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AFL Top 100: Round 15

With only nine rounds remaining before the finals, I thought I would start a series of articles that celebrate the achievements of all the main cast in our weekly feast of football.

This includes the players, the coaches and the umpires who all contribute to the spectacle that is the game. Every week, nearly every club has a player who achieves a traditional, or a historical milestone, where he matches the performance of some past champion.

Round 15 – with only nine games remaining for each team for the season – is a great place to start.

Starting us off is the top of the ladder clash between Brisbane and Melbourne. It is also a clash between two successful, long-serving coaches: Simon Goodwin (Melbourne) and Chris Fagan (Brisbane).

Both have coached AFL teams for a total of 124 games and both have positive win-loss ratios, with Goodwin (57 per cent) slightly ahead of Fagan (53 per cent). This week’s game will extend their careers beyond those of two other coaches from years gone by in Alan Killigrew and Percy Parratt.

Melbourne will have their two most experienced players in Tom McDonald and Max Gawn missing through injury, but Jack Viney will draw level with top-100 game player Stephen ‘Stinga’ Tingay, who was recruited from Shepparton in 1989 and stayed at the club until 1999 despite offers from other clubs.

He was runner up in the club’s best & fairest in 1994 and earned All Australian representation. Despite being mainly a winger Tingay also features on the Demon’s top 100 goalkickers list. He was recently overtaken by current captain Max Gawn and currently lies in 93rd position, equal with club legend Ron Barassi.

For Brisbane, reliable defender Harris Andrews will play his 150th game, becoming only the 26th Lion to do so.

Harris Andrews of the Lions in action

Harris Andrews (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Friday night’s game between Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn will see the Bulldogs’ most experienced current player, Jack Macrae, equal the game tally of Liam Picken, adjudged the Bulldogs’ best player in the 2016 finals series that culminated in premiership success.

He was the club’s equal leading goalkicker in 2017 and still holds 65th position on the Bulldogs’ top 100 goal scorers list.

Also on Friday, the Bombers travel to Perth to play against the struggling West Coast, who will be desperate to get off the bottom of the ladder. Former Eagles captain Shannon Hurn will draw level on the games-played list with three other one club-champions: Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs), Stephen Silvagni (Carlton) and Mark Ricciuto (Adelaide).

Spearhead Josh Kennedy will draw level with Guy McKenna for the fifth-most AFL games at the Eagles.

For the Bombers, Zach Merrett will equal the games tally of Alan Belcher (1906-19). Belcher had a handful of games for Collingwood in 1904, but joined Essendon two years later and was regarded as one of the great captains of the era. He died in 1921 but is one of the 21 players born more than a century ago that still makes up part of the Bombers’ 100 most-capped players, and would have stood shoulder to shoulder with a great many recent champions at Essendon’s 150th anniversary celebrations a few weeks ago.

It is a big game for Carlton and Fremantle on Saturday as they fight for a top-four position. It is also a big game for David Mundy, as he joins Bernie Quinlan with the equal tenth-most games in VFL/AFL history.

On the Fremantle games list, Darcy Tucker will pass Daniel Bandy and equal Clive Waterhouse on 106 games; whilst at Carlton, Patrick Cripps will equal Ang Christou on 151 games, and Jack Newnes will play his 200th match, and 45th at the Blues.

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