Almanac Teams: Thirty-two, buckle my shoe (1980- )


Footscray’s Peter Foster [Source: Author]


This is a team of best players to wear the Number 32  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 number 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:              Shaun Hart (Bris)                            Brett Thornton (Carl)                  Dougal Howard (PA)


CHB:           Andrew Embley (WCE)                 Peter Foster (Foots)                     Colin Robertson (Haw)


C:                 Cameron Bruce (Melb)                  Garry Hocking (Geel)                  Greg Tivendale (Rich)


CHF:            Lewis Jetta (Syd)                           Travis Cloke (Coll)                        Mark Ricciuto (VC) (Adel)


FF:                Brandon Matera (GCS)                Mason Wood (NM)                      Andrew McQualter (St.K)


Ruck:           Glenn Coleman (Fitz)                    Tim Watson (C) (Ess)                 Peter Bell (DVC) (Freo)


Interchange: Justin Blumfield (Ess), Patrick Dangerfield (Adel), David Glascott (Carl), Stephen Hill (Freo)


Emergencies: Jason Baldwin (Fitz), Amon Buchanan (Syd), Craig Ellis (WB), Ryan Griffen (GWS)


Coach: Tim Watson


No player from GWS in the starting 18.



Games in Number 32 (Years Played)

Shaun Hart 273 (1990-2004)

Brett Thornton 188 (2002-2012)

Dougal Howard 45 (2016-2019)

Andrew Embley 250 (1999-2013)

Peter Foster 163 (1983-1993)

Colin Robertson 116 (1980-1986)

Cameron Bruce 224 (2000-2010)

Garry Hocking 268 (1988-2001)

Greg Tivendale 188 (1998-2008)

Lewis Jetta 127 (2010-2015)

Travis Cloke 246 (2010-2016)

Mark Ricciuto 312 (1993-2007)

Brandon Matera 101 (2011-2017)

Mason Wood 65 (2014-2020)

Andrew McQualter 89 (2005-2011)

Glenn Coleman 64 (1980-1984)

Tim Watson 307 (1977-1991, 1993-1994)

Peter Bell 163 (1995, 2001-2008)

Justin Blumfield 119 (1997-2002)

Patrick Dangerfield 152 (2009-2015)

David Glascott 173 (1981-1991)

Stephen Hill 218 (2009-2020)



Number 32 has some very good midfield options with four Hall of Famers leading the way in Tim Watson, Garry Hocking, Peter Bell and Mark Ricciuto. The side also features three Norm Smith Medallists and two Brownlow Medallists, which is pretty good for a higher number. The weakness in the side is the talls with lack of depth and undersized players at FB, FF and ruck.



Clubs that had multiple options were Adelaide with Mark Ricciuto and Patrick Dangerfield, Carlton with David Glascott and Brett Thornton, Essendon with Tim Watson and Justin Blumfield, Fremantle with Peter Bell, Chris Bond and Stephen Hill, Geelong with Garry Hocking and Steven Motlop, Sydney with Paul Morwood, Amon Buchanan and Lewis Jetta, the Western Bulldogs with Ian Dunstan, Peter Foster and Craig Ellis and Fitzroy with Glenn Coleman and Jason Baldwin.



The defence is led by Peter Foster at CHB who was good enough to play for Victoria in this position and was a swingman trouble-shooter that could play up forward with a best haul of four goals. Brett Thornton at FB may be considered undersized but was a fierce competitor in a Carlton side that managed to play finals. Dougal Howard is the third tall in the side for his start of his career at Port Adelaide where he played 45 games in four seasons including captaining the club before a trade to St Kilda. The three smaller defenders are all Norm Smith Medallists. Shaun Hart won his as a run-with onballer but did player a lot as a back pocket, especially early on. Andrew Embley played mainly as a wing and that is where he played where he won his Norm Smith but I think he could adapt as a half back, changing with Cameron Bruce or Lewis Jetta. Colin Robertson on the other flank did win his on the HBF and he gets to reunite with Tim Watson, who he ran through in the 1983 Grand Final. Other players that can play in defence are Glenn Coleman, Cameron Bruce, Lewis Jetta, Mark Ricciuto, Stephen Hill, Justin Blumfield and David Glascott on the HBF.



The midfield and its options are a strength. Glenn Coleman is the sole ruck in the side; at 192cm he is not that tall and won’t win the taps but he is mobile around the ground. The worry with the rucks is the support; I prefer not to use Travis Cloke, so maybe Dougal Howard or pinch hit with an Andrew Embley or Mason Wood. Tim Watson, Garry Hocking and Peter Bell are all champions and Hall of Famers. All three can get the hard ball, though this is more of a Hocking strength. Watson and Bell provide the run and carry as well as winning their own ball and both can kick a goal. Each of them won four Best & Fairests – Bell won one at North Melbourne and three at Fremantle. The wings we have Greg Tivendale who was a natural and had beautiful left foot that kicked a lot of long raking goals. Cameron Bruce played a lot as an onballer whether an attacking or run-with role, he could rotate onto HBF, wing or HFF. Other midfield options are Hart, Robertson and McQualter who can play a run-with roles if needed, Embley and Glascott who could play on a wing and Ricciuto, Dangerfield and Blumfield who could run through the midfield.



Travis Cloke is the most important forward in the side as he is the only really recognisable marking forward. Cloke made his name as a CHF but can play deep in the forward line – just hope he has is kicking boots on. Mason Wood is at FF as the only other tall (not there were many other North options). Wood at 192cm showed promise but never fulfilled it at North Melbourne, he kicked 76 goals in 65 games with a best return of four goals. Brandon Matera is the goal kicking small forward – he has 124 goals with a best of six. Andrew McQualter can play as a defensive forward, which he did a little at St Kilda, he kicked 22 goals in 2009.



Lewis Jetta is another small forward picked based on his 45 goals in a premiership year in 2012 – the most for the Swans that year. Mark Ricciuto can play midfield or any flank, but I need him as a forward. Ricciuto had the ability to play deep at FF with 45 goals the best in a year, including two bags of six. Other options up forward are Peter Foster and Glenn Coleman at CHF, Peter Bell as a small forward, Cameron Bruce as a half forward and Patrick Dangerfield as a HFF – Danger has shown at Geelong since that he can play deep at FF.



The bench is really the next best four players as the only other tall is Craig Ellis who was good at the Bulldogs but I have three key defenders already. Patrick Dangerfield was a star at Adelaide before joining Geelong and was given the honour of wearing Mark Ricciuto’s number after he retired. He won three All Australians and a Best & Fairest at the Crows. Justin Blumfield was a key cog to the Bombers’ midfield in 2000 and earned Norm Smith Medal votes. Stephen Hill provides some class and run for the half back line while David Glascott can play wing or HBF and is capable of playing a run-with role.



There are four club captains in the side with Peter Bell, Garry Hocking, Mark Ricciuto and Tim Watson. Watson gets the captaincy ahead of Ricciuto vice and Bell DVC.



The unlucky players were Sam Mayes (Bris), Chris Bond (Freo), Steven Motlop (Geel), Shane Zantuck (Melb), Paul Morwood (Syd), Ian Dunstan (Foots)




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  1. Pretty good team Rodney: Half back flanks are both Norm Smith Medallists! Embley and Robertson. Hart as you say was also BOG on Grand Final Day.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    I went to so so many games hoping T.Cloke would have his kicking boots on!

    Pretty strong team for a higher number.

  3. Thanks Dan, any side with three Norm Smith Medallist is good, let alone a high one.

    Thanks Luke, Cloke destroyed us in 2013 one day, I suppose we were the same a little bit with Richo

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