BEST FIFTY PLAYERS FOR WA TEAMS: WAFL, STATE, EAGLES and DOCKERS.
I have been following footy since 1961 when I first listened avidly to the calls of Ollie Drake Brockman, Frank Sparrow and others on Perth radio. In those days there would be a small amount of filmed footage of the WAFL games shown on Saturday nights. Nearly always they showed Polly Farmer leaping in the air for a ruck knock. By 1963 I was actually attending the occasional footy match and from 1964 onwards became a regular. These days of course one can follow all the AFL games via Fox and I virtually never miss seeing a Dockers or Eagles game this way. This background is to help explain my very personal criteria for judging the top 50 players who have represented WA teams, be they state teams, WA-based AFL clubs or WAFL teams. I have made judgments on all the players I have seen live, on TV or listened to descriptions of via radio from 1961 to the present day. This means that I was exposed to only the tip of the iceberg of some players like Jack Clarke and Polly Farmer, so I have been unable to rank them as high as their entire career may well deserve. Originally I attempted to rank the players from 1 (the very best) through to 50 but it became too hard and arbitrary. Instead I have grouped my top 50 into three groups. Two players make the first group by a half-length to the second group and there’s only a lip then to the third group.
I don’t expect anybody to agree with me, not totally anyway. It’s a very personal judgement, how do you compare brilliance with durability and so on. I’ve decided to leave out a few players of enormous skill who I felt left WA too early in their career to make the list. Also, I left out some WA legends who played vast numbers of wonderful WAFL games but I felt didn’t quite have the class to edge their way in.
I look forward to the inevitable abuse and some discussion and urge others to put down their top 50 players.
Just to clarify the criteria – players who between 1961 and 2014 have played for WAFL clubs, State games for WA, or for the Eagles and Dockers. The players do not have to have been born in WA to qualify.
GROUP A – THE MASTERS
GROUP B – CHAMPIONS
PAVLICH, D GREEN, M RIOLI, G JACKOVIC, MELROSE, D COX, ROBERTSON, MOSS, PETER MATERA, B COUSINS, KERR, GLENDINNING, MCAULEY, MCKENNA, JOHN MCINTOSH, MALAXOS, BREHAUT, WILEY, WALKER, S MICHAEL, CURTIS, WATLING, JUDD
GROUP C – SUPERB
MAINWARING, WORSFOLD, SLATER, HUNTER, FEATHERBY, SHIELDS, M BROWN, P NARKLE, KEMP, ATWELL, BRENNAN, BAGLEY, F LEWIS, D MARSHALL, M RANCE, SORREL, RALPH, JUDGE, SUMICH, HARDIE, BUCKENARA, JACK CLARKE, G FARMER, DEMPSEY, SANDILANDS
There are of course numerous great players I couldn’t fit in. Here are a few –
HASELBY, HOLLINS, HEADY, BELL, WHINNEN, EAKINS, COUPER, MALARKY, BUHAGIAR, KRAKOUERS, BEASLEY, GEROVICH, SCOTT, YOUNG, FRANCE, PARKER, GIBELLINI, WILSON, IAN MILLER, HARDING, BOUCHER, GNEESHAM, GLASS, PMETROPOLIS, GIBBS, MODRA, MCMANUS, BOSUSTOW, MCPHARLIN. CICCOTOSTO, MAGRO, RANDALL, MONTEATH