In less than 24 hours, our AFL footy will be on again with the new traditional (?) season opener between Carlton and Richmond.
Both clubs have been underachievers in recent years, but Richmond have more Top 100 game players than Carlton, so should be favoured on that stat alone.
Carlton do have one Top 10 player (Kade Simpson #8) but then drop away rapidly with Captain Marc Murphy’s game tomorrow night taking him to equal 25th on the Blues list with Heath Scotland.
Scotland – who had his differences with Mick Malthouse when both were at Collingwood – was reunited with Malthouse when he also moved from Collingwood to Carlton (as coach) but worked well under his former coach and carved out a career at the Blues.
Bryce Gibbs who tried desperately to leave the club during the off season will this week pass former champion Wayne Johnson and hold outright the 28th position on the games list at Carlton.
Further down the list, Denis Armfield and Matthew Kreuzer will continue their tandem careers, both passing Peter McConville and Matthew Allen and joining former champion on the 1920’s Alex Duncan in 86th position. Duncan represented Victoria on 11 occasions, (including 1921 – his first year) and played in a losing Grand Final that year. At that time, a “tall timber” he stood at 183cms and once took an astonishing 33 marks against Collingwood in a game in 1927.
Four players new to the Carlton team will make their AFL debut at the Blues: Marchbank, Pickett, Petrevski-Seton and Smedts.
Whilst Richmond can boast no Top 10 players on the list, they do have Jack Riewoldt at #25 and six other players besides Riewoldt in the Top 100: Shane Edwards plays his 188th game, and in doing so, passes former champion Royce Hart and joins Greg Tivendale and Hughie James at #32.Much maligned Captain Trent Cotchin passes former team mate Shane Tuck, Dustin Martin joins Greg Strachan and Nathan Foley at #56.
Alex Rance passes former Captain Neville Crow and dynamic small (5’3″)rover Clarrie Hall, a member of the 1920 & 1921 premiership sides.
1953 Best & Fairest winner, Havel Rowe and the legendary Don “Mopsy” Fraser are past by Shaun Grigg, and caught by Bacher Houli who now sits just outside the Top 90 game players of the Tigers.
Richmond’s four debutants (like Carlton’s new to the club but not all new to the AFL) are Butler, Nankervis, Caddy and Prestia.
Good luck to all players and let’s hope for a bumper season!