Crio’s Q: Good selection, wrong position? (Your noms…)

Ashton Agar batted 11 but looked every inch a Test player.
Stacky, I believe, played his first Test down the order as a leggie before ultimately becoming an opener and very occasional tweaker.
This phenomenon crosses sports – how many blokes have been tagged as a ruckman and ended up at full back (Fletcher)?…
Selectors, it seems, sometimes find the right character before identifying his best position.
Nominations please.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Wilfred Rhodes

  2. Michael Roach played most of his first season on the wing

  3. Mark Blicavs – started as a steeplechaser, ended as a ……….?

  4. What did Jack Dyer say about ‘ratbags to the backine’, when Moppsy Fraser sprayed them around in his debut on the forward line.

    As an AFL footballer Jamie Siddons had a stellar Sheffield Shield career as a batsmen.


  5. Tony Roberts says

    Babe Ruth began his major league baseball career with the Boston Red Sox in 1914 as a pitcher. For a club that dominated the game during the period of World War 1, he pitched three out of three winning games across two World Series titles.

    But then the owner of the Red Sox got desperate to raise money for his Broadway production of ‘No, No Nanette’… A few things changed.

  6. Tony Roberts says

    Also, DGB’s first game for Bowral in 1920. Team one short; 12YO scorer drafted in to bat Number 11. 38 not out. Promising…

    Seven years later, batted at Number 7 in his first Shield game. 118.

  7. Dave Nadel says

    Peter McCormack kicked bagfulls of goals as a schoolboy at Assumption College. Collingwood were so impressed that they gave him Peter McKenna’s number 6 guernsey. McCormack was playing as a fullback within a season. Prestigiacomo also came to Collingwood as a forward and ended up as the greatest blanket of a full back that Collingwood has had in the last fifty years. Ben Reid is another recruited as a forward who became a backman but may be in the process of returning to the forward line.

  8. bob speechley says

    The term “utility” was applied to players who could fill holes on the footy field but “swingman” is growing in popularity as the word to describe these players. Ted Whitten was the ultimate in this regard – could play anywhere and do anything hence the Mr Football title. Was in his element representing the Big V!

  9. Rod Marsh started with Western Australia as a specialist batsmen, ended up being one of Australia’s greatest wicket keepers.

    Mark Maclure started as defender at Carlton, ended up playing as centre half forward in three premierships.


  10. Bob, Your references to EJ reminded me of another “baby faced” tough utility who played throughout Sturt’s dominant era under Jack Oatey. Rick Schoff tended to find a forward role at his Club but was twice All-Australian playing at centre half back in the 1966 and 1969 Carnivals. “Sandy” Nelson – if my young memory is right – was the default CHB for the Double Blues so Schoff was able to be utilised as needed. An ungainly kick and sometimes overlooked due to more stylish teammates, Schoff was old school and bloody good.

  11. Andrew Gaylard says

    Geelong has a history of making great back pockets out of different materials. Bernie Smith transferred there from the centre. Ian Nankervis began VFL life as a rover/goalsneak before finding his true calling at the other end.

    Malcolm Turnbull?

  12. Rovers, of course, used to earn their “super” in the back pocket!

  13. Geelong’s decision in 2007 to put its faith in the 203 cm Brad Ottens as first ruck rather than key forward turned out pretty well. Could never work out why Richmond didn’t give him more of a go in the ruck, especially with Richo up forward. Not complaining though.

  14. Stan the Man says

    David Pittman started his career as a ruckman at Norwood / Crows. The “Messiah” M Blight put him to CHB in the ’97 grand final to play on Stewie Leowe… the rest is history.

  15. daniel flesch says

    Not to argue , Crio , but i think Agar was batting higher in club and Shield ,but they thought no. 11 better for first Test after late call-up…. There were “swingmen” before the term became vogue. Stephen Silvagni , for example , and my favourite , Peter Knights , who played CHB and CHF. Hawthorn’s would-be current CHB but for season-ending injury , Ryan Schoenmakers , played CHF in S.A, U.18’s and for Norwood before being drafted in ’08 and debut ’09. Been a defender at Hawthorn except for one or two games .

  16. Stan, do you remember Rick Schoff? (from my earlier post?)

  17. Andrew Starkie says

    The King played a few of his best at CHB. He often went there when injured.

  18. Andrew Starkie says

    Keith Greig won a few Brownlows on a wing before finishing his career in the back pocket.

  19. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Mick Martyn kicked a lot of Goals as a junior and turned out to be Kangas best ever
    Full Back
    Dean Terlich struggling up 4wd with Nwd switched Down Back wins Jack Oatey
    Medal in SANFL GF and did well for Melbourne this year
    Peter Caven was another bit Player the Messiah moved him to CHB in 98 and he was brilliant Inc beating King Carey in 98 GF

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