Favourite players please

A shout out to all readers – who was your favourite player growing up, and why? This should give a great insight into the members of the Knackery.


  1. Mickey Turner was mine. I wrote to him around 1985 as a 10-year-old and received a hand-written letter in return, telling me to stick with the club even though they weren’t having much success at the time. Sage advice, Mr.T.

  2. Grant Fraser says

    Dermott. 5 on debut in a final. 8 in a losing Big Dance (absolutely spent and had to be pulled up to his feet after snapping one from the square). ALWAYS took it up to The Hated Enemy. The strut. A larrikan before the Age of Demetriou Cleansing; could have written for The Bulletin with Henry Lawson.

  3. Cat from the Country says

    The Lord twins at the Cattery. To a young country girl they were gorgeous and could play footy too!

  4. Gee impossible to name one. Surely it depends on your mood, your age, your form in the backyard, the little brothers getting bigger, how teams are travelling?

    Brent Croswell – loved the puffed out chest.
    Kevin Bartlett – wanted to play like he did.
    Merv Neagle – loved his waddling run.
    Tim Watson – see above. And the power in his play
    Ian Nankervis – unbreakable.
    Malcolm Blight – just sensational.
    Gary Malarkey – his battles with M Roach were legendary despite his lack of height.
    Gary “Flea” Wilson – great bloke, super fit.
    Keith Greig – he was a Rolls Royce
    Royce Hart – he was a Keith Greig.
    Wayne Closter – a very good player in a crap team

  5. Come on Dips, give us one! What number was on the back of your jumper?

  6. Obscure reference time. Bobbie Gibson, the #5 for my West Torrens Eagles in the SANFL in the 60’s and 70’s. Rover/wingman who went back to the back pocket for the latter part of his career – a la Sheedy and Malthouse.
    We were a crap team and Bobbie was always a stand out even when we got thumped. Never gave up and never beaten. Only a little bloke but a terrific mark for his size, and was forever running the ball out of defence.
    I had #5 on my blue and gold jumper, and thought he was the best player in the whole SANFL because he was never beaten.
    I remember my Dad coming home from the B&F Dinner and saying that when the Awards were given all the players got polite applause – including triple Magarey Medallist Lindsay Head. When Bobbie’s name was called every member stood and clapped him from the time he got up to the time he sat down again.
    I adored him.

  7. Like most kids in Footscray had the no 3 etched into my back for the great EJ,but remeber bucking the trend and going for the 15 of Dave Darcy(Lukes old man)

  8. Michael Viljoen says

    There were certain players for whom you’d say ‘time slowed down’ when the ball came near them. They seemed to have more time than others. These come to mind: Gary Ablett Snr, James Hird, and David Rhys-Jones.
    Perhaps they had more time because other players were stopping to watch them too.

  9. Cheryl Critchley says

    My first footy jumper had 21 on the back for Neil Balme. I thought he was great and liked the fact he got reported a lot as his picture would always be in the paper for me to cut out and stick on my bedroom wall.
    When Balmey retired I put Michael Roach on my jumper and duffle coat. I still have the “Michael 8 Roach” coat now. I remember lovingly stitching the number, names, ribbons and sequins myself. Not to mention the “Only Slobs Support Collingwood” patch. Michael Roach was a fantastic player and person. Most of my friends opted for Geoff “Spunky” Raines but I always liked Roachy the best for his silky skills. When he turned 21 my two friends and I got a silver pen engraved and took it to the Merrett Hassett sports store in the city to give to him. Michael was at the Collingwood store but came in to see us and gave us all a kiss. As teenagers We were in seventh heaven! Many years later when I interviewed Michael for the Herald Sun with his son Thomas, who was then playing for Richmond, I took the duffle coat in to show him. When I told him about the pen he said he still had it. What a great person! No wonder he was my favourite.

  10. Cookie – alright, alright! My number changed a bit over time. Pretty sure as a little tacker I had a big plastic No.1 on my back – Wayne Closter.

  11. bob speechley says

    Some of us never grow up but my fondest dim memory is of Ron Todd playing for Williamstown at the end of his VFA/VFL days which sprouted 999 goals! Later he played at Lorne and ran the Pacific Hotel where he drank ponies with clientele who visited the pub to cast their eye over the great man! I was also in awe of the great Charlie Sutton at Footscray who my father knew and I had the privilege of meeting on a few occasions. He was a working class hero and my respect for him continues to grow with time; he also had a pub.Later (this is the bit about never growing up) I was a great fancier of Roger Merrett and his ability to turn games around for Essendon. In retirement he became a newsagent!

  12. Duncan Kellaway. Loved his work ethic – that was it! I hated Dermie and show ponies in general (although of course the game would be poorer without them etc) and Dunc was the polar opposite. I loved the Tigers and he was simply my favourite Tiger, later succeeded by his brother Andrew. Club men.

  13. Number 19 on the back, for Graham Wright of Collingwood and East Devonport.
    2nd in the Brownlow in the 1990 premiership year.
    Understated courage.
    On the strength of a rumour, I once travelled across town to the Rebel Sport outlet on Chapel St, South Yarra, in the hope of seeing him working there. I’d rehearsed my lines. Prepared to ask for advice about footy boots.
    But when I saw him there, with the Rebel polo shirt on, I couldn’t even make eye contact. Slunk away with only a pair of dodgy socks.

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Peter Moore – Athleticism, flair, possibility.
    Billy Picken – Honest, theatrical, leap.
    Stan Magro – Tough, courageous, intimidating.

  15. Ken Hunter – coz he wore his socks around his ankles – which was my preference – and hence defied what ‘a real footballer was meant to look like’ with his socks up.
    And he was Claremont before he was Caaarlton.

  16. Scott Elliott says

    Some that come to mind for me-

    ‘Rotten’ Ronnie Andrews- the enforcer during the years of the first phase of the Baby Bombers. Went to toe to toe against Stewie Gull at Windy Hill many years ago as well.

    Mark Bayes- just they way he loped around the backline for the swannies and his thumping left foot kicks.

    Derek Kickett- they way he could just turn a game on its head in a five or ten minute burst. Great exponent of the barrel as well.

    Gary Ablett Snr- his physical strength and dominance and penchant for destroying Richmond any time he played against them.

  17. Andrew Starkie says

    Cabes, Blighty, Schimma, Glendenning, Greigy. No explanantion needed.

  18. Derek Chadwick (22) East Perth – I could follow him all year cos he also opened the batting for WA. Wingman of the highest order – always played well against the big V. Played in 5 losing GFs retired half way thru 1972 and the Royals went on the win the flag.

  19. Ken Hunter (socks and courage), Matt Clape (smart haircut and understated flair), Kade Simpson (beard and courage).

  20. Sal Ciardulli says

    Bruce Doull – cat like reflexes, superb one-on-one and kicked it like a piece of frozen rope!

    Loved that half-back line Doull, Perovic, Hunter!

  21. Neil Anderson says

    No need to ponder on this one. Aged seven and absorbing everything that was Footscray during it’s hey-day, or should that be hey-year. There was only one number that dominated and that was Teddy Whitten’s number 3. It was Charlie Sutton’s grand final but the fair-haired athlete that could play either end of the ground became the legend for the next sixteen years.
    Relieved that the number eventually ended up with Chris Grant and rapt Mitch Wallis is presently doing it justice.
    Second favourite number is 6. From Charlie Sutton to Brad Johnson and now Luke Dahlhaus.

  22. Andrew Starkie says

    Denchy. Krakouers.

    Later, Da King.

    Again, no need to explain.

  23. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Phil Carman for Norwood before Guys realised he had white line fever was simply a Freak John 28 Wynne for courage Will to win and Greg Turbill Gutsiest Player I have ever seen and VFL wise John Greening before he got belted from Collingwood was the Player I looked forward to watching on Thw Winners on Sunday Night

  24. I had Mark Williams (21) and then Doug Barwick (17) on my back as a young bloke following the Pies both poles apart as footballers but worth watching.

    From the opposition I think Bernie Quinlan had it all and could do anything he liked on a football field – very under rated when the greats are mentioned.

    I always had a thing for the great wingman of the eighties, Barham, Millane and Brown at the Pies but also Hawkins, Dipper, Flower, Glasscott, Turner, Abernathy, Eade, Pritchard, Geoff Ablett, Rhys Jones, Murphy ( probably missed a few ) – when the greats would go one on one in the days when blokes stayed in their positions – all good overhead, smart and courageous as well.

  25. David Zampatti says

    Graham Farmer returned from distant obscurity (the VFL) in 1968, the year I started following football, to captain/coach West Perth to two WAFL premierships. They say that Polly got all the boys to urinate before running out for the ’71 grand final against the great enemy (and his former team) East Perth, and the trough was lined with pictures of Mal Brown. Les – is that true?
    The first game I saw, dad took us to East Fremantle Oval in pissing rain just to watch Barry Cable. Later on, Cable played a half against us at Lathlain Park that was the best I’ve ever seen. Scores were level, or near as dammit, at the interval, and Cabes was single-handed.
    Later on, I got Brian Adamson’s jumper from our crushing ’75 grand final win over Souths. People say it was a terrible game, but they don’t know what they’re talking about (and obviously hate the Cardies).
    There were other players from those mighty West Perth times, some talented, some humble: Stephen Smeath, footy’s only truly “mercurial” whitefella; the champions Bill Dempsey and Mel Whinnen; John Nykyforak, the first not-really-talented-but-loveable player I especially admired (John Gastovich, as he was when he played for West Perth, came later, as did the phenomenal Derek Kickett, always a Cardie in my mind); the untouchable wingman Alan Watling.
    Then there was the back pocket of the early early ’70s, Leon O’Dwyer. The Toad. Good looking, but tough as teak. In those days I went to the footy with a girl who went out with him for a time, and she gave me a satin red and blue dressing gown of his. I used to wear it to away games, even to Bassendean Oval, when I was fearless and stupid.
    My friend used to get excited and vocal every time O’Dwyer got the ball, and one day on the big slope at Leederville Oval, her enthusiasm got too much for a matron sitting behind us. The woman yelled out “Can’t you shut up. There’s nothing so special about O’Dwyer!”. My friend snapped back: “How would YOU know. YOU’VE never fucked him.”
    The Toad was HER favourite player.

  26. Brent Crosswell.
    4 time Premiership player.
    Ultimate big occasion player.
    There will never be another like “Tiger”.

  27. 22 Derek Chadwick East Perth and he played with the state cricket team- opened I think… Over to you Les.

  28. Michael Aish – No 8 for Norwood back in the 80’s – one of the greatest never to play VFL / AFL. He almost went to the Bears when the formed – I cried when I heard he might leave!

  29. Dips, Wayne Closter didn’t start in a crap team. In the first six seasons he was associated with the Cattery, not forgetting his time on nasho, the Cats made the finals all six seasons.

    I think my first jumper was a blue and white hooped number 23; Doug Wade. Fantastic watching Mike Sheehan interview him last Monday.

    Two other players i liked, but did not follow their team(s) were: ‘Big Carl’, who was another hero of my childhood, a player who would not fit into modern/2013 football, but a supebly talented tough footballer, who i loved watching. “Tiger” Croswell was also a favourite in my younger years.


  30. Luke Reynolds says

    I had the number 35 of the great Peter Daicos on the back of my Collingwood jumper. Loved his silky skills playing in the centre, then his great goalscoring feats at the end of his career.

  31. Would it break the sacred Almanac covenant to give my t-shirts a plug in this thread? 70s Footy Enigmas, many of whom have been mentioned above. Michael Tuck, Bones McGhie, Geoff Blethyn, Vin Catoggio, Peter Bedford, Peter McKenna, Scratcher Neal, Robbie Flower, Cowboy Neale, Gary Dempsey, David Dench and Bernie Quinlan. Have a look if you’ve got a minute.


  32. Geez DZ I thought you were going to say Paul Mifka you were going so hard ion the Cardy sauce….Mildenhall???? Fewster??? Derek Kickett is a Tiger thru n thru….

  33. Tough one, but I’d have to say Ben Hart. Barely more than a child when he started at Adelaide, but rarely lost a battle in defence his entire career. Absolute rock back there. One of the best defenders ever to play the game IMO.

  34. David Zampatti says

    Now don’t you go baiting me, Dr Gorman, or I’ll launch into Graeme Comerford and Noel Mugavin, the Rozencrantz and Guildenstern of Aussie rules football.

  35. Fair enuff DZ – that could be a bit too Waiting for God(ot) for mine…… weirdly the first footballer I loved was Malcolm Brown as he was the Claremont coach:

    “Upon receiving my first Claremont guernsey, I traced my fingers along the
    gold interlocking C, F, C mouthing the word that each letter stood for. All I needed was a number on it. I had seen Claremont’s coach Mal Brown in the paper with the number 100 plastered across his big back and I was determined to do the same….”.

    I loved Archie Duda’s name…..

  36. DUDA! Great call Sean.

  37. Pamela Sherpa says

    Growing up we didn’t have TV until until I was nearly in high school so fast forward to the 80’s and being grown up .And what an era that was for Essendon supporters. Timmy Watson (32) was my all time favourite . I have an autographed picture that Timmy sent to me (long story) when he turned 21.

  38. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Nic Totally Agree Michael Aish is 1 of Best Players never to Play VFL Footy
    M Aish was also a Champion at signing Form 4s and not going he signed for
    Essendon Richmond Sydney an Brisbane at various times but stayed at The Parade always a standing joke at Norwood was who payed for the car this time Aishy
    Michaels Nephew James Son of also Top Player Andrew will be a fantastic AFL
    Player from Next season

  39. Murray Wilson says

    Ronnie Wearmouth,Peter Mckenna, Tuddy, Ricky Barham,Rene Kink, Darren Millane, Len Thompson the Richardson brothers. the best of all John Greening

  40. Skip of Skipton says

    Aish used to dominate when Norwood played in the Tuesday night (insert sponsor) cup series in the mid 80s. The SANFL teams were very competitive then. North Adelaide with the young Jarmans and big Grenville too.

    My first favourite player would have been Fabulous Phil, stemming from his white-booted 11 goal haul at Moorabbin in ’75; which was about the time I was old enough to follow the footy and watch the replay on TV. I remember being scared of Carl Ditterich.

  41. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Wilbur Wilson , the electrifying, rotund, left footed goal kicking genius for Centrals in the 70s.

  42. mickey randall says

    Sturt behemoth Rick Davies dismantled Port Adelaide in the 1976 SANFL grand final with 20 marks, mostly contested, and huge numbers of possessions, in front of 66,000 at Footy Park. Especially great as Port were favoured to win. i saw his game from inside the fence and he was magnificent as he went about his work.

  43. Mark Duffett says

    Swish just beat me to it, I was going to say Wilbur Wilson together with John Platten and Peter Vivian.

  44. Cheryl, I too love Balmey.

    He played like a buccaneer.

    I coloured in a big No.21 in black Hobbytex on me yellow windcheater.

  45. Richard Naco says

    #19 D.K. “Fred” Phillis, full forward (mainly) for the Glenelg Tigers, 1966 – 1981.

    Kicked 853 goals in 274 games for the Bays after being moved to full forward in his second season, including 137 in 1969 when he was so good that he won the Magary Medal from that position. Scored 18 goals in a 1975 game against Central Districts.

    Played in 5 losing Grand Finals and 1 glorious, drought snapping win (1973), but was held goalless by Bob Hammond in that last game.

    I’m more of a hearts and minds guy now, with a preference for blokes with (comparatively) less talent but who are big hearted, intelligent footballers.

    If I say the names Max Rooke & Cameron Ling, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

  46. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Loving the SANFL Posts Another fond memory I have is not quite as a kid is after a Game in 1980 spewing that Norwood had lost and then later in the Night realising how lucky I was to have seen Barry Robran on 1 leg virtually single handed win the Game for
    North Adelaide I have since spoken to Neil Balme who was Norwood Coach and he had similar thoughts . When Ad Uni FC had a Roast to honour Fred CHOCKA Bloch for receiving Queens Birthday Gong my phone rings and I got Barry Robran asking me for
    Permission to close his speech proposing a Toast to Chocka What a Gentleman
    What a Footballer

  47. So was Stephen Michael better than Aish??

  48. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Both Great Playets different tho Michael the smooth moving Ruckman of that era
    Nick Nat is the Player I would compare him 2 Hird is the Player I would compare
    M Aish 2 both smooth Rolls Royces of Players the other Player I would thro in to
    The mix is Garry McIntosh of Champions Not to Play AFL Greg Williams is the
    Player I would Compare Macca 2

  49. Very different types of player SG. I saw a lot of Michael Aish, but Stephen Michael only in state games and on video. Aish had no physical presence, while Michael oozed it. Aish was a skinny, wirey ruck rover who killed you with skill and work rate. Hird or Pendlebury without the muscles.
    I can’t claim to know nearly as much about SM, but he was obviously extraordinarily athletic and skilful. A smaller NicNait with tons more footy skills and smarts? (I used that analogy just to annoy you Sean).
    Would they have succeeded in the VFL??? Hard to know because I saw some wonderful footballers fail – Robran, Ebert, Davies and Cornes. But Blight, Kernahan and Bradley were superstars from SA. Go figure.
    I think it has something to do with going young enough when you are still in your physical prime. The first 4 could still dominate in SA because of their skill and experience, but struggled in the deeper pool of talent and competitiveness that prevailed in Melbourne.
    My instinct is that both players would have succeeded if they had gone to the big league at 24, but not at 28.

  50. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Peter B Robran never went to VFL as he did his knee in a State Game against VFL at the SCG When Jezza told Elliott to pull his head in when he was carrying on about
    Robran being Elevated to Legend Status and Jezza told him that Robran was the
    Best Player he ever Played against said it all
    Robran was a Champion and would have been at VFL Level

  51. Simon Willcox says

    So true Andrew
    those early 70’s North Melbourne sides
    were fantastic I used to get excited everytime Wayne Schimelbush
    got hold of it

    So true Ben
    Loved they way Ben Hart took on
    everyone from Ablett to Lockett
    from the the humble back pocket
    giving away height and weight almost every time he went out

    So true Malcolm
    Barrie Robran was the best for me
    A different class to all those around him
    When North Adelaide beat Carlton by a point
    in the Champions of Australia in 72′
    I remember watching Jesalenko applaud him

    The best handball I ever saw

    On the half forward flank
    they held you down, one at a hip
    the other, on a bandaged elbow
    even on one knee you still took
    two of their best

    Before lethal Lee broke your knee
    there was a time that no one could stop you

    Whyalla Boy with the grace of dancer
    sunken caring eyes that held a kindness
    not usually at home on the other side of the white line
    A one club bloke, even now helping there when you can
    as there are always plenty of people for you to help.
    many played at the best level with
    courage and sweet ambidextrous skills
    none had the fluid grace

    So you played on, when you could hardly even run
    in those days before the total knee recon

    On that day Trevor Hill started running
    as soon as he saw you gather the ball.
    You saw him go out of the corner
    of your eye, slipped out of the tackles
    and hit that ball over your shoulder
    with, some said, your non preferred fist
    as Hilly burst clear only ten yards out
    he was twenty five yards from the contest
    he didn’t turn around as the ball landed
    in his arms over his shoulder, lace up
    the six points was an anticlimax

  52. My mistake Malcolm. Some confused neurons told me that he had a season toward the end of his career, but I was obviously mixing him up with the others. I have previously written that Robran is easily the best footballer that I have seen a lot of in the flesh.
    I have a vivid memory of him taking pack mark after pack mark in front of me at Adelaide Oval in one of those end of season WD and HO Wills “Champions of Australia” matches against the VFL Premier (Carlton I think – but I am suffering from chardonnay overload so cannot be relied upon this morning and can’t be stuffed checking on google). His timing, strength and elegance just made these Victorian strongmen (albeit still hungover themselves) look second rate. He willed the Roosters over the line in the best single handed display of brilliance I have seen (better than Ablett Snr in the 89 GF – but I am biased against Victorians).

  53. Thanks Simon – your description of Robran gave me chills. Fluid grace and casual ambidextrousness – says it all. And those shy eyes. The humility of naive genius. While there are so many South Australians reading – anyone remember the first half of the Carnival Final SA V Victoria in 69 (I think) at Adelaide Oval. Ken Eustice flattening Daryl Griffiths(?); Peter Marker goals on the run that pre-date Matera. Graham Molloy won the Tassie Medal. Most exciting 60 minutes of footy I ever saw – unfortunately the game went for 120.

  54. Malcolm Ashwood says

    No Prob Peter Nothing wrong with The Chards Note The Chardonay Socialists are 1 of the Teams of The Ad Uni FC and yes it was the end of season game Iv Carlton when he willed tThe Roosters over the line and Jezza clapped him when he was standing the mark shaking hid head Robran was a Superstar
    Simon The Above re Roran is Brilliant !

  55. I remember a young Owen Backwell in #7 for Western Districts in the QAFL. Our primary school played in the same guernseys, but the 7 went to one of the better players. I took #12 for two reasons; a) it was next to my mate who took 13, and b) it was Johnny Lang’s number. ( He was the hooker for the Eastern Suburbs Rugby League team).

    I would have played in 33 if it was available, for Darryl White, but rarely did that opportunity arise. (The teams i played with rarely had more than 20 made). I went with 19 for Michael McLean. The Red Lions shared their training grounds with the Bears and they would be finishing up as we started. As the Bears did a warm down lap, Magic suggested I get 19 on the Bears guernsey I was sporting, I said I was going to get 33. Whitey, who was jogging beside him beamed.

  56. a better handball than Barry Cable?

  57. Peter Fuller says

    I’m like Pamela, grew up in rural Victoria before television, so my heroes tended to be those in the Hampden League. Leo Turner (father of Michael) coached Warrnambool, when he was still at the height of his briliance. Fred Lynch was the best local player, a gifted centreman who passed the ball with the precision of Collingwood’s Barry Price. He played six matches on permit with Essendon, but his father insisted he stay on the farm, so he plied his trade for Colac and Coragulac. He sired a Geelong player, Paul, whose promising career was chopped off by debilitating back-related hamstring injuries.
    Stan Noakes was a magnificent full-forward for Warrnambool, standing about 190cm. when most non ruckmen were lucky to top 6 foot (183cm.). He was as mobile as a modern midfielder in spite of his height, at a time when most players of those dimensions would stand and mark, and give the contest away when the ball hit the deck. Bill Couch (Brownlow Paul’s dad) was a highly competitive (read, dirty) player for Warrnambool Blues. I also saw John Northey do some electfifying things from half-forward flank for Mortlake, before transferring to the big smoke for Richmond. I once saw him kick our goals in a quarter, with that distinctive acceleration and loping left foot.
    When we moved to Melbourne, my first hero was probably Bob Skilton, for his indomitable ability, and commitment in a hopeless side. John Hepworth once wrote a beautiful piece in which he lamented the Bloods’ uncompetitiveness:
    “We had a team once, it was a bull-necked little bloke named Bob Skilton; unfortunately the other teams kept sending out eighteen players to play against him.”
    Since despite my chronolgical age, I’ve never grown up, I can certainly claim, within the context of the question that Ken Hunter, Bruce Doull and Rod Ashman all qualify. From clubs other than mine, I defer to no-one in my admiration for Paul Kelly. The musician may be a fine bloke, I don’t have much time for the journalist from the Australian, so I’m referring to the Swans captain. Since the mid-nineties, I’ve always used a modified version of a famous piece of Australian vernacular, when I refer to some-one being “as game as Paul Kelly.”

  58. Sean – was Cable a better handballer than Farmer? Polly invented offensive handball. Until him it was a last resort when cornered.
    PF – Loved your sentiments. I was struggling to think of my first VFL hero, but like you it had to be Skilton. When I was about 10 our family drove over to Melbourne from SA and my Dad’s mate was a mad Swans supporter. I had been to lots of SANFL but nothing prepared me for the intensity of the VFL – on the ground and on the terraces. We went to the Lakeside Oval, but I have no memory of the other team. I just remember Skilton hitting targets with skimming drop kicks on either foot. I thought he came from another planet. Sublime.

  59. Peter Fuller says

    My bloody careless proof-reading – always (at least) one proofing error left.
    John Northey kicked four (not our) goals in a quarter when Mortlake visited Colac in 1962.

  60. Wow, some great posts here.
    The first number I had on my back was the 17 for Glenelg of Ray Button (circa 1967) but my first favourite player was Peter Marker (no 8). A combination of style and substance (loved the hair and mo!), he was a truly great super courageous player for the Bays year in year out. Also a man with a law degree so someone to look up to on many fronts.
    In the wilderness of SA, I was offered a VFL jumper and since Richmond was the same as Glenelg there wasn’t much point picking them. I asked for a Collingwood one, proudly wearing it to school training with the No6 of Peter Mckenna on the back. No sure that people now understand what a high profile superstar he was both on and off field in the early 70s. It was only when I actually went to a game a few years later at the MCG (Melb v Coll) and Robbie Flower was tearing the Pies apart that I realised I couldn’t be attached to the rabble of supporters bagging R Flower.
    As for the SA players mentioned, M Aish was a beautiful mover but would have been snapped like a twig in his 1st game if he had ever come across to Vic. Phil Gallagher was better and more durable if we are talking Norwood players though McIntosh was their best and would have been an absolute star in the VFL. B Robran was a genuine freak, as was Phil Carman. He would have been the best of all of them if he could control himself. Had more talent than Blight or Ebert and that’s not denigrating either of those.

  61. “Handbags” Gallagher in the VFL of the 70’s??? And you reckon Michael Aish would snap. Spare me. “Handbags” would faint. Still he can dine out forever on that late goal that ensured Sturt lost the unloseable GF in 1978.
    I thought you would have been a DK Phillis man, Budge. “Fred” was a great mark but a terrible set shot on goal. From memory he straightened out in later years after a lot of coaching work – bit like Stewart Loewe.
    His brother Wayne Phillis was a rugged Centre Half Back, and every second Chrysler/Valiant in SA had a “Wayne Phillis Motors” sticker on the back window.
    Peter Marker was a beauty. Smart tough and skilful. He was the leadership nucleus that Knuckles Kerley rebuilt the Bays around after decades in the wilderness.

  62. mickey randall says

    Further to my comment declaring Rick Davies as my selection; his 1976 SANFL grand final stats- 21 kicks, 21 handballs, 15 marks, 21 hit-outs. I’ve not seen a better individual effort in any game, any competition, ever. G.Ablett, 1989 VFL grand final included.

  63. Gaga Good Player Fantastic Disposal but I agree with Peter B re M Aish was a
    gun Gutsy as any 1 and yes he was wiry but he would have been a Good VFL
    Player where I agree with Badge is Carman was as good as any 1 ever if he only
    Hadn’t had white line fever
    Mickey Randall Spot on Davies Impact on the GF in 76 was remarkable it was like
    he bought his own Footy with him
    As a Norwood Supporter I will always remember fondly when Fred Phillis had a shocker re kicking for Goal in 75 GF he kicked 0.6 in a final sore of 7.10 def by Norwood 9.10
    Our 1st Premiership in 25 yrs

  64. Butch Phillis would have been right at home in the VFL back in the early 70s. Had some skill to go along with toughness.
    Ken Eustice should have gone over the border too. Would have been in his element.

  65. Skip of Skipton says

    John ‘swooper’ Northey was from Derrinallum. He played Hampden League for Mortlake.

    That bloke could coach. Nearly turn a sows ear into a silk purse. Still plying his trade as an assistant for Ballarat in the Ballarat League.

  66. Peter Fuller says

    Skip, yes Northey spent just the one season at Mortlake, after playing at Derri.

    I’ve remembered some more details from the western district. In the 1950s, Coragulac played in the (long-defunct) Polwarth League. All but one of the surviving clubs from that comp now play in the Colac & District League, which then had its own existence, and has seen a series of club rationalisations in the decades since. Queenscliff moved from the Polwarth to the more geographically logical Bellarine League
    Coragulac had serious ambitions, largely driven by an enthusiastic parish priest who was a football fanatic as well as an ardent enthusiast for B.A. Santamaria’s quest to “cleanse” the Labor Party – a reason for his being regarded with suspicion in my childhood home.
    The ambitions led to the unprecedented appointment of a captain-coach direct from Geelong, at the top of his VFL game – the incomparable Peter Pianto. We kids would hang round his sports store in Colac, to catch a glimpse of this football genius. Pianto led Coragulac Hawks to successive premierships was enough to press the club’s claim for a spot in an expanded Hampden League. Koroit also joined, and proved both more successful and more durable.
    Pianto went from Coragulac to Perth to coach Claremont, although he returned to Victoria to lead the Hawks, before coaching Geelong in the late sixties. The first coach of the HFL Coragulac was Graham Gotch (father of Brad) from Fitzroy. He was a very skilful player, a bush Baldock, if lacking the forceful personality to succeed as a coach in that era. Both Pianto and Gotch rank among my childhood favourites – omitted from my earlier post, due to my deteriorating memory.

  67. Polly–loved watching him in the World of Sport handball competitions–such grace …

  68. Peter Fuller, just been listening to Len ‘Moose’ Mann on the Warrnambool Standard website reminiscing about the 1960 and 1964 VFL premierships and then he went on to talk about his time at Warrnambool. He said that Stan Noakes was THE best footballer he ever saw, not just in the Hampden League but including his time in the VFL. He had signed the old Form 4’s with both Collingwood and Geelong but didn’t like the city so he came to Warrnambool instead from up Mildura way somewhere. Len had played footy and cricket against him as kids. Len said if Noakes had gone to Geelong he would have kicked 100 goals in the VFL without a doubt. He must have been some sort of a footballer. As a kid growing up in Warrnambool I have vague memories of both Len Mann and Stan Noakes, particularly Noakes for being the first Hampden League player to kick 100 goals in a season.

    Here’s the link to the interview but it’s behind a paywall unfortunately.

  69. Peter Fuller says

    Thank you Gerry for reviving this thread and dredging up these memories from now sixty years distance. I attended the 1960 Grand Final when Noakes destroyed Camperdown. I’m assuming that the Len Mann you’re referring to is the bloke who played for Melbourne in the early 1960s (Hassa’s cousin). I’m flattered that he shares my conviction about Noakes, and grateful to you for bringing is observations to my notice.

  70. Yes, Len Mann is Hassa’s cousin, now 83yo but sounds sharp as a tack, he was glowing in his praise of Stan, i found a team photo of Warrnambool’s 1963 premiership team and was amazed at how tall he was. He is in the centre of the middle row, you couldn’t possibly miss him:

    Cheers, Gerry

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