Crio’s Q: Memorable beginnings

NicNat passed the 50 game milestone and then prepared for his first finals appearance with a customarily flamboyant performance – some question his four quarter contribution, but no one contests that each week he provides at least one memorable grab for the highlights reel.

It puts him in a “special” realm.

Who else could match the big Eagle’s first seasons?


Here’s some early suggestions:

“The Buzz” – ultimately just 65 games. 2 premierships. Mark and Goal of 1981.

“Big Carl” – the Blonde Bombshell, B.O.G. on debut, must have been a

human headline from then on.

“Fabulous” Phil – in a chequered career, those initial 66 games with

Collingwood were unforgettable.

Nominations please?



  1. Cuthbertson for the Dees started like a bush fire – then seemed to just fade out. Never quite realised his potential.

  2. Jason Krejza’s first test figures for Australia and subsequent decline.

  3. Andrew Fithall says

    Adrian McAdam – Wikipedia excerpt

    In 1993 he joined John Longmire and Wayne Carey in the North Melbourne forward line and kicked 7 goals on his debut. His goal tally was the most ever by a North Melbourne player on debut and he followed it up with 10 goals against Sydney the following week and then 6 goals against Footscray. This gave him a total of 23 goals from his first three games in the AFL (which is still a record) and he finished the year with 68 goals from his 17 games.[1] He was unable to repeat this performance in 1994 and, after managing just one game in 1995, his league career was effectively over.

  4. Nice one Andrew. Can’t remember that.

  5. Damo Balassone says

    The great Heath Shephard.

  6. Chris Judd doesn’t really fit this category, but his first season at West coast has been a rod for the back of every number 1 draft pick ever since.

  7. Back in 1911, Tom ‘Tunner’ Reardon was in Fitzroy’s best players almost every game of his debut season.

    Yet those 16 games are the only ones he played in the VFL.

    I haven’t been able to discover what happened to him.

  8. He probably died JB, unless he engaged the same portrait painter as Dorian Gray.

  9. Damo Balassone says

    Basil Halward?

  10. The Buzz had a done a bit before he came to Carlton. He’d played 111 games for Perth, was a premiership player in 1977 (they haven’t won one since) and kicked 7 goals in a losing grand final in 1978.

  11. John Coleman had a pretty good start to his career.

  12. Joel Selwood springs to mind

  13. Neale Daniher began his career when I was still an Essendon supporter. He was sublime from the very beginning. His knee injury robbed footy fans of another decade of magic.

  14. Alovesupreme says

    I think you’re looking for the truly exceptional, so my two submissions might not meet the strict criteria. Geoff Southby had a wonderful career at Carlton, but he excelled in his first two seasons, winning the b & f in outstanding teams. He continued to give great service to the Blues, but he was never quite the same after an encounter with a Richmond player in the lamentable 1973 GF.

    Ken Hunter is close to my all-time Carlton favourite, a singularly courageous footballer, who from his arrival in Melbourne was a stand-out in what I consider the best Carlton team of the last fifty years. He too won the b & f in his first year. Ken like the Buzz (as Les points out) had a distinguished senior career with Claremont before his transfer to the Blues.

    I recall the opening match of the 1986 season Hawthorn v Carlton, which featured the gun South Australians, Bradley, Motley and Kernahan on one side, Platten on the other. John Platten slotted in to Hawthorn immediately and was close to best afield, as Hawthorn romped home. The Carlton trio didn’t have blinder debuts, but soon proved their worth. Again all four were established stars in Adelaide, prior to their VFL debuts.

    I certainly agree with your nominations; perhaps the ill-fated John Greening justifies a mention also.
    As a left field inclusion, what about the Brisbane Bears? The “rejects” won their first two matches, iirc, and given their less than illustrious subsequent years, that could be considered a memorable beginning.

  15. Allen Jakovitch
    Bob Massie

  16. When you were still a WHAT Gigs?

  17. Peter Flynn says

    Archie Jackson

  18. Brad Hardie

  19. A bloke called Dermie

  20. Greg Williams made his debut in Round 1 of 1984 with Geelong and amassed 38 disposals, which remains a record for a player on debut in the recorded history of the league, and scored three Brownlow votes. He played twelve matches in his first season, missing much of the year with a knee injury. In his second season, he played every match, won the VFL Players Association MVP Award and the Carji Greeves Medal. He set new records for handpassing, with 399 handpasses for the season – a record which would stand until 2006 – and with 28 handpasses in the Round 22 match against Fitzroy – a record which would be tied several times, but not broken until 2008.

  21. Had already debuted with Hawthorn and played 6 games but…

    After signing a one-year contract for the 1984 season with Geelong, Ablett began his first season under the guidance of Tom Hafey. Following just nine games playing on the wing, Ablett was controversially selected to his first State of Origin game for Victoria.[2] However, with the support of Victorian star Ted Whitten, Ablett earned best-on-ground honours after kicking 8 goals from the half-forward flank.[2] After making just 15 appearances for the club and kicking 33 goals in his debut season, Ablett was awarded the Carji Greeves Medal as the Geelong Football Club’s “Best and Fairest” player of the year. Ablett’s successful first season was also recognised with several media awards as the player of the year.

    Sourced from Wikipedia

  22. That young bloke Dwyer on the wing for Fitzroy mid eighties played thre or four blinding games from his debut/ Phillip Walsh at Collingwood had a great debut year but little else

  23. Pete,

    If Williams had been playing for Carlton at that stage he would have won two more Brownlows no doubt.

  24. Pahntom, agreed. He should have won one more anyway. I’ve often wondered if the Cats would have been more successful if he stayed on, but then Paul Couch would probably never have won a Brownlow.

  25. We lost Toohey, Bolton and Williams when Hafey left. Bugger!

  26. Alovesupreme says

    I can’t permit the implication that a Carlton jumper is a passport to Brownlow to stand, whatever people think of the worthiness of the 2010 Medallist.
    The travesty that denied Anthony Koutoufides the 2000 Medal, and to a slightly lesser outrage that took away Rod Ashman’s 1981 Charlie are not forgotten.

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