Almanac Teams: Three cheers (1980-)


A team of best players to wear the Number 3 jumper since 1980.



The criteria is:


  • Starting 18 will consist of players from each current club, Brisbane/Fitzroy will be 1 club with preference to them if not a suitable option from GWS/Gold Coast and for interchange.
  • Teams will try to be as balanced as possible but if a number has several rucks as its best player an alternative will be picked. I will explain my selections below the team
  • Players may appear under multiple number for example Gavin Wanganeen Number 1 & 4
  • Stats are based on their time in that number.



I have two teams per number, one is a best of and the other is based on players picked for different obscure/unusual reasons like cameos, unknown brothers, fathers, known for other reasons etc



FB:            Nathan Burke (St.K)                    Zac Dawson (Freo)                    Michael Gayfer (Coll)


CHB:         Jordan Lewis (Haw)                   Jared Brennan (GC)                   Brett Montgomery (PA)


C:               Steven Coniglio (GWS)              Jimmy Bartel (Geel)                   Chris Judd (VC) (WCE)


CHF:         Gerard Healy (Mel/Syd)             Garry Lyon (Melb)                     Marc Murphy (Carl)


FF:             Darren Jarman (Adel)                Chris Grant (WB)                        Jim Krakouer (NM)


Ruck:         Paul Salmon (Ess)                      Michael Voss (C) (Bris)                  Dale Weightman (DVC) (Rich)


Interchange:  Chris Mainwaring (WCE), Leigh Matthews (Haw), Jarrad McVeigh (Syd), Gary Pert (Fitz)


Emergencies: Mark Bairstow (Geel), Brett Deledio (Rich), Tom Mitchell (Haw), Brady Rawlings (NM)


Coach: Leigh Matthews


Gerard Healy wore Number 3 for Melbourne and Sydney but was picked as Sydney’s player.




Games in Number 3 (Years played)


Nathan Burke 227  (1992-2003)

Zac Dawson 89 (2012-2017)

Michael Gayfer 120 (1987-1993)

Jordan Lewis 245 (2006-2016)

Jarred Brennan 54 (2011-2013)

Brett Montgomery 126 (2000-2005)

Stephen Coniglio 149 (2012- )

James Bartel 305 (2002-2016)

Chris Judd 134 (2002-2007)

Gerard Healy 80 at Melbourne (1982-1985) 81 at Sydney (1986-1990)

Garry Lyon 226 (1986-1999)

Marc Murphy 285 (2006- )

Darren Jarman 121 (1996-2001)

Chris Grant 265 (1994-2007)

Jim Krakouer 134 (1982-1989)

Paul Salmon 209 (1983-1995)

Michael Voss 283 (1993-2006)

Dale Weightman 256 (1979-1993)

Jarrod McVeigh 325 (2004-2019)

Chris Mainwaring 201 (1987-1999)

Leigh Matthews 292 (1972-1985)

Gary Pert 153 (1983-1990)



Ok let’s address the elephant in the room: what is Lethal doing on the bench?



I unfortunately never saw Leigh Matthews play live, I did however see him a lot on the Saturday Night replay kicking goals in Forward pocket or Full Forward. To keep true to my side the starting 18 is one player per club unless the team had no reasonable option. Jordan Lewis had a great career at Hawthorn and was to me the logical pick, especially when Matthews retired in 1985. Other Hawk options include Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell, premiership player Anthony Condon, All Australian Jonathan Hay and of course, Matthews. Lethal makes the interchange and Mitchell is an emergency. Richmond with Weightman, Duncan Kellaway, Brett Deledio and Dion Prestia also had difficult selection, West Coast Number 3 with Chris Mainwaring, Chris Judd and Andrew Gaff and Sydney Swans with Gerard Healy, Dale Lewis and Jarrod McVeigh also had difficult high class selections. Fremantle options really were Zac Dawson or Byron Schammer, so went Dawson due to lack of tall players and Gold Coast in its infancy only had Jared Brennan of any note.



The team is very light on in talls. Dawson and Brennan – though both can play key position defence – would be unlikely to worry any key forward they come across, however there weren’t many alternatives. Gary Pert on the bench is more likely to be at Full Back once game started. Grant and Lyon can also play in defence if needed. If I didn’t have my one player per team restriction perhaps Jonathan Hay or Greg Phillips would have been in there. Michael Gayfer can also play tall while Nathan Burke and Jordan Lewis are more known as midfielders, but have played in defence.



Number 3 is a number that has mainly midfielders and has had some of the best ever in recent years, including several Brownlow Medallists. Onballers of Voss, Judd, Bartel, Weightman, Murphy, Healy, Lewis, Coniglio, Mainwaring, Burke, Krakouer and Jarman is a pretty decent lineup with some goalkicking options amongst them.



In terms of goalkickers, apart from the listed key positions, Jarman, Healy and Matthews and can kick goals. If Chris Grant is needed in defence, Paul Salmon is also a recognised forward.



Salmon while wearing Number 3 at Essendon (he wore Number 4 at Hawthorn) was a forward/back up ruckman, but here he takes first ruckman with Dawson as second ruck. The other option may be Mike Fitzpatrick into the side instead of Marc Murphy but Murphy I rated as best Carlton player in Number 3 due to Mike Fitzpatrick having retired in 1983.



The bench is I think next best four players and provides balance with a much needed tall defender in Pert, a goal kicking small forward in Leigh Matthews, running midfield defender Jarrod McVeigh and a great wing in Chris Mainwaring.



The team contains ten club captains in Burke, Judd, Coniglio, Lyon, Murphy, Grant, Voss, Weightman, McVeigh and Matthews. Lethal wasn’t on from this list as I named him on the bench. Three time premiership skipper Michael Voss is captain of the team, 2006 Premiership captain Chris Judd is vice and regular Victorian Origin leader Dale Weightman is deputy vice.



The unlucky players were Brent Reilly (Adel), Stan Magro (Coll), Anthony Condon & Jonathan Hay (Haw), Anthony Rock (NM), Duncan Kellaway & Dion Prestia (Rich), Jack Steven (St.K), and Dale Lewis (Syd).




Phil Dimitriadis has provided his own version of an all time list HERE





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  1. Rodney a ‘notable’ number 3 , from pre 1980, was Alan Stoneham at Footscray.

    Stoneham played with Footscray from 1972 to 1979 in the 3 made famous by ‘Mr Football’ Ted Whitten. Stoneham made his debut as a teenager, anointed to follow in the foot steps of an all time legend. Whitten retiring after R 5 1970, nary 2 years prior to Stoneham’s debut.

    As a centreman ,flanker, Stoneham played 128 games, kicking 42 goals for Footscray. By the time 1980 had arrived he was at Windy Hill, wearing 11, a whole new club, a whole different number.


  2. Zac Dawson in front of Gary Pert – PLEASE!!

  3. As much as I agree that Pert left Dawson for dead as a player, Citrus Bob, in Rodney’s defence his criteria states that the starting 18 should be chosen one from each club with Fitzroy/Brisbane counted as a single side for the most part. Voss gets the nod over Pert (which I wouldn’t have thought too controversial) and Dawson is Fremantle’s selection.

    As for Glen’s comment – perhaps a pre-1980 side could be in the works?

  4. Thanks again for your comments Glen, my only memory of Stoneham is of Dipper giving him a black eye Just before time while at Essendon. He must have being considered special to inherit number 3 from Ted Whitten. Was a great emotional interview he did on Open Mike.

    Citrus Bob, agree no way Dawson is better than Pert, but I was keeping true to my criteria. Ideally Pert & Hay would be key defenders with no set criteria. Brennan I nearly considered omitting for Pert but my unwritten rule is if team has a 50 game representative they are in the 18.

    Thanks for your support Jarrod and again for your editing and polish.

  5. matt watson says

    Neat list here.
    It’s hard putting it all together given the constraints, but it would certainly be a competitive team.

  6. Could we have PERT instead of GAYFER from Collingwood?

  7. Thanks Matt, has being fun doing it and remembering some name you forget about.
    Citrus Bob I saw a bit of Collingwood with my family between 1988-94, I reckon Gayfer had a better career as a Collingwood player than Pert did. Gayfer did some good roles then (though probably illegal now)
    It is the spot I tossed up the most was do I put Jarred Brennan in after 54 games or say Gold Coast was not good enough to have a representative in and have Pert in the side instead. In hindsight I really should have had Pert in the side for Brennan.

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