Almanac Teams – Super 6s: Standing on the Shoulders of a Giant

The number 6 is significant for me as it represents an unbreakable bond between myself and my brother, Tim.


Tim is eleven years older than me and is more responsible than anyone for nurturing my passion for Collingwood and footy in general.


We have shared inter-generation misery. He witnessing the losing Grand Finals of the Bobby Rose era and me the Hafey years. In 1990 and 2010 we watched the flags together and celebrated wildly. 1990 was an all nighter. Not a bad effort for Tim considering he had three kids under five when the 32 year drought was broken. In 2010, older but not much wiser, we both passed out before midnight just after the 2nd viewing of the replay.

Phil D’s 8th Birthday

It was Tim who took me to my first game of footy at Victoria Park in 1975. I was almost 6 years old. For the last quarter I sat on his broad shoulders and saw Phil Carman flash up and down the field in his white boots. We beat Hawthorn and a bond was forged that still remains 42 years on.


Tim’s favourite players were Wayne Richardson, Barry Price, John Greening and of course Peter McKenna. His first woollen footy jumper had the number 6 sewn on the back. For my 8th birthday in 1977 (see pic) he gave me his jumper as a gift. By then Peter McKenna was playing for Carlton so I had Peter McCormack on my back. Not quite the glamorous mega-star that McKenna was and I asked if we could turn it around to make number 9 – Carman. Too much trouble to unsew and re-do. Didn’t want to ruin the jumper.


In a way both Maccas represented our respective Collywobble eras. McKenna the spearhead of a skilful team under Rose and McCormack the dour, honest full-back, yet a penetrating kick, who was a member of Hafey’s Heroes.


It was Tim who bought me my first footy book: Football: The Australian Way. Tim was studying in Melbourne when I was in Queenstown, Tasmania with my parents between 1976-78. I missed him more than anyone. His encouragement, chats about Collingwood history, kick to kick on the gravel oval. I was so excited when he would fly over for a short visit and hated the void I felt inside when he had to return to Melbourne.


During the 1980s and 90s we played volleyball together, first in a team called Zeus and then in Doom, named after a pre-internet computer game. We were fortunate enough to play in three B Grade Premierships. Whenever we got to A-Grade we’d get smashed and inevitably relegated. Tim wore number 6 and was a terrific spiker. He timed his leaps perfectly and won many points for us. I was more of a back court sweeper, trying to keep the ball alive, so it can be set up for Tim to put away.


It was Tim who bought me my first cricket bat. An SP from the Preston Market which I oiled diligently. After work or on the weekends he would always make time to play cricket, tennis, footy or soccer with me in the back yard. He even set up lights so we could play after dark, much to the chagrin of the neighbours. He was an adult, he didn’t have to indulge his kid brother’s insatiable appetite for sport, yet he did.

Tim (left) and Phil Dimitriadis before the 2011 Prelim

Years go by and Tim was the only family member, apart from mum and dad, who was at my wedding in Greece. We danced to the Weddos’ ‘Under the Clocks’ and ‘Roaring Days’. Bewildered villagers wondered what the hell we were doing and then joined in to share our joy as we paid homage to our life in the diaspora.


When I moved house earlier this year, it was Tim who helped me out.


This team is dedicated to you dear brother. You’ll always be my hero.



B: Andrew Dunkley – Syd            Peter McCormack – Coll   Bob Chitty – Carl


HB: Neale Daniher – Ess             Bob Murray – StK               Drew Banfield – WCE


C: Gary Crane – Carl                     Shannon Grant – Nth         ‘Bluey’ Adams – Melb


HF: Brad Johnson – WB              John Dugdale – Nth           Gareth Andrews – Geel


F: Tony Modra – Adel                  Peter McKenna – Coll         Michael Moncrieff – Haw


R: Ron Alexander – Fitz              Luke Power – Bris                Charlie Sutton – Foots


IC: Stan Judkins – Rich  Josh Gibson – Haw      Fred Hughson – Fitz  Peter Pianto – Geel


Coach: Cliff Rankin – Geel


Entertainment: Dave Dudley

‘6 Days on the Road’



Presenting The Tigers’ Almanac 2017. Read all about it HERE.

Purchase The Tigers’ Almanac 2017 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. Johnny Ironmonger, just to give Big Ron a spell, and maybe lay a spectacular tackle.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    From 1997

    Tony Modra (Ade)
    Adrian Fletcher (Bris)
    Matt Clape (Carl)
    Stephen Patterson (Coll)
    Sean Wellman (Ess)
    John Barnes (Geel)
    Richard Taylor (Haw)
    Glenn Lovett (Melb)
    Scott Cummings (Port)
    Chris Naish (Rich)
    Daniel Healy (St K)
    Andrew Dunkley (Syd)
    Drew Banfield (WCE)
    Brad Johnson (WB)

    What about George Michael – I Want Your Six?

  3. Lovely piece, Phil. I like the idea of living in the diaspora. I guess I’m living there as well. (A Celtic one.) As to Tim… I wouldn’t be thanking my brother for infecting me with a virus for which there is, apparently, no cure. Love the photo of you two prior to what was a wonderful game of footy. Couple of tense moments for Cats fans that night. But doesn’t the beer taste good when cut with adrenaline.

  4. Grand piece Phil. He ain’t heavy – he’s my brother. Nothing we do for a child is ever lost.
    Casting my eye down your team of Super Sixes – I was struck by the “No Dickheads” policy in team selection. Was that intentional or a spooky numerology gift empowered by the magic number?
    Neale Daniher – a prince among men. Drew Banfield – one of the few exceptions to the all dickheads Eagles culture of the 90’s/early 2000’s. Gareth Andrews and Ron Alexander – great men and social contributors.

  5. Good team, Phil. The next best Magpie #6 was Ian Brewer, our full forward during the 50s. However he wasn’t as good as Peter McKenna and you can’t really play both players. Incidentally some readers may not be aware that the reason Collingwood’s other number six in Phil’s team, full back Peter McCormack, wore number six was that he was supposed to succeed Peter McKenna at full forward. He had kicked bagfulls of goals in school football as full forward for the all conquering Assumption College team so when he arrived at Victoria Park he was given the number of the retiring McKenna. As it turned out McCormack performed much better at full back than full forward and was probably Collingwood’s best full back between the retirement of Jack Hamilton and the arrival of Simon Prestigiacomo.

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Gerry – John Ironmonger a great back-up. Excellent nomination.
    Swish – 1997 getting good percentage of representation. Sean Wellman unlucky, Chris Naish gave great service to Richmond and Matt Clape had a brilliant 1995 before tailing off a bit. Glen Lovett great Dee servant. Do you know much about Clayton Lamb? Crows first number 6. Just played one game against The Eagles at Subi in 1991.
    If George Michael was a Kiwi maybe…

    AJC – Thanks Anson. I guess most of in Australia feel like where from somewhere else, until we go overseas perhaps. Yes, it’s a virus, but it can be tolerable when someone close to you is also afflicted. There was a time in the late 1980s when we were convinced we’d never see a Collingwood Premiership. 2 is okay. One more would be nice.
    Funnily enough, Tim was born in 1958 and his son Tom was born in 1990.

    PB – ‘The road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where’ Ahh the Hollies. I feel fortunate that Tim is not only my brother but also my best friend. I hope I can be there for him as much as he was and is for me.
    Re: NDP – No Dickhead’s Policy. Not intentional although some would challenge that claim with the selection of Bob Chitty in the back pocket. The names you mention, terrific contributors beyond footy.

    Dave – That’s right, McCormack was being groomed as a full-forward. Maybe they should have kept him there? He was a magnificent kick from full-back. 60 metre drop punts came off his boot effortlessly. Never saw him get toweled either and was one of our better players in the 1979-81 disasters. Was Ian Brewer Ross Brewer’s dad or older brother?

    First number 6’s
    1911-12 and 1925
    Carlton – Billy Dick
    Collingwood – Jack Green
    Essendon – Ernie Cameron
    Fitzroy – Clarrie Dall
    Footscray – Jack Sands
    Geelong – Alec Eason
    Hawthorn – Paddy Burke
    Melbourne – Bill McKenzie
    North Melbourne – Harold Johnston
    Richmond – George Gibson
    St Kilda – Vic Cumberland
    South Melbourne – Fred Carpenter
    University – Dick Gibbs
    Brisbane Bears – Dale Dickson
    West Coast – Geoff Miles
    Adelaide – Clayton Lamb (One Game)
    Fremantle – Phil Gilbert
    Port Adelaide – Scott Cummings
    GCS – Alik Magin
    GWS – Luke Power

  7. LB, this is a beautiful piece. Some wonderful reminiscing.
    Dancing to the Weddos! Why wouldn’t you?

    The number 6 is a storied number at North Melbourne. From 1955 through to 2017, a period of 62 years, only 5 players have worn this guernsey.
    John Dugdale 1955 – 1970
    Arnold Briedis 1972 – 1983
    Ian Fairley 1984 – 1996
    Shannon Grant 1998 – 2008
    Lachlan Hansen 2009 – 2017

  8. Phil – Ian Brewer was Ross’s older brother but there was a huge age difference between them. Ian was born in 1936 and played from 1956 to 1961. Ross was born in 1953 and played from 1972 to 1983. Ian topped the VFL goal kicking list in 1958 when the Pies won the flag. He was a very good full forward but Peter McKenna was even better.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Phil, lovely tribute to your brother.
    Fair team that. Tony Modra’s career more or less co-incided with my High School years. Every girl in my class was in love with him.
    Crows games were a must watch when he was playing.
    T.Goldsack has had a great career in the number 6, really rated his 2017 as one of his best years. Paul Tuddenham was the first 6 at the Pies I can remember, while Stephen Patterson gave good service before becoming mayor of a region of Adelaide, presumably answering to Rulebook’s instructions.

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Sensational Phil fantastic tribute to Tim ahh Tony Modra king of Adelaide.Craig Balme is my compulsory
    Norwood nomination.Luke I reckon no coincidence that Patto kicked the pies 1st ever goal against the power the Norwood v Port rivalry came out and a update for you Patto is running as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Morphett in the upcoming state election.

  11. Phil, you may have never seen him get towelled but P. McCormack certainly did one day playing for Fitzroy against The Pies, I think BT got 6 in the first quarter on him one day.

  12. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks Smokie – Arnold Briedis probably deserves a spot in the forward line. Killed them in ’75 and the ’77 replay. Ian Fairley ended his career on a great note. Solid through lean seasons for North.

    Thanks for clarifying Dave. Didn’t realise there was a 17 year age gap. 6 was Syd Coventry’s first number in 1922-23.

    Cheers Luke – Modra was a like a rock star in those years. Classic glamour full-forward, good looks, big leap and plenty of goals. Goldsack a worthy nomination who sparked us with that first goal on the 2010 replay. Agreed had a very good 2017. Patto was handy goalsneak in a fairly ordinary era. So is Rulebook going to be his Lloyd Braun? (Seinfeld Reference)

    Book – I was there when Patto kicked the first in that game against Port. Probably his best game for the Pies, 3 goals and 27 touches. Craig Balme? Related to Neil?

    Gerry – Yes, BT gave him an awful toweling that day. It was Macca’s one and only game for the Roys and his last game of VFL footy. Between 1979-85 at Collingwood, he was not often beaten.

  13. Terrific piece Phil.

    And I love that Gareth Andrews has a place in the team. Gareth is a great friend of the Almanac.

  14. Malcolm Ashwood says
  15. Andrew Fithyall says

    Phil. I am sorry, but no self-respecting Collingwood supporter can ever have anything positive to say about Melbourne’s Bluey Adams.

  16. Love this tribute to your big brother Phil. I bet he would have loved having a little brother to kick the footy around with.

    Re the number 6, to keep our SA readers happy I will nominate Grantly Fielke.

  17. A fine list and good yarn, Phil. Clayton Lamb was a goal kicking midfielder with West Adelaide and Glenelg. In the end not anything enough for the AFL (big, fast, ball magnetty). Vic Cumberland on your list of first No. 6s was also a great ruckman with Melbourne, St Kilda and Sturt where he won a Magarey Medal.

  18. He also played four games for Richmond that year, 1986, which I have no recollection of, I must admit.

  19. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    JTH – Had to include Gareth. He was fantastic during the Tom Wills grave restoration project. And I love the fact that he sees himself as a Geelong person, even though he played in a premiership for Richmond. Does wonderful work with ‘Life Again’, as well.

    Thanks for the clarification Book. I’d walk tall with the Balme brothers in my corner.

    AF – Fair point. Might have to swap him with Glen Lovett to assuage the bitterness of some old-timers with long memories.

    Damo – I lost count of how many plastic, brown petrol station footies we destroyed. And yet Tim kept buying them for me/us. I neglected to mention that he also took me down to the old Merrett/Hassett sports store in Johnston Street to buy me a new jumper in 1979. Mum sewed on the number 25 and it was time for ‘Here comes Billy!!’. Fielke a ripper nomination. Saw his first game in ’87 against Sydney. Wasn’t our worst player that year, but just lacked the extra yard in pace needed for ‘real comps’ like the VFL.
    Dave – Again great history lesson re: Clayton Lamb and Vic Cumberland. Didn’t know Vic won a Magarey playing for Sturt. great stuff.

    Gerry – Last year I had a piece published in Inside Football, through the Footy Almanac. You may find this amusing now that the Tigers have finally broken their drought:

  20. Brad Ottens wore number 6 in his time at the Cattery. He’d be as good as, if not better, first ruck,t han Ron Alexander.


  21. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks Glen !! Now you’ve reminded me of the ’07 Prelim and the 2011 GF. Ottens is technically a 5.5. He played in Number 5 for 7 years at Richmond and Number 6 for 7 years at Geelong.
    No love for Dwayne Russell? David Spriggs? Rex Hunt? Gary Sidebottom? Rod Waddell?

  22. Ta Phil.

    I stopped barracking for Geelong @ the end of 1999, so Brad Ottens is post my era.

    Dwayne Russell, a player I had a lot of time for. Rod Waddell, there’s a blast from the past. An indigenous mate of mine shakes his head about him, saying he’s strange, but doesn’t elaborate. Hmm.


  23. Tim Dimitriadis says

    Thanks Phil.

    Some great # 6s, some wonderful memories and so well written. Ahh the glorious Collingwood number 6. I wore that jumper everywhere until I experienced the ultimate betrayal- my hero Peter McKenna in a Carlton jumper. It was then I became interested in the round ball game. Another great choice following Leeds United. Although some success in the early days. But! all is now forgiven- watching Peter McKenna hand over the premiership cup to Nick Maxwell in 2010 certainly brought back some cherished moments of my early football years. Once again Phil. Thank you for your tribute. Go Pies.


  24. Luke Reynolds says

    Phil, Rulebook as Lloyd Braun? That’s a very sane comparison!!

  25. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Serenity Now !! Luke…

    Onya brother. Timeless memories. Remember the old man coming out at midnight in his jocks to tell us off for making so much noise playing cricket? Those floodlights were beauties. The less said about Leeds and Newcastle United the better, although at least you got to see Leeds lift a couple of titles:
    This one’s for you and all brothers:

  26. Hello Phil. Lovely piece. Good luck trying to top it!

    In 1979 I bought my first Port Melbourne Football Club season ticket. The coach that year was none other than Peter McKenna. McKenna wore #6 in his one and only campaign at North Port.

    You mentioned two marvellous custodians of the Red, White and Blue #6 in Sutton and Johnson, however I hoped you might have found a spot for the much loved “Wee” Georgie Bisset. A proud ‘Brooker and runner up to Bulldog Murray in the ’69 Brownlow, George was one of SIX players to take advantage of the short lived ten year rule during the summer of 72/73, joining the Pies and coming oh so close to an elusive Grand Final appearance in ’73.

    George’s “replacement” in the number 6 was another favourite of mine: Charlie Pagnoccolo. Pagnoccolo debuted in #36 (six squared) in 1970.

    Sadly Neil Sachse only wore the number 6 Guernsey twice prior to his tragic accident in April 1975.

    Peter Bedford wore #6 in his first season at Carlton (1977). Bedford played under McKenna at Port Melbourne during the early part of 1979 prior to his mid-season retirement. Whilst he spent the majority of his time representing the MCC, Bedford had one season of District cricket (73/74) at Princes Park. Appropriately, for this piece anyway, Peter’s best effort with the ball for the Blues was 6/66 against St Kilda (W M Lawry was one of his victims that afternoon).

    Non footballing #6 – Martin Buchan, one time captain of Manchester United.

    The greatest Sixer – Dr J, Julius Erving.


  27. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Cheers Mic,
    What would have happened had they let Port Melbourne into the VFL all those years ago? Such a passionate fan base. George Bisset a fine number 6 for the Dogs and stiff in ’73 when the Pies went out in straight sets after topping the ladder. Sachse story a terrible tragedy. Nice Bedford cricket link too ! Luke Dalhaus won’t be far away from a spot in a couple of years. Little dynamo. Enjoy watching him play.
    Wes Brown a durable number 6 for Man Utd. Dr J? Basketball not really my cup of tea, but fair call for buffs.
    Other Bulldogs who wore six and the years they played in the number:
    Bert McTaggart 1942-45
    Keith Beamish wore it in the 1961 GF
    Geelong champ Ken Newland 1976
    Gary Cowton 1979-80
    Alister Ford 1981-85
    Stuart Wigney 1989-91
    Tony Campbell 1992-93 (In Gloves)

  28. Love it Phil.
    Beautifully done.

  29. What a wonderful tribute to your brother Tim. Loved the reference to Zeus.
    You are a levendi Phil

  30. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks ER.
    Cheers Nick. Whenever we had a time out in volleyball, we’d gather in a circle and yell ‘Zeus !!’ to fire each other up before resuming the game. It worked…sometimes.

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