Club History Players you didn't think would make it, but did!

Jade

Smug lives here.
Joined
Jul 8, 2008
Posts
32,619
Likes
47,791
AFL Club
Essendon
Thread starter #1
Shamelessly stolen as a counterpart to this thread as a bit off-season fun.

Which players did you think weren't going to make it, but actually turned in to decent (or better) VFL/AFL footballers?

Couple that spring to mind for me:

David Hille - Something about this guy just screamed at me he wasn't going to make it. He didn't look like a ruckman (brutes), and his first couple of years he was clearly not up to the standard of a standalone AFL ruck. Reality was, he was being played as a number one ruck at 20yo, and took time to develop in to a player capable of matching it with the best. Ended up playing a touch under 200 games, and kicked over 150 goals (which for a ruckman places him 4th behind only Madden, Salmon and Alessio at Essendon). Was playing such good footy in to his early thirties, Essendon was still trying to fit three genuine ruckmen in to its side.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti - Man I have never been so glad to be wrong. The knock on him for me was that despite his obvious talent with the ball in hand, he lacked the fitness to run both ways and truly perform at AFL level. This kid is the bright, shining example of what busting your arse to get where you want to be looks like.

Jobe Watson - Let's face it, much as his name made you want him to make it, in the mid-2000s he was looking more likely a bust than an AFL player, even an average one. A change of position, a rapid increase in fitness and a professionalism and leadership he held right through his career, and in this posters opinion will be in the top handful of clearance midfielders of the 2010s. Absolute star.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

blitzer

Norm Smith Medallist
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Posts
5,506
Likes
5,593
Location
House
AFL Club
Essendon
#2
I really didn't think Langford would make it around his 2nd and even during part of his 3rd year. He seemed to lack the intensity required to really succeed at AFL level. I've really come around now and I think he could end up quite a good player. Could end up one of the better success stories of developing through our VFL side.
 

Pweter

Brownlow Medallist
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
12,513
Likes
15,409
Location
Right here, right now
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Central Districts, Detroit Pistons
#3
Dean Wallis. I'm still not sure he truely made it as such but being a part of 2 flags 7 years apart in a what... 13(??) year career suggests otherwise. Was the enforcer we needed in 93 and a key member of one of the most aggressive and brutal defences of recent times in 2000.
 

Elvis

Senior List
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Posts
294
Likes
551
Location
melbourne
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Miami Dolphins, LFC, NY Rangers
#6
I have never been more wrong about a player than Cale Hooker. At one stage I thought he might have been the worst player I had seen pull on the red and black. Turns out that I am just the worst judge of talent
 

Pweter

Brownlow Medallist
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
12,513
Likes
15,409
Location
Right here, right now
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Central Districts, Detroit Pistons
#11
yaco55 windyhill and anyone else who saw a lot of footy form the late 70s.

I heard many a person almost laughed at the player Roger Merrett was when he first started playing in the reserves. From there to a duel premiership player for us to the fantastic player and club stalwart he was for the Brisbane Bears was quite a transformation over the journey.

Was he that bad when he first started, or did I hear a story that was devoid of fact?
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Howard Moon

Brownlow Medallist
Joined
Dec 14, 2008
Posts
15,530
Likes
21,770
AFL Club
Essendon
#15
Cale hooker - I used to cringe any time he got the ball, didnt know where it would go, ran like a busted arse, thought there was no hope! Proven very very wrong.

Dean Wallis/Kevin Walsh - never thought they would or could, both ended premiership players due to being Sheedy pets I guess

Tbell - never thought he'd make it, but has tonned up so I guess I was wrong, never seemed to have the drive or urgency - but proved me wrong last year
 

Howard Moon

Brownlow Medallist
Joined
Dec 14, 2008
Posts
15,530
Likes
21,770
AFL Club
Essendon
#17
Dean Solomon - Just didn't see anything in him early days. He turned out to be a very important player in that awesome 2000 side.
Andrew Welsh was a bit that way for me - I guess everyone cant be stars but maybe the mid tier players who gain leadership skills get to prolong a career that way.
 

windyhill

Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 4, 2001
Posts
30,164
Likes
9,033
Location
East Burwood
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Arsenal
#18
yaco55 windyhill and anyone else who saw a lot of footy form the late 70s.

I heard many a person almost laughed at the player Roger Merrett was when he first started playing in the reserves. From there to a duel premiership player for us to the fantastic player and club stalwart he was for the Brisbane Bears was quite a transformation over the journey.

Was he that bad when he first started, or did I hear a story that was devoid of fact?
Yep, he copped it, very raw and ungainly. The making of him was the hit man controversy, thanks to Don Scott, who was an expert on thuggish matters, coming out and announcing that there was a hit man in league football. Roger never looked back from that moment. 1983, still have the articles in a scrapbook
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Posts
1,366
Likes
3,773
AFL Club
Essendon
#19
Yep, he copped it, very raw and ungainly. The making of him was the hit man controversy, thanks to Don Scott, who was an expert on thuggish matters, coming out and announcing that there was a hit man in league football. Roger never looked back from that moment. 1983, still have the articles in a scrapbook
Yes I remember that story at the time, also remember he started to dominate after that. Thanks Don Scott!
 

Pweter

Brownlow Medallist
Joined
Feb 12, 2010
Posts
12,513
Likes
15,409
Location
Right here, right now
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Central Districts, Detroit Pistons
#20
Yep, he copped it, very raw and ungainly. The making of him was the hit man controversy, thanks to Don Scott, who was an expert on thuggish matters, coming out and announcing that there was a hit man in league football. Roger never looked back from that moment. 1983, still have the articles in a scrapbook
Thanks. He wasn't a hit man, he just happened to be a tad uncoordinated with long limbs and sharp elbows.
 
Top Bottom