Best Essendon Team - Under 100 games

Given we’ve got no actual football to discuss, as part of the “Top 10/Best of” discussions, I thought one that might be a good one is the best Essendon team of players to have played under 100 games. Had a crack at this, I’ve probably got some recency bias in terms of when in doubt I’ve gone with players from my time watching the game (late-80s onwards), but I’ve tried to pay respects to players from past eras. PS: No current EFC players have been selected, can only be players who have finished playing at EFC.

B: Michael Hibberd (84 games), Tom Fitzmaurice (85), Harold Lambert (99)
HB: Neale Daniher (82), Ian Shelton (91), Paul Weston (60)
C: Ricky Olarenshaw (77), Derek Kickett (77), Des Tuddenham (69)
HF: Ted Leehane (83), Ron Evans (64), Tony Elshaug (65)
F: Geoff Blethyn (84), John Coleman (98), Albert Thurgood (46*)
R: Graham Moss (84), Leon Baker (86), Tony Buhagiar (83)
INT: Gary Moorcroft (95), Jake Carlisle (85), Che Cockatoo-Collins (85), James Kelly (40)

(*) This is Thurgood’s VFL games tally. He did play for us in the VFA era, however there is no record as to exactly how many games he played for EFC pre 1897.


Get rid of Carlisle.
A bloke called Bob Shearman from the late 1950s was supposed to have been a champion player, who went back to his native SA having played 60 odd games with us. I think he could play just about any position,




Shearman wasn’t a native Croweater. He started his footy with Aberfeldie.

Legend has it that he left Essendon to ease the embarrassment of a Calthorpe/Barry Young situation.

But in their defence, the lady concerned was still with him at his death 50 odd years later.


Him, Brad Plain and Steve Copping were all very close to getting a final spot in the 22. Felt like with Moorcroft and Che in there we had enough in the form of opportunist forwards. Yeah @HarryJay and AN10 recency bias clearly in play there, didn’t know anything of Shearman, and I’m sure there’s another 15-20 like him from well before my time that had their careers at EFC cut short for various reasons…

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I feel like there’s be a few from that post war era dominant Essendon side who maybe didn’t play as many games as they might have. Probably need @Alan_Noonan_10 input on that though :slight_smile:


Here is a very unpopular one.

He was my favourite player, until I realised what a piece of ■■■■ he was.

Andrew Lovett


Was he a better player than Ricky O? Touch and go, IMHO.
I think you fit him in, somehow.

EDIT: and I’ll throw it out there, for a hugely inconsistent player who thought a ‘hard ball’ was something to see your GP about, he was hugely popular on here. People hated it every time he got in trouble and went mental when he was traded.

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NO Andrew Lovett?

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Buhagiar. Edit - I didn’t see him in there, and then did, but leaving details anyway as he was amazing in his short stint and very unlucky. I think with superstars around him he wasn’t as credited as he should be.

42 goals, eighth in Brownlow (14 votes, 1 vote behind Merv) in first year. Seventh in Brownlow in second year with 14 again, leading the Essendon tally.

Most Determined Player in his third year, played a losing GF.

State selection in his fourth, injury interrupted final year - emergency for GF win.

Made the bests in 5 of 7 finals played. Unlucky to miss a flag.


best under 100 games for us I’ve seen play

B: Prior Micheal Jacobs
Hb: Kelly Carlisle Hibberd
C: Lovett Young Olerenshaw
HF: Cupido Kickett Cockatoo-Collins
F; Moorcroft Cummings Crameri
R; Barnes Cooney Calthorpe
Int: Prismall Reimers Jetta Johns(Messiah)
Emg: Laycock, Bradley, Gwilt

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Great idea for a topic. What a forward line!

You are right about the recency phenomenon though. Some of the recent ones really do not deserve to be in the company of those true champions.

Here is who I would select (those bolded were not in your team):

B: Bob McClure (90), Tom Fitzmaurice (85), Harold Lambert (99)
HB: Neale Daniher (82), Ian Shelton (91), Paul Weston (60)
C: George Stuckey (71) Leon Baker (86) Bryan Wood (44)
HF: Ted Leehane (83), **Jack McKenzie (81), Paul Sproule (60)
FF: Geoff Blethyn (84), *John Coleman (98), George Shorten (52)
R: Graham Moss (84), Albert Thurgood (46
) Derek Kickett (77),

INT: John Cassin (51) Tony Buhagiar (83) Tony Elshaug (65) Phil Carman (10)

Albert Thurgood was simply far too good of a player to be stuck in the FP. He was the outstanding footballer of the 1890s - think Carey or Ablett at their peak. He could “play in any position at a moment’s notice and dominate the game”.

Leon Baker was an ideal centreman, and Derek Kickett on his day played like superman so named him as a second ruck rover. He also is too damaging to be limited to the forward line. If you prefer a classic rover, he could swap with George Shorten or one of the rovers on the bench.

Bob McClure was a champion ruckman and could also play in defence “He seemed to have the longest arms and stickiest hands in the game”. Does that remind you of someone? Named as a Champion of Essendon.

George Stuckey – described in the Champions of Essendon book as having the footballing ability of James Hird, he was named captain at only 25, and led the club to two Premierships, and he also won a Stawell Gift.

Bryan Wood was not too shabby, playing in the great 84-5 teams, including the ’85 premiership side. He also won 3 premierships at Richmond.

Jack McKenzie, also a Champion of Essendon and a ruckman, was one of the best players of his generation. His kicking for goal was “so accurate he barely missed a chance”. He was also described as “artistic” which may be an early 20th Century version of “silky smooth”. So he was sort of like a ruck version of Mark Mercuri, I give him a spot at CHF.

I named Paul Sproule on the HFF. He kicked 5 goals on debut, but ended up only playing 60 games for us during the dismal early ‘70s when the club was frankly mismanaged. He went on to be a premiership player at Richmond, playing in 3 GFs and winning two flags, almost BOG in one of those. (His total games tally was over 100. Does this disqualify him? Apparently not because James Kelly also played more games before coming to EFC).

George Shorten was one of our famous Mosquito Fleet in the 1920’s and came second in the Brownlow (missing by one vote) in its first year. He was BOG in the 1923 GF and also played in the next year’s Premiership winning team.

John Cassin was another tough and reliable player in the dismal years of the '70s, and another who left to win a Premiership elsewhere. He gets a spot on the interchange bench along with a couple of very good rovers.

The last interchange spot is a controversial one: the mercurial Phil Carman. Admittedly he played his best footy before coming to Essendon, but “he could have been anything”…!


I agree with what you say, but gee, there was a game vs North Melbourne in 2009(?) where he kicked a goal from a center-stoppage and it was damn near the most beautiful bit of football I’ve ever seen.

Just got the ball, glided through the congestion, put it on the boot and kicked it from 50m out. Made it seem so effortless.

Inconsistent as all get out, but his ability was phenomenal.

Ian Marsh was a handy winger & I reckon a more consistent player than Ricky O


Cupido > Che


Three little guys who could have been good enough but never played enough.

Graeme Schulz - fast winger who carved it up in one of the first games I went to early 70s. Came back briefly under Sheedy. Similar era - I loved a gutsy little guy: Andy Wilson.

Geoff Burdett. I reckon he kicked 5 or 6 one day at full forward, at about 5 ft 9. But he kept going back up the country - like Wayne Beddison later did.

Terry Cahill. I got really excited about him and then Big Carl nearly killed him.


Stephen Copping was a bloody good footballer, I wish he had stayed for a few more years


J Madden a shout?

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Our umpires’ secretary is an Adelaide boy and Glenelg fan. We had a great discussion about Copping, Paul Weston and a couple of others.


No. Traitor.