The 14 sets of brothers who have played the most games in the VFL/AFL


NOBODY could accuse the Geelong Football Club of not being the sharing and caring types.

When the Cats saw that the Giants were coming to town they kindly decided to run the Just Think campaign this weekend, encouraging Geelong fans to dress in orange to support the cause – against the only team in the league that wears orange. Brilliant.

To be fair to the club, the campaign against alcohol fuelled violence is a good one, one that we encourage every Geelong fan to get behind by heading down to the Atrium Bar in Legend’s Plaza at Kardinia Park, sinking a few beers, and trying not to punch the lights out of each other like our Tasmanian friends.

Now in the spirit of giving the hard-working Giants a leg up, we at The Hickey Stand decided to give the new kids on the block a bit of love and pen an article on them. Given this site is predominantly history based, it wasn’t an overly easy task, but we did stumble on a cool stat that went almost completely overlooked in Round 4.

The perpetually childlike back pocket Heath Shaw notched the 503rd game between he and his older brother Rhyce, overtaking the 502 games that their father, Ray, and his brothers, Tony and Neville, played combined.

Between the entire Shaw family they’ve now played 1007 games, well ahead of the next lot of footballing family royalty – the Abletts – who currently have 987 games between them.

In putting up their 500th game, Heath and Rhyce Shaw become the 14th set of brothers to do so in VFL/AFL history, inspiring this article about brothers … who have played 500 games … between them. #couldntthinkofabetterintroduction

Tiny juices, the secret to longevity.

THE DANIHERS (752 games): Terry Daniher (South Melbourne/Essendon, 313 games); Anthony Daniher (South Melbourne/Essendon, 233 games); Chris Daniher (Essendon, 124 games); Neale Daniher (Essendon, 82 games)

*ARGUABLY Australian Football’s most famous family, the Daniher clan – all 11 siblings – were born in country New South Wales and could have easily been lost to Rugby League.

Terry, the eldest of the four boys, used to dabble in the other code at school but was ultimately seduced by Aussie Rules’ skill, physicality, and general ability to be the superior of the two sports.

Raised right on the edge of ‘The Barassi Line‘, a giant Sherrin football has been erected in their home town of Ungarie with the Daniher name emblazoned on the side, warning all league lovers that they’d best watch their step.

The bouquet catch was serious business at Madden weddings.

THE MADDENS (710 games): Simon Madden (Essendon, 378 games); Justin Madden (Essendon/Carlton, 332 games)

*COMFORTABLY holding the record for the most games played between just two brothers, Simon and Justin Madden also combined for a staggering 404cm in height – about the length of a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle for those of us who need visualisations that don’t help at all.

Both trained as teachers, Justin made great use of his skills dealing with petulant children after he retired from footy, entering state politics and becoming Planning Minister for the Labor Government, until calling it quits at the end of 2015.

The 2000s. Name me a worse time for fashion and hairstyles. I’ll wait.

THE SELWOODS (674 games as of May 3, 2018): Joel Selwood (Geelong, 255 games); Adam Selwood (West Coast, 187 games); Scott Selwood (West Coast/Geelong, 157 games); Troy Selwood (Brisbane, 75 games)

*BORN in Bendigo bleeding profusely from the head after being taken high by the doctor, the Selwood boys have quietly crept up this list since twins Adam and Troy were drafted in 2002.

Just 21 sets of twins have played VFL/AFL football, and the baby of the Selwood quartet, Scott, is related to one pair (Troy and Adam), is coached by one of a pair (Chris Scott), plays with one of a pair (Jake Kolodjashnij), and used to play with one of a pair at the Eagles (Mitch Brown).

And here he was thinking he had double-vision from all those head knocks.

Tony Morwood (left) with the distinctly non-Morwoodish Bob Skilton.

THE MORWOODS (611 games): Tony Morwood (South Melbourne, 229 games); Shane Morwood (South Melbourne/Collingwood, 212 games); Paul Morwood (South Melbourne/St Kilda/Collingwood, 170 games)

*WHAT happens after you Selwood? You get Morwood.

The Morwood brothers are the very definition of solid without being spectacular. Tony played 229 games for the Swans and snagged 397 goals along the way, earning him a spot on the half-forward flank in the Swans’ Team of the Century.

Shane Morwood played the majority of his footy in the backline for Collingwood after refusing to move to Sydney during the South Melbourne relocation. It was a stubbornness that paid dividends, as he went on to play in the Magpies’ drought-breaking 1990 premiership.

And Paul Morwood, the eldest of the brothers, had the Grim Reaper create him an invisibility cloak that allowed him to avoid his mortality until he was ready to embrace Death as an old friend. Wait, that’s from Harry Potter. Paul Morwood had a decent career, mainly at St Kilda where he debuted alongside Tony Lockett and won the 1985 club best and fairest.

Thank god we don’t have to show another photo of Port Adelaide players holding the premiership cup…

THE BURGOYNES (584 games as of May 3, 2018): Shaun Burgoyne (Port Adelaide/Hawthorn, 344 games); Peter Burgoyne (Port Adelaide, 240 games)

*THE only Indigenous brothers to make the list, the Burgoyne boys played in Port Adelaide’s 2004 premiership, one of 22 sets of siblings to appear in a Grand Final winning team together.

Eventually, it was another Grand Final that cost the Power the brothers – the club’s 2007 119-point capitulation to Geelong. Fed up with the finger pointing and fractured playing group after that disastrous day, Peter decided to retire at the end of 2009 and Shaun requested a trade to Hawthorn.

The trade paid dividends for Shaun, as he went on to star in Hawthorn’s back-to-back-to-back flags from 2013 to 2015, becoming the second most capped finals player in history behind Michael Tuck.

Fun fact, Burgoyne means someone from Burgundy in France. OK, maybe not that fun, but we genuinely had no idea where the name came from before today.

Geelong games record holder Corey Enright looking mighty Nankervis to be standing between Bruce and Ian.

THE NANKERVIS’S (578 games): Ian Nankervis (Geelong, 325 games); Bruce Nankervis (Geelong, 253 games)

*OTHER than providing us with some brilliant rhyming slang for being nervous, the Nankervis brothers were known for dominating in Geelong during the 1970s, winning three club best and fairests between them.

Ian, who held the Geelong games record until Corey Enright surpassed him in 2016, became a science teacher after his footy career finished, while Bruce took up electrical engineering, providing them with the perfect team pick-up line of “My brother brings the chemistry but I provide the spark”.


THE CORNES’S (555 games): Kane Cornes (Port Adelaide, 300 games); Chad Cornes (Port Adelaide/GWS, 255 games)

*THE other brothers to feature in Port Adelaide’s 2004 premiership and 2007 humiliation, Chad and Kane Cornes have kept out of the spotlight since retiring from footy.

Yeah, nah, not really. Kane, who gave up football earlier than expected to become a firefighter, gave up firefighting earlier than expected to do what all good retired footballers do – become a part of the media that they so hated when they were playing.

Meanwhile, Chad has taken to becoming a sweary runner for the Power, copping a suspension this week for telling North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein that he wasn’t a very nice person for his hit on Ollie Wines.

The monster. Get out your pitchforks, folks.

Brother. I’ll swap you my head hair if you give me some of the beard.

THE MCVEIGHS (538 games as of May 3, 2018): Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney, 306 games); Mark McVeigh (Essendon, 232 games)

*KEEPING up the solid showing from New South Wales, Central Coast’s McVeigh brothers both took a while to find their feet in the AFL before becoming mainstays at their respective clubs.

Jarrad, the No.5 draft pick in 2002, became Sydney’s premiership captain in 2012 and continues to piss off Geelong fans at Kardinia Park with his ridiculously good winning record at GMHBACCCommBankofAmerica Stadium.

Back when men were men and shorts were fucking huge and worn just under the nipples.

THE COVENTRYS (533 games): Gordon Coventry (Collingwood, 306 games); Syd Coventry (Collingwood, 227 games)

*THERE  are not many names held in greater esteem at Collingwood than the Coventry brothers.

While most footy fans know of Gordon’s feat as the second greatest goalkicker in league history, less know of Syd’s achievements as Collingwood’s four-time premiership winning captain.

Originally signing with St Kilda in 1921, Syd was forced to sit out that season when he decided to join his younger brother at Victoria Park instead. A small ruckman at just 180cm, Syd quickly became the Collingwood skipper in 1927, earning a reputation as a hard, inspiring captain. In one game against the Blues, Syd suffered a fractured skull in a dirty hit from his opponent. After the match he was reported as saying “it was worth it, we beat Carlton”.

It doesn’t get much more Collingwood than that.

Max Richardson was so dedicated to the shot that he somehow got part of the Big V tattooed onto his hand.

THE RICHARDSONS (518 games): Wayne Richardson (Collingwood, 277 games); Max Richardson (Collingwood/Fitzroy, 241 games)

*ORIGINALLY from Perth, Collingwood lured the then 20-year-old Wayne Richardson to Victoria Park in 1965, where he was forced to sit out a season of footy as the pissy South Fremantle Football Club did everything they could to block the transfer.

When Wayne did eventually pull on the boots, he became one of the Magpies’ best midfielders in history, winning two club best and fairests and captaining the team for four years.

Little brother Max followed Wayne across the country in 1969, becoming the Magpies captain for one season in 1977, before finishing his career at Fitzroy.

The Hand of God. What a finals series. Up until the last game, of course.

THE ABLETTS (515 games): Gary Ablett Sr (Hawthorn/Geelong, 248 games); Geoff Ablett (Hawthorn/Richmond/St Kilda, 229 games); Kevin Ablett (Hawthorn/Richmond/Geelong, 38 games)

*THERE aren’t many surnames held in higher esteem for talent alone than the Ablett family.

Second on the list for most games played by a family when you factor in Gary Jr, Nathan, and Luke’s contributions, their record includes two Brownlow Medals, three Coleman Medals, three premierships, and countless memories of some of the best marks and goals we’ve ever seen.

While Gary Sr is the most well known of the three brothers, Geoff was an exceptional player in his own right, playing on the wing for Hawthorn whilst also winning the annual Grand Final sprint four times.

Nothing says 1990s like woollen jumpers, Camry Crows, and terrible haircuts.

THE WAKELINS (513 games): Darryl Wakelin (St Kilda/Port Adelaide, 261 games); Shane Wakelin (St Kilda/Collingwood, 252 games)

*THE Wakelin twins should be remembered for being two of the best key position defenders throughout the 2000s – but that’s boring.

Shane Wakelin, who was drafted to St Kilda but ended up playing the majority of his career at Collingwood, was one of four Saints players featured at the start of the video to TISM’s brilliant song Greg, The Stop Sign.

Darrly Wakelin was originally drafted by Adelaide but didn’t play a game, so moved to join his brother at St Kilda before heading to Port Adelaide. At the Power, he is best remembered for being involved in the worst Grand Final punch up in recorded history with Brisbane’s Alastair Lynch.

While nobody one that fight, Wakelin and the Power did win the premiership, where he was joined by both the Burgoyne brothers and the Cornes brothers.

Rhyce Shaw was special in that he was born with a perfectly round head.

THE SHAWS (505 games as of May 3, 2018): Heath Shaw (Collingwood/GWS, 268 games); Rhyce Shaw (Collingwood/St Kilda, 237 games)

*OFFICIALLY surpassing their old man’s record in Round 4 of this season, the Shaw boys each have a premiership to their name and each ended up in Sydney having started their careers at Collingwood.

While the Shaw family holds the record for most games played as a total, Heath and Rhyce and Ray only rank third in most games played by a father and sons combination, behind the Cloke family and Ken and Dustin Fletcher.

The late 70s. Name me a worse time for fashion and hairstyles. I’ll wait.

THE SHAWS (502 games): Tony Shaw (Collingwood, 313 games); Ray Shaw (Collingwood, 146 games); Neville Shaw (Collingwood, 43 games)

*THE older generation Shaws could have had more games to their name if it wasn’t for a falling out between Collingwood captain Ray and the Magpies hierarchy.

Skippering the club up until 1980, Shaw was dropped from the seniors during the 1981 season, prompting him to quit the VFL and head back to his original club Preston in the VFA. And it’s been an up and down relationship ever since, with Shaw becoming a Life Member this season, but having criticised the club for its recruiting as recently as last year.

Tony’s relationship with Collingwood has also been bittersweet, thanks to his failed tenure as coach in the mid-90s where he secured the Magpies second wooden spoon in history.

Tony still holds the games record at the club, ahead of the aforementioned Gordon Coventry in second, and the aforementioned Wayne Richardson in third.


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