The lack of greats to wear the #7

I was in the quite luxurious Peel Thunder clubrooms in Mandurah following a wonderful West Perth win on Saturday when the evening got even better seeing Geelong give the Dons quite a pasting. Whilst watching Northampton’s finest Harry Taylor collect over 30 possessions talk with a mate drifted off to other great players to have the #7 jumper in the league.

There’s Nat Fyfe of course who would have cured cancer, solved world hunger and resolved the Palenstine conflict by season’s end going by the view of his achievements by The West Australian. There’s Van Berlo, Adcock, McEvoy etc who are serviceable but not stars. Going through the other sides though the big names drop off. With another round of beers further discussion went to the great #7 players over the years and we were surprised about the general lack of greats who wore the number.

St Kilda and Footscray have some greats who have worn the number of course. There’s Doug Hawkins for the ‘Scray along with Lenny Hayes and Nicky Winmar for the Saints. Going beyond them though you can only look at Wayne Johnson and Gary Ayres as other true greats to wear the number in recent times. Nigel Smart, Adam Simpson, Paul Couch and Brett Ratten are seen as much loved and respected players perhaps along with Ted Hopkins who is most remembered for his game changing cameo in 1970. There have been premiership players to wear the number such as Fletcher (2006), Burgoyne (2004), Solomon (2000), Turley (1992), Morwood (1990) Malthouse (1980) and Daniher (1993) et al who were serviceable but not household names as players unless they had famous brothers, broke the jaw of a future Geelong captain or almost died in a Vegas casino.

Is it just me or has the number #7 not produced the same amount of legends such as say a #3 or #5 has for example. Welcome to any more suggestions of greats to wear the number in the VFL/AFL or wherever.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.


  1. Cat from the Country says

    Ben Graham for Geelong I think wore #7

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Scott West. Saw a replay recently of Westy in the late nineties and it reminded me how good he was. Hope Lachie Hunter can be half as good.

  3. Rod Oaten says

    Bill Hutchison. Possibly the greatest rover Essendon has ever had. He wore 7 from the late 40’s until the early 50’s.

  4. Dave Brown says

    Here at Norwood we have a measure of greatness in the No. 7 – Australian Rules Hall of Famers Wat Scott and Haydn Bunton Jr. Great SANFL players who have had a post playing career impact in the AFL in Neil Craig & Keith Thomas. It is currently worn by triple Magarey Medalist James Allan.

  5. E.regnans says

    Gordon Coventry

  6. Phil Narkle, Craig Turley, FRASER GEHRIG, Chad Fletcher, Chris Masten at WCE. I guess that proves the point you were making Dennis.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Russell Ebert wore #7 for most of his career at Port (but wore #1 in the 1984 GF)

  8. E.regnans says

    Checking this, I gather that G Coventry wore #7 in 1924, 1925, 1928, 1929, 1932.
    It seems other (greats) around that time to also wear #7 included:
    Albert Collier 1926, 1930, 1933, 1935
    Syd Coventry 1927
    Harry Collier 1931.

  9. Dennis Gedling says

    Completely forgot about Scott West. Another to take on the #7 from another great much like Winmar and Hayes at the Saints.

    I’ll take your word for it with the pre-WW2 stuff I didn’t check back that far!

  10. Steve Hodder says

    E.Regnans, something in the back of my mind is saying that back in the day, the Collingwood used to award numbers according to the alphabetical order of surnames. Something they did to ensure no disputes over who got what number. I think the skipper might’ve been given #1 and the VC #2 in latter years. Which would explain the moving about of #7, amongst the “Cs”, over time. Sounds almost quaint in these times.


  11. Grant Fraser says


  12. Well done on your Falcons to recover against the Thunder after being thumped by the mighty East Perth Royals five days earlier, Dennis. Warwick Irwin wore No.7 for the first 206 of his 213 games at Fitzroy (and his 16 at Collingwood), while Doug Hawkins had No.7 in all of his 329 games for Footscray.

  13. Gerard S says

    A dual Norm Smith medallist by the name of Gary Ayres might have carried the number seven throughout his not too shabby career.

    Ian ‘liberty’ ‘magoo’ Law was first rover in the Hawks 61 campaign. First rover – now there’s a concept that has slipped out of vogue.

    More recently, Michael Osborne carried the number in the Hawks 2008 premiership.

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