What’s in a name?

THOSE upset by Channel 9 dumping Days of Our Lives after 45 years need only turn to an AFL match to get their fix of soap opera-like names. This year’s player list boasts enough creative monikers to make The Bold and the Beautiful blush. 

Collingwood’s Jack Frost, who debuted in Round 1, attracted plenty of attention thanks to his wintery namesake. But his fairy-tale alias is nothing compared to the growing number of AFL stars who could slot straight into a long-running US soap.    

It may not have Ridge, Storm or Thorne, but this year’s AFL player group boasts its very own Blayne, Tayte, Kamdyn, Curtly, Jaeger, Steele, Orren and Maverick.

Running around for St Kilda alone we have Jarryn (Geary), Farren (Ray), Arryn (Siposs) and Darren (Minchington). Richmond isn’t far behind with the General Hospital-worthy Kamdyn (McIntosh), Gideon (Simon), Orren (Stephenson) and Cadeyn (Williams). And Gold Coast lives up to its glitzy image with Kyal (Horsley), Karmichael (Hunt), Jaeger (O’Meara) and Maverick (Weller). These late 1980s and early 1990s parents certainly wanted their sons to stand out from the pack. As a result, instead of shining in the ruck or at full forward many of today’s footy stars are better known for their names.

The Western Bulldogs have a group straight from central casting in Ayce Cordy, Tory Dickson, Easton Wood, Clay Smith and Fletcher Roberts, while Hawthorn has Kaiden Brand, Amos Frank and Cyril Rioli.

The Dockers make up for the most uninspired theme song with the likes of Garrick Ibbotson and Tanner Smith, while West Coast has Ashton Hams, Sharrod Wellingham and Blayne Wilson. West Indian cricketers almost certainly inspired the parents of GWS’s Curtly Hampton (Curtly Ambrose) and Devon Smith (Devon Malcolm), Essendon’s Courtenay Dempsey (Courtney Walsh) and Fremantle’s Viv Michie (Viv Richards).

Others gave new meaning to Gen “Y” with Tayte Pears (Essendon), Dayne Beams (Collingwood), Kamdyn McIntosh (Richmond), Cadeyn Williams (Richmond), Arryn Siposs (St Kilda), Ayce Cordy (Bulldogs), Blayne Williams (West Coast) and Kyal Horsley (Gold Coast).

Regular names have been jazzed up for Derick Wanganeen (Hawthorn), Bradd Dalziell (West Coast), Rhyce Shaw (Sydney), Reece Conca (Richmond), Clancee and Danyle Pearce (Fremantle) and Haiden Schloithe (Fremantle).

Retro is also in for Gerald (Ugle, Gold Coast), Quinten (Lynch, Collingwood), Clinton (Young, Collingwood and Jones, St Kilda), Alwyn (Davey, Essendon), George (Horlin-Smith, Geelong) and Eric (Wallace, North and MacKenzie, West Coast).

Then there are no less than five spellings of Jared … or is that Jarryd?:

Jarrad (Redden, Port Adelaide), Jaryd (Cachia, Carlton), Jarrod (Witts, Collingwood and Harbrow, Gold Coast), Jarryd (Blair, Collingwood, Roughead, Hawthorn and Lyons, Adelaide) and Jared (Rivers, Geelong, Polec, Brisbane, Brennan, Gold Coast and Petrenko, Adelaide). Phew!

Conversely, AFL coaches are a boring bunch when it comes to names, probably reflecting the more conservative times they were born in. Their ranks include two Johns (Longmire, Sydney and Worsfold, West Coast), two Michaels (Voss, Brisbane and Malthouse, Carlton), a Kevin (Sheedy, GWS) and a Ken (Hinkley, Port Adelaide).

Then there’s Nathan, Chris, Brenton, James, Ross, Guy, Alastair, Mark, Brad, Damien, Scott and Brendan. Not a Chad, Zebediah or Kruze to be seen.

Traditional player names like Matthew, Tom, Josh, Luke and Sam are still popular. Collingwood alone has six Bens; Hudson, Johnson, Kennedy, Reid, Richmond and Sinclair, and North Melbourne has four; Cunnington, Jacobs, Mabon and Speight.

But based on current trends the Baydens, Blaydens, Graydens and Jaydyns are set to take over before the decade is out.

Is such a smorgasbord of signatures good for football? It certainly makes it interesting, but maybe not much fun for those who have to spell or pronounce them. The likes of Kaiden, Cadeyn and Kamdyn can only be a nightmare for footy writers, unless of course they’re fans of the Young and the Restless.

Cheryl Critchley is on twitter: @CherylCritchley



  1. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Great stuff Cheryl. I think it’s an outrage that there is not one Bruce on an AFL list!

  2. Cheryl Critchley says

    Hi Phil, that is disappointing. I don’t think there’s a Kevin either. How things have changed…

  3. Phil Dimitriadis says

    And what about Lou, Percy, Horrie, Clarrie, Laurie, Bert…Con, Spiro?

  4. Rick Kane says

    Nice piece Cheryl and I’m not just saying that because it neatly compliments a piece I wrote about the GC Suns last year.

    Names coming through today make names like Luke H, Sam M, Brad S and Jordan L seem bland, if correctly rather than phonetically spelt. Don’t even start me on the Selwoods.


  5. Cheryl – love this. The names these days are so bad they make you laugh. Believe it or not I recently saw a “Zavier”. If only people who lumber their kids with horrible names would use their imaginations for goodness instead of evil.

    All the best – La_a


  6. Cheryl Critchley says

    Even better Dips, Lance Whitnall’s brother called his son Exavier because that’s how some people pronounce it :-). The possibilities are endless…

  7. Pamela Sherpa says

    At least Essendon have done the right thing and put a Joe in their team.

  8. Peter Fuller says

    It pains me to acknowledge anything which could be construed as Essendon (quote) doing the right thing. That’s always true, but especially this week, while my pain is still raw. However, hooking up with a salt of the earth family like the Danihers inevitably meant sensible names, with appropriate spelling. It is heartening that this commitment to proper values has survived to the present generation of the family, with young Joe.

    I would argue of course that this Essendon “achievement” is entirely attributable to the ineptitude of South Melbourne officialdom, as they should never have let Terry go, with all the tragic consequences of that decision.

  9. Cheryl Critchley says

    Hi Pamela and Peter. I wish I could say the same for my team but unfortunately we’re one of the worst offenders, with the likes of Kamdyn, Gideon, Orren and Cadeyn. What happened to all our Bens?

  10. Daniel Flesch says

    Check this out from May issue of The monthly mag. It’s inspired.

  11. Cheryl Critchley says

    Hi Daniel. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many uses found for the letter “y” in one article! Top stuff.

  12. Daniel Flesch says

    Cheryl , have you ever thought of putting the red vest on the “i” in your surname and
    sending another “y” onto the field ? (Not that i should be making jokes about other people’s surnames., even though my father used to counter his children’s objections with the assertion it’s a common enough name in his native Budapest.)

  13. Cheryl Critchley says

    Now there’s a thought – I reckon I could stretch it to four. How about Chyryl Crytchly? I might have to make that my new byline :-).

  14. Cheryl Critchley says

    PS Your name is quite cool, and I bet you now like the fact it is not overly common.

  15. Dave Nadel says

    Chyryl if you make that change you’ll have to move to New Ziland.

  16. Good article.
    Haven’t got time to chat.
    Gotta take my boys Jayden, Jaydon and Jaydin to draft camp tutoring and then Naplan training before school.

  17. Cheryl Critchley says

    And I’ve gotta take Jyssyca and Rybycca to basketball training :-)

  18. Looking ahead to the next generation of names, I see a day when text friendly names (read: lazy) take to the field. Example – Zac 2E ….LOL, smiley face, smiley face!

  19. Cheryl Critchley says

    OMG Igor that is too much to contemplate! Sounds like a gr8 idea though :-)

  20. Has there been a Zane, since former Cat Zane Taylor ?

  21. Jobe!?

  22. Who was the last Cyril prior to Rioli ? Dare i ask re the last Cecil?


  23. Cheryl Critchley says

    The only Cecil I know is Cecil B. DeMille. Not sure if there has ever been another Cyril. That would be a good one for AFL stats man Col Hutchinson. He probably has a list of every player name ever.

  24. Rick Kane says

    The best spelling of Jobe has already been claimed. One of the sons on Arressted Development is Gob (pronounced Job or Jobe or whatever).

  25. Kath Presdee says

    Given that the most popular boys name for the past decade has been Jack, I think there’s still going to be a lot of Jacks in the game for years to come.

    Watching the boys names at my son’s daycare and now school, I look forward to the trades team (Cooper, Chandler, Mason, Taylor, Tyler and Jacks galore – “y”s optional) playing the Old Testament team (Noah, Jacob, Joseph, Job(e), Daniel (or Danyle))

  26. Paddy Grindlay says

    Kyal Horsley or Lin Jong?

    Go tigers

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