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AFL top 100: Sydney nicknames 40 to 21

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Roar Guru
15th January, 2022

Most of the nicknames came from the early days when the club was known as South Melbourne and played at Albert Park. They relocated to Sydney in 1982.

40. ‘Doc’: As a seven-yea- old boy Roderick Leffanue (1930) helped a boy who fell off a train – thus the nickname Doc. Played at Carlton also.

39. ‘Ned’: Edwin John Alley (1902) came from Footscray Juniors.

38. ‘Bubs’: One of the foremost players of his generation, Alex Kerr gave great service to South Melbourne in 74 VFL games between 1906 and 1911, during which time he booted 57 goals.

37. ‘Ron’: It was not his unimaginative nickname that caught my eye, but his unpronounceable real name: Quirinis Johannes Tenabel (1965).

36. ‘Sugar’: George Stephen Sparrow (1898) played slightly more games for South Melbourne (Sydney) than he did for St Kilda. After retiring, Sparrow turned to coaching and was appointed senior coach of St Kilda in 1913.

He coached the club to its first-ever grand final: the Saints had defeated minor premiers Fitzroy in the decider, but under the rules at the time, Fitzroy had an automatic right of challenge, and they won the grand final the following week.

35. ‘Farmer’: John Trethowan (1955). A handy ruckman from Rockbank.

34. ‘George’: Patrick Michael Gilbert Curran (1906).


33. ‘Dinny’: Denis McKay (1897) has the distinction of kicking South Melbourne’s first VFL goal, which came late in the second quarter of their opening round loss to Melbourne. In Round 7, against Fitzroy, he kicked two goals in a game which finished in the VFL’s first-ever draw.

32. ‘Sonna'” Regarded as one of the best and most consistent defenders of his era, William D. Thomas (1905) gave sterling service to two league clubs over the course of a career that saw him play in excess of 200 top-level games.

31. ‘Napper’: Mick Tandy’s (1911) quiet and easy-going nature led to Roy Cazaly calling him ‘Napper’ – the inglorious nickname apparently arose because of his alleged propensity for ‘switching off’ during games.

30. ‘Brum’: Daniel Joseph O’Meara (1933).

29. ‘Frosty’: An unobtrusive back pocket and half back, Daniel McPherson’s (1994) coach Rodney Eade said sometimes you didn’t even notice he was there.

28. ‘Paddy’: A top-flight rover, Jack Hassett’s (1902) career was spiced with controversy.

27. ‘Buns’: William Fraser (1897) was already a veteran when the VFL started in 1897.


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26. ‘Skeeter’. Fred Fleiter (1919). His immortality is assured by the fact that he first coined the phrase, “Up there Cazaly” when telling his teammate that he had the opposition blocked off and the way was clear for Cazaly to make a leap.

25. ‘Joker’: James Alexander Cameron (1903) played in many roles during his league career. He often appeared as a defender and follower, but was a half forward flanker in South Melbourne’s 1909 premiership team. He also played in the 1907 VFL grand final, which South Melbourne lost.

24. ‘Tiger’: Roy R Bence (1922) was nicknamed ‘Tiger’ because of his ferocity in attacking the ball.

23. ‘Blue’: A different twist to this common nickname: Gilbert V. Beard got it because of his surname, not his hair colour!


22. ‘Torch’: Jeff McGee (1967) is one of the popular ABC ‘Coodabeens’.

21. ‘Moppa’: Stephen McBroom. Once again, the surname says it all.