AFL Football Players
AFL Players from the past and present

Brad Johnson

     Posted on Sun ,06/09/2009 by Simon

Brad Johnson, is known as the “smiling assassin” for the ever present grin he wears while playing AFL football.  In round 17 of the 2009 season in a game against the Fremantle Dockers, Brad Johnson broke the record for the most games played for the Bulldogs with a very impressive 342 games.

Brad Johnson was a lucky pickup for the Footscray Bulldogs as the 11th pick in the 1993 open draft.  He played his first season of AFL footaball while he was still studying year 12.  Within 2 years he was won a spot in the Victorian state of origin team.

Brad Johnson All Australian

Personal Stats

Born: 18th July 1976

Height: 182cm

Weight: 84kg

Games/Goals (end 2008): 324/512

Jumpers: #33 in 1994, #6 from 1995

Johnson played solidly for the next few years, and in 1999 he surpassed all his previous season performances by taking out the Bulldogs fairest and best award and earning a spot in the all Australian selection.

A very consistent, hardworking and gutsy player, Brad Johnson again went on the take out the clubs fairest and best in 2002.

Brad Johnson Gold SignatureIn 2005, Johnson took over from Darcy as acting captain and the promotion seemed to drive him into playing even better.  He became the Bulldogs key forward and was leading goal kicker for the club from 2005 to 2008.  Duiring this period, he also took out his third club fairest and best in 2006 and runner up in 2008.

Career Highlights

  • Rising Star Nominee 1995
  • All Australian team in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006 (captain), 2007
  • Bulldogs fairest and best 1999, 2002, 2006
  • Most games played for Bulldogs (round 17 2009 with 342)

Ben Cousins

     Posted on Mon ,20/07/2009 by Simon

One of the most well known AFL players of our time, through both his on-field skills and off-field controversies, Ben Cousins will not be a name forgotten any time soon. His career has been in the media spotlight ever since his rise to AFL football as an 18 year old.

EARLY YEARS

Ben Cousins father Bryan coached him at Wesley College, South Perth, and is credited for instilling the mature, level headed approach to the game in his son.  At the tender age of 16, Cousins played for East Fremantle. Cousins, a lifelong Geelong  fan, went to train with the Cats the same year along side his heroes, Gary Hocking and Gary Ablett, though years later Hocking admits that he did not know who the kid was at the time.  Even though he was impressed by the club, Cousins decided to play in his home town of Perth.

(click for available trading cards)

(click for available trading cards)

INTO THE AFL

In 1996, Cousins stepped into the AFL playing as forward pocket for the West Coast Eagles.  Ben Cousins played brilliantly in the pocket, but it was soon apparent that he could offer the Eagles more playing in a different role.  Cousins won the Norwich Rising Star award polling 15 votes, beating Shannon Grant by one point.

A broken leg saw Cousins miss a good chunk of the 1997 season, though a return to fitness and some consistent, sensational on-field performances saw Ben winning a spot in the All-Australian teams for both 1998 and 1999.  2001 saw Cousins take over as captain of the West Coast Eagles after the retirement of Dean Kemp,  and went on to win best and fairest for the club, got named in the All-Australian team,  as well as coming 5th in the Brownlow Medal count.

Further fairest and best awards were attained in 2002 and 2003 as well as another All-Australian team selection in 2002.  Ben Cousins continued to play well in 2004 until a hamstring injury that saw him out for 6 weeks just before the finals.  With a comeback from injury in 2005, Cousins had his best season yet, and it was little surprise that he won the Brownlow medal.

(click image for available trading cards)

(click image for available trading cards)

PLAYER STATS

Born: 30th June 1978

Height: 179cm

Weight: 80kg

Played: 238 games (#35 in 1996 & 1997, #9 from 1998-2007)

Goals: 208

THE CONTROVERSIES

2006 was where things came to a head.  Ben Cousins lost the captaincy of the Eagles (succeeded by Chris Judd) in an off-field controversy when he abandoned his car and ran away from a breath testing station in Perth.  It did not effect his on-field performance as he played in the West Coast premiership team and was again named an All-Australian.

In March 2007, Ben admitted to substance abuse and sought out drug rehabilitation.  He was suspended by the Eagles and did not return to play until late July, where he had a fantastic comeback game with 38 possessions.  The season ended early for Ben when he tore his hamstring in the finals.

October 2007 saw the finish of Ben Cousins career for the Eagles.  He was arrested and charged for possession of illegal drugs, which saw him sacked and de-listed from West Coast.  He was suspended from playing for 12 months by the AFL.  Cousins was later cleared of the charges, and in November the AFL gave him the all-clear to play again subject to strict testing conditions.

The Saints were the main club interested in picking up Ben Cousins after Collingwood dropped out, but a vote by the board at St Kilda saw his recruitment rejected.  Richmond then gave him a chance with the last round pick of the pre-season draft.

Kevin Sheedy

     Posted on Tue ,14/07/2009 by Simon

As a boy, Kevin Sheedy barracked for the Bombers, but lived close to the Richmond ground.  He joined the Richmond Tigers without a clearance from his prior VFA club, Prahran, as they would not grant him one.  This was a big decision for a young player, because if he failed as a player in the VFL (now AFL) then he would be banned from playing competition football anywhere in Australia for 5 years.

(click image to see available trading cards)

(click image to see available trading cards)

Kevin Sheedy’s dubet season in 1967 was not the greatest.  His prefered playing position was center, though this was held by Tiger star and fan favourite Billy Barot.  After Barot was injured in the third game of the season Sheedy got his chance.  He played poorly for six games and found himself back in reserves for the remainder of the season.

The following year saw Kevin Sheedy back in the team due to his sheer determination, and fearlessness when attacking the ball.  Coach Tom Hafey put Sheedy in the back pocket where he grew to become a key defender for the Tigers.  In 1969, his 3rd season for Richmond, Sheedy not only recieved runner up fairest and best for the club, he earned a Victorian State gournsey and played in the Tigers premership team.

Sheedy went on to play in the 1973 and 1974 premiership sides, won the clubs best and fairest in 1976 and captained the side in 1978.  It was not his skills on the football field that made him stand out as a player, it was his on-field riling and phsycologial aggrivation he used on his opponents and the opposition fans.  The fact that he was never once reported in his career suprises everyone that ever watched him play a game of afl football.

PERSONAL STATISTICS

(click image for available trading cards)

(click image for available trading cards)

Born 24th December 1947

Height – 180cm

Weight – 81kg

Played for – Richmond (as #10)

Games Played – 251 (1967-1979)

Goals Kicked – 91

THE COACH

In 1981 the Essendon Bombers appointed Kevin Sheedy as their head coach where he stayed in charge for 27 seasons.  During that time, he led the Bombers to 4 premiership flags – 1984, 1985, 1993 and 2000.  He was a great inovator and took every advantage he could over other teams, including tying down the windsock at Windy Hill to confuse the opposition afl players.

At the end of the 2007 season, Essendon drew the curtain on his career with a staggering record of 635 games as head coach.  Kevin Sheedy’s last home game as coach was in round 21 against his old side the Richmond Tigers.  88,468 people turned out to farewell the great man along with one of the Essendon greats also retiring, James Hird.  Sheedy received a standing ovation as he left the field for the last time.

KEVIN SHEEDY QUOTES

“You never fight a war the same way you won the previous one – not if you are smart”

“I would like to invent or radically change a sport”  (Kevin developed the backspin handball)

Chris Judd

     Posted on Wed ,08/07/2009 by Simon

Picked third in the 2001 draft by the West Coast Eagles, Chris Judd came into the AFL with a huge reputation to live up to and surpassed expectations with a fantastic first season in 2002.

Not only did Chris continue his good form, his game kept improving.  In 2003, Judd was runner up to Ben Cousins as fairest and best for the Eagles.  The following season not only saw Chris Judd take the club’s fairest and best award, he also won the Brownlow Medal.

(click picture for available trading cards)

Born: 8th September 1983

Height: 188cm

Weight: 82kg

Played 134 games for West Coasat Eagles (jumper #3) 2002-2007, kicked 138 goals

Played 21 games for Carlton (jumper #5) in 2008, kicked 15 goals

NICKNAMED “THE MESSIAH”

In 2005, Judd continued to impress afl players and fans alike with his ability to gather the ball and find space where there seemed to be none.  He averaged 22 possessions per game and once again came runner up to Ben Cousins in the Eagles fairest and best award.  Chris Judd was awarded the Norm Smith medal in the West Coast Eagles clash against the Sydney Swans in the AFL Grand Final, where the Eagles lost by a mere 4 points.

2006 saw Judd take over as the Eagles captain after Cousins was stood down following an off-field controversy.   Chris polled well for the Brownlow medal with 21 votes and once again took out the club’s fairest and best award.  To top it all off, he captained the West Coast to a premiership flag and won the Leigh Matthews Trophy.

In the opening 8 games of the 2007 season, Judd averaged 29 possessions and had kicked 10 goals.  Unfortunately, a groin injury saw him sidelined for several weeks and even when he returned to play, it was off the bench as his performance was restricted.  When the West Coast Eagles were taken out of the semi-finals by Collingwood, Chris Judd announced that he would be requesting a trade to his native state of Victoria

THE MOVE TO CARLTON

After his contract with the Eagles expired, and amid huge media attention, Chris Judd opted to shift back to Victoria and play for Carlton in 2008.  He was immediately appointed captain of the side and went on to win the club’s fairest and best award in his debut season.  There is little doubt that Chris Judd is going to be one of the best afl players on the field for quite a few seasons to come.

(click image for available trading cards)

(click image for available trading cards)

CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS

    • AFL Premiership with West Coast: 2006 (Captain)
    • AFL McClelland Trophy With West Coast: 2006 (Captain)
    • AFLPA Best First Year Player Award: 2002
    • Brownlow Medal: 2004
    • West Coast Club Champion Award: 2004, 2006
    • All-Australian: 2004, 2006, 2008 (Captain)
    • Norm Smith Medal: 2005
    • Ross Glendinning Medal: 2005 (twice), 2006
    • Leigh Matthews Trophy: 2006
    • Victorian Team honours in AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match: 2008
    • John Nicholls Medal: 2008
    • AFL Goal of the Year: 2005
    • Captain of West Coast Eagles: 2006–2007
    • Captain of Carlton: 2008-present

Leigh Matthews

     Posted on Mon ,06/07/2009 by Simon

Well regarded as one of the greatest afl players of all time, Leigh Matthews was fearless on the football field. Standing at 178cm (5′10″) and weighing in at 83.5kg (13.5 stone) he was quite an unusual build for a rover.

Leigh Mathews MVP

He earned the nickname “Lethal” through his play style of fighting hard for the ball and his accuracy in front of goal. In saying this, Leigh Matthews was by no means an unscrupulous player. In fact he won 8 fairest and best awards during his career at Hawthorn.

PLAYER STATISTICS

Leigh Matthews played 5 senior games for the Hawks in 1969 in jersey number 32, and then went on to play from 1970 – 1985 in the number 3 jumper.

With a career spanning 332 games, it was a club record until surpassed by former team mate, Michael Tuck.  During his 16 seasons at Hawthorn, Leigh Matthews kicked 915 goals, which placed him seventh on the VFL all-time goal kicking list (It is still the highest goal count for a non-full forward to date).  His highest ever season total was 79 goals and on two occasions he kicked 11 goals in a game. Matthews headed the Hawk’s goal kicking tally six times – 1973, 1975, 1981, 1982, 1983 & 1984.  He also topped the VFL goal shooting tally in 1975 with 68 goals.

Leigh Matthews captained the Hawthorn football club from 1981 to 1985, during which the Hawks won the 1983 flag.  He was also in the premiership teams in 1971, 1976 and 1978.

RETIREMENT

The only real blemish to Leigh’s carrer was in his final season in 1985 when he broke the jaw of Gelong player Neville Bruns in an off-the-ball incident.  He was suspended for 4 weeks and also charged by the police and fined $1000.  This is believed to be one of the major contributing factors to his retirement.  Leigh Matthews final game was the 1985 Grand final in which Hawthorn lost to Essendon.

(click picture for available trading cards)

The season following his retirement from playing the game, Matthews took up the coaching role at Collingwood.  In 1990 he guided the Magpies to a premiership win, their first since 1958.  He continued to coach at Collingwood until 1995.

In 1999 Leigh Matthews took over the role as head coach for the Brisbane Lions.  He experienced more premiership success winning 3 flags in a row for the Lions in 2001, 2002 and 2003.  At the end of the 2008 season, Matthews retired from coaching and his position was taken over by one of his former Brisbane premiership players, Michael Voss.

POST CAREER HONORS

Matthews was named “Player of the Century,” inducted as an inaugural official Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. He was also named in both the AFL Team of the Century (forward pocket) and Hawthorn Team of the Century (rover)

In 2002, the AFLPA MVP award, of which Matthews was the inaugural recipient, was renamed the Leigh Matthews Trophy.

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