Our brightest stars: Great Northern Football League

Friday, June 19, 2020 - 10:45 AM

Western Australia has a proud history of developing elite football talent, with many of the game’s brightest stars beginning their careers at local junior football clubs right across the State.

In a series of articles highlighting the rich talent pool in WA over the years, Lenny Fogliani takes a closer look at the best current and former WAFL and AFL players to emerge from junior clubs in WA’s regions and districts.

This article focusses on junior clubs in the Great Northern Football League.

To find your local junior club, please click here.

A number of great players have come from the Great Northern Football League. Below are some of the most notable.

Photo: Paul Hasleby

GREAT NORTHERN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Great Northern Football League is an Australian Rules football league centred around Geraldton in Western Australia.

The League was formed in 1961 as a merger of the Geraldton Football Association and the Northampton-Upper Chapman Football Association.

There are currently seven teams that compete within the League – Brigades, Chapman Valley, Mullewa, Northampton, Railways, Rovers, and Towns.

Towns have won the most premierships with 13, while Railways have won the second-most premierships with 12. Mullewa have won 9, Rovers have won 8, Northampton have 6, Brigades have 5 and Chapman Valley have won 4.

There have been some great WAFL and AFL players who have originated from the Great Northern Football League. Below are some of the more recognised.

PAUL HASLEBY - NORTHAMPTON

Known as “Haze,” Hasleby went on to become one of Fremantle’s all-time great players. Across 11 seasons, Hasleby played 208 games (7th most by a Docker), kicked 131 goals (10th most by a Docker) and had career averages of 22 possessions, 4 marks, 4 clearances, and 3 tackles. He has won the most Glendinning-Allan Medals with four (2002, 2003, 2004, 2009), won the 2000 NAB Rising Star Award and the 2000 AFLPA Best First Year Player Award, won selection in the 2003 All-Australian team on the interchange bench and represented Australia in the 2003 International Rules Series. He earned Life Membership at Fremantle in 2007, was named in the Dockers 25 since 95 team in 2019 and was inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame in 2015. He is currently a co-host of the Sportsday WA program.

PATRICK CRIPPS – NORTHAMPTON

The Cousin of West Coast’s Jamie Cripps, Patrick has quickly become one of the premier inside midfielders of the competition. Across seven seasons, Cripps has played 102 AFL games, in which he currently averages 26 possessions (16 contested), 8 clearances and 6 tackles. In these seven seasons, he has won three Best and Fairests (2015, 2018, 2019), an AFLPA MVP Award (2019), two All-Australian guernseys (2018, 2019), and three top-ten Brownlow placings (2016: 8th, 2018: 4th, 2019: 3rd). In 2015, he became the second-youngest player to win Carlton’s Best and Fairest Award. Prior to the 2020 season, Cripps was rated as the fifth best player, and the third best midfielder in the AFL.

JOSH KENNEDY - NORTHAMPTON

A former WA junior state basketballer, Kennedy has been one of the greatest key forwards of the modern era. He has played a total of 243 games and has kicked 611 goals (the 31st most goals kicked ever in VFL/AFL history). Between 2006 and 2007, Kennedy played 22 games and kicked 11 goals for Carlton before joining West Coast during the 2007 Trade Period. Since joining West Coast, he has booted the most goals (600) and has played the fourteenth most games (222) in the Club’s history. During his time with the Eagles, he was a member of the 2018 Premiership team, won six Club Leading Goalkicker Awards, two Coleman Medals, three All-Australian guernseys and two Glendinning-Allan Medals.

LIAM ANTHONY - RAILWAYS

Nicknamed “LA,” Anthony was one of East Fremantle’s best players of the modern era. He played 79 games and kicked 50 goals across six seasons for the Sharks. During his time with the Sharks, Anthony won the Sharks’ Best and Fairest in 2016, finished second in 2008, and had three top twelve placings in the Sandover Medal (2008: 12th, 2015: 8th, 2016: 4th). Between 2009 and 2014, Anthony was on North Melbourne’s list where he played 58 AFL games and 30 VFL games for North Melbourne’s VFL-affiliate team, the North Ballarat Roosters. During his stint with the Kangaroos, Anthony won the 2014 North Ballarat Best and Fairest, and finished second in the 2014 JJ Liston Trophy. He is currently the Programs Coordinator at the Stephen Michael Foundation.

PADDY RYDER – ROVERS

The son of former East Fremantle player Revis Ryder, Paddy has been one of the most dynamic ruck-forwards of the modern era. Across 14 seasons, Ryder has played 243 games (170 with Essendon and 73 with Port Adelaide) and has kicked 171 goals. In 2017, he won Port Adelaide’s Best and Fairest, was named the All-Australian ruckman and was invited to represent Australia in the International Rules Series after he kicked 11 goals and averaged 13 possessions (9 contested), 38 hit-outs, 4 clearances, 3 marks, 3 inside 50s and 3 tackles across 22 games. In 2009, he was awarded the ANZAC Day Medal after a stellar performance against Collingwood (17 possessions – 11 contested – 27 hit-outs, 13 tackles and a goal). Throughout his career, he has three top-ten placings in a Best and Fairest count (2008: 7th, 2009: 4th, 2014: 7th), has represented the Indigenous All Stars on two occasions (2007, 2013) and won Essendon’s Most Courageous Award in 2009. He joined St Kilda at the end of the 2019 season.

HARRY TAYLOR – ROVERS

The former bricklayer has gone on to become one of Geelong’s greatest players of the modern era. Since 2008, Taylor has played 262 games (13th most by a Geelong player) and currently averages 16 possessions, 6 marks and 3 rebounding 50s. He was a key member of Geelong’s 2009 Premiership triumph over St Kilda (14 possessions, 5 marks and 4 rebounding 50s) and 2011 Premiership over Collingwood (11 possessions, 4 marks and 3 rebounding 50s). He has won two All-Australian guernseys (2010, 2013), represented Australia in the International Rules Series on two occasions (2014, 2015), won the Jim Stynes Medal in 2015 and won Geelong’s Best First Year Player Award in 2008. Prior to being drafted by Geelong, Taylor was a star for East Fremantle, playing 49 games and kicking 30 goals across three seasons. In 2007, he finished third in East Fremantle’s Best and Fairest.

List of other notable footballers from the Great Northern Football League.

PLAYER

JUNIOR CLUB/S

WAFL CLUB/S

AFL CLUB/S

Clint Kirey

Brigades

East Fremantle

Adelaide

Jack Perham

Brigades

East Fremantle

Collingwood

Graham Polak

Brigades

East Fremantle

Fremantle

Richmond

Leith Teakle

Brigades

East Fremantle

Collingwood

Aidan Tropiano

Brigades

East Fremantle

Perth Demons

-

Callum Papertalk

Chapman Valley

East Fremantle

West Coast Eagles

Dwayne Simpson

Mullewa

East Fremantle

Fremantle

Sydney

Joshua Simpson

Mullewa

East Fremantle

Swan Districts

Fremantle

Daniel Chick

Northampton

East Fremantle

Subiaco

Hawthorn

West Coast Eagles

Jamie Cripps

Northampton

East Fremantle

St Kilda

West Coast Eagles

Patrick Cripps

Northampton

East Fremantle

Carlton

Paul Hasleby

Northampton

East Fremantle

South Fremantle

Fremantle

Josh Kennedy

Northampton

East Fremantle

Carlton

West Coast Eagles

Andrew Lockyer

Northampton

East Fremantle

West Coast Eagles

Liam Anthony

Railways

East Fremantle

North Melbourne

Craig Burrows

Railways

East Fremantle

Fremantle

Jaegar O’Meara

Railways

Perth Demons

Gold Coast

Hawthorn

Jayden Schofield

Railways

East Fremantle

Western Bulldogs

Simon Tunbridge

Railways

Perth Demons

GWS Giants

West Coast Eagles

Shane Woewodin

Railways

East Fremantle

Collingwood

Melbourne

Murray Wrensted

Railways

East Fremantle

Collingwood

West Coast Eagles

Shannon Cox

Rovers

South Fremantle

Collingwood

Chris Mainwaring

Rovers

East Fremantle

West Coast Eagles

Liam Ryan

Rovers

Subiaco

West Coast Eagles

Paddy Ryder

Rovers

East Fremantle

Essendon

Port Adelaide

St Kilda

Harry Taylor

Rovers

East Fremantle

Geelong

Dale Baynes

Towns

East Fremantle

Collingwood

Rhys Cooyou

Towns

East Fremantle

GWS Giants

Calib Mourish

Towns

East Fremantle

Fremantle

Jim Sewell

Towns

East Fremantle

Footscray

Jack Martin

Towns

Rover

Claremont

Carlton

Gold Coast Suns

Brad Dick

Brigades

Chapman Valley

East Fremantle

Collingwood