Almanac Teams: Supplementary Seventeens (1980- )



Carlton’s Mark Arceri [Source: Author]



A team of more obscure/lesser known players to wear the Number 17 jumper since 1980.



Here’s my second team of players to wear the Number 17, mostly from 1980 onwards but I have made exceptions, such as Ross Oakley in Number 12.



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:           Stephen Carey (Ess)             Sam Rowe (Carl)                 Paul Thomas (Ess)


CHB:        Guy McKenna (WCE)          Brian Lake (Haw)               Brenton Sanderson (Coll)


C:              Scott Camporeale (Ess)       Adam Treloar (GWS)         Daniel Chick (Haw)


CHF:        Paul Hudson (Rich)             Bruce Reid (Carl)                Steven Johnson (GWS)


FF:           Gavin Exell (Geel)                 Scott Hodges (Adel)           Setanta O’ hAilpin (Carl)


Ruck:    Ian Downsborough (Adel) Wayne Campbell (Rich) Robbie Gray (PA)


Interchange:  Mark Arceri (Carl), Arthur Chilcott (Syd), Chris Stone (St.K), Gordon Towan (Coll)


No players from Brisbane, Fitzroy, Fremantle, Gold Coast, Melbourne or the Western Bulldogs.




Games in Number 17 (Years played)

Stephen Carey 105 (1980-1986)

Sam Rowe 99 (2013-2018)

Paul Thomas 8 (2005)

Brenton Sanderson 4 (1994)

Brian Lake 54 (2013-2015)

Guy McKenna 267 (1988-2000)

Scott Camporeale 19 (2006-2007)

Adam Treloar 79 (2012-2015)

Daniel Chick 127 at Hawthorn (1997-2002) 103 at West Coast (2003-2007)

Paul Hudson 3 (2002)

Bruce Reid 27 (1984-1985)

Steve Johnson 40 (2016-2017)

Gavin Exell 53 (1987-1991)

Scott Hodges 36 (1991-1993)

Setanta O’ hAilpin 80 (2005-2011)

Ian Downsborough 12 (1997-1998)

Wayne Campbell 19 (2004)

Robbie Gray 70 (2007-2012)

Mark Arceri 60 at North Melbourne (1986-1990) 17 at Carlton (1991-1992)

Arthur Chilcott 13 (1984-1985)

Chris Stone 21 (1979-1981)

Gordon Towan 2 (1983)



Stephen Carey – Carey made his debut for Essendon in 1980 and from 1981 until 1985 was a regular in the side. He played in the 1983 Grand Final, was a late withdrawl from 1984’s Semi Final and and then became a premiership player in 1985. In 1986 he played his only game for Essendon in Round 6 before being released the following week along with Peter Bradbury so Essendon could recruit disenchanted Collingwood players Geoff Raines and Mike Richardson. Carey went to Geelong and was named in their Round 8 side. Carey played the next six games and seven in total for the Cats. He returned to Essendon (wearing Number 34 as Peter Francis had 17) midyear in 1987 but did not play a game before he moved to the in SANFL 1988.



Sam Rowe – Rowe was drafted by Carlton in 2011 with what is considered a mature age of 24 after he’d previously being on the rookie list at Sydney in 2006. Before he played a game, Rowe was diagnosed with testicular cancer during the preseason and missed the 2012 season due to surgery and chemotherapy. Fortunately Rowe recovered and made his debut in 2013 and played 99 games for Carlton which included finishing fifth in 2014’s Best & Fairest.  Rowe was delisted after the 2018 season aged 31 but had one year at St Kilda when he played one game to bring his total to 100 games.



Paul Thomas – Thomas was late selection at Pick 60 of the 2004 draft for Essendon after he’d won the Magarey Medal in 2004. Thomas was 23 when he made his debut but only played eight games for the year in the backline despite (I thought) decent work as a lockdown defender and bravery around the ball. Thomas went back to the SANFL where he played 269 games with Central Districts for six premierships (four of them as captain) and one Bob Quinn medal (BOG in the Grand Final). Thomas then spent five years as a development coach at Adelaide until pandemic-induced cuts to staff last year.



Brenton Sanderson – Sanderson started his career at Adelaide and played six games in two years before joining Collingwood in 1994. Sanderson wore Number 17 at Collingwood but only played four games (averaging nine disposals) but would get a new best friend and house mate in Nathan Buckley, who 20 years later offered him a job at Collingwood as an assistant coach. Sanderson joined Geelong in 1995, his third club in four seasons with just 10 games to his name. In 1995 he played 13 games including two finals, his career blossomed and he lined up in the hoops on 199 occasions from 1995-2005, in 2001 he won their Best & Fairest. After retirement he coached Adelaide for three seasons, making the Preliminary Final in 2012 – his first year – before surprisingly being sacked in 2014.



Brian Lake – Lake was formerly known as Brian Harris but changed his name in 2007. He started his career at the Western Bulldogs in 2002 and played 197 games from 2002-2012, winning a Best & Fairest and two All Australian jumpers. Lake was 31 when he was traded to Hawthorn. This turned out brilliantly for Lake who would spend three seasons at the Hawks for 54 games, three premierships and the 2013 Norm Smith Medal.



Guy McKenna – McKenna was picked in the Best of Number 17 and it’s generally recognised as one of the best half backs in last 30 years, playing in two premierships, selected All Australian in three years and two Best & Fairests. McKenna was also the inaugural coach of the Gold Coast Suns from 2011-14. McKenna was captain from 1999-2000 and his captaincy is best remembered for his call for a head count against St Kilda in 1999.  The Eagles were getting well beaten and McKenna could see six in the forward line, seven in the backline and three on the bench, so he asked the umpire for a head count which proved each team had 18 on the ground.



Scott Camporeale – Camporeale made the Number 16 best of team as a champion Carlton player of 233 games from 1995-2005. Camporeale left Carlton at end of 2005 and was drafted by Essendon in the Preseason Draft where he had two years for 19 games before he injured his ACL in 2007. Camporeale went straight to the coaches box, first as an assistant coach from 2007-2010, then to Adelaide in 2011. Camporeale took over as interim head coach of Adelaide in 2015 after Phil Walsh’s death; he coached 11 games for seven wins and took the team to a Semi Final. He stayed at West Lakes until 2019.



Adam Treloar – Treloar started his career at GWS wearing Number 17 as an underage selection in 2010. He played 79 games from 2012-2015 with an average of 30 disposals and a second place in the 2015 Best & Fairest. Treloar requested a trade to Collingwood where he played 94 games from 2016-2020 before being traded again to the Western Bulldogs in 2021.



Daniel Chick – Chick was drafted to Hawthorn from East Fremantle and made his debut in 1996 wearing Number 27 before being given Number 17 in 1997. Chick played 149 games from 1996-2002, won the 2000 Best & Fairest and led the 2002 goal kicking with 31 goals. In 2003 Chick joined West Coast and played 103 games including the 2006 Premiership. Chick is remembered for having his ring finger amputated in 2002 after missing games over the years to multiple dislocations and unsuccessful surgery.



Paul Hudson – Hudson started his career at his dad’s former club Hawthorn where he played 134 games for 264 goals, his best year was 1991 – he kicked 62 goals and played in the Grand Final. Hudson started in Number 33 but had the honour of wearing 17 after Michael Tuck retired. Hudson then went to the Western Bulldogs from 1997-2001, he played 108 games for 214 goals including an All Australian selection in 1998 (61 goals for the year). Despite playing 22 games for 38 goals in 2001, Hudson was traded to Richmond aged 31. He struggled at Richmond and played just three games for one goal and retired at the end of the season.



Bruce Reid – Bruce Reid comes from a football family. His dad Bruce Sr played 28 games for the Bulldogs from 1949-1951, his brother John played 90 games for Melbourne, Footscray and Sydney. Sons Ben & Sam have both played and won premierships, Ben has played 152 games for Collingwood and Sam currently sits on 159 games for Sydney. Bruce started his career at Footscray and played 86 games from 1977-1982 wearing Number 5. Reid was surprise trade from Footscray after playing 41 games in two years but was told by Coach Ian Hampshire he did not have a future at the club. Reid went to Carlton and played 33 games in three years. If Reid had been kept on at Footscray, he would have been every chance to reach 100 games and the Bulldogs (who had height problems at both ends of the ground last decade) could have had access to Ben & Sam Reid.



Steve Johnson – Johnson was a champion for Geelong and played 253 games, won three premierships, three All Australians and a Norm Smith Medal. Johnson was traded to GWS aged 32 in 2016. Johnson took over 17 from Adam Treloar and played 40 games for 64 goals. Johnson had a good first season, he kicked 43 goals but was reported in the Qualifying Final and suspended for the Preliminary Final.



Gavin Exell – Exell joined Geelong in 1987 after previous stints at Carlton and Bendigo. Exell had competition for a forward spot against Ablett, Brownless, Stoneham, Lindner, Hinkley and Russell. After only 18 games in his first two years, he started 1989 brilliantly when he came into the seniors in Round 4. Exell kicked 32 goals in his first five matches including a career high nine against Hawthorn in one of the great games in VFL/AFL history (Hawthorn won 171 to 163 after being 49 points down at half time). He followed up with eight goals against St Kilda while the Cats were on a roll that saw them play in the Grand Final. Exell though only played the first final (a big loss to Essendon) but missed the rest of the year with injuries. Until the finals he had been Geelong’s leading goal kicker. With other options available Exell only played 18 games from 1990-1991 for 35 goals before playing five games for Fitzroy in 1992, he finished his career with 58 games and 113 goals.



Scott Hodges – Hodges was a champion in the SANFL for Port Adelaide prior to Adelaide joining the AFL. An eight time premiership player, five time leading goal kicker and 1990 Magarey Medallist; he kicked 153 goals in the same year. Hodges struggled to recapture that form in the AFL with Adelaide, he played 36 games in three years for 95 goals, his best haul was 48 in 1992 which included a bag of 11 and two bags of eight. With Tony Modra’s emergence in 1993, Hodges was delisted at end of 1993 but was a surprise re-draftee for the Crows in 1995. In 1996 he played two games for five goals wearing Number 24. Hodges was on Port Adelaide’s inaugural list in 1997 but never played an AFL game for them.



Setanta O’ hAilpin – O’ hAilpin came to Carlton in 2004 from a hurling background in Ireland and made his debut in 2005; he had one kick for one goal. O’ hAilpin had the ability to play up forward or in defence, in his best year (2010) he scored 26 goals. He was involved in a remarkable incident in 2009 where he kicked teammate Cameron Cloke in an interclub practice match and was suspended for four weeks.



Ian Downsborough – In 1998 Downsborough was the first Port Adelaide AFL player to cross to Adelaide. Downsborough had played seven games at Alberton in 1997 and was traded for Brett Chalmers. At Adelaide he played 12 games in two seasons. Downsborough had started his career with West Coast, he played 20 games from 1995-1996 before being traded to Port Adelaide with Brayden Lyle and Shane Bond for Pick 1.



Wayne Campbell – Campbell played 297 games for Richmond, he won four Best & Fairests and two All Australian jumpers. He spent his first year in Number 46, then moved to Number 9 where he spent the rest of his career from 1992-2005 except for 2004. That year Campbell wore number 17 which Richmond had decided the captain should wear as a tribute to ‘Captain Blood’ Jack Dyer who had passed away the year before. In 2005 Kane Johnson was appointed captain and took on 17 while Campbell returned to Number 9.



Robbie Gray – Gray is a Port Adelaide champion who spent his first six years at Port Adelaide wearing Number 17 before crossing to Number 9 after Jacob Surjan retired. Gray played 70 games in Number 17, but Number 9 had been his junior number and he wanted a fresh start after suffering a serious knee injury in 2012 that restricted him to two games. Gray has played 250 games, won three Best & Fairests and four All Australian selections.



Mark Arceri – Arceri wore Number 17 at North Melbourne and Carlton and Number 16 in his one season at St Kilda. He was a handy forward pocket/rover and played 92 games for 133 goals in a career spanning 10 seasons. The most important goal he kicked was in Round 11, 1991 when he provided Carlton’s sole goal for the day with 33 seconds left in the match. Footscray won 8.9.57 to Carlton 1.10.16.



Arthur Chilcott – Chilcott was the first player recruited from the Illawarra region to play Aussie Rules. Chilcott made his debut in 1984 aged 21 and had an immediate impact – he kicked three goals in his third game and four in his fourth. Chilcott played 11 of the first 14 games of the year before injury ruled him out for the rest of the season. In 1985 he played only two games and then showed his versatile athletic abilities by code-swapping to rugby league in 1986 to play with Balmain.



Chris Stone – Stone started his VFL/AFL career for St Kilda in 1978 in Number 40 before he moved to Number 17 in 1979. Stone played 23 games from 1978-1981, his best year was 1980 when he played 15 games. After his footy career finished he moved first to the UK in 1988 then Belgium in 1994 where he has remained since. Stone has been married to Sophie Wilmes since 2009, the first female Prime Minister of Belgium from October 2019 to October 2020, she is currently serving as foreign minister.



Gordon Towan – Towan was cleared to Collingwood from Preston at 28 for Collingwood’s Round 8 match against the Swans to help a struggling defence. He spent Round 8 in the Reserves and made his debut in Round 9 against Hawthorn matched up on Gary Ablett who was playing his fifth game. Towan played the next week in a loss to Melbourne that saw the sacking of Tommy Hafey as coach. Towan was dropped for the next game and three weeks later his VFL/AFL career was over as he decided to go back to Preston.




Some of the forgotten Number 17s are Shane Tongerie (Adel), Trent Bartlett & Claye Beams (Bris), Robert Dutton & Scott Freeborn (Carl), Judd Lalich (Ess), Michael Poynton (Fitz), Hamish McIntosh (Geel), Josh Fraser (GCS), Cameron Bruce (Haw), Chris Johnson (Melb), Justin Staritski & Blake Grima (NM), Nigel Fiegert (PA), Brian Wilson & Nicholas Winmar (St.K), Tommy Walsh & Allan McKellar (Syd).





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  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Always love a Justin Staritski mention, even if on the forgotten list. While mentioned here for his 25 games in number 17 for North, I have great memories of him tearing it up in the Collingwood 2’s in 1994. Deserved more than the 1 senior game (all of about 5 minutes at the end) that he got that year.

  2. Thanks Luke thought you would like the Staritski reference

  3. Chris Stone !?! There’s a blast from the past. One of the last AFL/VFL players to play in glasses.

    Gavin Exell started on the wing for Geelong. Debuted in 1987, got injured in 1988. He had a purple patch after moving up forward in 1989, but when his form tapered off he couldn’t retain a spot in a very strong side.

    Gordon Towan I best remember from Preston. I reckon he was on the back line when Port Melbourne beat Preston by 107 points in the 1981 VFA First Division Grand Final.


  4. Thanks Glen, amazing that Exell never kicked on had the talent, really good Geelong forward line then

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