The 5 debuts that have gone down in footy folklore


THE petition to change the Princes Highway to Highway to the Danger Zone has already begun in Geelong.

Seriously. You can sign it here:

But while Patrick Dangerfield’s first Cats game was easy on the eye, he’d already established himself as a reasonably handy footballer before moving to Sleepy Hollow.

Other first-game heroes burst onto the scene without so much as introduction – then disappeared just as quickly.



JOHN Coleman was in a rush.

When he was 12, he was playing in the local under-18s team.

When he debuted for Essendon in 1949, he kicked a goal with his first kick – and went on to kick 11 more.

When he was just 25-years-old, he dislocated his knee and never played again.

Then, at age 44, he passed away suddenly in his Dromana home.

The Coleman story is the go-to for legendary debuts. His 12 goal-haul is a record for any Essendon player in a single match, while his 537 goals in just 98 games sits in second for average goals per match in the entire league.

A genuine legend of our game.



SPEAKING of genuine legends of our game, John Georgiades isn’t one of them

Although he kicked 8 goals in his debut for Footscray in 1989, he’d finish his career with just 19 more – sent packing back to Perth with only 15 games under his belt.

According to his Linkedin page though, Georgiades has been kicking goals as a director in the banking sector.

Shitty footballers rejoice, there is life after football.



ANOTHER West Australian product to make an immediate impact in the VFL, Warren Ralph kicked 9 goals on debut for Carlton in 1984.

A star of the WAFL, Ralph put up Coleman-like stats at Claremont (123 games, 564 goals) before trying his hand in Melbourne.

In a rollercoaster career that would put Robert Downey Jr to shame, injury and form saw Ralph in the Blues reserves at the end of 1986 and seeking a transfer to another VFL team.

A falling out with Carlton coach Robert Walls (no, for real?) meant his clearance requests were denied, and he was forced to play in the SANFL for a year before one more season back at Claremont.



AT the very same time that Ralph was giving misguided hope to Warrens Australia-wide, Greg Williams was doing a better job of it for Gregs down the highway in Geelong.

A Bendigo product, Williams was fair game for Carlton to recruit in the early-80s, but they passed due to a perception that he was slow.

Instead, the Cats jumped on him and he debuted in 1984 with 38 disposals and a best-on-ground performance.

It was the most touches ever for a player wearing the blue and white hoops for the first time … until Easter Monday, 2016.



THE anchor hanging off the neck of the Fremantle jumper is symbolic.

Hasleby started his career with a 30 disposal game against Geelong in Round 1, 2000.

The Dockers lost, but it seemed like they had found a genuine gun.

After a solid season and a Rising Star Award win, the anchor started to ever so slowly drag him under.

Injury and, ya know, playing for Fremantle, meant Hasleby never again reached the lofty heights of his first year.

He retired in 2010 after a respectable 208 games.

One Reply to “The 5 debuts that have gone down in footy folklore”

  1. 17 year old Carl Ditterich’s debut for St Kilda against Melbourne was probably the second most spectacular ever (behind only John Coleman’s)

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