We’re a pretty informal lot at One Week at A time. We’re not huge on pomp and ceremony. There aren’t too many Sirs or Madams walking through our offices and we like to keep it simple and down to Earth. Pretty much we’re first names kind of people. As such we’ve selected the INFORMAL AFL TEAM of the Century – only first names allowed.
While it’s not currently all that valid or in vogue, we decided to pick the side in traditional positions and have the players selected there being suited to such a position. We have not selected Brent Harvey at Centre Half Back, which the Kangaroos did in Round three of season 2015.
Below you’ll find some pretty informal thoughts on the players selected and how I have viewed them - If i have viewed them at all.
From the back line:
Full Back Line
Brad/Chris Scott: I could never really tell them apart so it’s only fair that I don’t separate them here either. Feisty customers, the Scott brothers could be relied upon to make life difficult for the small and medium sized forwards of any team. They loved the physical aspect of the game, and played best when they were angry.
Mick Martyn: As effective as he was rough looking, Mick was the bane of many full forwards through his time with both the Kangaroos and Blues, but more so at the Kangaroos. A fierce competitor, he was known more for the reduction of others stats rather than for the compiling of his own. He was truly a beast of the backline.
Mal Michael: As big as they come. Mal was a brute of a character whose fist managed to greet the ball before the forwards hands more often than not, while occasionally managing to brush the forwards head as well to sweeten the deal. Best remembered for his time with the Lions, Mal was the subject of a few choice words after he retired with a year to go on his contract before playing the next year with the Bombers.
Joel Corey: Not flashy or fast, Joel Corey got the job done through hard work and perseverance. Part of a stellar Cats midfield, Corey was often overlooked by many punters but carried out a lot of the grunt work that allowed Ablett, Selwood & Bartell to run amok. He looked like my old cricket coach. A much valued teammate, Corey could be relied upon to put his body on the line again and again.
Dustin Fletcher: He is still playing. Long of limb and long of career, Dustin Fletcher made a career out of getting his hand to the ball at just the right time. He reads the flight of the ball better than most defenders in the game and really excelled once he began playing as a loose man in defence. He often looked clumsy, but this record breaking Bomber is a booming kick and a massive presence.
Kevin Murray(Vice Captain): I never saw Kevin play, but he played a lot. At the time of his retirement he held the games record of 333 games. Along with his Brownlow medal Kevin accumulated nine club best and fairest awards. He is one of two players to be at one time the youngest player in the comp, and then at another time the oldest player in the comp. Incidentally, the other member of this unique club is also in this side.
Keith Greig: Another Brownlow Medalist, Keith Greig played 294 games for North Melbourne through the 1970’s and 80’s. He won back to back Brownlow medals in 1973/74. I didn’t see much of him play, and I remember exactly nothing of what I did see, as he retired when I was 7 and he didn’t play for Richmond. A premiership player and Club Captain, Greig would later to be names on the wing in the AFL team of the century. I’m sure though he will relish selection in this team even more.
Ian Stewart: Ian Stewart did ok for himself. Hailing from Tassie, Stewart played just over 200 games and managed an impressive 3 Brownlow medals. While at the Saints from 1963 - 1970 he amassed 127 games and won back to back Brownlows(1965/66). He was named in St Kilda's team of the century in the Centre and in Richmond’s team of the Century. Alas I didn’t see him play, as he was Richmond’s last Brownlow winner in 1971. Gee Whiz.
Michael Mitchell: Although he only played around 80 games for Richmond in the 80’s and 90’s, Michael MItchell made one heck of an impression on me when I was a young, primary school aged Tiger. It might have something to do with the fact that In 1990, Mitchell achieved both Mark of the Year and Goal of The Year awards in the same year, becoming only the second player in the history of the competition to do so. Super fast and with a high leap, Mitchell made the game exciting even though my team was mostly rubbish.
Half Forward Line
Craig Bradley: For me Craig Bradley will always be the guy that played footy for teams that I don’t like - Carlton and Sth Australia. A running machine and a ball magnet, Bradley holds the record for the most number of games played for Carlton - I assume that this is a good thing? A talented sportsman, he also played 4 first class games of cricket but according to my Carlton supporting friend Nathan, his real talent lay in getting the footy and kicking it straight up!
Wayne Carey (Captain): Wayne Carey was a giant. He had courage, took great marks and kicked lots of goals. He kicked 727 goals in 272 games, but beyond that it was his competitive nature and his impact on a game that stays with me. Pack Marks, wrestling and more agility than you would have thought, Wayne was the catalyst for a whole new system of forward line structure...Pagan’s Paddock. Seven times All Australian (4 as Captain), 2 Premierships (as Captain), 2 AFLPA MVPs, Captain of North Melbourne’s team of the Century and 4 Club best and Fairests. Could play a bit.
Dustin Martin: Plays for Richmond. Strong bodied former early draft pick Dustin Martin is developing into a very dynamic player in the AFL after making an immediate impact in his first season. Strong and hard to to tackle, Dustin is a good kick with a keen goal sense and with time and greater fitness could be a handful for any side in the comp. Likes Tattoos.
Full Forward Line
Winston Abraham: Probably the coolest name in this side, Winston Abraham was a fast, agile player with the ability to kick freaky goals. Playing over 100 games, kicking over 150 goals and winning a premiership with the Kangaroos, Winston’s career was cut short by a knee injury that can be blamed squarely on James Hird, who is not guilty of anything.
Doug Wade: Apparently Doug Wade was a pretty good kick for goal. Another member of the side whom I did not see play, Doug played 267 games, won a Premiership with Geelong (1963), another with North Melbourne(1975) and won 4 Coleman Medals. Oh yeah, he also managed to kick 1057 goals for his career, which is pretty good, I guess. He won his Clubs goal kicking award 14 times out of 15 seasons.
Lance Franklin: Strong, Athletic, quick off the mark and a powerful kick make Lance Franklin one of the best players of his generation. I would write more about him if he played for Richmond, but he doesn’t so I won’t.
Mark Lee: Known as “The General”, standing at 199 centimetres Mark Lee looked really big when I went to watch him in the 1980’s, but that could have been because he was usually standing near Dale Weightman. A premiership Ruckman and Club Captain, Mark Lee played 233 Games and was named as an All Australian three times. Whilst he did win a Premiership, Mark was unlucky enough to play in a pretty unsuccessful side for the duration of his career.
Robert Harvey: While not the best player I have seen, Robert Harvey was my favourite. Not a great kick, not very fast, not a good mark and yet Harvey was one of the games best “on-ballers”. His ability to run further than his opposition saw him get to more contests, and his strength through his core made him hard to tackle once he got the ball. With Consecutive Brownlow medals(1997/8), 383 Games and a string of other awards (including 8 All Australians)Harvey was one of the modern games most admired players.
Paul Kelly: Tough as nails. Yet another Brownlow medal winner(1995), this Sydney Swans champ was a ball of muscle and as hard as rock. Super fit and brave Paul Kelly seemed unstoppable particularly between 1992 and 1997 when he won 4 club best and fairests and 3 All Australian Selections. Injuries hampered him from 1998 onwards and he retired with 239 AFL games after the 2002 Season.
Sam Mitchell: Current Hawthorn player, Mitchell was stiff not to make the starting side but I already had a Mitchell who played for Richmond so Sam missed out.
Brad Boyd: Fitzroy’s last Captain, Brad was an excellent player who never really got a chance to shine. Represented Victoria in the state of Origin where he showed his class and determination, Brad retired after only 85 games due to injury. A sad end for a class player. Won a Best and Fairest at Fitzroy in his first year as Captain.
Mitch Clark: I needed a back up Ruckman and Mitch Clark is tall, plays football and his last name is a first name so I chose him.
Sub (or the dreaded Green Vest)
Cameron Bruce: A good honest Melbourne player, Cam Bruce was a good, consistent if not brilliant player who amassed over 200 games. His best years were in the mid 2000’s where he averaged around 22 touches a game. Not quite good enough to start in this team.
Wayne Campbell: Richmond player who won 4 Best and Fairest and 2 All Australians.
Kieran Jack: Excellent, tough player in the Paul Kelly mode but I have Paul Kelly so he missed out
Harry Taylor: I don’t really consider Taylor a first name but who I am to judge?
Brent Harvey: An excellent player but I already had a Harvey in this side and lots of Nth Melbourne players so Brent missed out.
Neil Craig: Coached 177 Games for Adelaide and Melbourne but without a huge deal of success. his last name is a first name so he qualifies nicely for this job.
FB: Brad/Chris Scott, Michael Martyn, Mal Michael
HB: Joel Corey, Dustin Fletcher, Kevin Murray(vc)
C: Keith Greig, Ian Stewart, Michael Mitchell
HF:Craig Bradley, Wayne Carey(c), Dustin Martin
FF: Winston Abraham, Doug Wade, Lance Franklin
R: Mark Lee, Robert Harvey, Paul Kelly
I/C: Sam Mitchell, Brad Boyd, Mitch Clark
Sub: Cameron Bruce
Emergencies: Wayne Campbell, Kieran Jack, Harry Taylor, Brent Harvey
Coach: Neil Craig