Crio’s Question: Can bad boys make good leaders?

Here’s one from left-field.

A couple of weeks ago the rumour mill decided that French side, Catalan Dragons, was about to offer the captaincy as bait for the signing of Todd Carney.

Why not? A role model for the ages. Carney is a magnificent League player who will be mostly remembered for an extraordinary off-field rap sheet. It is now nearly 6 years since he was famously banned from his own home town, Goulburn, but he’s worn the white shorts admirably, collecting misdemeanours and big money deals ever since.

“Captain chaps!”

These calls are not as rare as you’d think. The appointment of Joey Barton – “loose cannon” would be a pretty kind description – as QPR captain a couple of years ago (again, a wonderful player) recalibrated the requirements of discipline and character for the “armband”.

There’s no right formula – indeed the great Tom Watson is copping flak today as a losing Ryder Cup captain – but there certainly are some wonderfully eccentric choices that have been made in the past – and seemingly will continue to be in the future.

What are some of the more bizarre from history – and some novel nominations to match?


  1. Warnie had a decent record captaining the Aussie one day side. I’m not sure how we judge ‘Big Carl’ when he captain-coached Melbourne, they didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Harold Martin captain-coached Preston to the VFA first division grand final in 1978, but they failed to take the last step. A few others come to mind, but none of them sets the house on fire.


  2. John Nicholls fitted the bill as bad boy captain and coach when Carlton were enjoying a long period of success and he got worse after that, there have always been a range of “interesting” stories about what he apparently got up to and there was also an incident where he could potentially have been jailed before a final. Here’s an interesting link of some of his exploits post his footy career, Crio note the address he gave in court!,85675

  3. Jock, dare we mention Ian Stewart, with his brief time coaching South Melbourne ?


  4. Better not Glen.
    Suspect Don Scott’s tenure at South Adelaide has murmurings also.

  5. Malcolm Rulebook Ashwood says

    Wayne Carey has to get a mention not only for the obvious

  6. Ben Cousins was captain in 2005 when the Eagles lost the GF by a couple of points. He played a very average game. Judd won the Norm Smith and the Eagles would have lost by 5 goals without him. The greatest singlehanded effort I have seen.
    Next year Judd was captain and it was a much more ever team effort to win the flag.
    Most people will recall the arm whirling Ben Cousins on the daisis with the Premiership Cup.
    It was like “I have achieved all my goals and now I can party”. He hasn’t stopped yet. Except ‘oartying’ (euphemism for drugs) to feel good eventually gives over to ‘oartying’ to not feel bad.
    In short Ben was a lousy captain and while players looked up to him, they responded better to a consistent good example of work and effort from Judd.

  7. Chappelli.

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