Best International Players

markm106

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 29, 2006
8,032
6,476
Melbourne
AFL Club
Melbourne
I put this up on the main board but don’t get much response. Thought I’d put it here as well. We’ve had a couple of stars from international recruits. Surprised we’ve basically given up on it really.

As the title says this is my list of the best international players. I have been wanting to do this for a very long time but never got around to it. My top 10 below. Must have been recruited from overseas to qualify.

1 - Jim Stynes - He’s record speaks for itself. A Brownlow, 4 best and fairest awards, 2 times AA and revolutionised the role of the ruckman.

2 - Tadhg Kennelly - almost 200 career games and a key player in a premiership.

3 - Sean Wight - hard to split with Touhy and Hanley. Had an injury riddled career but managed 150 games. Played on some of the best forwards we’ve seen like Ablett, Dunstall and Lockett.

4 - Zach Touhy - Has been a very consistent performer off half back. Great kick of the footy and like a few other Irish players takes the game on with pace.

5 - Pearce Hanley - enjoyed a very good patch of form for a few years at Brisbane. Dropped away a bit in recent years.

6 - Mike Pyke - A premiership ruckman. Took to the game really well in one of the hardest positions.

7 - Connor McKenna - Has the promise to finish up much higher on the list. Although not sure he’s keen to hang around too much longer. I love the way he takes the game on and has excellent foot skills.

8 - Mason Cox - on his day extremely hard to stop with his size. Could have been a scary prospect had he started his career earlier.

9 - Marty Clarke - could have been higher. But never got to full potential with the break he took.

10 - Mark O'connor - I like what I’ve seen so far. If he continues to develop will have a decent career. Reads the play well and like a lot of the other Irish players has the skills.

Any changes anyone would make? There’s not too many after the ten. Glass and Nash from hawks look ok. Setanta also showed promise. Byrne from Carlton also before injury. I thought after the first few it was hard to split the others.
 

Dory_77

Premiership Player
Apr 2, 2012
3,726
2,851
AFL Club
Melbourne
I think you've covered it off well (probably why people didn't respond much! Not much more to debate). Daw could be another to slot in if he can continue his form down back for a couple more years (yes he played TAC Cup before he was drafted but was 12 when his family migrated and was relatively late to learning the game).
If you broaden it to guys born overseas Peter Bell and Mal Michael come in (along with Rodan, a few others I think). They'd probably be fairly high in the rankings, although did grow up in Australia/playing footy from a very young age.

Edit: on basically giving up on international recruitment I think you can see why in this list. About 10 blokes have made solid careers over the past 30 odd years across the whole comp. Even then, guys like Cox and Pyke had long patches doing FA with the odd blinder to keep themselves on the list. Pretty low returns on average from the expense that would be involved to properly follow Gaelic leagues or US college athletes.
 

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markm106

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 29, 2006
8,032
6,476
Melbourne
AFL Club
Melbourne
I think you've covered it off well (probably why people didn't respond much! Not much more to debate). Daw could be another to slot in if he can continue his form down back for a couple more years (yes he played TAC Cup before he was drafted but was 12 when his family migrated and was relatively late to learning the game).
If you broaden it to guys born overseas Peter Bell and Mal Michael come in (along with Rodan, a few others I think). They'd probably be fairly high in the rankings, although did grow up in Australia/playing footy from a very young age.
Cheers. I thought I’d leave it to purely International recruits. But yeah there’s a number of players born overseas.
 

markm106

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 29, 2006
8,032
6,476
Melbourne
AFL Club
Melbourne
I think you've covered it off well (probably why people didn't respond much! Not much more to debate). Daw could be another to slot in if he can continue his form down back for a couple more years (yes he played TAC Cup before he was drafted but was 12 when his family migrated and was relatively late to learning the game).
If you broaden it to guys born overseas Peter Bell and Mal Michael come in (along with Rodan, a few others I think). They'd probably be fairly high in the rankings, although did grow up in Australia/playing footy from a very young age.

Edit: on basically giving up on international recruitment I think you can see why in this list. About 10 blokes have made solid careers over the past 30 odd years across the whole comp. Even then, guys like Cox and Pyke had long patches doing FA with the odd blinder to keep themselves on the list. Pretty low returns on average from the expense that would be involved to properly follow Gaelic leagues or US college athletes.
I agree the strike rate is pretty poor. But reckon keeping an eye on Ireland wouldn’t be the worst thing. They tend to be able to play wit him speed and skill. Maybe the cost is a factor to.
 

00Stinger

Duel Group 1 winner
May 8, 2007
22,895
23,605
@ HOME
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Melbourne
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What was the experience?
As a little kid Strawbs O'Dwyer and another Melbourne player (Shane Zantuck i think from memory) owned a Sports store near my place.

We used to frequent it a bit, O'Dwyer loved chatting about the footy, especially since the store being in the Western suburbs I was probably the only kid who barracked for the Dees in the area. O'Dwyer would always give us the heads up of what days certain players were coming in so I could get their signatures ext.

Every player without hesitation would quickly sign my jumper or card or badge whatever it was. Except for old Sean Wight. I remember him standing up against the wall with one foot leaning up against it. I went to ask for his signature and quite calmly he told me 'not today mate I'm busy'. Soul destroying as a kid especially as he was standing alone out the front of the store.

To this day I will not forget that day
 
Last edited:

ponsdale

Premiership Player
Sep 20, 2012
4,265
4,743
Sydney
AFL Club
Melbourne
Other Teams
Sydney Swans
As a little kid Strawbs O'Dwyer and another Melbourne player (Shane Zantuck i think from memory) owned a Sports store near my place.

We used to frequent it a bit, O'Dwyer loved chatting about the footy, especially since the store being in the Western suburbs I was probably the only kid who barracked for the Dees in the area. O'Dwyer would always give us the heads up of what days certain players were coming in so I could get their signatures ext.

Every player without hesitation would quickly sign my jumper or card or badge whatever it was. Except for old Sean Wight. I remember him standing up against the wall with one foot leaning up against it. I went to ask for his signature and quite calmly he told me 'not today mate I'm busy'. Sould destroying as a kid especially as he was standing alone out the front of the store.

To this day I will not forget that day
What a grudge and rightly held.
 

kober3742

Debutant
Jan 1, 2013
96
47
AFL Club
Melbourne
Hi There, not knowing much about the game, has there ever been a clamoring from bringing some New Zealand guys over to play AFL? I remember reading it did not work with a couple of guys previously, but was that due to the teams they were in, or will it just not work?
 

Dory_77

Premiership Player
Apr 2, 2012
3,726
2,851
AFL Club
Melbourne
Hi There, not knowing much about the game, has there ever been a clamoring from bringing some New Zealand guys over to play AFL? I remember reading it did not work with a couple of guys previously, but was that due to the teams they were in, or will it just not work?
Not sure I can ever remember a 'clamour' about it. We had a NZ volleyballer on the category B rookie list for a couple of years in 2013-14 I think. Didn't crack VFL reserves.
Hawthorn have one or two cat B NZers but not sure where they're at.
I think part of the Folau experiment was to entice Polynesian athletes to give footy a try but obviously that didn't play out as hoped.

I'm sure there are NZers who could cut it in the AFL. campaigner and Mike Pyke show rugby players can adapt and fill a role, though probably won't star. I think it's a matter of putting in the time and effort to spot and train players which clubs haven't really commited to (and definitely won't in the short-medium term with COVID cutting into their $$$ so much).
 

kober3742

Debutant
Jan 1, 2013
96
47
AFL Club
Melbourne
Not sure I can ever remember a 'clamour' about it. We had a NZ volleyballer on the category B rookie list for a couple of years in 2013-14 I think. Didn't crack VFL reserves.
Hawthorn have one or two cat B NZers but not sure where they're at.
I think part of the Folau experiment was to entice Polynesian athletes to give footy a try but obviously that didn't play out as hoped.

I'm sure there are NZers who could cut it in the AFL. campaigner and Mike Pyke show rugby players can adapt and fill a role, though probably won't star. I think it's a matter of putting in the time and effort to spot and train players which clubs haven't really commited to (and definitely won't in the short-medium term with COVID cutting into their $$$ so much).
Thank you
 

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