With the Western Magpies / Sherwood Magpies celebrating their 60th anniversary tomorrow night in a gala event - we have decided to re-publish the best 50 players of the first 50 years as published in 2006.
Top players of the first 50 years—1956-2006
The Club has produced a huge number of excellent footballers over the past fifty years. On the occasion of the club’s celebration dinner to commemorate these first fifty years the top fifty players selected by a panel of club officials were announced. This is to some extent a subjective process so there are arguably many other players who might also have got a look in.
Captain of the Club’s first premiership team – 1958 U14s. Dave played over 200 QAFL games and was captain of Western Districts at the ripe old age of 20. Later in his career he also coached the team. Dave also captained the Queensland team that defeated Canberra and NSW in 1966.
Ray played junior football with Sherwood until U14s – at that stage the Club didn’t go any further. Then he went to Brisbane Grammar School where he became a top rugby union player as well. But he was also playing senior football for Western Districts at 16 years of age. His ambition was always to play in the VFL. He played for Queensland in the centre. There was a law at that stage that classed Queensland, NSW and the ACT as development states. Players from these states and territory were not allowed to go to the VFL because that was seen as detracting from the pool of talent in those areas. So in 1970 Ray decided to play rugby league for Valleys which at the time was the strongest club. These were the days when they used to get 30-40,000 people to Lang Park. Ray ended up playing in the centres for Valleys, represented Brisbane in the old Bulimba Cup, played in the premiership side and got beaten for the Brisbane Player of the Year on a countback (the prize was a car). He was being spoken about as a good chance of being selected in the Australian side for the following year when he stunned everybody in league circles by announcing that he was going to the VFL the following year. He was able to do this because as a rugby league player the VFL couldn’t stop him. In 1971 he was signed by Essendon becoming Sherwood’s second VFL player. He was the first Queenslander to play 100 games in the VFL and it was another 25 years before the next Queenslander Jason Dunstall did it. His brothers Tony, Bruce and Craig all played for Sherwood as well.
Trevor played in the Club’ s first premiership team in 1958. He played over 100 QAFL games with Western Districts. His father Bill was a foundation committee member.
Alan was Sherwood’s first player to make it into the VFL. He played from 1964 to 1967 with Footscray. He was a quick, high marking forward. His father Bill was the Club’s first President.
Dr Alan McKenzie
Alan played his junior football with Sherwood before joining Western Districts. He was a classy rover and represented Queensland. Alan has been a driving force as President of Southport for over 30 years.
Greg was runner up in the Grogan Medal in his first year of senior football as a teenager. Tragically, his playing days were cut short by a terrible leg injury.
Romas Jakavicius (Senior)
Romas was a tough, aggressive half back flanker. He played over 100 games with Western Districts before returning to Sherwood to be a premiership player in 1977.
John also played in the Club’s first premiership team. He was a classy left foot wingman who notched up over 100 games with Western Districts.
Rob played all his junior football with Sherwood. He started in the U10s and played through to the U17s. Rob was not a standout player early. In fact he played in the B teams at Sherwood until U13s. Then he grew in confidence and by 16 was a brilliant player with superb skills and balance. In 1972 he was selected in the Queensland Secondary Schools team to compete at the Australian carnival and he went on to win the coveted J J Williams medal for the best and fairest player at those titles. He won the Western Districts Club’s Best and Fairest in his first year in 1974. He became the Club’s third VFL player when he was signed by Fitzroy where he went on to play 52 games spanning 1975 to 1977. Illness cut short an outstanding career and he returned home and did not play for a year. He then resumed at Western Districts and once again showed his great ability, helping that Club win the 1977 QAFL Premiership. Owing to a work promotion in the oil industry Rob moved to Sydney and with that move his football days were finished. Those Sherwood people who had the pleasure to see Rob play will remember not only his skill but also his great sportsmanship.
Colin played his junior football with the Club and was twice selected in All Australian teams, the second time as Captain. He was the Club’s fourth VFL player. He had a short career with Collingwood before injuring his knee. This required a reconstruction. He represented Queensland in 1974, 1975 and 1978. He was a premiership player with Western Districts and later in his career returned to Sherwood as coach, winning the Leach Motors All Comers pre season competition against reigning premiers Wests, and following this up with the 1979 SQAFA premiership.
Zig was a strong marking ruckman and was the Club’s first senior premiership captain at 19 years of age. He played over 250 games in the QAFL and represented Queensland in 1977. He was a premiership captain at Wests and returned to Sherwood in 1981 for another flag.
Dennis was big, strong and fast. He was the corner stone of the team’s defence. A three times premiership player he was the eldest of six brothers to play for Sherwood.
Warren played in nine senior premiership teams, the last eight in a row. He coached and captained the premiership team in 1982, the year before the Club entered the QAFL. He was a dour defender and the ultimate team player. He was the eldest son of the Club’s longest serving president, Ian Selvage. His brothers Rodney and Craig also played for Sherwood.
Glen was a strong marking full forward but was quick and equally good at ground level. He was a member of the 1973 premiership team and kicked 100 goals in a season.
The Club’s fifth VFL/AFL player, Gary was an excellent talent as a footballer from the start. He amassed a mountain of representative honours throughout his junior career. A small player, Gary was always a rover. In 1976 he was eligible for selection in the State U15 team but was omitted because in the opinion of the selectors he was too small. Ironically he trained with and was selected in the U17 Teal Cup squad in the same year and won the Robinson’s Award for most outstanding Queensland player of the carnival.
Gary played 32 games for Collingwood from 1983 to 1986 and kicked 33 goals. In 1987 he represented the Brisbane Bears in 6 games kicking 5 goals. Gary played all his junior football with Sherwood and amazingly went through his entire junior career at Sherwood without tasting defeat. That is from U9s to his second year of U17s. When he finished with junior football he followed his father’s footsteps and went to Wests. He says when he experienced a loss at Wests he felt like he was being murdered! It was a new and very ugly experience for him.
Hector was a very talented rover/half forward flanker who was a dual premiership player with Sherwood and Western Districts.
Sel was a tough and skilful footballer. He could play any position with ease. He played in premiership teams at Wests, Southport and the Waratahs in the Northern Territory Football League.
Rod was a very reliable defender who played well above his weight. He amassed over 100 QAFL games and was a great player for Sherwood, particularly in grand finals.
Rob was an All Australian in his junior football days. As a senior he was a big, strong, long kicking full back. He played over 100 games with Wests and Sandgate and also played with West Torrens in the South Australian Football League.
Generally playing in the back pocket, Jim was the heart and soul of every team he played in. He was a courageous player with great anticipation.
Ken was a very strongly built ruckman who played the game the way it was meant to be played. He was unbelievable in the 1973 grand final when he played with four broken ribs and kicked six goals. He also kicked six goals from centre half forward in the Club’s first senior premiership in 1970. He was a very intimidating player and players on his side were always happy to have him in the team.
Greg was the eldest of seven boys who all played with the Club. He was a talented indigenous player who represented Queensland at all junior levels and played in four premiership sides with the Club before going to Kedron. There he played in the 1980 premiership side and totalled over two hundred QAFL games.
Peter was one of the most talented players ever to play for this club. He came from Lake Boga near Swan Hill in Victoria. Before he came to Queensland he played in two premiership sides for Wanderers in Darwin. The Northern Territory Football League named their top twenty players for the period 1974 to 1994 as part of a Cyclone Tracey commemoration and Peter was named as number four of the best twenty players in the NT over that period. He was a high flying centre half forward/centre half back with a great mark and a magnificent kick on both feet and on top of that he was a great clubman and a great team player.
Ross was a highly talented footballer. He would be the first to admit that he wasn’t athletic but his football skills were so good on both sides of his body that if you wanted somebody to kick a goal to save your life from 40 to 50 metres out then Rocko was the bloke to do it. He was a magnificent player but unfortunately his career was cut short by chronic ankle injuries. After playing all his junior football at Sherwood he played senior football at this Club from around 1975 to 1981.
Bill played more games for the Club than anyone else has to this point and it is unlikely this record will ever be broken. He would be up around the 800 game mark. He was a prolific kick getter and probably averaged around 25 possessions per game across that career. He won the 1983 Grogan Medal in the Club’s first year in the QAFL. His greatest attribute was his commitment to his family and to the club. The contribution of the Peirces could never be measured. He also coached the senior team and later coached the Woodsmen to a Premiership in 2009 and pulling on the boots a few times in his 50's! Without using the word at all lightly Bill would be one of the two true legends of the Club along with Maurie McNamee. The esteem he is held is reflected in the Club's Senior Best and Fairest medal named the Bill Peirce Medal.
Jeff “Mad Dog” Langdon was a blond headed high flying full forward, probably before his time. He played many super games for the Club but none more so than the 1977 grand final against Mt Gravatt when he took 21 marks after half time and after the final siren collapsed and was taken to the hospital with exhaustion (in later life it was discovered he had a malfunction in one of his heart valves). He was probably the first player in Queensland to play in white boots.
John was a big strong ruckman built along the lines of the famous Carlton ruckman John Nichols. He nearly gave the game away as a teenager but he was encouraged to keep going and developed into probably the premier ruckman in Queensland. He was a premiership player with Windsor Zillmere. In the 1988 grand final he outrucked former Brownlow Medalist Gary Dempsey.
Ian was one of four indigenous brothers who all played with the club. Ian won the best and fairest award in 1983, the Club’s first year in the QAFL. He wasn’t the most talented player but did it through sheer hard work. He worked extremely hard on all facets of his game to be not only a top player in Queensland but also a strong contributor with Central Districts in the South Australian Football League. He was extremely tough with great hand skills and was a wonderful team player. In 2008 he took on the U18s coaching role along with former team mates Des Lashman and Gary Shaw. The 18s of that era had a strong appreciation of his ethic of hard work without really appreciating it!
Mark and his brother Paul were two fantastic players. At only six feet he was nevertheless a great player at centre half back and at fullback. He played all his junior football with the Magpies and in the 1980 grand final was moved to centre half forward where he kicked eight goals in a match winning performance. Mark went on to play state football for Queensland and played over 150 games for Western Districts.
Craig St John
Craig was probably the most naturally gifted player ever to play for the Club. He was highly skilled on both sides of his body and it was nothing for him to go left or right and hit a target from fifty metres. He was also a sensational high mark. He played in three premiership sides for Sherwood and the 1980 premiership side for Kedron. He played against South Australia as an 18 year old and was Queensland’s best player. He had all the attributes to play VFL/AFL football but it was never his desire. His father Ron was a great stalwart of the Club in the early days and was the trainer for many senior sides.
On three occasions Collingwood’s U19s came up here to play against a Sherwood team of 19 and 20 year olds. One day Collingwood player Twiggy Dunn was watching with Maurie McNamee and Craig was doing his “Daicos” stuff. Twiggy was very excited thinking he had unearthed something special for Collingwood. Maurie asked if they did 400s at training at Collingwood and of course Twiggy said they do. Maurie said then don’t worry about Sainty – he wouldn’t do 400s, he’d tell you to get stuffed.
Craig also coached the Western Magpies Senior side in 2013.
Alan was the first Queenslander to be signed by the Brisbane Bears. He played at full forward and kicked 100 goals three seasons in a row. He was extremely quick and was very good both in the air and at ground level. His combination with Peter Filler was wonderful to watch. Alan came from a very humble background and was supported by the Club in his early development, something he remembers to this day.
Des was the oldest of three brothers who were all premiership players for the Club. Des was a lightly built half back flanker who gave his all every time he played. He is a good man to have in the trenches beside you. He played over 200 games for the Club and is still involved with the Club. He coached the Western magpies in their first season back in 1999 and has subsequently coached the clubs Reserves and Under 18s on several occasions. He coached the club's Under 18s to the 2009 QAFL premiership. He was a member of the 1983 team that debuted in the QAFL. He is a Life Member of the club.
Another one of the Anderson clan, he was known as “Casual”. He was a wonderful full back. Nothing ever worried him. His pace and the way he read the game was very much the same as the way the great North Melbourne full back David Dench played. He played all his football with glasses but it was never a handicap. He was probably the premier defender during his era (1976 – 1981 approximately).
Alistair was a tough, hard, uncompromising half back flanker who won Sherwood’s Best and Fairest in 1986 and then when Sherwood left the QAFL competition went to Morningside and was a cornerstone of their premiership sides. The Bears were interested in Alistair early in his career however his work commitments as an apprentice electrician did not allow him time to attend 6.00am training sessions at Carrara.
The original “Akka” was a 6ft 4 in bean pole and weighed about 75 kilos. He was an ex basketball player and had unbelievable skills. He was absolutely fearless and played in about four premiership sides for Sherwood before going to Darwin where he became a legend of the Darwin Football Club. He represented the NT many times against then VFL and South Australian teams and was the first Darwin player to play over 200 games in the NTFL.
Steve was a highly talented centreman who played in several premiership sides as a junior and played in the 1980 senior premiership side. He then moved to South Australia where he played with the old West Torrens Club. He was also an All Australian Teal Cup player (U 17s) and after his playing career coached for many years in South Australian country football. Steve went to play for Sandgate in the QAFL where he won back-to-back Best and Fairest awards.
Steve was a young bloke who just walked into the Club with a couple of mates on holiday from Colac in Victoria and Steve decided to stay. He finished winning two Best and Fairest Awards for the Club and won the Gold Coast Representative Player of the Year award in 1988. He was in Fitzroy’s area in Victoria but they showed no interest in him until he started playing in Queensland. However he had a good job by that time and was happy in Queensland and had no interest in going back to Victoria. He finished up playing around 100 games for the Club.
Greg was a highly talented forward who kicked 100 goals as a nine and ten year old. He was a duel O’Callaghan Medal winner (best junior in Brisbane). His career was seriously interrupted when he lost his sight in one eye as a thirteen year old and then 12 months later had two plastic hips inserted. Nevertheless he went on to play senior football in Tasmania and was a leading goal kicker in the league in which he played in Tasmania. He was a beautiful kick and mark despite the fact that he weighed around 110 kgs. He was also surprisingly quick over 30 metres even with his plastic hips.
Dean was a highly talented indigenous player. He won the U18 Best and Fairest, a senior Best and Fairest and also won the Gold Coast Player of the Year. Dean moved to England working in the public health system, before settling in Sydney with his young family.
Michael (Mousey) Blackmore
Michael played all his junior football for Sherwood. He was a skilful and courageous rover and always gave 100%. He played over 200 senior games for the Club and in 2007 as a 35 year old received the ultimate success with a premiership with the Thirds where he was still able to dominate a game and take the occasional specky. Mousey is still heavily involved with the Club and it appears his two young sons will follow in his footsteps. Mouse continued to play with Sherwood affiliate The Woodsmen, winning another Premiership in 2009 before repeated broken arms and hamstring niggles brought an end to a long and illustrious career.
Hayden is a highly talented athlete. He was captain of three consecutive junior premiership sides. In 1995 he kicked his 100th goal in the Grand Final and put in a best on ground performance. He was a rookie listed player with the Lions for two years and played a major part in the 2001 premiership win over Southport. He then played senior football for the Port Adelaide Magpies, for Nightcliffe in Darwin and Subiaco in Perth.
Adam was at the Club since the age of 15 and was a wonderful footballer for the Club. He is a highly skilled half forward flanker/forward pocket with great goal sense. He has played well over 100 senior games and is always dangerous. Gilly played in the 2006 and 2008 premierships and club doyen Kebvin Kluver regards him as one of the smartest footballers he has seen at Sherwood. He has booted 10 goals in two matches and due to work issues played at Ipswich for several seasons where he again was the leading goal kicker and also played in a Premiership with the Woodsmen in 2009. At the time of writing he is still playing excellent football with Paraburdoo in the Pilbara where he again won the leagues leading goalkicker award and played in the club's 2015 premiership..
Tyson is an unassuming full back/centre half back. He played in the 2006 senior premiership side and was also a part of some junior premierships. He has good breeding – his grandfather was the legendary Collingwood full back Jack Regan who is regarded by many as the best full back ever to play VFL/AFL football. Tyson joined Redland in the QAFL in 2006 and still runs around for Collingwood Park ocassionally against his former teammates at the Woodsmen.
Craig “Harold” Anderson
Craig was a quick and skilful left footed wingman. His greatest asset was his poise - he always managed to keep his feet. He was dangerous around goal and was a pleasure to watch when he was on his game. His raking left foot kicks, either kicking to position or kicking for goal was a delight to watch.
Cory was a solidly built centreman who played Teal Cup for Queensland in 1989 and then went on to play for West Torrens in South Australia before returning to Queensland and playing for West Brisbane where he was a member of the 1996 premiership side and also recipient of the Grogan Medal in the same year. Cory then moved to the Ovens and Murray League playing for North Albury where in 1997 he won his club’s best and fairest and best on ground in the Grand Final, which North Albury won. Then in 1999 he was joint winner of the Morris Medal for the best and fairest in the competition and runner up in 2000. Corey went on to coach North Albury and Wodonga Raiders in the O & M FL and coached Jerilderie to several premierships in the southern Riverina.
Chris was already showing outstanding athletic ability as a 10 year old at Sherwood State School. He played all his junior football with Sherwood and was captain of the premiership winning Western Magpies seniors in 2006, 2008 and 2012. He was an inspirational leader and was a major factor in the Magpies second Golden Era from 2006 to 2012. He continues to contribute to the club and is currently playing coach of the Sherwood affiliate The Woodsmen where he is also a Premiership player. Chris was awarded Life Membership in 2015.
Marty was a very talented centre half forward/centre half back who made the Queensland U 18 side in 2004 and went on to play some excellent football for the Club before being drafted by the Brisbane Lions where he played 10 senior games before being delisted and being picked up by the Western Bulldogs in 2007.
Pat “Paddy” Garner
Paddy was a talented junior who was selected in the All Australian U 16 team and represented Queensland with the U 18s before being drafted by the Brisbane Lions as pick number 27 in the Draft. He is a tall (194cm) athletic player with the ability to play forward or back and with an excellent kick can effortlessly slot goals from outside the 50. Unfortunately while with the Lions he endured three serious knee injuries 2 years apart and before his twenty first birthday, all requiring reconstructive surgery. Pat subsequently retired from playing but continues to be involved in football at Sherwood as a coaching adviser.
Ross was probably the most outstanding junior footballer to play with the Club. Like Greg Stewart he too won two O’Callaghan Medals. He had all the skills and would be a great player in today’s AFL competition because of his ability to run continuously throughout a game without his skills diminishing. Ross endured chronic leg problems as a young man and retired at an early age after playing a handful of games for Western Districts.
Leigh was a full forward who hailed from North Launceston in Tasmania. After one season with Wilston Grange in the QAFL in which he kicked 109 goals in a team the won the wooden spoon he moved to Sherwood the following year. He had a long and illustrious career at Sherwood and became a great clubman, always prepared to coach junior sides and do whatever was asked of him. Leigh now resides in San Francisco and as President of the Golden Gate Football League is promoting the Australian game in that part of the world. Leigh returns to Australia every two years and his first port of call is always Sherwood Football Club.
Pound for pound Greg was probably the hardest, toughest player ever to play for the Club. He instilled absolute fear in the opposition and in his team mates alike. He was highly skilled and a great competitor with strength of character that rubbed off on his team mates. The teams that Greg played in always performed better when he was in the centre.
One of four brothers to play for the Club, Bruce was a prolific goal kicking half forward flanker. He also played for Camberwell in the VFA. On returning to Brisbane he played for Sherwood and also played in the QAFL with Kedron where he was a premiership player and also the leading goal kicker in the QAFL for that year.
Anthony (Tony) Smith
Tony started his football career with Sherwood in 1966 in the U9s having followed in the footsteps of his three older brothers Ray, Craig and Bruce. He played at Sherwood through to the U11s representing Queensland in a schoolboys tour to Adelaide in 1969. In 1970 he moved to Melbourne with his family. He joined Camberwell Football Club in the Victorian Football Association in 1977, playing with his brothers Ray who was captain coach, and Bruce. Tony was invited to join Hawthorn Football Club in 1977, however due to injury he chose to play out the year at Camberwell.
In 1978 Tony returned to Brisbane to study law and played the remainder of the season with Sherwood. In 1979 he played with Western Districts and was a member of the losing grand final team. In 1980 he moved to Kedron Football Club and played in the winning grand final team followed by a grand final loss in 1981. At Kedron he was twice runner up in the Club Best and Fairest. He represented Queensland in 1981/82 and notes one of his football highlights as the game against Victoria at the Gabba in 1981. Although humbled by the scoreline, the experience of playing against the likes of Terry Wallace, Wayne Schimmelbusch and Bernie Quinlan was more than memorable. Due to a recurring back injury he retired from football in 1985.