Sheek’s best composite teams series, 1967-present

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    Thank you to my fellow Roarers who participated in my series of Sheek’s best teams in soccer (football), cricket, tennis, Australian football, rugby league and rugby union.

    In a preview of watching 50 years of sport come 2016, I thought I would present pre-emptive teams for Roarers to analyze and comment upon. I found the exercise tremendously beneficial for myself.

    The thoughts on some players were confirmed, while the thoughts on other players may need to be reconsidered.

    Fellow Roarers assisted in crystalising my memories in areas where there were gaps.

    When presenting my best Australian football team, one Roarer asked why I hadn’t selected a 22-man squad, instead of simply a first XVIII and second XVIII.

    This was a perfectly valid observation. Today, the players on the bench, either interchange or replacement, are often considered as important as the players who start the game.

    Roarers will discuss ad infinitum on occasions whether the coach in a particular game/sport used his bench wisely and effectively.

    With this mind, I re-present each of my first teams with a bench, effectively making them squads. Although I envisage changes to my teams if/when I present them in another year, for the moment I will keep them intact.

    So the teams are all presented here together with extended replacement and/or interchange benches. Those Roarers who missed the recent series for whatever reason now have an opportunity to see all the teams presented together.

    I will also make brief mention of comments from fellow Roarers, both positive and negative.

    Sheek’s best Socceroos, 1967-present (4-3-3, right to left).
    Mark Schwarzer (gk), Alan Davidson, Craig Moore, Peter Wilson (c), Lucas Neill, Johnny Warren (vc), Ned Zelic, Ray Baartz, Tim Cahill, Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell.

    Bench: Mark Bosnich (gk), Paul Okon, Brett Emerton, Mark Bresciano. Coaches: Rale Rasic and Frank Arok.

    The biggest criticism of my selections was in the seconds where I had current skipper Mile Jedinak ahead of Vince Grella. We might admire Jedinak for his leadership, courage and aggression, but clearly a Da Vinci he is not.

    In the firsts I was taken to task for selecting only one specialist fullback. Scott Chipperfield and Stan Lazaridis were the two alternatives most often named. However, the FFA thought it good enough to select Neill as a specialist fullback in their all-time, and I concur (for the moment)!

    Sheek’s best Test and ODI cricket teams, 1967-present:
    Test XI: Bob Simpson, Matt Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Greg Chappell, Allan Border (vc), Steve Waugh (c), Adam Gilchrist (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee, Glenn McGrath.

    Squad: Justin Langer, Ian Healy (wk), Jeff Thomson, Stuart MacGill.

    ODI XI: Mark Waugh, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke (vc), Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee, Glenn McGrath.

    Squad: Matt Hayden, Dean Jones, Mitchell Johnson, Craig McDermott.

    Coaches: Darren Lehmann and Geoff Marsh.

    While my Test team was well-received, I was severely criticised for omitting Dean Jones and Michael Bevan from the ODI team. I am comfortable with my decision (for the moment).

    I feel that while Bevan’s record is impeccable, the pace of the game has become more frenetic, requiring faster scoring batsmen. Many Roarers wanted Watson dumped, but I believe he is essential to the balance of the team (again, for the moment).

    Sheek’s best male and female tennis teams, 1967-present:
    Men’s Davis Cup: Rod Laver (singles), Ken Rosewell (singles), John Newcombe (doubles), Tony Roche (doubles), Roy Emerson (reserve), Fed Stolle (reserve).

    Women’s Federation Cup: Margaret Smith-Court (singles), Evonne Goolagong-Cawley (singles), Lesley Turner-Bowrey (doubles), Wendy Turnbull (doubles), Judy Teggart-Dalton (reserve), Kerry Melville-Reid (reserve).

    Coaches: Harry Hopman and Neale Fraser.

    It’s instructive that none of the men selected played past the 1970s. Generally, there were no complaints with the firsts. With the women, there was a push for Renae Stubbs and Alicia Molik, but again, this was mainly in the lower teams.

    Sheek’s best Australian football team, 1967-present (3BK-3HB-3CT-3HF-3FW-3FL):
    Francis Bourke, Steve Silvagni, Corey Enright, Bruce Doull, Royce Hart, Ted Whitten (c), Gary Ablett jnr, Ian Stewart, Keith Greig, Gary Ablett snr, Wayne Carey, Alex Jesaulenko, Leigh Matthews, Tony Lockett, Dean Cox, Graham Farmer, Ron Barassi (vc), Bob Skilton.

    Interchange: Matt Scarlett, Kevin Murray, Greg Williams, Peter Hudson. Emergencies: Simon Madden, Kevin Bartlett. Coaches: David Parkin and Tom Hafey.

    The biggest criticism leveled at my selection was Royce Hart at centre-halfback. Not because he wasn’t worthy, but because he was a renowned centre-half forward.

    My excuse was that I wanted both Hart and Carey in the team. The other major criticism was the choice of Enright in the back pocket, which I accept.

    There was also criticism of too many players chosen out of position (eg, the Abletts). However, I have merely followed the time honoured tradition adopted by the experts, who also choose players out of position when making these types of selections.

    The other thing I noticed, is that of all the team sports, Australian football possesses the least consensus. I guess this is indicative of it not being an international sport, and is therefore highly partisan.

    Sheek’s best rugby league team, 1967-present:
    Graeme Langlands, Ken Irvine, Reg Gasnier, Mal Meninga, Greg Inglis, Wally Lewis (vc), Andrew Johns, Noel Kelly, Cameron Smith, Arthur Beetson (c), Bob McCarthy, Ron Coote, Johnny Raper.

    Interchange: Bob Fulton, Johnathan Thurston, Glenn Lazarus, Bob Lindner. 18th man: Darren Lockyer. Coaches: Wayne Bennett and Frank Stanton.

    Again, most of the discussion centred around the seconds, with the firsts being generally, if mutedly, accepted.

    Sheek’s best rugby union team, 1967-present:
    Matt Burke, David Campese, Dan Herbert, Tim Horan, Brendan Moon, Mark Ella, Ken Catchpole (vc), Mark Loane, George Smith, Simon Poidevin, John Eales (c), Dan Vickerman, Ewen McKenzie, Phil Kearns, Topo Rodriguez.

    Bench: Jason Little, Steve Larkham, John Hipwell, Greg Cornelsen, Nathan Sharpe, Andy McIntyre, Peter Johnson, Dan Crowley.

    Coaches: Rod MacQueen and Bob Dwyer. Team manager: Alan Jones.

    The surprising thing here is that I had changed a couple of names in my starting XV from previously, and was criticised for the players I had omitted! This I actually found comforting in a curious kind of way.

    While there were a number of contrary views, again it seemed to be mostly directed at the seconds. Roarers tended to accept that arguing on many selections was a case of splitting hairs.

    Thanks again to all those Roarers who participated in these exercises.

    A former rugby lock, cricket no.11 bat and no.10 bowler, and surfboat rower. A fan of the major team sports in Australia.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • February 23rd 2015 @ 10:42am
      Johnno said | February 23rd 2015 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      Poideven at 6 for me sheek is still a big call. I’d still rather go Willie O at 6 than Poido. Your the wallaby coach sheek, world cup final Willie O/Cockbain/Elsom/Ben Mowen or Poido who is it?

    • Roar Guru

      February 23rd 2015 @ 11:01am
      sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 11:01am | ! Report

      Hi Johnno,

      Actually I’m going to go with Greg Cornelsen.

      Wonderful athlete, great aerobic fitness, full 80 minutes player, mobile & durable, good in tight or loose, fine lineout jumper, solid defender.

      Willie O was good, very good, but I just like the all-round game Corny offers.

      • February 23rd 2015 @ 2:48pm
        Johnno said | February 23rd 2015 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

        Sheek, I never saw Greg Cornelsen play , found out then he was an old TAS Armidale boy. Joe Roff, James Holdback,Sam Payne, were ex-TAS Armidale boy. Greg Cornelsen sounds like a George Smith,Kieren Reid,Juan Smith type player. Good rugby fundamentals and big motor a lot of petrol.

        • Roar Guru

          February 23rd 2015 @ 3:22pm
          sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 3:22pm | ! Report


          You may remember Oliver Magne, the French backrower who represented France from late 90s through to mid-2000s.

          Magne reminded me almost precisely of Cornelsen – tall, well built, mobile, robust, frenetic, top quality, etc, etc.

          If you want a picture image of how Corny played, then I reckon Magne comes closest.

          • February 23rd 2015 @ 4:07pm
            Johnno said | February 23rd 2015 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

            sheek yep saw Magne play, World class.

    • Columnist

      February 23rd 2015 @ 11:03am
      Ryan O'Connell said | February 23rd 2015 @ 11:03am | ! Report

      No NBL team?

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2015 @ 11:30am
        sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        Regrettably Ryan,

        No NBL team, not my strong suit.

        But I would love you to submit one for me, covering all the years you’ve been a basketball fan.

        Back in 1999, Miller’s Sporting Guide came up with the following best basketballers of all-time (Australian).

        It’s a composite list, because I’ve combined the selections of three different judges.

        1. Andrew Gaze

        2. Luc Longley

        2. Phil Smyth

        4. Eddie Palubinskas

        5. Larry Senstock

        6. Mark Bradtke

        7. Bill Wyatt

        8. Ian Davies

        9. Andy Blicars

        10. Perry Crosswhite

        Note, this is 1999, so since then a few new names might appear, like Shane Heal, maybe.

        So Ryan, perhaps this composite list will help you in your quest!

        • February 23rd 2015 @ 11:35am
          Johnno said | February 23rd 2015 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          Ryan and sheek

          I’d add Andrew Bogut and Patrick Mills, and Heal of course. Mills has done more than Phil Smyth. Guys like Joe Ingles must be pressing hard too, as would Dave Anderson and Chris Anstey. Dave Anderson surely is better than Larry Senstock.

        • Roar Guru

          February 23rd 2015 @ 3:22pm
          sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

          Ryan, RYAN, R-Y-A-N, where are you……….!!!

          • Columnist

            February 23rd 2015 @ 4:37pm
            Ryan O'Connell said | February 23rd 2015 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

            Ok, ok, settle down grumpy! I’m here! Haha!

            Funnily enough from your list above, my old man coached Ian Davies, and I grew up with Perry Crosswhite’s daughters. Small world.

            Ok, my top 10 Australian NBL players list would be (not in order):

            Andrew Gaze
            Shane Heal
            Mark Bradtke
            Leroy Loggins
            Larry Sengstock
            Phil Smyth
            Andrew Vlahov
            Chris Anstey
            Matt Neilsen
            Sam Mackinnon

            It gets a little tricky with naturalised players, to be honest.

            • February 23rd 2015 @ 5:03pm
              Johnno said | February 23rd 2015 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

              Ryan Luke Lonlgey played 2 games for the Perth Wildcats, as a 17-yr old. He can’t surely be picked for the best NBL side but just to let you know he played 2 NBL games.

            • Roar Guru

              February 23rd 2015 @ 5:15pm
              sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 5:15pm | ! Report


              πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

            • Roar Guru

              February 23rd 2015 @ 5:38pm
              sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

              Perhaps we should differentiate between Australian nationality best & Australian nationality NBL best.

              Andrew Bogut would be the first player we picked if choosing Australian basketball’s best-ever, I would presume, irrespective of NBL participation.

              • Columnist

                February 24th 2015 @ 10:20am
                Ryan O'Connell said | February 24th 2015 @ 10:20am | ! Report

                Gaze – due to his international performances for the Boomers may still even pip Bogut on some people’s lists, but yes, they are definitely the top two.

      • February 23rd 2015 @ 11:33am
        Johnno said | February 23rd 2015 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        Ryan a mock side with only 5 min to think about it.

        SG: Andrew Gaze
        PG: Ricky Grace
        SF: Dwayne Mclain
        PF: Mark Bradtke
        C: Chris Anstey

        • Roar Guru

          February 23rd 2015 @ 11:41am
          sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          No doubt about you, Johnno,

          You’re on the ball!

    • Roar Guru

      February 23rd 2015 @ 11:40am
      sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 11:40am | ! Report

      I’m not strong on baseball either,

      But this is the composite list from 1999 Miller’s Sporting Guide re all-time Australian baseballers.

      1. David Nilsson

      2. Graeme Lloyd

      3. Craig Shipley

      4. John Deeble

      5. Kevin Greatex

      6. Phil Dale

      6. Ray Michelle

      8. Adrian Meagher

      9. Shayne Bennett

      9. John Swanson

      Only the first three – Nilsson, Lloyd & Shipley – ring a bell with me.

    • February 23rd 2015 @ 3:58pm
      mitchwally said | February 23rd 2015 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

      Sheek if someone could finally come up with viable compromise rules, who would win in a match between your Wallabies and Kangaroos???

    • February 23rd 2015 @ 4:00pm
      mitchwally said | February 23rd 2015 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

      Or for that matter if the events of 1907/1908 never happened your combined Wallaby/Kangaroo side??

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2015 @ 5:21pm
        sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 5:21pm | ! Report


        I have to say that I think the Kangaroos, historically, are more inherently talented the Wallabies, & tougher man for man.

        However, that said, who would win would depend on which code the hybrid game mostly resembled.

        If it was union, the Wallabies would because of their greater expertise under union rules. If league, the Roos would smash the Wallas under league rules.

        That’ll upset some folks!

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2015 @ 5:34pm
        sheek said | February 23rd 2015 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

        This is an interesting question, & I have attempted this problem before.

        Let’s assume two things:

        A) that union would have won out, whatever happened in Australia.

        B) that the league players would have grown being as good at union as they were at league.

        So presto, our historical Wallabies/Kangaroos, playing rugby union.

        15 – Clive Churchill (K)

        14 – David Campese (W)

        13 – Reg Gasnier (K)

        12 – Wally Lewis (K)

        11 – Dally Messenger (W/K)

        10 – Mark Ella (W)

        9 – Andrew Johns (K)

        8 – Ron Coote (K)

        7 – Johnny Raper (K)

        6 – Bob McCarthy (K)

        5 – John Eales (W)

        4 – Norm Provan (K)

        3 – Arthur Beetson (K)

        2 – Cameron Smith (K)

        1 – Topo Rodriguez (W)

        16 – Noel Kelly (K)

        17 – Phil Kearns (W)

        18 – Duncan Hall (K)

        19 – Dick Thornett (W/K)

        20 – Ray Price (W/K)

        21 – Ken Catchpole (W)

        22 – Greg Inglis (K)

        23 – Ken Irvine (K)

        A 2nd XV might be:

        G. Langlands (K), K.Irvine (K), M. Meninga (K), R. Fulton (K), G. Inglis (K), S. Larkham (W), K. Catchpole (W), M. Loane (W), R. Price (W/K), C. Windon (W), R Thornett (W/K), G. Cooke (W), D. Hall (K), P. Kearns (W), N. Kelly (K).

        Obviously, this is highly speculative!

        • February 24th 2015 @ 9:58am
          mitchwally said | February 24th 2015 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          Thanks Sheek, I’m happy enough with that team. Imagine how many Grand Slams/Bledisloe Cups/World Cups we would have won with some of those guys in the Wallaby side!

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