The (almost) Best XI

With so many press columnists, Almanackers and media commentators picking their best 11 for Boxing Day, it got me thinking about other celebrated best elevens.

Not the best 11 with red hair, or left handers, or all starting with B.

I was thinking about players who have represented Australia at Test level, but on just one occasion.

Despite reaching the pinnacle of their sport and being undeniably talented, they are often forgotten completely (S. Young), subject to constant conjecture (C. Rogers) or equally remembered for all the wrong reasons (B.McGain)

Some people end up surprising you with their records. I was sure Greg Campbell had played just the once vs. England whilst Adam Dale didn’t front up as often as I thought.

I haven’t gone back too far, and only one player from the round-about and desperation that was the very beginnings of the Simpson v2 era makes the side.

Tempting as it was to include the lamented Dr Park, who famously had his wife miss his entire test batting career when he made a golden duck in his only appearance as she leant down to collect her dropped knitting, I have gone for recent decades in my selections, with only the odd one strictly batting out of his usual spot.

My elevens, with honourable mentions of support staff of nearly men, are:

Chris  Rogers

Wayne N Phillips

Paul Hibbert

Jeff Moss

Stuart Law (c)

Shaun Young

Phil Emery (vc)

Mick Malone

Matthew Nicholson

Clint McKay

Bryce McGain

12th man Rod Tucker (who once fielded as 13th man in a baggy green in a Tassie Test Match, incurring the wrath of commentator Chappelli)

Selector – Jamie Cox      Coach – Jamie Siddons                  Umpire  – Paul Wilson


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Up against a side led by Rodney Redmond and Andy Ganteaume.

  2. Skip of Skipton says

    Jeff Moss is a great get. He also played just the one ODI. I was hoping for Phil Carlson, but he played two tests dammit.

  3. Greg Campbell was a pinch hitting bowler in the Border ashes win in England. Took some good wickets. One R Ponting (remember him) used to face Campbell in the nets at practice as an eleven year old.

    Shaun (Yawn) Young now works as a manager for AFL Tasmania. His major achievement in the off season was to lose ABC live coverage of State Wide League games. This in hindsite will probably be a good move with an expected crowd increase from about 500 to 510 per game.

  4. Skip of Skipton says

    Campbell is Ponting’s mums brother. They’re all related down there, y’know.

  5. After Boxing Day Curtain replaces Rogers. Sean Marsh should be back for Sydney.
    I reckon Stuart Law is the standout on your list. In any other era he would have played a lot of Tests. (Like Curtain).

  6. 3 Tests and an ODI qualifies you for Chairman of CA – Wally Edwards

  7. Skip,

    relatively speaking we’re a pretty friendly lot
    that is if your a relative, you’re in trouble if you’re not.

    (That being the case Skip, it is not a bad stable actually. Both played in winning ashes series against the Poms in the old dart.)

  8. Gee, there have been a lot of single-test players in recent times.
    Since 2006:
    Dan Cullen, Chris Rogers, Beau Cassin, Bryce McGain, Graham Manou,
    Clint McKay, Peter George, Michael Beer.
    A disproportionate number of spinners in that lot!

  9. Damo Balassone says

    Nice work Sean. Always thought W.Phillips was hard done by. One test on a bouncy WACA wicket and replacing Geoff Marsh so harshly booed by the locals. A fair few Vics in that team. Interesting.

    What about that Tassie keeper circa ’84 after Rod Marsh retired? Roger Woolley. Did he play more than one?

  10. Woolley played 2, Kevin Wright same, and John MacLean 4. Then they went with the better known Wayne Phillips before Zoehrer etc.

    Could have slected Manou but always felt for Emery (and Berry) who played when Healey was imovable.

    When Emery got the gig, he ended up with a broken finger anyway, guy couldn’t take a trick.

    Yes, a few Vics and hardly a NSW man, funny that



  11. Dr Park apparently was up all night before the test delivering a baby so concentration may not have great.

    Had an excellent record for Victoria and also won VFL goalkicking with University (amazing considering their record) and Melbourne.

    Surely a certainty for the played Test cricket and VFL/AFL football XI or XVIII!


Leave a Comment