider would sometimes play two matches on a weekend with Collingwood Reserves on Friday night and Camperdown on Sunday. He was drafted with Pick 24 in the 1995 Preseason Draft and debuted in Round 1 at age 23. Hider played the first two games for one goal. He did not play again though he did get his own footy card. In 1995 Select released cards prior to the season and then extras mid-season of players that were not in the first edition and this is how Hider came to be the face of today’s side.



Matthew Westhoff – Matthew is two years younger than Justin but at 199cm is the same height. Matthew was drafted with Pick 32 in the 2007 National Draft and debuted in Round 20, 2008. He played the last three games of the year with a best haul of 2.2.  Westhoff played Rounds 10-12 in 2009 and kicked two goals but these were the last games he played. He remained on the list for 2010, was delisted then rookie listed for 2011 but delisted again at the end of the year.



Craig Moller – Moller was rookie listed by Fremantle with Pick 46 in the 2013 Draft. Moller debuted in Round 23, 2013 when Fremantle controversially rested several players before their finals campaign – he collected five disposals and three hit outs. Moller did not play a game in 2014-2015 and was delisted. Moller had played basketball at school and tried out for the Sydney Kings in the NBL in 2016-2017, after a successful switch of sports Moller played for Melbourne United from 2017-2019 which included the 2018 Championship. Moller played in Germany in 2021, was in the Australian squad for the 2019 World Cup Qualifiers and again was named in squad of 17 for the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.



Chris Bryan – Chris Bryan started his career at Carlton after being selected at Pick 73 in the 2004 Draft. Bryan debuted in Round 11, 2005 against Sydney as a mobile ruck who could also play forward or back. Bryan played 11 games in 2005 and with a big kick, he soon got the crowd to go ‘woof’ in the tradition of Val Perovic and Ang Christou. In Bryan’s last game in 2005 he had zero disposals but twenty hit outs. Bryan played five games in 2006 and was delisted and drafted by Collingwood with Pick 8 in the 2007 Preseason Draft. Bryan played 12 games including two finals in 2007 which included a goal in extra time in the semi-final, 17 games in 2008 including two finals but just one game in 2009; he finished up with 46 games. Bryan tried out as a punter in 2010 in the NFL and trained with the Green Bay Packers before he played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from September 6th to October 13th.



Dennis Carroll – Carroll was recruited from Ganmain in South Melbourne’s Zone and debuted aged 20 in Round 8, 1981. Carroll played 14 games in his first year and kicked a personal best four goals in Round 22, 1981. Carroll moved to Number 7 in 1982 and was a mainstay in the seniors as a HBF who could also play as a ruck rover and was known as a great kick of the football. Carroll played 219 games for 117 goals and captained the club from 1986-1992 which included the finals campaigns of 1986-1987. Carroll was held in such high esteem that there is a room at the SCG named the Kippax/Carroll in honour of Dennis and former Australian cricketer Alan Kippax. Post retirement at Sydney, Carroll was reserves coach for four years, chairman of selectors for five years and spent eleven years in player welfare and development.



Sudjaj Cook – Cook is the only AFL footballer to be born in Thailand, he was born there and then adopted at ten weeks old when he moved to Australia. Cook was taken with Pick 48 in the 1998 Rookie Draft. He debuted in Round 9 and played seven of the next eight games for two goals and best of 19 disposals. Cook was delisted after the 1999 season and went on to play with Glenelg.



Adrian Burns – Burns was a small forward pocket/rover who joined Essendon from Dromana after he was taken with Pick 51 in the 1988 Draft. Burns debuted in Round 5, 1990 against Geelong and was in and out of team but was bought back into the side in Round 21 and held his spot for the semi-final. He had a poor semi-final with one kick, one handball and even more unfortunately for his opponent Alan Richardson they collided and broke Richardson’s collarbone which left him injured and unavailable for the Grand Final. Burns played three games in 1991, none in 1992-1993 and was delisted at end of 1993. In 1994 Burns was drafted by St Kilda where he played four games with the first against Essendon where he had a personal best 17 disposals.



Luke Darcy – Darcy was a Father-Son pick for the Bulldogs in 1992 after his dad had played 133 games from 1963-1971. Luke debuted in Round 21 against St Kilda and had two handballs; this was his only game for the year. Darcy moved to Number 14 in 1995 and played three games; it took him until his fourth game to get his first kick. From 1996 Darcy was a mainstay in the Bulldogs side as forward/back up ruck to Scott Wynd and then sole ruck after Wynd’s retirement. He played 226 games for 183 goals. Darcy’s honours include the 2002 Leigh Matthews Trophy, All Australian 2002 and Best & Fairest in 2001, Bulldogs captain 2005-2006. Darcy has been a television commentator since his retirement in 2008 and in the 2021 Draft his son Sam was taken by the Bulldogs with Pick 2.



Wes Fellowes – Wes is the son of 1958 Collingwood premiership player Graeme who played 66 games. Wes was 200cm and showed a lot of promise early – he played one game in 1981 but in 1982 played the last 16 games of the year, mainly as number one ruck while Peter Moore injured for the second half of the year and Graham Teasdale and Stuart Atkin struggled. Fellowes moved to Number 23 in 1983 but he also struggled, in his case with ankle injuries in 1983-1984 and as a result of former Tiger David Cloke’s assumption of the number one ruck job. Fellowes moved to Number 15 in 1985 and his fortune changed at the same time with a superb 1986 of 21 games and the Best & Fairest. However Fellowes’ form tailed off badly and after 17 games in 1987 he played just six games between 1988-1990 with none in 1990 and was delisted prior to start of 1991 season after 102 games.



Julian Kirzner – Another to play just one game in 1994 was Kirzner who was drafted in 1993 with Pick 36 as a high leaping forward. Kirzner debuted in the last round of 1994 season against Carlton and kicked 1.2. Kirzner did not play a game in 1995 and was delisted. In 1996 Kirzner spent the year as a supplementary list player at Carlton. In 1997 he was picked up with Pick 15 in the new rookie list draft. Alongside Mal Michael, Kirzner became the first players on the rookie list to be promoted and play in Round 8, 1998. He kicked 4.3 against Port Adelaide but after no goals in Round 9 and just one in Round 10 he was dropped. Kirzner was rookie listed again with Pick 48 in 1998 but did not add to his games tally. Between 1994-1998 Kirzner featured high on the Reserves goal kicking, coming second (with 60 goals) in 1994, third in 1998, fifth in 1997 and top ten in 1995.



Some of the forgotten Number 39s are Niall McKeever (Bris), Peter Kenny (Carl), Brent Hall (Coll), Anton Grbac (Ess), Jeff Bruce (Fitz), Andrew Boston (GCS), Broc McCauley (Haw), Brad Nimmo (NM) Paul Evans (PA), Lionel Proctor (Rich), Ian Dargie (St.K), Damien Hampson (WCE), Brian Perrin (Foots).





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  1. Luke Reynolds says

    The Nick Hider footy card is just about my favourite footy card of all time. Has anyone else ever played so few games and got a card? I also wonder who is at the other end with most games without a card. Great work again Rodney!

  2. Thanks Luke
    Troy Polak had a footy card in 1995 at Fremantle after being traded from North Melbourne

    He did not play a game at North or Freo

  3. george smith says

    Two notable omissions:

    Collingwood superstar Geoff Raines wore the number 40 guernsey for his first year at Collingwood because number 4 was not available. Geoff was the biggest name recruit in Collingwood history, and the start of the Collingwood v Richmond poaching war which nearly bankrupted both clubs. Geoff actually came across because he couldn’t stand Richmond coach Francis Bourke. In 3 years he was gone to Essendon then Brisbane because of salary cutbacks at Collingwood, the bankruptcy thing…

    The other one is our champion of the future, Ash Johnson, who is currently playing for the Pies in the number 40 guernsey. Ash is related to Gilbert McAdam, who does not like Collingwood much. Should be an interesting conversation for the next family gathering…

  4. Thanks George

    Your probably half right with Geoff Raines, he did wear number 40 as Mark Hannebery had number 40.
    I had Raines listed for obscure team but removed as I had used him in the Number 6 obscure team, which was the number he wore at Essendon. Perhaps I should have even put Hannebery in.

    Re Ash Johnson I was unaware he was related to McAdam who had his own experience at Victoria Park. I may have written the team before his debut a few weeks ago, so hence why I did not consider him.
    He look all right though, not a pies supporter but I would perserve with him & Henry rather than McStay

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