Almanac Teams: The Debatable Eights (1980- )

Fitzroy’s Chris Smith [Source: Author]



A team of more obscure/lesser known players to wear the Number 8 jumper since 1980.



Here’s my second team of players to wear the Number 8, mostly from 1980 onwards but I have made exceptions, such as Sam Kekovich


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:          Jake Kolodjashnij (Geel)           Danny Southern (WB)          John Scarlett (SM)


CHB:      Brent Crosswell (Melb)                Chris Smith (Fitz)                    Martin Pike (Fitz)


C:            Andrew Krakouer (NM)               Steve Malaxos (WCE)             Craig Turley (Melb)


CHF:      Sam Kekovich (Coll)                     Phil Carman (Ess)                    Paul Peos (Bris)


FF:         Jeff Farmer (Melb)                        Ross Ditchburn (Carl)             Eddie Hocking (Adel)


Ruck:     Tim Allen (Haw)                            Des Tuddenham (Coll)            Kevin Sheehan (Geel)


Interchange:  Troy Bond (Carl), Mark Dwyer (Fitz), Tom Roach (Rich), Scott Spalding (Carl)


Out Mike Richardson (shark bite)


There are no players from Fremantle, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney or Port Adelaide.




Games in Number 8 (Years played)

Jake Kolodjashnij 110 (2015- )

Danny Southern 103 (1994-2000)

John Scarlett 29 (1977-1978)

Brent Crosswell 76 at North Melbourne (1975-1979) 48 at Melbourne (1980-1982)

Chris Smith 142 (1975-1982)

Martin Pike 36 (1995-1996)

Andrew Krakouer 6 (1990)

Steve Malaxos 66 (1987-1990)

Craig Turley 16 (1996)

Sam Kekovich 4 (1977)

Phil Carman 10 (1980-1981)

Paul Peos 33 (1993-1994)

Jeff Farmer 18 (1999)

Ross Ditchburn 28 (1982-1983)

Eddie Hocking 11 (1991)

Tim Allen 11 (1993-1994)

Des Tuddenham 46 at Collingwood (1970-1971) 69 at Essendon (1972-1975)

Kevin Sheehan 74 (1976-1982)

Troy Bond 36 (1994-1995)

Mark Dwyer 2 (1987)

Tom Roach 3 (1995-1996)

Scott Spalding 1 (1993)

Mike Richardson 81 (1987-1990)




Jake Kolodjashnij – A fine defender for Geelong, has played the most games of any current player not to kick a goal. Has kicked 10 behinds in his career and had a perfect opportunity to kick a goal in 2020 from a set shot 20 metres out against Fremantle, alas he missed.



Danny Southern – A popular cult figure for the Bulldogs, he is best remembered for his haircuts ranging from mullets to rat tails. Southern was a good player in his day, many times playing above his height as key position defender. In his first season he was one of the recruits of the year, with a rising star nomination and 12 Brownlow votes, however he was also involved in an unfortunate melee incident with Peter Sumich. Southern later had injury problems and was forced to retire aged 25 after 103 games due to a knee injury in 2000. In 2004 he moved to Egypt to work as a tour guide, married an Egyptian woman and became a father in Cairo in the middle of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011.



John Scarlett – Best known as the father of Geelong great Matthew, John was a very good full back at the Cats in 183 games between 1967-1977. Less known is that John moved to South Melbourne in 1977. Scarlett played seven games until Round 13 for Geelong before moving to South Melbourne for a further 10 games. From my understanding, this was a loan until finals only but Geelong agreed to release Scarlett for 1978 season as well.



Brent Crosswell – Crosswell appeared in nine Grand Finals and four of them were premierships under Ron Barassi at Carlton and North Melbourne; he was widely believed to be best on ground in 1970’s famous clash. Crosswell played under Barassi at three clubs, though he joined Melbourne in 1980 a year before Barassi arrived.  His transfer to Melbourne was reportedly part of a cash deal with Bill Nettlefold. Notably he had apparently missed a few games in 1979 at North Melbourne because he was ‘bored with the game’, hence why North may have ‘sold’ him in 1980.



Chris Smith – Was a CHB for Fitzroy who is best known for one of the first players to wear a helmet. Chris is best remembered for leading the Brownlow Medal deep into the night in 1980 (this was when they counted the 1 votes first, followed by 2 votes). Smith was leading with 16 votes, however he was not invited to the count and executives were nervous at the prospect of a Smith win. Smith finished equal 6th without adding another vote, seven votes behind winner Kelvin Templeton.



Martin Pike – The noted party boy was a four-time premiership player at North Melbourne and Brisbane. Pike wore Number 8 at Fitzroy for 36 games and was the last Best & Fairest winner at Fitzroy in the VFL/AFL.



Andrew Krakouer – Younger brother of Jim and Phil by 13 and 11 years respectively. Andrew played two years for eight games between 1989-1990. Andrew wore 53 in his first year. He never played with his older brothers but does share the same name as his nephew, Jim’s son Andrew.



Steve Malaxos – A great of the WAFL over 278 games, Malaxos was the West Coast Eagles’ first Club Champion in 1987. In 1990 Malaxos was appointed captain of the Eagles and played 22 games for the season before being dropped for the Semi Final. Malaxos did not play another game but was still on the list in 1991.



Craig Turley – Turley was an All Australian and finished runner up in the 1991 Brownlow, but never really reached those heights again as a player at West Coast. Traded to Melbourne in 1995 for Andy Lovell but only played one season.



Sam Kekovich – Kekovich is best known as a North Melbourne premiership player in 1975, then missing the premiership photo and posing nude for The Truth with a strategically placed football. North Melbourne ran out of patience with Kekovich and he was traded to Collingwood in 1977, where he managed just four games for four goals, before he retired aged 27. Kekovich has since been a radio commentator, TV performer, lamb ambassador and noted after dinner speaker.



Phil Carman – Carman joined Essendon in 1980 after four years at Collingwood and one at Melbourne. In Carman’s fourth game for Essendon he was reported for striking Gary Sidebottom/head-butting boundary umpire Graham Carbery and suspended for 20 weeks. Two years later Carman was at his final club North Melbourne.



Paul Peos – Peos was an inaugural Eagle, who was traded to Brisbane after six years and 52 games before he returned to West Coast via the preseason draft after two years. Peos is best remembered for lining up for goal while protecting his face with his hands due to a huge hailstorm at Waverley Park.



Jeff Farmer – Farmer wore number 33 for most of his career at Melbourne, however in his fifth year Farmer started the year in Number 8 as a tribute to the number his uncle wore in WA. Farmer switched back to Number 33 in Round 19 after suffering a form slump. Farmer was injured in his first game back in 33 and missed the rest of the year. Farmer wore Number 33 for the next season in 2000.



Ross Ditchburn – Ditchburn played for Claremont between 1975-1980, in 1981 he returned to the family farm at Kukerin 300km from Perth as their captain-coach. In 1982 Ditchburn moved to Melbourne to give the VFL a go before he got too old. Ditchburn kicked 12 goals in his third game for Carlton and 61 in 13 games in his first year including the grand final. Ditchburn returned to the family farm after the 1983 season when his father became ill.



Eddie Hocking – Hocking was one of the first cult figures for Adelaide. Hocking is the smallest ever player for the Crows and he had the nickname ‘Scud’. Hocking’s trademark was his ability to baulk the player on the mark when lining up for goal.



Tim Allen – Tim played 34 games in five years for St Kilda, Hawthorn and Geelong. After Allen’s career finished at Geelong in 1995, he would go on to voice Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story movies from 1996.



Des Tuddenham – Des wore 30, 1, 8 and 3 at Collingwood, Number 8 was worn in 1970-1971 after being relieved of the captaincy – he then wore Number 8 at Essendon. Tuddenham moved to Essendon in 1972 to be captain-coach until 1975; he led them for 88 games and 47 wins. Essendon’s best year was 1973 where they finished fourth on the ladder. He is remembered for making his players crawl around Windy Hill after a heavy loss in 1974.



Kevin Sheehan – Was a rover for Geelong until 1982. Sheehan is best known as an AFL talent identification manager and is prominent in his knowledge for AFL draftees for last 30+ years.



Troy Bond – Bond won a Rising Star Nomination in 1993 and kicked 36 goals for Carlton in his first two seasons, however after playing the last eight games including both finals, he was dropped for Scott Camporeale upon his return from injury for the Grand Final. Bond was upset and did not stay in Melbourne for the Grand Final and was traded to Adelaide where he went on to play in the 1997 Grand Final.



Mark Dwyer – A certainty to be picked in the best ever Number 58 team, Mark joined Fitzroy in Round 15 of 1986 from Koroit as long sleeved wing. His first game he got 28 disposals and one Brownlow vote; he would finish the year with 11 games (three of them finals) 10 Brownlow Votes and an average of 18 disposals. In 1987 Dwyer took over Number 8 from Murray Browne but injuries and form restricted him to two games and in 1988 he was traded to St Kilda where he joined Mark ‘Mick’ Dwyer but only played one game and was out of the AFL system in 1989.



Tom Roach – The son of Michael Roach, Tom wore Number 22 in his first year for eight Games, the next year Tom wore Number 8 but only played three games. Tom had pace on the wing but did not have the height of his Dad at 184cm compared to Michael’s 193cm.



Scott Spalding – The  younger and smaller brother of Earl was drafted in 1992 and played in Round 1 of 1993 season, but sadly did not player another and returned to the WAFL in 1994.



Mike Richardson is out injured with a shark bite. Mike was a high profile recruit to Collingwood in 1983, playing 60 games and named an All Australian in 1983. After playing one game in 1986 for Collingwood, Richardson moved to Essendon with Geoff Raines due to pay cuts at Victoria Park. In 1987 Richardson again moved with Raines, this time to Brisbane where he was one of their best players in the side’s first four seasons. In 1989 he missed six games due to a shark bite injury from a 2.5m long grey nurse shark, incurred while working at Sea World.



Some of the forgotten Number 8s are Josh Mail, Myke Cook (Adel), David Cameron (Bris), Craig Devonport (Carl), Greg Smith, Jason Croall (Coll), Murray Browne (Fitz), Brett Johnson (Haw), Joe McLaren (NM), Stephen Ryan (Rich), Trent Dennis-Lane (Syd), Jeremy Humm (WCE), Patrick Veszpremi (WB)





The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE




To check out more teams from Rodney click HERE

To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.




Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.




Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.


One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE.


Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE.



  1. Such an interesting character was Tiger – my fave stat about him is that he’s the only player to win multiple flags with multiple clubs in the VFL/AFL. To have all that footballing ability and take time off due to boredom says so much – a great writer too.

  2. I’d like to see the Number 43 team. Kotafides wore it i recall but who else?Maybe a combined 43 and 44 team with Justin Madden in the ruck
    Jarod,Crosswell wrote an hilarious article about playing chess against Barassi on the phone. Seems he had it all.

  3. No Tom Hanks in the league to play alongside Buzz??

  4. Thanks Jarrod, too young to see Crosswell play but from you read he could have being two time Norm Smith medallist.

    Hi Dan, at this stage the thought is to have a separate 43 and 44 side, will see in 12 months how it will work.

    Thanks Jacki, I hope you liked my lame joke

  5. Mark Branagan says

    How Brent Crosswell continues to be ignored by the AFL Hall of Fame is one of football’s greatest mysteries.

  6. Over here in SA the great Magarey Medalist, MICHAEL AISH wore number 8. Michael, who played 307 league matches and several for SA was a TRUE NORWOOD LEGEND.

Leave a Comment