Bruce Doull vs Francis Bourke

Discussion in 'Polls Board' started by Procrastinator35, May 19, 2017.


Who was the best half back flanker of them all?

  1. Bruce Doull

    27 vote(s)
  2. Francis Bourke

    11 vote(s)
  1. Procrastinator35

    Procrastinator35 Brownlow Medallist

    Other teams:
    Man Utd Green Bay Melb Storm
    Feb 24, 2013
    The GoldenBrown Heart of Victoria
    2 of the leagues premier back flankers here:

    Bruce Doull: 1969-1986; 356 games.

    'The Flying Doormat' as Louie the Lip dubbed him. Doull was the consummate team man & professional, known for his shyness & silence, in letting his actions on the field do all the talking for him. Very similar in vein to Michael Tuck of Hawthorn, that way.....Doull is still to this day, a Blues idol & favorite player of many, due to his humble style & no nonsense demeanor.....Doull was known for his canny ability to read the play & was seldom beaten by his opponents, rarely, if ever, losing his feet....A superb man-marker & spoiler of the ball in one 0n one contests. Doull was 4 time Best & Fairest winner in probably the strongest Carlton era in history, along with 4 Premiership cups to his name....It was Hard not to like Bruce, even if you hated Carlton.

    Francis Bourke: 1967-1981; 300 games.

    St. Francis, as he was dubbed, played the game with rare courage & class, even staying on the ground to discover post game that he had sustained a broken leg in one game....Bourke is, along with Kevin Bartlett, only 1 of 2 Tigers to have played in 5 Premiership teams....A feat only 20 players in history can claim. Tough, versatile & a superbly balanced player, Francis epitomized the style & spirit in which the game should be played. Winning the Tigers Best & Fairest in 1970, Bourke would also go on to both Captain & Coach his beloved Tigers....Bourke played in the Greatest Tiger Premiership winning era in the clubs history, under Tommy Hafey....An era in which he himself comprised a crucial component.

    Bloody hard one to pick this.

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  2. The Blue Baggers

    The Blue Baggers Club Legend

    Apr 7, 2013
    st. francis was one of the best (would not mention his coaching career though)

    doull is close to the greatest defender in the history of the AFL !!
    HalloweenJack likes this.
  3. footyfan78

    footyfan78 Norm Smith Medallist

    Other teams:
    there are no other teams worthy
    Aug 27, 2014

    He IS the greatest backline player in the history of this great game.

  4. Trav 20

    Trav 20 Norm Smith Medallist

    Other teams:
    Oct 5, 2004
    The Corridor
    Doull had the uncanny class of a forward, which is rare for a backman.

    Doull is GOAT in defence.
  5. 95blues

    95blues Club Legend

    Apr 30, 2009
    My old man constantly talks about Bruce Doull. Wish i could have seen him play.

    BLUEALLTHRU Club Legend

    Feb 8, 2012
    Both absolute champions of the game.

    Doully for me.
    Procrastinator35 likes this.
  7. juss

    juss Brownlow Medallist

    Other teams:
    New York Jets, Detroit Pistons
    Feb 23, 2009
    I didn't see either live, but Doull is regarded as one of the best defenders of all time.
    Both Bourke and Doull are in the AFL team of the century, so we are obviously talking about 2 of the very top players to play the game.
    Having not seen either of them live, for me I seem to "hear" more about Doull, and his level of standing in the game. When people talk about Francis, "inspirational" is often the word that comes up.

    I imagine these two would have been pleasures to watch.
    BLUEALLTHRU likes this.
  8. richoatthedisco

    richoatthedisco Brownlow Medallist

    Jun 18, 2007
    Bourke was a great wingman long before he moved to defence. I only caught the very end of his career, at fullback.

    Doull was a great player. I went to a game at Princes Park in 85 or 86, v Geelong. Molly Meldrum kicked 4 in the first quarter. Gary Ablett kicked 5 in the first half, with Doull as his opponent. But he didn't get a sniff after half time. Doull also finished at fullback, and his last game I believe was the 86 grand final, conceding 6 goals to a young Jason Dunstall.

    I'm not in a position to say who was the better half-back-flanker. My old man says Alex Jesaulenko was the best HBF he ever saw.
  9. Wallaby

    Wallaby Norm Smith Medallist

    May 8, 2007
    Ok - this is tricky to put into words.

    Francis Bourke was one of the 2 or 3 most inspirational players I ever saw. He was the natural leader - not because of what he said, or by pointing fingers - he was just the perfect example of courage, do the right thing, support your teammate. Without him saying a word, his teammates followed. Bourke started on a wing, moved to the half-back line and wound up at full-back over his career.

    Bruce Doull was probably a more skilled player. Absolute star (I saw plenty of him, too). He played on Royce Hart and beat him a fair few times (Hart beat him a few times as well). Doull may have been the quickest player I have seen - his reaction speed was out of this world. Pus, like all truly great players, he never fumbled and never fell over. Obviously, hugely admired at the club and across the league, but never had the leadership profile that Bourke did.

    If I am starting a brand-new side, I'll have Bourke and make him captain. If I am picking the best-ever side, with all the best-ever players, who don't need leadership - I'd pick Doull first. And Bourke second.

    Both incredibly fair players - if you beat them fair and square in a contest, they wouldn't resort to cheap shots or 'professional' frees. (Mind you, if either of them tackled you - particularly Bourke - you got tackled hard).
  10. Herne Hill Hammer

    Herne Hill Hammer Brownlow Medallist

    Jun 22, 2008
    Doormat for mine.
  11. Cicatriz

    Cicatriz All Australian

    Sep 25, 2005
    Very close to the best, and certainly in the conversation. A relative of his is also in the conversion, Matt Scarlett.

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