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AFL top 100: Melbourne nicknames 20 to 1

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Roar Guru
4th January, 2022
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The 20 to 1 list includes a number of common nicknames that turned up regularly. Rather than lump them all together, I have highlighted each player who earned the name over the last 125 years.

20. ‘Pop’ Vine is one of just four players in VFL/AFL history to play in a premiership on debut, along with Bill James, George Rawle, and Marlion Pickett. A centre halfback, Vine was club captain in 1932 and 1933. After his career ended Vine stayed involved with the club by hiring many of the younger players – including Norm Smith – in his business.

It was in Pop Vine’s factory that Jack Mueller lost two fingers in a machine accident – an injury which didn’t stop him being one of the best forwards of the era.

19. ‘Pops’ Stan Heal (1941) arrived as a naval officer from Western Australia as an established star. He was pursued by most Victorian clubs, and after promising Collingwood first option, decided to sign for Melbourne instead and played on the wing in the 1941 flag side.

The next week he returned to Perth and played in the WAFL grand final with West Perth – a two-state feat later repeated by Royce Hart.

18. Known as ‘the Ox’ for his beast-like build, David Schwarz (1991) gave the club good service despite his injuries.

17. ‘Bull’: A big, hard-hitting ruckman, Garry Baker (1972) served Melbourne well in between short stints at Footscray and Sydney.

16. ‘Little Bull’: Jim Sandral came from Corowa in 1956 and played in a premiership in his first year.

15. ‘Bluey’ (1): William J Walsh (1934) was the least known of the four ‘Blueys’ who played for Melbourne over the next 20 years. After one year with Melbourne, he resurfaced ten years later at Fitzroy.

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14. ‘Bluey’ (2): Keith Truscott (1937). A redhead from Melbourne High School whose heroic war deeds and tragic death turned him into a legend.

13. ‘Bluey’ (3): Frank Scanlan (1943) was a sound position player from Sandringham Centrals.

12. ‘Bluey’ (4): Frank Adams (1953) was a national champion professional sprinter who won the 1957 Gift at Cobram, then a week later won the Lilydale Gift, before running second in the 1957 Bendigo Thousand.

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After running second in the Maryborough Gift, Adams won the 1958 Ararat Gift. He rounded off the year winning the South Melbourne and 1958 Canberra Gifts. He went on to win the 1959 Australian sprint title.

11. ‘Mr Football’: Ronald Dale Barassi (1953), the most famous football personality in the history of the game.

Ron Barassi in 1964

The great Ron Barassi (Getty Images)

10. ‘Trout’: Tony Elshaugh (1979). Played one more game for Melbourne than Essendon.

9. ‘Lloyd’: R.G.W, Bennett (1944) was nicknamed after British PM Lloyd-George.

8. ‘Doc’ (1): Howard J Steel (1930).

7. ‘Doc’ (2): Doctor Brian Roet (1961).

6. ‘Doc’ (3): Peter A. Sinclair (1969). From University Blacks.

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5. ‘Tarzan’: Eric G Glass (1933).

4. ‘Wrecker’: Brian Leahy (1960). His unusual nickname began as a five-year-old when older boys talked him into ‘wrecking’ customers’ cars at his father’s pub by letting down tyres and removing spark plugs!

3. ‘Crackers’: Peter Patrick Pius Paul Keenan (1970) played with Melbourne, Essendon and North Melbourne before returning to the Demons to complete his VFL career with another 30 games at the club.

2. ‘Tangles’: Better known as a Test fast bowler, Max H. N. Walker (1967) played 85 games for the Demons before giving football away to concentrate on cricket.

1. ‘Diamond Jim’: Melbourne went to a lot of expense to gain John M. Tilbrook from Sturt in South Australia, but he never quite lived up to his reputation.

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