The great pack-splitters

Peter Zitterschlager has introduced a new statistic which has gained considerable (Almanac) currency.

Name those players who would have racked up the stats in the pack-splitting category.


  1. Gary Ablett snr

    Exhibit A – Geel v Coll when he kicked about seven. One, he flew for the mark, bursting the pack and sending bodies flying, landed on his feet brushed a couple aside as he burst through some more bodies, grabbed the Sherrin, veered on to his right foot and hammered it home. May have been Vic Park? Gee, I hope it was Vic Park.

  2. JTH – remember it – I reckon it was at the MCG. Wet day, big crowd. He bombed one home from about 60 out with the wet footy that day, perhaps the one you describe. After kicking it he was sitting on the ground and slapped his own thigh in glee as if to say “Bloody hell did you see that!”

    Plugger was a great pack splitter.

  3. Does it count if they completed the mark? Michael Roach’s mark circa 1980 seemed to send quite a few bodies flying from memory.

  4. The boy from Edenhope: Phil Carman

  5. From the same era, Rene Kink would have split packs of six or more just with his running.

  6. Sorry to keep on and on but…..

    if you look closely at the replay of the last bit of the 2009 grand final (that was the one before Collingwood commenced it’s run to beat the eleven straight of St George; so they are saying) a dashing Max Rooke split a pack from the front enabling the ball to spill free to young Varcoe, who set up the remaining shaven Cat’s winning goal.

    That was not the only pack that Max split….. before he split.

  7. #6 “Sorry to keep on and on…”

    You’re sorry, Phantom? Imagine how we feel.

  8. well said Phantom – great split that one – perhaps the greatest?

  9. #6 and #8. Hang on a minute. Zitterschlager’s First Law specifies “packs of no less than 6”.

    Were there six in the pack that Rooke split?

    (Sound like a fairy tale: “The Pack that Rook Split”.)

  10. #9 Or a chess move.

  11. If only Geelong had been playing Port Adelaide…and Bishop was in the Rooke-split pack.

    Or Adelaide…(formerly)…Knight

    Or Richmond…King

    Or St Kilda…porn

  12. Phil Dimitriadis says

    #1 Harmsy,

    it was the G, 1989,twilight descending,faint drizzle…G.Ablett Snr electrified more than just the Cats’ fans with that passage of genius.

    You may remember Sandy Roberts’ commentary: “Here is the magician at work…what more can you say!”

    No one elicited more mythic and biblical metaphors than G.Ablett Snr.

    I was never a fan, but Anthony Rocca, when fit and not short of breath, used to be an effective ‘Pack Buster’.

  13. David Cloke was quite good at splitting a pack. I don’t think any of his sons are, although Travis has lots of other skills.

  14. Just looked at the replay Gigs; again. 35 in the pack.

    There was a flood on, every one had dropped back into the pack. The only person not in the pack was young Abblett. He had kicked the ball about 90 metres and just arrived at the pack to pat Chapman on the bald bit.

    Please believe me.

  15. Pamela Sherpa says

    Wayne Carey is the player who comes to my mind when pack splitting is mentioned.

  16. Plugger made the split-pack an art form by my reckoning. And especially so if it were a lengthy cue at Macca’s.

  17. #9. Credit where its due Gigs. It should be known as ‘Bouchard’s’ first law: he (my mate) is the scribe who identified the split pack for statistical canonization.

  18. Mick Bouchaud says

    Split pack bah. There are far more relevant stats than that e.g. allowing a Shaw – Ray, Tony, Neville, Rhys or Heath – to capitalise on an error. Now that’s a statistic! Very rare but any viewing of the 2010 Dogs / Swans final will clearly demonstrate Robert Murphy chalking it up.

  19. Of course! The old AASTCOAE. Mick how many instances of the AASTCOAE would you estimate there have been in VFL/AFL history?

  20. R. Merrett, 1984 Grand Final, Last Quarter. involved in every goal kicked by the Dons by doing just that. splitting packs, shepherds, blocking, tap ons, some well placed violence. made good on a pledge to the stretchered Walsh. a savage man. fixed ’em up. his departure to the Bears in 1987 a sorry sore never healed. some miserable creatures have worn the number 25 at Essendon since. none measure up.

  21. Trev, Agree, and a Merrett smashing seemed to have more angles in it, rather than a full-chested burst. Have you seen the clip to David Bridie’s song? (Currently on the site) Has given me a real kickalong.

  22. John Butler says

    Earl Spalding. Not flashy, but a crucial presence in Carlton’s ’95 flag team.

    For references, just ask Guy McKenna.

  23. Why did you have to bring that up again JB?

  24. Mick Bouchaud says

    #19 As you no doubt appreciate Gigs AASTCOAE is the very rarest of stats so I can only cite three other instances. Shaw skill error allows opposition to capitalise (SSEAOTC) is as common as muck of course.

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