Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers – newsXpress Glenorchy

Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers

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Every ALF/VFL player since 1897

This will be the 11th edition of the publication known as the Bible of footy. First published in 1992, it has sold over 120,000 copies in total. When Ben McKay ran onto the ground for North Melbourne in the Round 23, 2017 game against Brisbane he would have felt the same sense of enthusiasm and uncertainty as the long list of footballers who have gone before him. Young Ben became the 12,580th man to appear in League football since the competition began way back in May 1897. As the last debutante for 2017 he faced a vastly different scenario in so many ways to those pioneers of 1897.

The warriors who slogged it out on four suburban Melbourne ovals would never have dreamed that this would grow into Australia's biggest national sporting competition with 18 teams spanning Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Nor would they have thought that one day the competition would play a game in New Zealand or China, or would play games in a purpose built stadium under a roof. For Ben McKay and all those before him, those thoughts were non-existent. The age-old dilemma of how to get his hands on the ball and get a kick was first and foremost. Ben McKay is one of 1101 footballers who have just the one game next to their names. Surprisingly 20 per cent of all players will have careers that don't extend beyond three games.

The turnover is such that since the last edition of this book a total of 349 players have debuted in the AFL. Footy is an ever-evolving game, and so too is this Encyclopedia as new facts constantly emerge and are added to the tales of players from long ago as well as those from today.