The Daryl Freame Medal team


As the Tigers roar into their first Grand Final since 1982, memories have come flooding back. Yesterday afternoon at around 3pm as I was waking from my nap with ABC Radio in my earpiece what do I hear? Graham ‘Smokie’ Dawson, Clark Hansen and the incomparable Doug Bigelow calling the last minutes of the 1980 Grand Final.


Before I had a chance to rub the afternoon sleep out of my eyes I hear that Daryl Freame has finally come off the bench and onto the ground for his first run of the day. Freame’s stats were two kicks and one mark. One of those kicks and the ensuing shepherd led to Kevin Barlett’s iconic 7th goal as he ran around a dog-tired Stan Magro and threaded it through from the boundary line.


It got me thinking about what Freame could contribute at Premiership reunions. “If it wasn’t for me KB would never have equalled the record!”.


It also got me thinking about Premiership players like Freame, who didn’t have distinguished careers, yet somehow achieved something that eluded greats like Bob Skilton, Nick Riewoldt, Nathan Buckley, Robert Harvey, Tony Lockett, Gary Dempsey and Gary Ablett Snr to name just a few.


Gary Ablett Snr played in 248 games and 4 Grand Finals without success, yet son Nathan managed only 34 games and has a Premiership Medallion to show his progeny.


Mario Bortolotto played 44 games for Carlton and won 2 flags.


Rene Kink played in 6 Grand Finals without tasting victory.


Aaron Shattock did not register a possession for Brisbane in 2002. What would he bring to that reunion in 2022!


As we enter Grand Final week, a team of what I will call ‘Premiership Purloiners’ might bring back some memories for Almanackers.


The only criteria is that members played in Premiership and played less than 70 games of VFL/AFL footy. I have tried to get an even spread amongst the clubs and most are from the television era capturing the life spans and real memories of the majority of Almanackers.


Here is the team, captained by the red-headed, long-sleeved number 44 who will forever be remembered as a 1980 Premiership player.


Who else would you nominate Knackers?



B: John Bingley   –  Mario Bortolotto  –  Alex Johnson

(StK 1966)         (Carl 1981-82)      (Syd 2012)


HB: Barry Mulclair –   Stephen Mount   –  Robert Day

(Carl 1970)       (Rich 1980)                      (Haw 1971)


C: Aaron Shattock  –   Andrew Eccles   –  Paul Hills

(Bris 2002)        (Adel 1998)        (Ess 1993)


HF: Nathan Ablett  –   Brian Kekovich   –  Richard Walter

(Geel 2007)        (Carl 1968)         (Haw 1978)


F:  Richard Hadley  –   Ross Ditchburn  –  Graham Wise

(Bris 2003)         (Carl 1982)       (Melb 1964)


R:   Max Bailey     –  Daryl Freame ©  –   Ken Bennett

(Haw 2013)        (Rich 1980)        (Coll 1958)


IC:  Stuart Anderson  –  Aaron Keating  – Jack Nuttall –  Kevin Billing

(NthM 1996)       (Adel 1997)    (Foots 1954)    (StK 1966)


Coach: John Nicholls

(Carl 1972) 57 games as coach

About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Shane John Backx says

    Brian Kekovich was [email protected]#$%&s ( apologies for that C word ) leading goalkicker that year, did his back in the next pre season and never played again. Had a go at North with brother Sam in 1970 but never played seniors.

  2. Shane John Backx says

    Of course as coach its hard to go past the legendary Charlie Clymo, made famous by Bob Davis. Never played VFL only coached 1 year in 1931 but landed the flag.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Clay Sampson(97), James Thiessen(98), Ben Marsh(98), Shane Ellen(97,98) also meet your criteria from the Crows

  4. Not sure if Moondoggie’s short stint at Arden Street qualifies. He had two touches for his Shinboner Premiership Medallion.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Ted Hopkins (Carl-1970)

  6. Some Hawthorn players who were in the right place at the right time include:
    Greg Madigan (1989)
    Brent Renouf (2008)
    Jonothan Simpkin (2013)

  7. Great concept, LB. Love it.

    Aaron Keating is the stand-out by far.

  8. Michael Young, 37 games for [email protected]#$%& (as Shane calls them!) and 15 games for Melbourne, played in [email protected]#$%&s 1979 flag side, even Carlton fans would struggle to remember him

  9. Great idea, Phil! I would nominate David Calthorpe and Paul Hills of Essendon and Shane Clayton of North

  10. Not many left who’d remember Laurie Bickerton’s playing days but I was fortunate to spend a very pleasant arvo with him on the Sunshine Coast back in 2004, he reminiscing about the 1944 Roys premiership and his twelve game career with the Gorillas, as they were known back then.
    He’d played for Oakleigh in the VFA and came to the Gorillas via the Air Force for the ’44 season.

    Laurie had to hitchhike home after the premiership celebrations:

    “There was petrol rationing and the blackout and so the taxis were only allowed to go a certain distance out from the city. Anyway, my wife and I got a taxi as far as we could. We lived out at Oakleigh and he pulled up about Malvern somewhere and said, ‘Na, can’t go any further, that’s it.’ And I’ve got my footy gear, and sore feet.

    We’re about 6 or 7 mile from home! Anyway, I went out on the road, hitchhiking. My wife sat on the bloody seat and I’m out there and a bloke on a motorbike with a sidecar pulls up…

    …Pitch dark, pitch dark, yeah, I’ve got my footy bag, and I said, ‘I’ve got my wife here and I can’t get a taxi. I want to get to Oakleigh.’ And he said, ‘Hop on’, and I got on the motorcycle and my wife got in the sidecar.

    This is about one o’clock in the morning. And he took us to Oakleigh and we got out. I was thankful to get to Oakleigh! I only had a street or two to walk down.

  11. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great stuff so far folks,
    Shane, technically Bob Rush coached Collingwood in the 1930 GF while Jock McHale was in bed with the flu.

    Swish, Thiessen and Marsh excellent gets. Ellen qualifies, but didn’t he exert way too much influence to be a purloiner? Ditto Hopkins.

    Wrapster – Moons probably not, but do you remember Ian Owen (1969) ?

    Aussie 80s – Madigan and Renouf great suggestions along with Simkin. 2014 Almanac Poster boy Matt Spangher should probably get a guernsey.

    Thanks Smokie, The two Aarons have done well here, for sure.

    Gerry – Yes, Michael Young and in the same side Peter Brown number 41.

    Thanks Paubai, Hills is in. Calthorpe went on to play 114 games and Clayton 117 (too successful for this group) !!

    Ripper story Adam about Laurie Bickerton. Oakleigh must have seemed like a foreign country in those days. The relativity of distance. Arthur OBryan qualifies – 46 games for the Roys including the 1944 triumph.

    Would love some old time nominations Knackers. Great stuff.

  12. Mick Jeffrey says

    May not be the right place to ask, but was Mario Bortolotto the last player to get a GF medal whilst spending the entire game on the bench in 1981 (when they used Scott Howell at FB all day instead?)

  13. Colin Ritchie says

    Graeme Beissel played in Essendon”s 1962 premiership side, then the following year retired from footy to go to uni. He returned in 1964 and played a total of 36 games for the Dons.

  14. Mark Blake Geelong 2009?

    Surely first Ruck in this team

  15. How about a team of coaches, who have coached the longest without ever getting their team in a grand final! Now that the tigers have made the grand final, North now have the record along with Carlton of teams that have the longest drought of being in the grand final. That is a record I want changed soon shinboners. We had better lift next year, or there should be changes at all levels to get us back there.

  16. Aaron Keating ( and Brett James ) also played in a SANFl flag for the legs a week later ( James Dodge Thiessen played in Norwood’s flag as well in 97 before taking,David King to the cleaners in the Afl 98 FF
    Great topic,Phil

  17. Ian Owen? Crikey Phil, was there in Yellow&Black, and I don’t remember him! I checked him out on Wikipedia. I pay my dues there, so I feel no guilt in poaching their research.

    Ian Owen (born 21 July 1948) is a former Australian rules football player who played in the VFL between 1969 and 1972 for the Richmond Football Club.

    Owen played in the 1966 senior premiership side for Echuca East, three premiership sides at Richmond (Under 19s, Seniors then Reserves) and in three senior premiership teams for Port Melbourne in the VFA.

    In the 1969 Grand Final, Owen’s Richmond guernsey carried the number 52. There is no record of any Grand Final player carrying a larger number until Adelaide’s Shaun Rehn in 1997 and 1998.

    Not a bad career for a journeyman, eh?

    And Matt Spangher’s a ripper. The journeyman’s journeyman.

    Loved the Oakleigh story. My Old Man courted my Mum on a BSA with a sidecar. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t David Cloke come to Richmond from Oakleigh?

    And all you Catters, now that you’ve got the rest of the year off, checkout those 1951-52 teams. There’s sure to be someone buried away there.

  18. I recall Ian Owen finishing his football career @ Port Melbourne. His final appearance was during the 1978 final series, when Port went out in straight sets. He was well past his prime by then.

    Speaking of the mighty Burras our local watering hole was graced by two former VFL players yesterday. Both played in premierships whilst in the VFA, but neither played in a flag side during their VFL careers: Tony Dullard and Barry Round.

    Go Burras !!!!


  19. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Mario Bortolotto indeed brought up donuts in 1981 like Shattock in 2002. Scott Howell could slot into this team also. Only played 39 games.

    Colin, excellent get with Beissel. Bruce Waite a 1965 contender. Only played 48 games.

    Nic Pav, How did Blake play 99 games? This disqualifies him, but I see where you’re coming from.

    Paubai – Promising concept re:coaches. N. Buckley and B.Scott contending at the moment. Neil Craig comes to mind, 8 seasons. Outright leader would have to be Terry Wallace – 12 seasons, no GF.

    Rulebook, good stuff. More obscure SANFL nominations most welcome.

    Wrapster, nice research. How about Colin Beard from the 1969 team? Only 33 games.
    I get my info from AFL TABLES. Have a gander when you get a chance:

  20. Shane John Backx says

    A few years back, ( I have a lot of idle time!!) I went through every premiership team going back to 19897 up until 2000. I found that only 2 teams whereby every player ended up playing at least 100 career games. Strangely the only were Coll 1990 and the WCE in 1992. Also forgot a bloke from Richmond Bill James in 1921. Debuted in the big one, 1 flag. Never played again .

  21. Malby Dangles says

    Ross Ditchburn was a gun mature recruit from WA. He kicked 61 goals in his debut season when Cartlon won the 1982 flag. Played in 1983 and then went home.
    You could include the best “good ordinary player” Carlton had, the superstar Peter Bosustow (65 games, 1981/82 flags), the super skilful on baller Mark Naley (65 games, 1987 flag) who won many honours in SA, the blond bull Ian Aitken (best known for being king hit in the Battle of Britain footy match by current supercoach Alastair Clarkson) (66 games total, 1987 flag), Adrian Whitehead (63 games, 1995 flag) (best known for suing Carlton due to a painkilling injection on an injured foot, which meant he played on the injury making it worse).

  22. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Glen !
    Tony Dullard (unfortunate surname) – So many great VFA nominations possible. Miss the old VFA. Possible future project for you exclamatory one !!
    Bill James a beauty. Yes, funny about the 100 game mark. Number of Premiership players didn’t make it. I couldn’t find a Coaster and for Collingwood I had to go back to 1958 (Not a lot of sides to choose from of course).
    Malby, Blues had plenty of ‘Freamers’ and the examples you provide are excellent. Going back a bit further, Denis Munari 1968 (54 games) and Bill Bennett 1968 (11 games)

  23. Tony (Spud) Dullard an Bill Bennett drink at the North Fitzroy Arms. Both are terrific blokes. Spud used to look after Almanac functions when we were at the Clyde and he was the publican.

  24. Daryl Freame ended up in Perth. I meet him once. Or met someone who had met him. Something like that. I’m gonna write a book about it.

  25. A great mate of my late Dad was Stan ‘Slab’ Rule who played in Melbourne’s 1948 Premiership side.

    Stan played just 74 games for the Demons as a follower/defender. Dad and Slab used to enjoy the odd quiet one at the Boundary in East Bentleigh. Stan was very proud to be a Premiership player for Melbourne, but apparently he didn’t get on all that well with ‘bloody Mueller’.

    Cheers, Burkie

  26. 1995 – Brad Pearce played 77 games (just too many for this criteria, but he was a fave of mine) and was finished at the age of 28 due to injury and hard partying.

    1987 – Richard Dennis 70 games (including a year with North). Never the same after doing his knee. Finished aged 25.

    1981 – Scott Howell 38 games. The only third-generation Premiership player in VFL/AFL history. Son of premiership player ‘Chooka’. Grandson of Jack Snr, who also won a flag for the Blues.

    1972 – David Dickson 66 games. Another who had his career wrecked by doing a knee.

    1972 – Andy Lukis (aka Lukimitis). 64 games. Changed his name by deed poll. Played off the bench in the ’72 goal fest. Cleared to Fitzroy after only 2 more games in Navy Blue.

    Thanks to the Blueseum for some of this info.

  27. Yes John, i met Spud at Haskins many moons ago. He then moved to the Clyde, returning to Haskins. He no longer works at Haskins but is known to pop in for a frothy or two.

    I met Bill Bennet there once. He played 14 or so games for Carlton, including in the 1968 flag. I think that may have been his last game.

    Any how i’ll be there tonight, with a good chance of seeing one, or both, of these chaps.


  28. Bravo Phil.

    I have to admit I have no recollection of Daryl Freame whatsoever (I was 7 in 1980).

    I can’t add much to this thread, but with due respect to Carlton’s 1987 team, I thought Warren McKenzie was surrounded by some bloody good players. Ian Aitken from that team was around for that long either.

    I also remember a classic South Aussie bogan David Hynes who was rucking for the Eagles in ’94

  29. Daryl Freame worked for the ATO in Perth when i was there in the early to mid-80’s, so did Doug Green who played a few games for South Melbourne, Wes Fellows was another ATO employee and of course, Luke Beveridge

  30. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I probably had a slurred conversation or two with them during my drinking days. Who knows?

    Les – Don’t encourage them !!

    Nice story Burkie. Mueller (German) Not all that surprising, really…

    JB – well researched young man. Lukis must have been one of the few self-loathing wogs at Carlton.Is Chooka still the only 3rd gen premiership player? Bert Thornley 1970 (24 games) could stake a good claim for a spot.

    Damo – Warren McKenzie crossed my mind, although he got to 88 games by having a couple of seasons at the Swans. Ian Aitken a bona fide challenger at 66 games. David Hynes (impressive bogan goatee) also got to 88 games after spending 1996-7 at Freo. Fine nominations, mate.

    Gerry – ATO ? Is that where good-ordinary players go to die?

  31. Many a celebrity darkened the door of the ATO during my long career there, I also worked there with Mark Seymour during the early days of Hunters & Collectors but I have never heard him mention that he worked there, wouldn’t suit his profile i imagine lol

  32. george smith says

    Lurch Goodingham. Barassi left old Lurch on the bench all day but didn’t tell anybody until the last minute before the grand final, 1975. His replacement, Mick Nolan played the game of his life and the Hawthorn rucks were caught napping. Barassi finally let Lurch onto the field at about the 29 minute mark of the last quarter when the game was well and truly over.

    Puts the lie to the latest theory-that coaches don’t matter (yet another idea from the kings of wishful thinking to explain the amazing coaching career of one N.Buckley)

  33. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Gerry – Seems like the ATO inspired the name of the band.

    George – Good old Lurch. I do remember the footage of him coming onto the ground and Mick Nolan gasping on a cigarette on the bench !! Carefree days.

    Barry ‘Lurch’ Goodingham played 188 games for North and South, which was a fine effort.

  34. Do we have to do everything for The Sleepy Hollow Handbags here at Punt Road? Surely they’ve shed their widows weeds and manned the pumps by now. Try this one Catters – Terry Fulton (And I actually remember him) played 51 games over 5 years for two Flags – 1951 & 1952. Does he quailify?

    And Burkie, I used to have a beer with my cousin Horace at the pub on the corner of Springvale & Dandenong Roads if I was working out that way. Not sure if it was The Springie or The Junction. Anyway, the Mosig Bros were market gardeners down along Police & Dalton Roads. Horace had a mate called Stan Rule. He was built like a slab, but was called Rule or Stan. Could it be the same bloke?

  35. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Go easy Wrapster,
    The SHH’s are still licking their wounds. Terry Fulton sounds over-qualified.
    You only have to go back as far as 1963 to find more than a handful of ‘Freamers’ in that flag side.
    John Brown 48 Games
    Ken Goodland 54 Games
    Gordon Hynes 61 Games
    Hugh Routley 27 Games
    Ian Scott 36 Games
    John Watts 52 Games

  36. Great idea Phil. And enjoyed all the Knacker thoughts. Ken Bennet is a cracking get. Knew him slightly in the 1980’s when I worked in politics in Canberra. He was Assistant Federal Secretary of the ALP. Lovely bloke. Dined out a lot on the 2 goals in the famous Collingwood boilover flag. Murray Weideman’s “I’ll look after Melbourne, you blokes just play footy”. Shades of Neil Balme in ’73. I once stayed up all night watching the Ch7 Grand Final Marathon to see the final quarter of ’58 to see if Ken’s stories were true. Blow me down. In short pants he looked like he should have been in the Under 16’s.
    Robert Day was a wonderful footballer with a career blighted by injury. Good to see him recognised but he doesn’t belong on your list. Played 9 seasons at West Adelaide for 3 b&f’s. Was state centreman in the famous 1963 first SA defeat of Victoria at the MCG. Magnificent drop kick. Had 2 seasons at Hawthorn at the end of his career – but was no journeyman. Bad knees from memory before arthroscopic surgery.
    On a slightly different note I always liked plodders who shone in big games. 2 WA boys – Steve Armstrong kicked a crucial last quarter goal for my Eagles in 2006. Mitch Morton kicked 2 for the Swans in 2012. Very skilful but slow as a wet winter weekend in Abbotsford. Role players who did their job brilliantly on the day. Both played at multiple clubs but just don’t qualify under the 70 game maximum.
    Bottom 6 win or lose GF’s – I like Adelaide’s better. Regards from Portugal. My heaven – your hell. No visible pokies (they are everywhere in Spain) or betting shops. A few high end casinos – never my go. Cheap and excellent food and grog.

  37. Phil – more one-eyed Victorian comments. The recently deceased John K Watts is the only bloke to play in senior premierships in 3 states. East Perth; Geelong and then captain-coached North Hobart. State full back. Wrote the Geelong club song (and did a decent Lucky Grills standup impression).

  38. Hey PB, I was in a Sam Shepard play with JK’s wife in the 80s. Had some steamy scenes. Didn’t know who she was married to. She invited me to their place in Nedlands to rehearse. We’re going through a scene in the loungeroom with some, er, sexual tension when the big man bowls in the front door looks at me with a vaudeville villian wink and blows his top. Then laughs his head off. Opening night he’s in the front row and I’m as cool as a limp cucumber trying to be Sam Shepard cool. Cheers

  39. Stay where you are Mr B. I may be joining you after Saturday. Pooncarie can wait.

  40. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thanks for your thoughts and context, PB. I love the fact that I get to learn so much more about people’s experiences outside of Victoria. Robert Day example a classic case. Sometimes simple stats and dates can lead to so much more.
    When I thought of this team it wasn’t about nominating ‘journeymen’ as such, but marvelling at the quirks of fate that footy throws up at us. Do the Gods have a hand? Why are some chosen over others? What’s it like for a bloke who sat on the bench all day, collected a medallion and then has to attend a reunion?
    Armstrong and Morton, like Shane Ellen/Ted Hopkins also fascinating to ponder. Perhaps a team for another time. Enjoy the delights of a pokie-free Portugal !!

    Rick – A thespian? I know you were a strapping young lad (FB photos) with a questionable fashion sense, but this steamy Lothario scenario changes everything. But seriously, terrific anecdote mate. How did the play go? Any offers from Hustler thereafter?

  41. G’day Phil.

    The Richmond half backline from the 1969 GF is pretty amazing. None played 100 VFL games, i’m pretty sure none scored a VFL goal.

    You had Geoff Strang on one flank.He played in the 1967 & 1969 flags. His father Doug,and Uncle Gordon were both premiership players with Richmond. His cousin John Perry played in the winning 1967 side.

    Graham Burgin was centre half back. He also played in the winning 1967 side, as well as the reserves premiership in 1966.

    On the other flank was Ian Owen, number 53. He played in the Richmond U19 premiership in 1967, as well as the reserves premiership of 1971. Then he went to Port Melbourne. He played in three flags for the Burras, 1974, 1976, then 1977.

    A very decorated, unobtrusive half back line.


  42. Hi Wrap. Re Stan Rule. Possible it’s the same bloke you mention – there wouldn’t be too many Stan Rules around. When Dad knew him (30 odd years ago) he lived in East Bentleigh, not too far from Mackie Rd. I only met him once or twice myself, but as you say he was certainly built like a slab! Liked growing vegies as I recall.

    Cheers, Burkie

  43. Small world Burkie. I grew up in Bent Street Bentleigh. My Old Man was always cursing the gates on Centre Road being closed. He was known to race the train up to McKinnon Road to catch the gates there before they closed. That was in the 50s. He didn’t live to see the overpasses put in by Danny Boy Andrews in his vote chasing infrastructure campaign through the Sand Belt.

  44. Michael Bowden could be a handy addition to the team. 1969 premiership player, played 59 games before retiring to coach in the bush. 3 sons of course played for the Tigers as well

  45. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Nice one Glen !
    Unobtrusive, yet effective. Ian Owen great record for Port. Sometimes we forget that many left the VFL for the VFA as it was often more lucrative. A team who crossed over at their prime, starting with Ron Todd perhaps?

    Great get, Wocka. Michael Bowden certainly a contender.

    A couple from Hawthorn in 1961:
    John Cunningham – 17 games
    John Winneke – 50 games (QC and Chief Justice of Victoria)

    And from South Melbourne’s 1933 Premiership side some cracking names:
    Bert Beard – 49 games
    Ossie Bertram – 38 games
    Jim O’Meara – 57 games

  46. Ta Phil.

    Yes so many left the VFL for the VFA, or country footy. Fred Swift led the Tigers to the flag in 1967, twelve months later he leads Corowa to the Ovens and Murray league premiership.

    A decade or so prior Bobby Rose heads up from the Carringbush to Wangaratta.

    As we’d be cognisant football in those days wasn’t a career, it was a job during winter. It’s come a long way since.


  47. Good call Glen. Cognisant call. Looking back at The Good Old Days call.

    And thanks for a Great Thread Phil.

  48. Phil, in addition to Todd, Des Fothergill, Laurie Nash & Bob Pratt all crossed to the VFA in their prime. Jack ‘Basher’ Williams played more games for South Disticts than he did for South Melbourne because he got paid more, hard to believe these days.

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