Number 52: A dual premiership number

In the third of this 10-part series, we look at former AFL players to have donned the number 52. We again invite readers to recall players from other clubs who sported the number 52 at senior level, whether that number was allocated to the relevant player at the time or was a replacement guernsey.

Number 52 – Peter Whyte

Recruited from local club Barwon, which merged with Belmont in the 1989-1990 to become the South Barwon Football Club, a recent powerhouse in the Geelong Football League, Peter Whyte was a mid-sized utility who played mainly in the midfield, usually as a winger.

Whyte wore 52 in the six games of his debut season of 1986, a poor season for the Cats under the fire and brimstone of new coach John Devine.  He elected to leave the high number club and was allocated the number 33 previously made famous by Bruce Nankervis.  Whyte made 14 senior appearances in 1987, a season in which Geelong narrowly missed out on the finals after being pipped by Hawthorn at Kardinia Park in the last round.  Whyte had a difficult time of it during the 1988 season, being dogged by hamstring injuries.  He managed to play more than half of the 1988 home and away rounds in the reserves and returned to senior company in rounds 2 and 15, which were to be the last two appearances in his senior career of 22 games.

In his final game at senior level, against West Coast at Subiaco Oval in round 15, he sported a goatee beard that he said was motivated by comedian Billy Connolly and pro-wrestler Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.

Whyte remained on Geelong’s list in 1989.  However, he elected to return to Barwon, where he played several games before being enticed by an attractive offer from VFA club Werribee mid-season.  Barwon were unable to match the offer and Whyte went on to play with the VFA’s Tigers.

Some 50 plus players from other clubs

Here are a few names from each club that readily came to mind or, in some case, I was able to quickly unearth through research.  This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list.

AdelaideShaun Rehn is comfortably the most accomplished member of the 50 club, wearing 52 in his entire senior career of 167 matches, which included two premierships and a stint at Hawthorn (2001-2002).

Carlton – The most recent case of a half-century jumper for the Blues was Heath Culpitt, who wore 52 in the 1999 season.

Essendon – Long-serving midfielder Joe Misiti was in 52 in his early matches in 1992 before moving to his customary number 24 in the premiership season of 1993.

HawthornShane McGrath played a solitary match in 1984 in the number 52.

St Kilda – Five club journeyman Dale Kickett donned number 52 in 1992, his only season at Moorabbin

WEDNESDAY: Number 53


  1. John Harms says

    Shaun Rehn: one of my faves for that time. HIs performance in the famous prelim v Footscray was something.

  2. Skip of Skipton says

    I never missed a game at K-Park in those days and remember Peter Whyte well. I was at the round 22 1987 Geelong vs. Hawthorn game at Kardinia Park. From memory the Cats were 5 or 6 goals up at 3/4 time. If the Cats won that game they would have finished fifth and made the finals. I remember the crowd and the vibe in the last quarter. Dunstall putting Hawthorn infront with one of the last kicks of the match.
    Geelong losing enabled the winner of the Footscray vs. Melbourne match at the Western Oval to make the Final Five. It was a thrilling final round. Melbourne won narrowly which meant they and Robbie Flower would play in their first finals in 23 years. This was also the day when Gary Lyon broke his leg, which the Footy Show used to shit-stir him about all the time. Melbourne went on to beat North? in the Elimination and then the Sydney Swans in the Semi. They should have beaten the Hawks in the prelim, that was one of the best David and Goliath games I’ve seen. The Jim Stynes/Bucky incident ensued. That Melbourne team was the worst team I have ever seen go so deep. Swooper Northey was a top coach.

  3. Skip of Skipton says

    Imagine how good Rehn would have been without the TWO knee injury interuptions. 6ft 10inch and lively around the ground. They all crap on about Sandilands pfffft!

Leave a Comment