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The league's lucky numbers

afl.com.au  May 17, 2018 10:58 AM

My First Year: History is important In this episode of My First Year the boys learn the history of the Hawthorn Football Club from non other than club legend Peter Knights and they also visit the Salvos in the CBD.

Adelaide Crows

The Crows might be well served to drag the No.52 guernsey out of mothballs and get it back in the rotation for the first time since 2000. The guernsey has only ever been worn by one player – dual premiership ruckman Shaun Rehn. He played a crucial role in the club's back-to-back flags in 1997 and 1998. Rehn left the Crows at the end of the 2000 season, and it hasn't been worn by any Crows player since. Rehn also wore his treasured No.52 guernsey during his two seasons at Hawthorn in 2001-02. - Lee Gaskin

Brisbane Lions

It's hard to go past the No.3 for Brisbane. Perhaps the club's best ever player, Michael Voss, wore the jumper for much of his decorated career. He was also involved in the Lions' three post-merger premierships. If you want to be cheeky, you could say he's one of three Brownlow medallists along with Jason Akermanis and Simon Black – although Voss' was won in the Brisbane Bears' final year. And guess how many No.1 draft picks the club has had? Wrong, it's four (two Bears and two Lions), but close! - Michael Whiting

The No.3 has worked well for Brisbane. Picture: AFL Photos

Carlton

There are plenty of famous numbers featuring multiple premiership players and best and fairest winners at Carlton, but 21 is rarely mentioned among them. Maybe it should be, as the jumper has been worn by seven premiership players (Charlie Fisher, Herb Burleigh, Frank Gill, Ken Baxter, Barry Gill, Rod Austin and Craig Bradley) for 10 flags. It should have been worn in at least two more premierships had Austin not missed the 1981-82 Grand Finals because of injury. Bradley also holds the AFL/VFL record for games in that number and is the club’s games record holder (375). – Howard Kotton

Collingwood

There’s no going past the famous No.22, which has adorned 10 notable Magpies. Those who wore the guernsey in premiership teams include Percy Rowe (1927), Len Murphy (1930), Harold Rumney (1928 and 1935), arguably the club’s greatest player Bob Rose (1953), Bill Serong (1958), Tony Shaw (1990 premiership captain) and the current custodian Steele Sidebottom (2010). The other big names were early great Ted Rowell, Charlie Tyson (who donned the No.22 when he captained the club in the 1926 Grand Final) and brilliant wingman John Greening, who should have been a premiership player in 1970 and whose career was cruelled by a king-hit in 1972. - Ben Collins

Essendon

The Bombers have had some good luck with No.43. In recent times, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has risen from the rookie list to be an important player at Essendon with his speed and smarts around goal. But before him, way back in 1999, Dean Rioli also rose from the rookie list wearing No.43 in the red and black and provided some brilliant moments in his 100-game career for the Bombers. Rioli is the only Essendon player in history to reach 100 games wearing the No.43, a feat which McDonald-Tipungwuti is determined to match and explains why he has not dropped to a lower number since breaking onto the scene. In between that pair, now All Australian Melbourne backman Michael Hibberdalso wore No.43 in his first two years at Essendon after arriving as a mature-age pick. - Callum Twomey

Dean Rioli was a champion for the Dons. Picture: AFL Photos

Fremantle

Not everyone who has donned the No.31 guernsey has gone on to great heights  after all, Leigh Wardell-Johnson only managed 11 games  but there have been some strong contributors to Fremantle who have worn that number. Giant ruckman Aaron Sandilands is obviously the standout as the former rookie who became a club icon. Simon Eastaughonly made 12 appearances in the jumper but has gone on to work as a ruck, development and now midfield coach for Freo. James Clement is a touchier subject. The versatile defender was a solid player for the Dockers in 84 games between 1996-2000, however he didn’t see eye to eye with coach Damian Drum and was traded to Collingwood, where he became a two-time Copeland Trophy winner. - Travis King

Geelong Cats

Since Corey Enright pulled on the No.44 in round two, 2001, it has featured in 361 of a possible 411 games. After Enright achieved three premierships and six All Australian gongs, he passed it on to local product Tom Stewart, who has excelled. It has nothing on what Geelong has been able to achieve in the No.6, featuring in all nine of the club's flags. Livewire forward Lincoln McCarthy will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of names such as Brad Ottens and Peter Pianto and provide an X-factor in this year's campaign. - Mitch Cleary

Gold Coast Suns

Probably too early in history to have a lucky number, but one the Suns might look fondly on in future is number 24. That's the number worn by its first ever No.1 draft pick, David Swallow. While many of his initial draft class have left – think Harley Bennell, Dion Prestia and Josh Caddy among others - the West Australian has never wavered. Swallow has also overcome debilitating knee injuries, missed 18 months of football and returned to finish second in the best and fairest last year. For resilience and character, look no further than No.24. - Michael Whiting

GWS Giants

He openly admits that he's lucky to have had so many chances, so it's only fitting that Sam Reid's number 50 is the Giants' lucky jumper. The former Western Bulldog was an original Giant in the number 23, but lost that to Heath Shaw when he retired at the end of 2013. Reid took over a new locker when he was re-drafted in 2015 and has been pretty solid since. In round seven he also played game number 50, which came nine years and 247 days since he debuted for the Dogs, the third-longest trip to the milestone in the history of the game. - Adam Curley

Hawthorn

Even non-Hawthorn fans know what could happen when a player wears the No.35. Gary Ablett snr wore it for a time in his six-game cameo for the club, while in the late 1980s and early 1990s it was worn with distinction by James 'Freak' Morrissey, a three-time premiership player. More recently it has become the first number worn at the Hawks by players who would become stars, including future skippers Richie Vandenberg and Jarryd Roughead as well as Grant Birchall and Ryan Burton. Judging on this year's performances, Harry Morrison won't be wearing it for much longer, either. A bit of trivia: Longtime Geelong chief executive Brian Cook wore this number while a reserves player at Hawthorn in 1976. - Ashley Browne

Read: Hawthorn's 'up and comer'

Gary Ablett snr was a Hawk before he became a Cats legend. Picture: AFL Photos

Melbourne

The No.11 jumper is one of the Demons' most iconic numbers, with the late club great Jim Stynes and current star Max Gawn both donning the famous number during their careers. However, it's easy to forget both players wore the No.37 at the very start of their careers before they became household names. The most infamous moment of Stynes' career occurred in the No.37 guernsey when he gave away a 15m penalty to Gary Buckenara in the 1987 preliminary final that gifted the Hawthorn spearhead the matchwinning shot at goal and a berth in the Grand Final. This moment proved unlucky for the Demons, but it has been noted that the disappointment the Irishman felt drove him towards what became a legendary career. Gawn inherited the No.37 jumper from Stynes, who presented him with his jumper after being drafted, and switched to the No.11 at the end of the 2014 season in honour of his mentor. The pair would have to be regarded as two of Melbourne's greatest ever ruckmen. - Ben Guthrie

North Melbourne

They don't come much luckier at North than the No.34, the highest jumper number worn in all four of the club's VFL/AFL premierships. Rugged defender Ross Henshaw had it on his back in the 1975 and '77 triumphs, while dual All Australian David King adorned the number in 1996 and '99. King's 241 games are the most in the No.34 at Arden St, ahead of Henshaw's 167 and current backman Jamie Macmillan's 125 and counting. Macmillan is only 26 years old, so he has time to potentially add another flag to the number's illustrious history. – Marc McGowan

Port Adelaide

The Power's No.16 guernsey was first worn by AFL Hall of Famer Warren Tredrea from 1997-2005. He took over the No.1 when he was captain from 2006-08, before reclaiming the No.16 for his final two seasons. Ben Jacobs took over the number in 2011, but when he left for North Melbourne, Ollie Wines moved into it at the start of 2013. He's worn it proudly since, with the Power vice-captain expected to sign a new deal with the club and touted as the club's next skipper. - Lee Gaskin

Richmond

There's no going past No.17 as the Tigers' most famous number, given its previous owners of Jack Dyer, Maurice Rioli, Kane Johnson and Chris Newman, and these days, Daniel Rioli. But could No.8 have the edge as the luckiest? Between 1977 and 1989, it was full-forward Michael Roach's as he played 200 games and kicked 607 goals. And, for 213 games between 1966 and 1976, Dick Clay wore it as he turned into a prolific winger – and then full-back – after starting his career as a key forward. Today, history is repeating itself with premiership forward Jack Riewoldt owning it for 233 games and 556 goals in what's been another key position success story featuring the No.8. - Jennifer Phelan  

Jack Dyer's grandson John Devine presents Chris Newman with the famous No.17. Picture: AFL Photos

St Kilda

Only two Saints have played 100 games in the No.33 but one of the most significant figures in the club's history also donned that guernsey. Trucking magnate Lindsay Fox lined up in 20 matches in the red, white and black as a ruckman but found more success in business, and had a stint as St Kilda president in the 1980s. During that decade, defender Robert Elphinstone wore the jumper and made the Victorian side in 1983. It was eventually passed on to James Gwilt, who proved a reliable backman when the Saints played two Grand Finals in 2010. Draftee Nick Coffield has it now and he has shown talent early in his career. - Dinny Navaratnam

Sydney Swans

After being overlooked at a couple of drafts before being picked up as a rookie, Heath Grundy has become a quality key defender, making the number 39 a significant one at the Swans for the first time since Warwick Capper patrolled the other end of the ground with his trademark flair in the 80s. Grundy is a premiership player, and this week joins Mark Bayes and Stevie Wright in eighth place on the club's list of games played with his 246th appearance. Grundy had a rough start to his career but has been remarkably durable in playing 20-plus games in each of the last nine seasons, and has been a regular in the top five of the Swans' best and fairest award. - Adam Curley

Who could forget 'The Wiz' Warwick Capper? Picture: AFL Photos

West Coast Eagles

Only three players in West Coast history have worn the No.39 guernsey, and two of them have been valuable premiership players. Chris Waterman was a Mr. Fix-It for the Eagles during their golden era, played in the 1992 and '94 flags, and fathered sons, Alec and Jake, who were both drafted by the Eagles. Adam Hunter was the key swingman who booted the premiership-sealing goal in 2006, etching his name into West Coast folklore. The final member of the trio, Malcolm Karpany, is not in the same company yet after just seven games, but if the Eagles' form continues who knows if he can continue the lucky No.39 tradition later this year? - Travis King

Western Bulldogs

The number seven at the Western Bulldogs has been made famous by Bulldog greats Doug Hawkins and Scott West, but the highly sought-after jumper at the club has also seen many other Dogs wear it with distinction. Hawkins (329 games) and West (286) lead the way, while Harry Hickey (136), Roger Duffy (117) and Alby Morrison (107) all played 100 games or more. Bulldog turned Kangaroo Shaun Higgins wore it on 90 occasions. Lachie Hunter is the current custodian of the guernsey, with the durable midfielder playing 68 of a possible 78 games since it was bestowed upon him at the start of 2015. – Ryan Davidson

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