Crio’s Q: Plucked unknowns who haven’t made it

Unusually, my thoughts drifted to Christian Howard last evening.

The Bulldogs were struggling.

Jason Johannisen was having a “Barry” off the back flank. Fortunately he’d survived the drop rather than the “out of his depth” misnomer Brett Goodes.

But where was Christian Howard?

Plucked as an “unknown” in the first round of the 2009 draft, he was declared a perfect replacement for Lindsay Gilbee – elite kicking blahblahblah. One game in 2013 brings his tally to 18.

And as talls went missing it was hard not to once again muse on Tommy Williams (pick 6, 2004) – except that, despite the February hype, Doggies fans are conditioned to his lack thereof. Now in his 8th season, he’s played more havoc with list management than games.

These were both high risk punts.

Howard was in the magoos at Glenelg and came with a hip that needed surgery. But oh what a left foot!

Williams had a background in Rugby. But what an athlete!

The margins are skinny these days and bad calls at big moments have massive implications.

We forget that the same scenario exists across the landscape…but it doesn’t ease the frustration when early picks bear no fruit.

Who else falls in to this category?


  1. You have set us tough one Crio. I can think of high profile, high draft picks, high purchase prices that have flopped (Buddy; Makybe Diva’s brother).
    I can think of obscure selections that triumphed – David Steele; Peter Taylor. The obscure flops (Johnnie Watkins) are quickly forgotten as there was little risked.
    Did JTH and I read too much into your question; or are obscure AND high picks exclusively Bulldog prerogatives (making a sow’s ear from a silk purse?)

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Richard Lounder – came from the Bulldogs (SA version) to Richmond as #1 draft pick in 1987

  3. Swish, was that a surprise pick or did he just not make the transition?
    Ayce Cordy…first rounder

  4. Cowshedend says

    Crio, what about Luke Pomersbach, surely every kids dream to be plucked out of the crowd to play for your country… but never kicked on.
    And on the Scraggers theme, Dogs lured gery haired SA player John Riley over in 1984, played against Richmond……the slowest human being i have seen grace a footy field, that was his one and only appearance.
    How about Mal Maninga’s political career?

  5. Cowshedend- John Riley was slow, but he was the quickest astro-physicist with a doctorate to have ever played the great game!

    Paul “Blocka” Wilson played one runless and wicketless Test. Apparently on the rise as an international umpire.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says


    A bit of both – he hadn’t really dominated in the SANFL, but still went at number #1 in the early days of the draft, speculative at best, he was a Dean Farnham wannabe.


    Riley might have looked slow that day, but he was better than that appearance – he (somehow) played without a clearance and due to the intervention of the lawyers, returned home to the Roosters – he was also a nuclear physicist, not much call for that at Barkly St at the time.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says
  8. Cowshedend says

    Swish, large violent men with the potential access to Thermo nuclear devices could only end in tears.
    Although enduring the last 50 odd years of watching the dogs may have been brought mercifully to an end ,should we have used John Riley’s main skill set.

  9. Jamie (Igor02) says

    Sean “China” Young. Don’t quote me on the year but the Tasmanian all rounder was playing county cricket when half the squad fell to injury. One test match, no wickets and 4 test runs (from a delightful off-drive it must be said).

  10. Chalkdog says

    Crio, [however this is pronounced]
    Doing a bit of catch up Almanac and I read KSoregans piece about the Dogs, that named PlayerX as a much unloved first round draft pick [ie list clogger]. I have been pretty much disinterested in the AFL of late [ticket pricing, match times and last Sunday a good curry and some cheeky reds took preference] so I was puzzled as to who might PlayerX be. I even resorted to channeling Cowshedend, who usually provides a fair assessment of a Barkly St players worth. (Could you get him to assess Shorty Daniels as he did one night at Naughtons in the 90s, but I digress]. The I found this piece and had my Eureka moment. I now know who PlayerX is {i think}.

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