Almanac Teams: The True Believers

When I was in primary school I once said to my mum “It’s great being a Catholic: I can commit as many sins as I like, then go to confession for forgiveness, and start all over again.” She was mortified. But I had cottoned on early.

And, thanks to my upbringing, I retain a large and uncomfortable amount of theological knowledge. Which I have finally put to good knowledge in selecting a team with a religious bent.


B: Troy Chaplin (Port/Rich, 04-16), Paul Abbott (Haw/Fitz, 84-93), Matthew Bishop (Melb/Port 98-06).

HB: Michael Prior (Ess/WCE, 1994-2002), Bert Deacon (Carl, 1942-51), Peter Dean (Car, 1984-98).

C: Winston Abraham (NM/Fre 1995-2001), Alistair Lord (Gee, 1959-66), Doug Priest (Sth Melb, 1966-69).

HF: Bobby Monk (Melb, 1907-14), Roy Pope (NM, 1933), Alex Sexton (GCS, 2012-18).

F: James Parsons (Gee, 2017-18), Mick Grace (Fitz/Carl/StK, 1897-1908), John Devine (Gee, 1960-66).

FOL: Steven King (Gee/StK, 1996-2010), Ross Abbey (Foots, 1971-81), Les Parish (Fitz/Melb, 1980-85).

INT: Taylah Angel (Freo W, 2017), Daniel Cross (WB/Melb, 2001-15), Bill Churchyard (Carl, 1898-99), Michael Christian (Coll, 1987-95), George St John (Rich/Melb 1908-11).

Em: John Elder (Coll/SM, 1955-57), David Palm (Rich, 83-88), George Challis (Carl, 1912-15).

Coach: Denis Pagan (NM/Carl, 1993-2007).



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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. very good Darren, from Catholic (Pope) to protestant (Elder) and one Pagan.

    Was the good Lord placed at the pivot as he is clearly the best player?

  2. Very clever Smoke.

    One of Rex Hunt’s great calls when Aaron Lord for Geelong kicked a big goal:
    “And The Lord went BANG!! “

  3. Good job Smokie. I always enjoyed that Matthew Bishop’s nickname was Harold.

  4. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Love it Smokie. Good to see that all that indoctrination didn’t go to waste. Three hail Mary’s and you’re absolved. Although, don’t think the diocese will be happy with a ‘Pagan’ as coach!
    Mitch Honeychurch – Dogs current
    Damian Monkhorst – Pies/Saints 1988-2000
    Frank Hailwood – Pies 104 games from 1897 to 1904

    Hallelujah !

  5. Dave Nadel says

    I’m not sure that Winston Abraham belongs in a list of Christian positions and icons. Like John Ibrahim (North Melbourne 1962-8) I would have thought that he referenced a different religion.

  6. McAlmanac says

    Michael Parsons (Sydney, 1988-90)
    Robert Dean (Coll/SM, 1969-80)

  7. Thanks for your comments and thoughts, one and all. And also to Swish for his off-line suggestions.

    Dave, this team was not intended to have a Christian slant – that is just the way it turned out, given the AFL/VFL’s decidedly Anglo-Celtic history. Having said that, although he is more prominent in Judaism surely Abraham does hold a place in the Christian faith?

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    More like “off-colour” Smokie, but thanks

  9. Andrew Fithall says

    There was a bloke on the Richmond list for a while (but don’t think he actually played in the firsts) by the name of George Pell. He found an alternative vocation. I wish he had stuck with football.

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    Very much looking forward to Rulebook’s thoughts on your back pocket selection!

  11. Grand team Smokie. Your reward will be in Lindsay Heaven (227 games for Woodville in the SANFL from 1970-85). Known as “Pennies”.
    For ability (though Bill Churchyard is better named) Colin Churchett kicked 100 goals twice for Glenelg in 1950 and 51. He was the leading SA full forward of the 40’s and 50’s (and played one game for South Melbourne while on war service if it keeps you Vics happy).
    Surely Troy Vickery deserves a go alongside Troy Chaplin as sinners redeemed.
    The Lord is my Brad Sheppard. He leads us on in pastures green.

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hall of Famer – John ‘The Baptist’ Halbert (nickname at Sturt was Bappo)

    Hall of Famer (Human Division) – Neale “The Reverend” Daniher

  13. Rulebook says

    Smokie congrats you surely have discovered the reason for Troy Chaplin to play 200 plus games !
    and well played,Dave well played re Lindsay Heaven

  14. John 8:58
    Jesus said “Before Abraham was born, I am!”

  15. DBalassone says

    Full points for originality Smokie. M. Sexton was a solid CHB for the Blues who was sold a few dummies in ’93 from Mick McGuane and Michael Long.

    Love the twist with Pagan coaching.

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