Number 58: A premiership Bomber in Cats colours

Number 58 – Sean Denham

Recruited from Melton South, midfielder Sean Denham started out in senior company in number 58 in the last two home and away rounds of 1987.  Col Hutchison, formerly the long-serving statistician at the AFL, found that Denham wore the highest guernsey number for Geelong at the top level, excluding replacement jumpers.

During his time at Geelong, Denham was predominantly a rover who sometimes played in the forward pocket.  Denham transitioned to number 18 in 1988 where he enjoyed his best season in the hoops, running third in Geelong’s best and fairest award and being included in the Victorian squad, although he was ultimately not selected for the Big V.  Denham played all 22 home and away games in 1988 and managed an impressive 515 disposals.  Denham played in Geelong’s first six games in 1989 and played several games in the Reserves before a foot injury sidelined him from round 16 onwards.  In 1990 and 1991, he was troubled by injuries and spent more time in the seconds.  Denham was called on for Geelong’s last three home and away games and the Elimination and Second-Semi Finals.

After limited senior opportunities in 1990 and 1991, Denham was traded to Essendon after the 1991 season in exchange for John Barnes, a deal which was a definite “win-win” for the clubs.  Denham excelled at Windy Hill in his midfield role in the number 38 jumper, where he played as a rover or as an attacking run-with player.  Denham displayed a strong aptitude for winning the ball and generating clearances.  He was often given the task of curbing the opposition’s best midfielder.  After taking time to find his feet at Essendon in 1992, he became a regular senior player in 1993, playing in Essendon’s premiership side and pre-season premiership side.  He had a spiteful battle with Greg Williams in the 1993 Grand Final which led to Denham suffering a broken nose.  Denham seemed to get under Diesel’s skin more than most and his close-checking tactics contributed to Williams brushing aside umpire Andrew Coates in anger in round 1, 1997, resulting in Williams being given a nine week ban that was ultimately upheld on appeal to the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal.

Denham enjoyed strong seasons in 1994 and 1995 where he accumulated in excess of 450 disposals in both seasons. Despite Essendon’s poor 14th place result in 1997, Denham performed very well and claimed his first best and fairest award.  In 1998, Denham suffered a back injury and his senior appearances in 1998-2000 became less frequent as young midfielders came through the ranks at Essendon.  Denham played in Essendon’s Reserves premiership side in 1999, persevering with a broken nose and injured shoulder.  Incidentally, 1999 was the final season of the Reserves competition.  Denham ended up playing 144 matches in the red and black, which followed his 42 appearances at Geelong.

Denham is an accountant, heading up Sean Denham & Associates in Moonee Ponds, and he can be spotted at lunch time in various eateries on Puckle Street.

Some 58 players from other clubs

Fitzroy – tenacious rover/forward Mark Dwyer wore number 58 is his debut season of 1986, including the Lions’ three finals appearances.

RichmondDean Notting wore 58 in all 28 of his senior matches from 1985 to 1987.

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