Putting the farm back into footy – Part 1

In the first of a two-pronged attack, 1960s “footballers” Graeme Willingham (Camperdown and Daylesford FCs) and Owen Beaton (Camperdown, Heywood, Birregurra and Colac FCs) have a plan to put the farm back into footy, real grassroots style.


Secretly, they’ve always been our favourites, the ones we look out for, and indeed watch over. Because we know, just by the way they go about their work. OK, we may have spent more of our lives in the city than in The Bush, but we just know they’re the real people of AFL footy. They’ve got the character, spine and spirit because they’d learned in their youth about “the hard yards”.


Country footballers, that is, the special blokes who gave up the farm to play The Big Time in The Big Smoke.


Designed to Put the Farm Back into Footy, we propose:

  • The creation of the Federation of  Farm Footballers (FoFF); and
  • AgSport, the revolutionary new half-time entertainment package.


Part 1 – The Federation of Farm Footballers (FoFF)

The following footballers should be inducted as The Playing Group, from which could be drawn FoFF’s Farmyard Team of the Centuries.


These players are some of the Farm Footballers in the recently published 8th Edition of The Encyclopaedia of AFL Footballers, by Russell Holmesby and Jim Main, (Bas Publishing).


Angus- George, as in beef breed Aberdeen Angus (Collingwood, 1902-11, 175 games)

Appleyard – Percy, as in orchard (South Melbourne 1957/60, 10 games)

Bailes – Barclay Titch, as in hay bales (Fitzroy, 1905-09, 79 games)

Ball – Jason, as in stock water trough refilling device (West Coast, 1992-97, 67 games)

Ball – Luke, as in Young Farmers annual hayshed knees-up (St Kilda, 2003-2008)

Banks – Dennis, as in owners of nearly all the farms (Collingwood, 1979-91, 166 games)

Barnes – John, as in fodder and machinery storage (Essendon and Geelong, 1987-97, 126 games)

Bedford – Peter, as in popular breed of farm truck (South Melbourne/Carlton, 1968-78, 186 games)

Blight – Malcolm, as in devastating crop disease (North Melbourne, 1974-82, 178 games)

Bush – Thomas, as in anything outside the CBD (Melbourne, 1942 & 44, 5 games)

Carter – Rod, as in livestock carrier (Fitzroy and Sydney, 1974-1990, 293 games)

Cheeseman – Henry, as in manufacturer of dairy product (Geelong, 1904, 1 game)

Close – Robin, as in conditions too humid for farm work (Essendon, 1968-78, 147 games)

Cooper – Ian, as in maker of wine barrels (St Kilda, 1964-69, 69 games)

Cowmeadow – Gary, as is paddock for cows (South Melbourne, 1975, 3 games)

Crow – Russell, as in feathered pest (Fitzroy, 1960-64, 1968-73, 158 games)

Daily – Lou, as in milking cows, twice (Collingwood, Geelong, 1933-34, 26 games)

Fairweather – Fred “Stormy”, as in too much at the wrong time of the year (North Melbourne, 1944-46, 54 games)

Farmer – Graham Polly, as in what you are (Geelong 1962-67, 101 games)

Fergie – Clive, as in Massey Ferguson tractor (Fitzroy 1915-16/19191-24, 67 games)

Fields – Neville, as in English version of paddock (Essendon/South Melbourne, 1969-81, 200 games)

Flower – Robert, as in horticulture (Melbourne, 1973-87, 272 games)

Flood – David, as in too much rain (Essendon, 1986-98, 54 games)

Fox – John, as in serious enemy of new-born lambs (Geelong, 1960-65, 60 games)

Frost – Lou, as in horticultural pest (South Melbourne 1944, 6 games)

Gale – Allan Butch, as in crop-wrecker (Fitzroy, 1948-61, 213 games)

Gamble – Jeff, as in the business of farming (Essendon, 1953-60, 90 games)

Good – Kerry, as in a very rare season (North Melbourne, 1977-83, 74 games)

Grant – Bill, as in Government handout (Carlton, 1906, 2 games)

Green — Brad, as in paddocks nowadays not so common (Melbourne, 2000-2008, 186 games)

Hale – Jack, as in Frost and Gale (Carlton, 1933-41, 123 games)

Hall – Barry, as in important rural community meeting place (St Kilda, Sydney, 1996-2008)

Harrower – Eric — as in clod breaker (South Melbourne, 1931, 3 games)

Hay – Steadman “Sted”, as in grass fodder crop (Hawthorn, 1959-64, 78 games)

Heathcote – John, as in nice grains and wine region (Carlton, 1958-62, 69 games)

Hicks – Bill, as in unfair label applied to country folk by city slickers (Fitzroy, 1921-22, 4 games)

Hills – Malcolm, as in tricky for tractors (Hawthorn, 1960-62, 22 games)

Hird – James, as in cattle (Essendon, 1992-2007, 253 games)

Holden – George, as in quintessential rural and town sticker-adorned white utility (Fitzroy, 1908-19, 164 games)

Lamb – Dwayne, as in Rack-Of (West Coast, 1987-94, 151 games)

Leek – Geoff, as in three-quarter time huddle, or vegetable (Essendon, 1951-62, 191 games)

Lofts – Wes, see “Barnes” (Carlton, 1960-70, 167 games)

Marsh – Ivan, as in useless farming ground (Footscray, 1963-69, 77 games)

McCormack – Cornelius, as in harvester machine (Collingwood, 1902-03, 31 games)

Meadows – John, see “Fields” (Essendon, 1903, 4 games)

Meek – Les, as in those who inherit the earth (St Kilda, 1941-47, 49 games)

Mort – Ian, as in Goldsbrough Mort rural agents (Hawthorn, 1960-64, 73 games)

Munday – Jim, as in it’s the same as any other day on the farm (Geelong, 1902-06, 34 games)

Orchard – Billy, as in prime source of fruit (Geelong, 1906/08-15, 112 games)

Oates – Max, as in grains crop (Footscray, 1960, 4 games)

Perkins – William, as in essential diesel engine (Richmond, 1940-49, 148 games)

Plant – Michael, as what you do with seed and trees (South Melbourne, 1972, 4 games)

Plowman – Hugh, as in sod turning (St Kilda, 1910-12, 26 games)

Price – Barry, as in they’re always too low (Collingwood, 1966-75, 158 games)

Raines – Geoff, as in there is never enough (Richmond, Collingwood, Essendon, Brisbane, 1976-82, 254 games)

Reiffel – Guy, see “Fox” (Melbourne, 1936-39, 35 games)

Rhodes – David, as in dusty lanes and farm access (Fitzroy, 1968-73, 72 games)

Roos – Paul, as in protected pasture pest and fence breaker (Fitzroy, Sydney 1982-97, 335 games)

Sadler – Barry, as in horse gear (Fitzroy, 1963, 2 games)

Shade – Eric, as in respite from out-in-the-paddock blazing heat (Footscray, 1929-30, 20 games)

Shearer – Robert, as in sheep wool (Melbourne, 1942, 2 games)

Steer – Trevor, as in cornerstone of beef supply chain (Collingwood, 1961-66, 88 games)

Tanner – Xavier, as in cousin to Sadler (North Melbourne, 1976-83, 100 games)

Tiller –Stephen, as in soil (Western Bulldogs, 2007-2008, 16 games)

Towns – Greg, as in all over the place (Carlton and Footscray, 1974-82, 89 games)

Trotter – Percy, as in pig, (Fitzroy, 1901-06, 109 games)

Veal – James, as in baby cow meat (Melbourne, 1926-27, 4 games).

Vines – Robert, as in rhymes with Wines (University, 1913-14, 17 games)

Waters – Terry, as in evaporation, irrigation rights (Collingwood, 1963-72, 163 games)

Weate – Les, see Oates (South Melbourne, 1904-07, 4 games)

Wood – Peter, as in free on-site farmhouse fuel (Fitzroy 1965-70, 73 games)  


Coach: Malcolm Blight

Captain Forever: Graham Polly Farmer




  1. Probably need to add Dwayne Russell, as in get the cows in order.

  2. Lord Albert says

    Garmie and Bishop, Carter, Rod, as in nightman appears a better fit, Albert Lord (father of the twins).

  3. And… sitting in the draughty press box would be members of the Pressmen’s Inebriation and Social Society (Ballarat Division). Subbing courtesy of Keg Dunbar (ably assisted by Jocelyn and Neville). Not bad either…..

  4. Richard E. Jones says

    GUYS — par. 2.
    Could be just a slip of the pen, make that a slip of the pinkies on the keyboard, but the name of the game is Australian Rules football. Or just Australian football.
    It is a common error, consistently creeping into footy commentary, to call our game “AFL”.
    The AFL is merely the peak body of all the organisations playing the sport. After all the initials stand for “Australian Football League”.

  5. Pamela Sherpa says

    What about COUSINS as there are usually plenty of them in the country? And Robertson ,Dickson, as many are identified by who they belong to as in the son of so and so?

  6. Pamela Sherpa says

    Just had a quick look at the teams for this week.

    Grima- Could the drought get any bloody worse?

    Waite- Still waiting for that rain

    Moore- water needed

    Rhyder- good horesmen there are

    Brown- the colour of the country

    Stokes- the campfire

    Cornes – somebody is growing it

    Davey – as in pumps

    Fisher- a Red Fin would be nice

    Selwood- to burn

    Polkinghorne – meats

  7. Graeme Lamb says

    What about Jack Turd 1/2 a game with some shitty club 1802.Used for mixing with top soil and spreading swine flu to uncircumcised players. Have a go at league players next? Look forward to part 2,with little jim breath.

  8. Earnest Le Soir says

    What about – Williams, Greg “Diesel” – as in the fuel of choice?

  9. Bob Le Sponge says

    Riding the Carlton wave… Brown, Fraser – as in the ‘how now’ variety of cattle.

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