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AFL top 100: Nicknames 30 to 21

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Roar Guru
21st November, 2021

In this edition of top 100 nicknames, we look at some of the legends of the game – and a few who remain better known by their nicknames.

30. “The Kid”. When Des Meagher was coaching Hawthorn Under 19s he berated a player and said he would replace him with “the kid over there”.

The kid sitting on the bench over there was the flamboyant Dermott Brereton, who went on to become one of Hawthorn’s greatest players, showing outstanding courage when crunched by Mark Yates in the 1969 grand final, one of five winning grand finals he played in.

Also famous for bursting through the oppositions three quarter time huddle!

29. “Turkey Tom”. As soon as Lou Richards realised that Tom Carroll have been lured from his family’s Ganmain turkey farm to play at full forward for Carlton, he was dubbed “Turkey Tom”! Carroll played well in two reserve’s games in 1959 before returning home to Ganmain to win two best and fairest.

In 1961 he decided to have a crack at VFL, kicking five goals on St Kilda’s Verdun Howell in his first game and winning the league goalkicking. He won Carlton’s goalkicking for the next two years as well, but then returned back to the bush at age 24.

28. “Rats”. A late inclusion to the list. “Rats” is an abbreviation of Carlton champion Brett Ratten’s surname.

27. “Crackers”. Peter Patrick Pius Paul Keenan was one of the true characters of the game. A showman on the ground during his stints at Melbourne, North Melbourne, Essendon and then back to Melbourne, he was also a comedian off the ground and was always destined for a career in the media. “Crackers” still features in the Top 100 game players and goal scorers at the Demons.

26. “The Big Russian”. Alex Ishchenko was another three club player, spending time at West Coast, Brisbane and North Melbourne in the 1980’s and 1990’s. His father was born in the Ukraine, but Ishchenko was born in Australia and started his senior football career at East Perth.


25. “Golden Greek”. Another nickname that celebrates the diversity of AFL football. Con Gorozidis was dubbed the “Golden Greek’ during his short career across St Kilda and Footscray.

24. “Buddy”. The most exciting forward still playing the game, Lance “Buddy” Franklin started his career at Hawthorn in 2005 and moved to Sydney in 2014. Currently he is only five goals away from becoming the sixth player in VFL/AFL football to kick 1000 goals.

Lance Franklin Swans

Lance Franklin (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

23. “Twinkletoes”. Being an Australian Ballroom Dancing champion was one reason that North Melbourne’s champion winger of the 1950’s and 1960’s Laurie Dwyer was called “Twinkletoes”.

The other reason was his brilliance as a wingman. A dual Best and Fairest winner at the Kangaroos, he also finished Top 3 in the Brownlow Medal on three occasions.

22. “Fabulous Phil”. A fiery football with a tremendous amount of ability, Phil Carman created headlines nearly every year of his career. His first league club Collingwood had to appeal to the ANFC to have his permit to play with SA club Norwood revoked.

After 58 games with the Redlegs, the Magpies eventually procured his signature. His stupendous form over the first two-thirds of the 1975 season made him just about the league’s most newsworthy property. Had injury not intervened to bring his season to a premature end, there seems little doubt that he would have won the Brownlow.

After four years at Collingwood, one at Melbourne, two at Essendon and one at North Melbourne, Carman left VFL football with everyone wondering what could have been.


21. “Delicate Des” was anything but “Delicate”! Des Dickson was a ferocious and feared ruckman/defender for Hawthorn for five years in the 1960’s. One of the toughest players of his era.