With this week marking the Indigenous round in the AFL, we look at the top 10 greatest AFL Indigenous players to ever play the game.
Do you agree with our top 10?
1. Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer
Farmer played 101 games for Geelong between 1962 and 1967, and is widely recognised as one of the best ruckman to ever play the game. He joined Geelong in 1962 after 176 games and three premierships with East Perth. The Geelong ruckman won the 1963 premiership while at the club and came second in the 1963 Brownlow Medal, while also collecting two club Best and Fairests. Farmer revolutionised the way the position of ruckman was played and was renowned for his attacking tap-outs and brilliant use of long handballs. In 1968 he returned home and played four seasons with west Perth.
2. Andrew McLeod
McLeod is the games record holder for the Crows, with 340 games to his name. His is one of the most skilful players to ever pull on the boots, with his trademark burst of speed out of defence a nightmare for opposition teams to deal with. McLeod won two premierships with Adelaide (1997 & 98) and won two Norm Smith Medals (1997 & 98). He is a five-time All-Australian and three time club Best and Fairest and is a member of the Indigenous Team of the Century.
3. Barry Cable
Cable played 115 games for North Melbourne in the VFL, 225 for Perth and 43 for East Perth in the WAFL. He is considered one of the best rovers in the history of the game, playing over 400 games at senior level, including 20 for Western Australia. Cable was a member of the Kangaroos’ premiership sides of 1975 and 1977 and won the 1970 North Melbourne Best and Fairest. He has been inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame and the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
4. Gavin Wanganeen
Wanganeen played 300 games in an illustrious career that included two Premierships, a Brownlow Medal, five All-Australians and a place in the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Wanganeen played 127 games for Essendon, before moving to Port Adelaide, where he played 173 games. He also captained Port Adelaide from 1997 to 2000 and was voted Essendon’s 19th greatest ever player in 2002.
5. Adam Goodes
Goodes is an undisputed champion of the game. He has played 357 games for the Swans and kicked 444 goals. He has won two Premierships (2005 & 2012) and two Brownlow Medals (2003 & 2006). The Sydney legend can play just about anywhere on the ground, playing predominantly as a ruckman when he won his first Brownlow in 2003. He now mainly plays in the forward line, and while he is possibly in his last year of football, he is still a marvel to watch.
6. Lance Franklin
Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin still has a long way to go in his career, but the fact that he demands a spot on this list shows what a superstar he is. Buddy has kicked 580 goals in 182 career games. He won two premierships and two Coleman Medals with Hawthorn before moving to the Swans last year, where he added another Coleman Medal. He is a five-time All-Australian and may come very close to becoming just the sixth man to kick 1,000 career goals if he continues to score along a similar rate to the first half of his career.
7. Michael Long
Long played 190 games for Essendon between 1989 and 2001. He won two Premierships with the Bombers (1993 & 2000) as well as the 1993 Norm Smith Medal. In 1989 he was named the VFL rookie of the year. In 2007, Long was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
8. Maurice Rioli
Rioli played 118 games for Richmond after playing 168 games for South Fremantle. The highly skilful midfielder won the 1982 Norm Smith Medal in Richmond’s losing Grand Final side. He won Richmond’s Best and Fairest on two occasions (1982 & 83) and was named as an All-Australian in 1983, 86 and 88.
9. Peter Matera
Matera played 253 games for West Coast between 1990 and 2002, including the 1992 and 1994 Premierships, both against Geelong. He won the 1992 Norm Smith Medal and was an All-Australian on five occasions. He was named in the Indigenous Team of the Century and in 2006 he was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.
10. Jim Krakouer
Krakouer may have had his troubles in his personal life, however, on the field he was all class. He played 134 games for North Melbourne from 1982 to 1991. Krakouer topped the club’s goal kicking tally in 1983, 86 and 88 and was awarded the Best and Fairest in 1986. His speed and skill were second to none and a delight to watch during his time at the Kangaroos, and quickly became a fan favourite. In 2005 he was named in the Indigenous Team of the Century.