Football Clubs in New South Wales

By Miles Wilks

The most important aim with this book is to give some positive press to footy clubs in New South Wales. Few people (I would think) would realise that as many as 400 players have been recruited from NSW to the VFL/AFL. It was surprising for me anyway when I was researching the VFL/AFL archives and found this data about the number of recruits.

The 3 Schneider brothers

It is also pleasing to see the key role of NSW recruits in the AFL continue on this year. For example, three NSW recruits have a large impact on the Hawthorn football club. These players are Matt Suckling, Luke Breust and Isaac Smith.

2008 RFL Grand Final crowd at Narrandera

Matt Suckling was recruited from the Wagga Tigers (which is rated as one of the state’s top

10 club in my book). Matt is a player who has received a lot of praise this year for his heat-

seeking bullet-like stab passes to team mates over long distances. This year, Suckling has

secured a regular spot in defence and is rated by the media as one of the most accurate

kicks at Hawthorn.


Luke Breust – Breust has become a cult favourite with Hawthorn supporters as they call out

his name collectively in a baritone voice every time he gathers the ball. He had a great

match against Fremantle earlier in the year and helped the Hawks in their fourth quarter

fightback with some handy goals and goal-assists. Breust received a Rising Star nomination

in the match against Collingwood.


The “Punky-Brewster”, as he is affectionately called, was recruited from the small western

NSW town of Temora, and he is the first player to have been recruited from this club to the

VFL/AFL. Breust’s home town footy club competes in the Farrer League against teams such

as North Wagga, Marrar and The Rock.


Isaac Smith is the other Hawk who originally hails from New South Wales. He played under

18s with the Wagga Tigers but found his path to AFL football via Redan and North Ballarat.


The shame is that Breust and Smith don’t feature in the book, as they made their debuts

after the book went to print, but it goes to show that New South Wales’s contribution to

top-level football continues each year. In fact, there is a great story to be told about NSW

footy every year.


This all goes to prove that far from the game having a weak legacy in the state, the game

has a long and fruitful history. It is an evolving history that dates back to the 1800s.

Many of the NSW clubs that were created in the 1800s- including East Sydney (1880),

Coolamon (1894), Albury (1876) amongst others- are still around and representing their

community. One of the key points of the book is that there are so many Australian rules

footy clubs in NSW that date back to the 1800s – and not just in southern NSW but also in

Sydney and Newcastle.

North Albury billboard

The features of this book include:


1)       A ranking of the top 25 NSW football clubs based on their contribution of players to the

VFL/AFL. Five of these top 25 clubs are located in Sydney.


2)     A listing of the 400 players who have been recruited from NSW clubs to the VFL/AFL


3)      Details on the 43 NSW players who have had premiership success in the VFL/AFL.

Longmire (Corowa-Rutherglen), Carey (North Wagga), Daniher (Ungarie) and Byrne

(North Shore) are just some of the players mentioned in the book.

If you want a copy of the book you can purchase it here.


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    This sounds like an interesting book for avid footy followers Miles. Great to see the history of Aussie rules being played north of the Murray highlighted

  2. Rocket Nguyen says

    There has been considerable discussion on players from NSW on this site based on teams picked by Glen Davis. So far he has selected teams from Albury, Berrigan and surrounds, and more recently, Wagga.
    Join in the chorus!
    Maybe you could pick a team from Sydney that would provide further insight into your book?

  3. Skip of Skipton says

    Henry Bolte wanted to incorporate the NSW Riverina into Victoria. Only those recruited from north of the Barassi Line, or on it, are of interest surely. The Swan and Tiger ruckman Greg Stafford is an interesting case study. Forget about K and Issy when considering Rugby League converts; what about the young boy K. Jack?

Leave a Comment