by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Most of the players who made up the Grand Final teams in 1966 would be unfamiliar to fans of today. However, there were some whose names would be known to even the most casual fans of the game. They are the ones listed below as well as those who were named as best on ground for each team in that epic Grand Final.
Terry Waters: reliable forward turned defender, captained the Pies 1970-1971, club best and fairest 1966, All-Australian 1969, and represented Victoria in state games eight times. Played 163 games and kicked 182 goals 1963-1972
Ted Potter: strong defender who could match it with the best forwards of the era. Carlton's Alex Jesaulenko, Richmond's Royce Hart and St Kilda's Darrel Baldock all said he was their toughest opponent. Represented Victoria four times. Played 182 games 1963-1973
Des Tuddenham: another club legend and one of the toughest half-forwards of his day. Captain 1966-69 and again in 1976 (he crossed to Essendon for a time due to a pay dispute), club best and fairest 1963. It was his seven goals in the 1966 Semi-Final which helped the Magpies defeat St Kilda ahead of the Grand Final. A badly broken leg in 1975 left him with a noticeable hobble but he continued to play for two more seasons. Named as one of the best on ground in the Grand Final. Played 182 games for Collingwood 1962-1971 and 1976-1977, kicked 251 goals, played 69 games with Essendon 1972--75 and kicked 66 goals. Collingwood Team of the Century.
Max Pitt: long kicking winger/flanker who played in the 1966 Grand Final in his debut season. Played 27 games and kicked seven goals for Collingwood 1966-68, played seven games and kicked one goal for St Kilda 1968-69. A badly broken arm in a 1966 post-season game was not set correctly which delayed his start to the 1967 season. He was sacked by Collingwood half way through the 1998 season and crossed to the Saints.
Ray Gabelich: strong kicking rover who could also take a strong mark. Played 160 games and kicked 43 goals 1955-1960 and 1962-66. Played in Collingwood's 1958 premiership team and won the club best and fairest in 1960. Returned to Western Australia for business reasons where he starred with WA team Perth. Returned to Collingwood in 1962 and was appointed vice-captain. Captained the team 1964-65.
Len Thompson: a rarity as a ruckman in his day, he was extremely mobile, athletic and good at ground level for his size (like some ruckmen of today). Debuted in the 1995 Preliminary Final and was almost an overnight star. Played 270 games and kicked 217 goals for Collingwood 1965-1978. Vice-captain 1973-77 and captain 1978. Club best and fairest 1967-68, 1972-73 and 1977. Won the Brownlow Medal in 1972 and was named All-Australian that year. Represented Victoria five times. Collingwood Team of the Century and AFL Hall of Fame.
Kevin Rose: tough rover who debuted three years after his brother Robert had retired, Robert was Kevin's coach. Played 159 games and kicked 47 goals 1958-1967. Coached Fitzroy 1975-77 and was later president of Collingwood.
Wayne Richardson (best on ground in GF): tall skilled rover who could read the play extremely well. Kept himself fit through extra training on his own and swimming. Played 277 games and kicked 323 goals 1966-1978. Club best and fairest 1971 and 1974, captain 1971-75, Collingwood Team of the Century and AFL Hall of Fame.
Robert Murray: failed as a forward but became one of the best fullbacks of his era. Played 153 games and kicked 47 goals 1963-72 and 1974, club best and fairest 1969 and represented Victoria in eight state games.
Brian Sierakowski: strong ruckman/defender who played 75 games and kicked 2 goals 1664-68. Left the Saints for love when his girlfriend (later wife) had to return to Western Australia. Continued his career in the WAFL and was later a member of the West Coast Eagles board. His son David played 93 games and kicked 27 goals for the Saints 1994-2000.
Verdun Howell: an excellent running defender who played just six games in his 1958 debut season. Became an instant star in 1959. An excellent kick and mark, he came second in the Brownlow voting in 1959 on a countback (then the league used a system of counting how many 3-votes, 2-votes and 1- votes players received to break ties). He, like other players who lost on countbacks, was later awarded a retrospective medal in 1989. Played 159 games and kicked 55 goals 1958-1968, vice-captain to Darrel Baldock 1963-68, St Kilda Team of the Century.
Ian Stewart: a brilliant midfielder who somehow had a knack for finding fellow Tasmanian Darrel Baldock with precise kicking. Had excellent balance. Played 127 games and kicked 25 goals for the Saints 1963-1970. Was traded to Richmond where he played 78 games and kicked 55 goals 1971-75. St Kilda best and fairest 1964, won the Brownlow Medal in 1965 and 1966, All-Australian 1966, St Kilda captain 1969, Richmond best and fairest 1971 and won another Brownlow that year, played in Richmond's 1973 premiership team. Represented Victoria in four state games. Coached South Melbourne (now Sydney) 1976-77 and Carlton for part of 1978, returned to South Melbourne as coach 1979-1981 before returning the Saints in a manager role. AFL Hall of Fame Legend member and member St Kilda Team of the Century.
Ian Cooper (best on ground in GF): beanpole forward (6'2", 147 lbs) who had an excellent "footy brain" and could take spectacular marks. Played 69 games and kicked 31 goals 1964-69. Was best on ground in the 1966 Grand Final and earned state selection but contracted rheumatic fever and could not play. He was sidelined for a year and played just one more game in 1968. He was unable to recapture his previous form and, at the age of just 21, retired.
Darrel Baldock: a phenomenally talented and courageous center half-forward with excellent skills. Played 119 games and kicked 237 goals 1962-68. Club best and fairest 1962, 1963, 1964, club leading goalkicker 1962-65, captain 1962-68, coached the Saints 1987-89 after a stint in the Tasmanian Parliament. Inaugural AFL Hall of Fame inductee 1996, elevated to Hall of Fame legend status 2006, St Kilda Team of the Century.
Barry Breen: best known for the famous point he kicked in the 1966 Grand Final. Had ability but could be inconsistent. Club leading goalkicker in 1970 and represented Victoria in three games. Captain in 1979 and later served as Sydney General Manager.
Kevin Neale: tough as nails, burly and popular player for the Saints who shifted between defense and the forward line. Described as one of the nicest people off the field, he was viewed as a villain by the opposition when he took on the role of the team "enforcer" (the big guy who protects smaller teammates and retaliates if one is attacked by an opponent). Played 256 games and kicked 301 goals 1965-1977, club best and fairest 1973, club leading goalkicker 1966-69, kicked five goals in the 1966 Grand Final, St Klda Team of the Century.
Daryl Griffiths: versatile player who could play defense, midfield or as a rover. Played 123 games and kicked 40 goals 1963-1970, club best and fairest 1970, represented Victoria 1967, 1969 and 1970.
Source: Encyclopedia of League Footballers, AFL Record Season Guide
Article last changed on Monday, September 27, 2010 - 7:56 AM EDT