General Footy Writing: Why Glenn Archer was my sporting hero

By Josh Barnstable

Glenn Archer played for AFL club North Melbourne.

Archer was born in Victoria on the 24th of March, 1973. He began his career with North in 1992 after being recruited from Noble Park. Archer was a troubled youngster, and says that playing AFL prevented him from going down a path of drugs, alcohol and police trouble. Some of the friends he hung out with before starting his football met sticky ends, so he is thankful that Denis Pagan continually annoyed him to come and join the North Melbourne senior squad.

After making his debut in 1992, Archer blossomed into a tough as nails player, playing in the backline and showing plenty of vigour. He starred in an early match playing forward against West Coast though, kicking three goals,  and he kicked six goals against Fremantle in 1995, proving he has a good record against Western Australian teams. Archer went along way to building North Melbourne up to what they are now; a team known for their courage and spirit. He was announced ‘Shinboner of the Century’ in 2005, an award he clearly deserved.

Archer has won a large array of awards in his time in the AFL, including a North Smith Medal in 1996 for his starring role in the Roos’ 43-point win over Sydney in the Grand Final. He was also apart of the All-Australian team in 1996. He has won the Robert Rose award a record six times for being the most courageous player, winning it in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 (tied with Brett Kirk). He holds the record for the most games at North Melbourne, with 311 games. Before him, Wayne Schimmelbusch was the record-holder, with 206.

Arch quoted: “Schimma’s a legend of our club and of the AFL, and when I walked into the club 17 years ago and saw Wayne Schimmelbusch’s name up on the wall with 306 games, I never thought I’d come anywhere near that. It’s certainly a bit surreal for me.”

He passed Schimma’s record in Round 21, 2007 against Carlton at the then-Telstra Dome. He celebrated in style, with the Roos romping away to a 14-goal win. Earlier in the year, he passed the 300-game mark against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG in Round 13. A guard of honour was made by 300 North Melbourne kids as he ran out on the ground, and the Roos once again won the game for him, with a 26 point win highlighted by seven goals to Drew Petrie.

He is a premiership player, with medals earned in 1996 and 1999. He also played in the losing Grand Final side in 1998.

Archer is my sporting hero because he was so courageous. He never flinched  when underneath the ball with big full forwards from the opposition side ready to steamroll him. He had his share of injuries though. In 2003 he badly injured his wrist and to this day is unable to fully extend it, which is why he wore a glove in the latter part of his career. He also badly clashed heads with David Neitz against Melbourne in 2003 but came back on, once again highlighting his fighting spirit and determination.

This is why Archer is a hero in the minds of many kids and adults.


  1. Damian Watson says

    Brillant piece Josh,

    The a great act from Archer that I think typifies his courage was back in 1998 when Johnny Worsfold steamrolled Archer while he was leaping up for a mark and then he stumbled straight back up.

    It would have been an emotional farewell for Archer as he walked off the ground for the last time with his kids despite the demoralising loss to Port Adelaide.

    I think the loss of his determination and grit may have paved some the way for North Melbourne’s form slump over the past couple of years.

  2. Nice to see your emotional side Josh.
    According to your post, Archer made his debut the same year i was born, 1992!
    i haven’t got sentimental memories of him like you do but i can say that he was always a worry when we played you.

  3. Steve Healy says

    Great piece, Josh.

    Archer’s long jepordy and toughness were amazing. He was one of those players who wouldn’t do anything amazing on the stats sheet, but he would always deliver through courage and leadership. I remember when he collided with Neita.

    Archer actually kicked 5 against West Coast in 1993 and 4 against West Coast in 1995. (His bag of 6 against freo was also in ’95).

  4. Josh Barnstable says

    This was actually an assignment for my P.E class at school but i decided to also put it on here. When Arch retired, I was very disappointed with his departure and loss of toughness gone from North. Hopefully Brad Scott, one of the real tough players of the AFL, can restore that toughness.

  5. lol..the memories of P.E class.
    week after week the excuses me and my friends would come up with so we couldnt do PE.
    1. “i forgot my uniform”
    2. ” i didnt know we had pe today”
    3. “i feel sick!”
    4. ” i fractured my(insert name of part the was ‘fractured’)

    the number of lunchtime make up sessions!!

  6. Josh Barnstable says

    Why would you get out of P.E?? It’s the best! I have two P.E classes so i get about three periods of it at the most a day, and two the minimum so i’m very happy i’m getting my exercise each day!

  7. Typical dude response!
    Well at my school we have to change from normal school uniform to our PE uniform and then after PE we have to change back to normal school uniform! i mean who can be bothered!! There is also the fact that in PE you actually have to ‘MOVE’ lol.
    i would get told off all PE lesson for not ‘moving’. it wasn’t until we played netball that i actually did something!
    P.E was much more fun in primary school. Believe it or not i spent a few lunch times playing footy with the boys instead of hanging with the girls.
    you should see me on school sports carnivals, thats if i even rock up in the first place!

  8. Josh Barnstable says

    Our sports day is this Friday :) Well at school, i get changed into my clothes, then back into my uniform for PE number 1, then have to get changed again for PE number 2. It’s pretty exhausting after a while

  9. lol.whoaa!!
    your so excited, lol its cute!
    well i hope you have fun :)
    by the way…isnt it someones birthday tomorrow??

  10. Josh Barnstable says

    Haha yep :) 15 tomorrow but i got most of my presents tonight :) my family and a friend all went out for tea tonight

  11. cool!! i hope you got what you wanted.
    despite my HINTS no one was able to get me Nathan Brown :(
    lol i shall sing happy birthday from now :)

    “happy birthday to you, your a passionate roo, happy birthday to joshyyyyy, happy birthday to you!”

  12. Josh Barnstable says

    Haha thanks Danni! Just for that, i’ll pick Collingwood this week! :)

  13. pauldaffey says


    Who’s your AFL hero now that Glenn Archer is retired.

  14. Josh Barnstable says

    I would have said Adam Simpson but he has retired as well. Brady Rawlings would have to be my hero from North Melbourne because of his superstar performances each week and rarely. But my hero of the AFL would be Matthew Pavlich.

  15. Josh,


    I can understand Brady Rawlings, who’s not fashionable, but he gives everything.

    Why Matthew Pavlich?

  16. Josh Barnstable says

    Well in one of my previous reports on my favourite games i’ve been to, I mentioned how i went to Carlton vs. Fremantle in 2005 at the MCG. Pavlich kicked 9 goals, i met him in the changerooms afterwards and he just seemed like a good bloke and of course he is one of the best players in the competition.

    Hughesy AND judd
    Josh and Pavlich!
    Paul, whos your footy mancrush????

  18. Josh Barnstable says

    No doubt it would be Richo haha

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