Crio’s Q: Who are our favourite flairs?

by Chris Riordan

Flairs are always in fashion!

Almanac legend Gigs runs a popular Ladderist comp, the gist of which
is to forecast the AFL teams’ order at season’s end.

This can be very difficult. My dilemma this year was exemplified by a
form-frustrated declaration that “only 5 teams can make the 8!”

The identity of that 5 may have to remain “in camera”, but I reckon,
at halfway, it is fair to claim that there are very few flag
chances…and this in a year perceived to be “a window”, especially
given Geelong and Riewoldt’s injury episodes. Collingwood, probably
Bulldogs, incredibly Freo and a resurgent Hawthorn look the only ones
in the market.

So where is the interest?

I have been a consistent proponent of going to watch “neutral” games,
which is a possibility to those of us in Melbourne despite the
ridiculous lack of Saturday afternoon MCG matches.

The recently instituted “Madden Medal”, which highlights the champions
lost to the game, seemed to indicate a vacuum of stars leaving from a
super-era ( Hird, Buckley, Archer…), but it seems that we’ve found
this season a whole batch of “must watch” heroes for the Auskickers
(and “Oldkickers”) to embrace.

As much as I’m a fan of relentless ballgetters like Dan Cross, Jobe
Watson and Dane Swann or would cherish Pav, Scarlett or Lenny Hayes in
my side, I reckon we’ve got a bunch of “loose cannons” showing their
wares this season.

Sometimes it is easier to love a player when he is not against your own side.

Try these for starters…

“Jumping” Jack Riewoldt. Like “Milton the Monster”, take a pinch of
Alan Jakovich and add a sprinkling of “The Buzz”.

Cyril Rioli. Apparently Dermie said he has the “giggle factor.” I like
that. He just does stuff that makes you “take two.”

NicNat. Hyped too much, too soon. But his cameos??

Oh, yeah, …Buddy is back!!

Who are the players you love to watch (when not against your side) ?


  1. I’m looking forward to Liam Jurrah getting back on the park. Loved his style last year when he made his debut. I just hope the overpaid AFL coaches don’t “process” the flair out of him.

  2. Yes, Dips, that’s what I mean.
    He is the type who can “own” a game in your memory even after the result has faded.
    Remember the Vander v Knights schoolyard marking battle at Windy Hill?
    Or the shootout at the ‘G with Salmon and Ablett each scoring double figures of goals at their respective ends?

  3. Tony Robb says

    Having attended the Cats Dons game last week it was hard not to get caught up in the JPod phenom. The bloke is a beauty and just plays they way footie used to be played 20 yrs ago. I cheered every time he kicked a sausage, Flogging Dustin Fletcher was icing on the cake.

    The game last Friday would have produced the most “Goals of the week” in any single game ever played. Buddies were obvious but there were 6-7 crackers. And real goal not these prretend arsey Motlop type made up thingys that come off 1 in 20. Great to watch


  4. Crio.

    The answer just has to be that ol’ Pecker Malcolm Blight, despite the fact(s)he was

    * 13-0 against the Dogs as a player
    * Averaged almost 4 and a half goals a game against us, rising to an average of 5 goals per Western Oval appearance
    * 15-5 record as coach against the Dogs, 11-1 with the Cats, 3-4 the Crows (’nuff said) he even managed to have a 100% success rate as coach of the horrendous ’01 Saints against us.

    In hindsight my favorite memory would be his 7 goals in Round 10 1982 -the final act in Royce Hart’s coaching career. Relief at last!

  5. Great stuff Mic.
    If we are going to reflect on old SANFL stars, let me be first to push for Fabulous Phil Carman.
    I recall a day at Glenelg Oval where he and Graham Cornes seemed to compete for “mark of the day”. Fab took the points emphatically by getting a ride over a jumping Cornes and landing on his feet.
    Sure the SANFL was slow and made this footy possible, but it was great to watch and i reckon Carman showed he could cut it at any level.
    What a shame we didn’t see more of his breathtaking talent.

  6. Crio

    Following that little trip down memory lane I gotta find my copy of the ’73 GF. I’ll fast forward to the end just to see Cornseys one kick for the day – or was it two?

  7. Dave Latham says

    I love watching Brock Mclean play against the Pies, but that’s pure schadenfreude.

    Chris Newman is not exactly a spotty faced razzle-dazzler, but always enjoy his work.

    Sam Gilbert too.

  8. I know what you mean. I used to prefer Schimma to Greig, and Hayes to Dally. But they don’t always light up your day. I’m not a big Daisy Thomas fan – prefer Swann – but Thomas can give you a highlight to savour.
    Paddy Ryder’s got that “WOW” factor….and let’s not divert here to Warren Jones please!

  9. Danielle says

    top ten players that i love to watch are-
    1- Mooney
    2- Boomer
    3- Juddy
    4- Gia
    5- J.Brown
    6- Bartel
    7- Mitchell
    8- Swallow
    9- Gibbs
    10- Cousins

  10. Dave Nadel says

    After the glow of 1990 faded (in 1991) the nineties weren’t the best decade to support the Pies. But you did get to see the two best individual displays of the decade. One by a Woodsman and one from the Opposition.

    I am referring to Mickey McGuane’s run at the MCG (1994?) and Gary Ablett Sr’s mark over Gary Pert (1992?) Mickey’s run was inspiring and actually better than Manassa’s Grand Final run (Mickey was a more talented player)

    Gazza’s mark was unbelievable. Maybe the passing of time has made led to an exageration in my mind, but I seem to remember Ablett’s boots parrallel to Perty’s head. I don’t think I’ve seen a better mark.

  11. That’s the thing with memory, Dave. I’ve not watched a replay, but I recall thinking Gablett had straddled the traitor (Pert) and should’ve been penalised.
    In what is left of my mind, SOS’ mark (against Pies?) at the MCG around that time was more impressive!

  12. Steve Healy says

    obviously, as a Melbourne supporter, Liam Jurrah is my ultimate favourite player to watch after his incredible second half of the season last year. Tom Scully and Jack Trengove also.

    But moving on to other sides, I can’t go past the sheer skill and ball-winning ability of Gary Ablett (when not playing Melbourne of course). Another playing who I have loved watching on a couple of occasions is Dustin Martin, who I saw in Round 12, and he got 14 possessions alone in the first quarter. Nic Naitanui is a joy to watch, as is Cyril Rioli, but I also like Lewis Jetta even though I haven’t seen him live in action, but he looks like he will be a great player (when he can finally kick his first career goal)

  13. I distinctively rembember Mr McLure in a pre match comment involving the Cats a few years ago was talking about their backline.

    He must have had the colliwobbles from the press box lunch.

    Harlett was mentioned.

    I hadn’t noted that player in any team selection prior to or since.

    Sounds like a fairly valuable addition.

    The team that strays together stays together.

  14. Steve Healy says

    By the way Crio, I do agree that there has been a lack of MCG Saturday afternoon matches. There have actually only been 4 up to this stage of the year. And in every one of those, the Demons have been playing (luckily). I think it is ridiculous that the only Saturday afternoon game in Round 14 is Fremantle V Port Adelaide at Subiaco

  15. Glad Pods has been mentioned. It’s probably too early (far too early) to call him a superstar, but I’ll do it anyway. Superstar.

    Buddy always produces a good highlights package, and there are times when I love to watch Fev play (of course, this involves blocking out all the stupid things he does in a game and forgetting who he is).

    Going back a couple of years, I always loved watching Richo. He was the heart and soul of the Richmond Footy Club, and you could just see it in every disposal. Wonderful goals, beautiful marks … made all the better, of course, but his often questionable disposal. :p

  16. Brent Harvey. Easily the most inspiring and self-fulfilling player to watch. Being a North supporter, him with the ball late in the last quarter with the team down by a few points or leading narrowly, you know you’re going to win if he has it.

    From the competition, love seeing Jason Porplyzia, Steve Johnson, Liam Jurrah and Robbie Gray, really talented half forwards that can kick goals from nothing. But Jonathon Brown is the complete package.

  17. Stephen Hill moves beautifully and, as Jason Dunstall might say, kicks the ball stylishly by foot.

    Hayden Ballantyne on the chase.

    And Mr Pavlich for the combination of grace and brutal strength.

  18. Tony Robb says


    Pavlich’s 2 fends last Saturday in about 2 minutes where sensational. It takes a fair bit of confidence in ones ability to take on tacklers these days given the hovering umpies love of throwing the arms out with a curtsy to get a bit of attention

  19. A far as I’m concerned no one comes near G Ablett senior for flair and getting people through the gates. My old man barracked for Fitzroy but when they were elbowed out of the competition he said he couldn’t follow another team – he would simply watch Ablett.

    Shane Morwood had a few good stories about Ablett at the last Knackers lunch at the All Nations. He said he always went well playing on him but remembers one day at Kardinia Park flying in a pack with Ablett, fisting the ball as hard as he could, only to land and see a smiling Ablett with the ball still in his grasp. He reckons you never quite knew what he would do next.

  20. Dan Crane says

    The big Q stick?

  21. Watching an almost effortless Cyril makes me smile, and he’s only going to get better!

  22. T Lockett used to be worth the admittance price just to watch him monster the opposition (more so when he was at the Saints)

  23. Winmar to Lockett was a great sight indeed.

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