Hardest man to play AFL/VFL

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rogiebear93

Norm Smith Medallist
May 17, 2017
5,308
10,941
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Hell of a bump!

The interesting part in this thread is all the old heads talking about the tough, 'ard blokes from bygone years. I honestly think a lot of the players now are harder than they were.

They definitely crack into the contest harder and more often, tackle and get tackled more. Less cheap shots and more genuine tough football.

Joel Selwood, as much as I hate to say it, is an extremely hard footballer. The way he draws free kicks is frustrating, but the fact he gets so many really speaks to how much contest work he does. Simply does not shirk.

Luke Hodge, biased maybe but he was definitely a hard footballer. Showing his ribs in the 2008 Grand Final then going on to win a Norm Smith was tremendous. No backward steps ever taken.
 

Topkent

Hall of Famer
Aug 29, 2010
36,037
44,763
Canada
AFL Club
Melbourne
Other Teams
Winnipeg Jets
Hell of a bump!

The interesting part in this thread is all the old heads talking about the tough, 'ard blokes from bygone years. I honestly think a lot of the players now are harder than they were.

They definitely crack into the contest harder and more often, tackle and get tackled more. Less cheap shots and more genuine tough football.

Joel Selwood, as much as I hate to say it, is an extremely hard footballer. The way he draws free kicks is frustrating, but the fact he gets so many really speaks to how much contest work he does. Simply does not shirk.

Luke Hodge, biased maybe but he was definitely a hard footballer. Showing his ribs in the 2008 Grand Final then going on to win a Norm Smith was tremendous. No backward steps ever taken.
Nah Hodge is definently hard. Plays football like a man, gives it out but never shirked a contest and never complained. Not many blokes play the game like him anymore.
 

Herne Hill Hammer

Premium Platinum
Jun 22, 2008
19,098
14,140
Cowes
AFL Club
Geelong
Who would be the toughest, most courageous, and most feared player that you have ever seen play football?

Leigh Matthews would be the first name that comes to mind- he played it tough, hard and dirty at times but when it came to his turn to take a hit he never backed down. Plus he was a great player and kicked over 900 goals.
Except for that one time in a SOO game, after he'd taken Cable out, when he put in some short steps going back with the flight, when no-one was within 20 metres of him and he did a one armed, short armed jab in effort to mark the ball.
 

Herne Hill Hammer

Premium Platinum
Jun 22, 2008
19,098
14,140
Cowes
AFL Club
Geelong
When I think of hard footballers I have them in 2 categories, the crash and bask of a Voss or Selwood or the aerial bravery of the likes of Gavin Brown or Ken Hunter. Rowdy or KHunter couldn't lay them out but I don't think I ever saw them shirk anything.

I guess a combination of the two would be Jonathon Brown.
 

Doashuey

Club Legend
Sep 13, 2017
1,750
3,597
AFL Club
West Coast
Lonergan was bloody tough. After coming back from losing a kidney after backing into a pack, his first game back some 12 months later he did exactly the same thing. That takes a lot of guts. Joel Selwood, for all the hate against him plays the game fu**in hard and is tough as nails. Jono Brown had no fear, constistently running with the flight of the ball even after a couple of horrendous concussions. Paul Kelly of the Swans was incredibly tough- 100% at every single contest for over 300 games. Nat Fyfe's effort to play on through a broken leg was a pretty fair effort too. Dermy was hard, dirty as well, but what he did in the 89 GF took a lot of courage and personified the way he would do anything to win. McGovern in that GF in 2018, just to get on the ground with the injury he had, then recieve more cracked ribs in the game and then play the game he did was one of the most impressive things I recall watching.
 

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Hounddd

All Australian
Sep 22, 2012
870
1,941
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
From what I've seen, cracking into a ground level contest - I can't go past the likes of Michael Voss, Paul Kelly and Joel Selwood.

I still think running back with both arms raised for the mark is the absolute summit of bravery on a footy field. I have never seen anyone do it as often as Jonathon Brown. The bloke was borderline suicidal.

Special (somewhat bias) mention to Jack Graham for what he did in the Prelim this year. I know, plenty of players have come back on the field injured, but I thought it took a special effort for a 20yr old.
 

South of the Yarra

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 23, 2006
5,773
4,042
Victoria
AFL Club
Collingwood
Hell of a bump!

The interesting part in this thread is all the old heads talking about the tough, 'ard blokes from bygone years. I honestly think a lot of the players now are harder than they were.

They definitely crack into the contest harder and more often, tackle and get tackled more. Less cheap shots and more genuine tough football.

Joel Selwood, as much as I hate to say it, is an extremely hard footballer. The way he draws free kicks is frustrating, but the fact he gets so many really speaks to how much contest work he does. Simply does not shirk.

Luke Hodge, biased maybe but he was definitely a hard footballer. Showing his ribs in the 2008 Grand Final then going on to win a Norm Smith was tremendous. No backward steps ever taken.

They were tough, hard men especially those of the 20s and 30s. Many of them were playing on a Saturday arvo after working in the boot factories, breweries and abattoirs on a Saturday morning. The players of today would not cope with the struggle or disadvantage those players went on the field with. There is no comparison.
 

sobrave

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 15, 2015
9,464
17,477
42° south
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
They were tough, hard men especially those of the 20s and 30s. Many of them were playing on a Saturday arvo after working in the boot factories, breweries and abattoirs on a Saturday morning. The players of today would not cope with the struggle or disadvantage those players went on the field with. There is no comparison.
Wow that's amazing, surely there's no one these days that could handle working in an abattoir then playing footy on the weekend. Except, you know, the people that do it.
 

QuietB

Brownlow Medallist
May 13, 2008
22,525
26,793
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Colbert is the most courageous player I reckon I've seen. Fearless, was often too courageous for his own good. Theres courage and then theres stupidity and he crossed the line on numerous times

The most courageous player I've seen at the Dogs is Chris Grant. Rarely gets any credit for it but time and time again he backs into packs, he never takes a backwards step and he has played with some terrible injuries. He hurt his medial ligament in 2005 against Hawthorn in a game he went into with a fractured jaw that got plated during the week and a shoulder that had popped out. How do you play with a dislocated shoulder and fractured jaw??

He's fearless, tough and still fair
In the spirit of these guys Gavin Wanganeen deserves a mention. He was stupid (good - ie. never a sniper/clean as a whistle) hard.

Dipper and Dermot though are next level. Dipper didn’t even report his injuries in the 89 grand final. Just kept going. And Dermott not only got up and played - but he put his hands above his head time after time exposing his ribs after the Yates hit. They are both completely crazy.
 

Rettolalia

🏆🏆🏆🏆
Nov 22, 2019
342
301
AFL Club
West Coast
Clearly biased, and unoriginal, but Woosha is right up there.

Wasn’t a sniper, all good clean hits in that era.

And was always willing to take one of his own, when the time came. Unlike most of the ‘hardmen’ that came after him.
 

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