Players with multiple flags to their names by Richard Jones

TotemWhen footy historians compile best-of lists, players who have won more than one fairest and best award plus those who were voted top footballer on the ground in a grand final there’s some other amazing statistics tabulated. How about a list of people who have played in six, seven or more country Victorian premiership-winning sides since World War 2.

Well, noted regional football writer and historian Paul Daffey has done just that in his latest footy book. And the player from Bendigo/central Victoria who has the most flag medallions in his cupboard at home might surprise many of us. No, it’s not ‘Bluey’ Southcombe, Ron Best, Garry Mountjoy, Doug Cail or even Derrick Filo. Although they all have quite a few each. It’s a forward with Golden Square connections just like Besty, Mountie and Southcombe.

Matt ‘Tooley’ O’Toole has no less than 10 flag medallions in his collection: four with Ultima (1996, 2002-2004), one with Tyntynder (1999) and five with the Square (2009-2013).

Not bad, eh? Tooley was very handy around the goalmouth in his five flag seasons at the Square, and even a few seasons prior. He’d taken home the Ron Best medal as the league’s highest goal kicker in 2006 with 82 majors. That was three seasons before Square went on its run of five successive flags with Tooley a key player in each of that quintet.

There are a few outstanding players on nine premierships including Southcombe (which started at the Square in 1972 and continued in 1975-76 and again in 1979) and also take in his four mid-1980s premierships at Northern United plus the 1982 Boort flag) and Stephen Dean also with nine: South Bendigo 1990, 1991 and 1993, and Calivil United: 2003-08.

Joining this select group last September, another on nine flags, is Brady Herdman.

His resume reads: Eaglehawk 2007-08, Wedderburn 2011-14, and North Bendigo 2015-2016 plus last year: 2019. And as well Brady had been named in the 22-strong BFNL Team of the Decade: 2000-2009.

Just retired Strathfieldsaye playing coach Troy Coates now has eight flag medallions in his keeping: Kerang 2004 and 2012-2017 along with last September’s Storm BFNL win for 2019. Among many other players, Coates’ eight takes him alongside Robert ‘Ninga’ O’Connell: three at Square (1975-76, 1979); two at Eaglehawk (1980, 1982) and three at Mt. Pleasant (1990, 1993-1994).

Oh, and who holds the record of owning the most premiership medals since World War 2 ended?

Well it’s John Crisp of Wy Yung and Omeo with a staggering 13 in his collection.

He won at Wy Yung in 1961 and then followed up with these premierships at Omeo: 1962-67, 1970-72 and again from 1975-77.

The Premiership List comes from Paul Daffey’s latest book: The Totem Poles of Ouyen United – Travels in Country Footy.

To purchase a copy contact the author: pauldaffey27@gmail.com

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