The Roar
The Roar



Richmond versus Carlton: Best teams of the last 50 years

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Roar Guru
15th March, 2021

Before the bounce of the ball this Thursday between Richmond and Carlton to commence hostilities for season 2021, I thought it might be interesting to construct the best Richmond and Carlton sides from 1970 onwards.

As a Magpie tragic this exercise is painful, as both of these sides have been the bane of Collingwood over the years.

I will make some general remarks about my proposed side rather than a line by line assessment.


Kevin Sheedy Dick Clay Dylan Grimes
Half back line
Mervyn Keane Alex Rance Francis Bourke
Centre Line
Matthew Knights Ian Stewart Geoff Raines
Half Forward Line
Maurice Rioli Royce Hart Jack Riewoldt
Forward Line
Matthew Richardson Michael Roach Kevin Bartlett
Michael Green Dustin Martin Dale Weightman
Trent Cotchin Wayne Campbell Joel Bowden Mark Lee

Coach Tom Hafey
Assistant Coach Damian Hardwick
Captain Royce Hart
Vice-Captain Trent Cotchin

What a power-packed, skillful and explosive line up this is.

From tough nuts in Merv Keane and Kevin Sheedy to pure silk in Geoff Raines, explosiveness in Dustin Martin, and inspiration in Francis Bourke, this line up has everything.

It also contains players from all eras over the last 50 years, including the current golden era.


Just for measure this side contains three Norm Smith medallists, two Coleman medallists, three Brownlow medallists, six AFL/VFL coaches, 17 best and fairest winners at Richmond and 17 premiership players.

I have opted for Tom Hafey as coach on the back of his four premierships, and Damian Hardwick as assistant coach.

Royce Hart is the captain of this side for his playing brilliance, while Trent Cotchin is the vice-captain.

Dustin Martin of the Tigers is tackled by Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats

Where does Dusty rank in Tigers’ history? (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Brett Ratten Geoff Southby David McKay
Half Back Line
Bruce Doull Stephen Silvagni Ken Hunter
Centre Line
Craig Bradley Greg Williams Trevor Keogh
Half Forward Line
Wayne Johnston Stephen Kernahan Alex Jesaulenko
Forward Line
Anthony Koutoufides Robert Walls Jim Buckley
Mike Fitzpatrick Chris Judd Rod Ashman
John Nicholls Wayne Harmes Adrian Gallagher Eddie Betts

Coach David Parkin
Assistant Coach John Nicholls
Captain John Nicholls
Vice Captain Stephen Kernahan

This side reeks of class, pace, elite talent and all-time legends. It comprises two Brownlow medallists, three Norm Smith medallists, 16 Best and Fairest winners at Carlton, four AFL/VFL coaches and 20 premiership players (excluding Chris Judd who won the premiership at West Coast Eagles).

Reflecting Carlton’s lean plight over the last two decades or so I could find room for only two players who have commenced their careers since the year 2000. They are Chris Judd and Eddie Betts.


Interestingly, in this side there are no Coleman medallists, perhaps indicating that Carlton’s great sides did not rely on single goal kickers.

I have opted for John Nicholls as Captain and assistant coach. Remember that in 1972 John Nicholls was captain-coach in that triumphant year.

To fellow Roarists, I promise that I did not consult the Carlton and Richmond teams of the century before constructing this team. I checked afterwards and was heartened to see overlap, and that in fact the Carlton half forward line is the same.

Looking forward to the debate!