Almanac Teams: Citrus Bob’s All-Time Top 20 Players

Not wanting to miss out on the act Citrus has come up with his top 20 players of all time. He should know what he is talking about.  Two players Albert Collier (Collingwood) and Haydn Bunton (Fitzroy) are the only ones that Citrus did not see play.


Here is the line-up:

Backs:                    T.Barker (St.K)                    G.Southby (Carl)                        A.Collier (Coll)

H.Backs:               G.Archer (NM)                     E.Whitten Snr (Foots)              V.Howell (St.K)

Centres:                 J.Akermanis (BL)               H.Bunton (Fitz)                          R.Flower (Mel)

H.F’wds :               D.Baldock (St.K)                 W.Carey (NM)                            M.Rioli (Rich)

Forwards:              J.Howell (Carl)                   J.Coleman (Ess)                         B.Cousins (WCE)

Rucks:                    G.Farmer (Gee)                  M.Blight (NM)                            R.Skilton (SM)

Reserves:                J.Dunstall (Haw)  C.Sutton (Foots)  Captain- Coach


More Almanac teams are here

About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.


  1. It’s so easy to leave someone out, isn’t it Citrus? I seem to be typing Roy Wright in every second thread these days, but he was THE ruckman of his time. And that’s what it comes down to I guess. I doubt the Gentle Giant would get a game these days.

    Another name not there — and he won three Brownlows, not just two — you’ve probably guessed who’s name that is by now – Ian Stewart.

    And how about a pair of Hawks – Lethal Leigh & Darren Jarman? Two of the best footballers to ever pull on a boot. Lethal went on to greatness with four Jock McHale Medals at two clubs. And one of those was Collingwood.

    I also notice that the youngest player — by far — to make the list is Akka. What bearing does this have on the selection criteria you used? Don’t get me wrong, I agree with all the selections above, but who do you leave out? I presume you’re saving Ronald Dale & SOS for the Italian team.

  2. Citrus – would love to know the criteria behind “personal” faves? Spectacular? Attacking? Exciting? Please explain.
    John Coleman is the one “before my time” player I would love to have seen. Dad drove over from Adelaide just to see him and reckons he is the best of all time. Like Bradman so far above all the other players of his time.
    I would drive across the Nullarbor to see your ruck lineup. I just got to see Polly and Skilts as a young boy and was captivated. Blighty a genius.
    Who the hell is J.Howell (Carlton) and why is he among all these immortals?

  3. Citrus problems in the family ? How did Paddy D miss out ?

  4. Gentlemen – I think I have you by the short and curlies. You will need to look very closely at this top 20.

    PB. Don’t ask any Bluebagger of my vintage who Jack “Chooka” Howell was?
    Wrap- I do have Ian Stewart in my Italian team of the century.
    Rule – no sentiment here.
    Know doubts Dips is working on something at the moment.


  5. Rename the title “Citrus Bob’s all-time Top 20 VFL/AFL Players.”
    Pity you never made the trek to Adelaide Citrus Bob, else you would’ve included Barrie and Russell – immediate first round picks. Or Stephen Michael if you made it to Perth.

  6. Fake news, CB. Let me teach you how to spell Gary Ablett… there, job done.

  7. Then you only need to add an S after the second T to make it plural.
    Unless, of course, it’s Garys Ablett. As in, “The Garys Ablett were the first two picked in Forgetful Bob’s amended best ever footy team.”

  8. It’s a tough panel Citrus. You’d be safer joining us in the Biblical Team of the first five millennia. You could carry those Abletts forward and use them as the Captain & Coach. A lot of the good ones have already gone, but Pharaoh and the Good Samaritan are still available, I think.

  9. ajc – I’m with you. Gary Ablett senior is the only opposition player, who has been the inspiration for me to attend games of VFL/AFL football, not for the contest but to watch a player.

    The two Gary Abletts are in my best five players I’ve seen.

    Gary junior is so much a more complete player than B Cousins it’s like comparing Coopers Pale Ale to Fosters Light Ice.

  10. Citrus Bob says

    Before we get too deep into this discussion don’t get carried away by numbers.After all we Knackers write from the heart most of the time but sometimes it gets lost in translation.
    I have no doubt that P.J.Flynn and his alter -ego Marvin Vaas would have a comment?

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    This is not all that it seems, is it Bob? I’ve nearly got your number though.

  12. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Citrus, you’ve done a mighty job squeezing to Howells into a best ever team.
    Would replace Cousins in a pocket with Peter Daicos.

  13. Citrus Bob says

    Phil – it was pretty easy as Chooka Howell had very little opposition and Daicos did not have the numbers right.

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Solved it Bob. 1 thru 20 (although I’m not sure about Collier being #8)

    I’m now regretting trashing someone else’s comment earlier in the day that suggested that you had your head in an awkward spot for not picking either Ablett.

  15. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I got it. Very clever Bob. So who would be number 21?

  16. Citrus Bob says

    Swish _ Leeta Collier, like most Collingwood players in his time, wore a number of numbers.

    Phil – If I had have picked 22 I had Craig Bradley and Bobby Rose as certainties.
    Thanks guys I was getting desperate with all the other comments.
    As I have told Swish no way am I going to pick the best 20 ever – a ridiculous task. I know of 2 instances in country football where “all out war” was nearly declared by selection committees picking their “best ever” teams.

  17. Very clever and tangential Bob. I spent all morning looking for commonalities, and it was only after the cryptic clues from you and Swish about numbers that I cracked the Da Citrus Code.
    The answer was in the differences – not the similarits.ll
    Is there a 20-1 TV special upcoming?
    (Will you be coming to final WACA Test?)

  18. I just cracked the code in time and called back the B52s. Mildura lives on. I never saw Polly, but Sam Newman reckons he was better than Gary Snr – so I’m replacing Polly in your team with Gary.

  19. Citrus Bob says

    Well done AJC but could Ablett Snr play in the ruck?

  20. CBob, remember that goal he kicked from the forward pocket when he snatched the ball from the ruck in the 89 Granny? Closely considered calculations I’m considering performing suggest he’d be a 97-8 goal a year ruckman.

  21. And Roy Wright was better than Polly. He’d mark the ball from the kick-in and kick it back through the big sticks over the pack. And that was in the days when full backs were chosen for the kid kicking. I saw them both. I couldn’t split them, but what’s wrong with having two ruck men in the team. I’d drop Chooker Howell. Mind you, he was also very good. More the Billy Morris tap ruckman. The Gentle Giant was an imposing 188cm & 102kg.

  22. Roy Wright #2? Better than Robbie Flower, Wrap? Better than Bradman by the sounds of it.

  23. Better than vegemite Mr. B.

  24. Wrap – have you broken the Code yet? Could Roy Wright play on the wing?.
    ajc – was sitting right underneath it when he kicked that goal. Best GF performance since Brendan Edwards in 1961.

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