Almanac Teams: The Horse and the Frog, Best of 35 (1980- )



Melbourne’s Stephen Smith [Source: Author]


This is a team of best players to wear the Number 35 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 numbers 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:            Aiden Corr (GWS)                  Steven Smith (Melb)                                Ryan Lester (Bris)


CHB:         Caleb Daniel (WB)                 Peter Dean (Carl)                                      Barry Young (Ess)


C:               David Murphy (Syd)              Patrick Dangerfield (DVC) (Geel)         Michael Rischitelli (Bris/GCS)


CHF:         Ben Cousins (WCE)               Michael Pickering (Rich)                         Peter Daicos (VC) (Coll)


FF:             Paul Chapman (Geel)            John Longmire (NM)                               Jamie Morrissey (Haw)


Ruck:        Rhett Biglands (Adel)            Chad Cornes (PA)                                      Robert Harvey (C) (St.K)


Interchange : Chris Bond (Rich), Ed Curnow (Carl), Steven Kretiuk (WB), Simon Prestigiacomo (Coll)


Emergencies: Darren Baxter (Foots), Nathan Broad (Rich), Rod Jameson (Adel), Robert Neal (Geel)


Coach: John Longmire


No player from Fitzroy in starting 18, no player from Fremantle. I have added two players from Geelong.




Games in Number 35 (Years Played)

Aiden Corr 98 (2013-2020)

Steven Smith 180 (1974-1983)

Ryan Lester 158 (2011- )

Caleb Daniel 142 (2015- )

Peter Dean 248 (1984-1998)

Barry Young 76 (1994-1999)

David Murphy 156 (1984-1993)

Patrick Dangerfield 137 (2016- )

Michael Rischitelli 111 at Brisbane (2004-2010) 132 at Gold Coast (2011-2019)

Ben Cousins 38 (1996-1997)

Michael Pickering 136 (1984-1991)

Peter Daicos 250 (1979-1993)

Paul Chapman 251 (2000-2013)

John Longmire 189 (1989-1999)

Jamie Morrissey 106 (1984-1993)

Rhett Biglands 134 (2000-2006)

Chad Cornes 239 (1999-2011)

Robert Harvey 379 (1989-2008)

Chris Bond 90 (1994-1997)

Ed Curnow 204 (2011- )

Steven Kretiuk 158 (1993-2003)

Simon Prestigiacomo 233 (1996-2010)




The Number 35 side is reasonably strong with good depth on each line. The highlight of the side is that it features two Brownlow Medallists (Harvey & Dangerfield) with another in a different jumper (Cousins), it has a Norm Smith Medallist (Chapman), Rising Star winner (Cousins) and Coleman Medallist (Longmire) with the same year’s runner up (Daicos) in the same number too.



Clubs with multiple options are Adelaide with Rod Jameson and Rhett Biglands, Brisbane with Michael Rischitelli and Ryan Lester, Carlton with Peter Dean and Ed Curnow, Collingwood with Peter Daicos and Simon Prestigiacomo, Geelong with Robert Neal, Paul Chapman and Patrick Dangerfield, Melbourne with Steven Smith and Andrew McDonald,  North Melbourne with John Longmire and Troy Makepeace, Richmond with Michael Pickering, Chris Bond, Chris Newman and Nathan Broad,  Western Bulldogs with Darren Baxter, Steven Kretiuk and Caleb Daniel.



The defence is led by Steven Smith at FB who despite playing for a poor Melbourne side, did play for Victoria and won a Best & Fairest. At CHB is Peter Dean who also played for Victoria and was great competitor. Dean too ran out for Victoria; he was also at Carlton in a premiership year as a third tall defender with Michael Sexton at CHB. Aiden Corr would probably be the third tall defender who is best known for being a tight defender able to also play FB and CHB. Ryan Lester at 192cm is a rare type that though not a big possession winner he is able to play on the second/third tall or play small. The half backs are more ball getters than negating defenders. Caleb Daniel is currently one of the best small rebound defenders who is probably one of the best kicks in the league. Barry Young is a tough straight line running half back who racked up disposals. Other options as tall defenders are Simon Prestigiacomo, Steven Kretiuk as tall defender, Chad Cornes as an intercepting defender, Michael Rischitelli, Chris Bond, Ed Curnow and Jamie Morrissey as small defenders.



The midfield is very strong with Rhett Biglands an underrated ruck for the Crows when they regularly played in the finals whose career ended prematurely due to knee injury at age 29. Chad Cornes is named ruck rover and was known as forward at start of his career or defender in premiership year but he had stint as a midfielder in 2007-2008 and was All Australian in 2007. Robert Harvey as first rover is one of the game’s greats; he won two Brownlows and eight All Australians over the journey and his fitness/endurance meant he played until he was 37 and averaged 25 disposals in his career. Patrick Dangerfield in the centre is a current great; a Brownlow in his first year at Geelong and All Australian eight times including five out of six seasons at Geelong. On a wing we have David Murphy who was one of the best wingers in the 1980s – he loved kicking a long running goal at the SCG, and probably stands out more than others for his football ability as Sydney was the only team that played on a Sunday at the time and Murphy was always dominant. Michael Rischitelli on the other wing can be used in defence or as a run with option, he also won a Best & Fairest at Brisbane. John Longmire would be back up ruck with other midfield options such as Chris Bond and Ed Curnow as run with players and Ben Cousins, Peter Daicos, Paul Chapman and Barry Young could all play in the midfield.



The forward line starts with John Longmire at FF who kicked 98 goals in 1990 and followed with 91, 64, 75, 78 and 58 before knee reconstruction in 1996 slowed his career as a forward and he only played 45 more games in three seasons for 17 goals as a backup tall with his last game a premiership aged 28. Michael Pickering at CHF mainly played as HFF but he was 187cm who also won a Best & Fairest and was a very good mark for his size. Ben Cousins’ first two seasons were a great start to his career as rover/HFF where he won the Rising Star before he moved to Number 9. Peter Daicos could be named anywhere on the forward line, he started his career as a centre and half forward who kicked 76 goals in 1981 from a HFF and 58 in 1982 before missing several games between 1983-1987. When Collingwood were back in the finals in 1988 Daicos was injury free and back in form. In 1990 Daicos played pocket or FF and kicked 97 goals for the year and 75 in 1991. Paul Chapman was a small forward that could also play midfield. Chapman won a Norm Smith Medal in 2009 with 26 disposals and three goals. Chapman was also a two time All Australian small forward. Jamie Morrissey was known as the freak who kicked 100 goals from 106 games who had a best of six goals in 1991 but in the Grand Final he played as a back pocket on Chris Lewis and kept him very quiet. Other forward options are Patrick Dangerfield and Chad Cornes.



The interchange is made of probably the four best players available. Simon Prestigiacomo was surprisingly drafted as a forward but ended up as very good FB for Collingwood who while he gained low possession numbers was low risk and rarely had goals kicked on him. Steven Kretiuk is 185cm but started on the half back line or third defender but also played as tall full back having great memorable contests especially against Matthew Lloyd. Chris Bond came to Richmond from Carlton and was instantly a very good player who won a Best & Fairest for Richmond when they were on the rise and followed up with very good seasons in 1995-1997 before he was traded for Pick 2. Ed Curnow is considered one of the best run with players in the AFL currently for Carlton.



Robert Harvey is the only captain in the side as Ben Cousins led his side later in the Number 9 and Chris Bond captained Fremantle. Peter Daicos is vice captain as he was in 1990 and Patrick Dangerfield is deputy.



The unlucky players were Andrew McDonald (Melb), Troy Makepeace (NM), Chris Newman & Matthew White (Rich) Jess Sinclair (St.K), Patrick McGinnity (WCE).




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  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Any team with the great Peter Daicos in it is a great team.

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