Almanac Teams: Three’s a charm (1980-)




A team of more obscure/lesser known players to wear the Number 3 jumper since 1980.



Here’s my second team of players to wear the Number 3, mostly from 1980 onwards but I have made exceptions, such as for John Pitura as a Tiger.



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
  • Brisbane/Fitzroy are classified as one club but I have given them preference for interchange spot or when a suitable player from any other club could not be used.
  • 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:           Paul Feltham (Rich)                Greg Phillips (Coll)                    Sam Sheldon (Bris)


CHB:       Adam Houlihan (Geel)           Peter Johnston (Geel)               Brendan Krummel (Haw)


C:              Shayne Breuer (PA)                Nick Daffy (Syd)                        Doug Hawkins (Fitz)


CHF:        Paul Chapman (Ess)               Dermott Brereton (Coll)           Stephen Rowe (Adel)


FF:           Jake Neade (PA)                       Anthony Mellington (Fitz)       Stephen Oliver (Carl)


Ruck:      Mike Fitzpatrick (Carl)            Leigh Matthews (Haw)             Bruce Duperouzel (St.K)


Interchange:      John Pitura (Rich)       Stephen Reynoldson (Bris)       Ken Sheldon (St.K)

Daniel Wells (Coll)



No player was selected for Footscray/Western Bulldogs, Fremantle, Melbourne, GWS, North Melbourne, West Coast or Gold Coast.



Games in Number 3 (Years played)

Paul Feltham 3 (1978)

Greg Phillips 84 (1983-1986)

Sam Sheldon 43 (2009-2012)

Adam Houlihan 61 (1997-2001)

Peter Johnston 92 (1979-1986)

Brendan Krummel 1 (1995)

Shayne Breuer 54 (1997-1999)

Nick Daffy 1 (2002)

Doug Hawkins 21 (1995)

Paul Chapman 29 (2014-2015)

Dermott Brereton 15 (1995)

Stephen Rowe 21 (1992-1995)

Jake Neade 42 (2015-2018)

Anthony Mellington 18 (1996)

Stephen Oliver 13 (1992-1994)

Mike Fitzpatrick 150 (1975-1983)

Leigh Matthews 288 (1972-1985)

Bruce Duperouzel 139 (1974-1982)

John Pitura 40 (1975-1977)

Stephen Reynoldson 58 (1987-1991)

Ken Sheldon 53 (1987-1989)

Daniel Wells 15 (2017-2019)



Paul Feltham – Best known for 128 games at North Melbourne and being caretaker coach at the Bears, who had five wins from seven games during his stint.


Greg Phillips –  While a very good player at Collingwood and a Hall of Famer for his Port Adelaide Magpies days, is now best known as AFLW star Erin Phillips’ father.


Sam Sheldon – Son of Ken though never picked up by Carlton; given the Number 3 after Michael Voss retired.


Adam Houlihan – One of four brothers drafted to the AFL, is famous for starting out as a jockey but then grew to 185cm.


Peter Johnston – From memory was mainly a forward who could play back, but was slighty enigmatic. Best known as the emergency in 1981 Preliminary Final who came in for Garry Sidebottom after he was not picked it up. Johnston had travelled separately and already had half a chicken, large chips and a thick shake and smoked half a pack before being advised. On that preparation he played 20 minutes for zero possessions and two frees against.


Brendan Krummel – Was inaugural wearer of Number 3 for Fremantle, where he played one game. Best known as a Hawks player for being knocked out by a Byron Pickett hip and shoulder.


Shayne Breuer – Was a mature aged recruit and I thought very underrated player at Geelong, he found his way to Port Adelaide in their first season as their inaugural Number 3, Breuer was surprise delisting after three seasons.


Nick Daffy – Fell out of favour at Richmond in 2001 and traded to Sydney but after one game and one goal retired due to knee injury.


Doug Hawkins –  Had one year at Fitzroy after his career at Footscray and wore this number to honour Ted Whitten. Was Pick 84 in 1994 National Draft.


Paul Chapman – Played two seasons at Essendon after a great career at Geelong involving a Norm Smith Medal and three premierships. Like Hawkins he too was traded for Pick 84.


Dermott Brereton – Had one year at Collingwood with some success kicking 30 goals and helping Sav Rocca after his unfortunate Sydney stint.


Stephen Rowe  – Lively Adelaide small is now known as Radio Sports presenter, son James was just drafted in December.


Jake Neade  – Port cult figure was tiny at 170cm and 64kg and possibly lighter when first started, was a good goal sneak.


Anthony Mellington – Played two years at Fitzroy, wearing Number 3 in Fitzroy’s last AFL season 1996, Mellington kicked the most goals for the season including a haul of six goals in Fitzroy’s last ever win over Fremantle.


Stephen Oliver  – Pick 26 in the 1987 Draft (Benny Gale was pick 27; a ‘sliding doors’ moment for Richmond), was homesick and loved living in Castlemaine. Oliver would end up in Castlemaine, where he kicked plenty of goals until 2005. I read on Wikipedia that he was also a handy cricketer who got Damien Martyn out at junior level.


Mike Fitzpatrick – Champion Carlton Premiership ruck but maybe better known as Rhodes Scholar and former chairman of the AFL. Is also famous for time wasting in taking his free kick and it being reversed to Essendon who kicked a goal and created momentum to win in 1981.


Leigh Matthews – Legend of the AFL gets in for the famous incident knocking the point post in 1982 against Essendon at Windy Hill.


Bruce Duperouzel  – Great rover and was captain for two years at St.Kilda, also played five Sheffield Shield Matches for WA in 1971/72 as a batsman with a top score of 43.


John Pitura  –  Famous trade in 1975 from South to Richmond which cost Richmond future Brownlow Medallists Graham Teasdale and popular players Francis Jackson and Brian Roberts.


Stephen Reynoldson – First DVC of Brisbane after a promising start at Geelong, he played some good football at Brisbane at CHB before retiring early due to injury.


Ken Sheldon – One of the many Carlton players who ended up at St Kilda. Sheldon probably was the best of them and after retiring in 1989 went on to coach the next season.


Daniel Wells – Better known as North player, he had many injury problems at Collingwood


Some forgotten Number 3s are: Kris Massie (Carl & Adel), David Honybun and Digby Morrell (Carl), Scott Gumbleton (Ess), Greg Harding (Freo), Phil Cronan (St.K), Max Kruse (Syd) Adrian Campbell (Foots).





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  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Loved watching Dermott play at Collingwood in 1995, he was really good, fantastic for S.Rocca and I thought he could have gone on for another season. But obviously his body was shot.

    Likewise, Doug Hawkins was great at Fitzroy in ’95. Off half back from memory?

    Did Mark Richardson get close to selection in either of your number 3 teams?

  2. Thanks Luke, think you are correct with Hawkins.
    Mark Richardson started off with number 16 and kicked in successive weeks 6 & 7 goals in his first year in 1991. Moved to Number 3 in 1996 and still played 100 matches. I thought Gayfer was best Number 3 and had others ahead of Richardson for interchange/emergency and unlucky spots sorry in the best of Number 3 team.
    In this team, from what I could see there was no real cameo or nothing that was obscure or forgotten about him. He was relatively known son and his Dad is a legend, compared to say Sam Sheldon in this side.

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