WHEN St Kilda read out tall forward Josh Battle’s name at pick 39 in the 2016 AFL National Draft, the Saints extended their stranglehold on a little talked about record.
With Battle’s selection, St Kilda officially has nine, that’s right nine former Dandenong Stingrays on its list – the highest affiliation between an AFL club and a feeder club.
The nine are Battle, Jack Lonie, Darren Minchington, Lewis Pierce, Bailey Rice, Dylan Roberton, Shane Savage, Brandon White and Nathan Wright.
When conducting the research into which AFL clubs have the greatest amount of players from the same non-AFL club, I expected Collingwood and Oakleigh Chargers’ to be up there given the Magpies have taken six Chargers in the past three years. They certainly were, equal second with seven former Chargers, the same number as Northern Knights now donning the black and yellow at Richmond.
Geelong’s ability to seek out homegrown talent came to the forefront of the footy world when it plucked out three local league players from the Geelong Football League. But their affiliation with their TAC Cup namesake the Geelong Falcons has also been strong, with six Falcons not needing to change colours at the elite level.
Remarkably, the Falcons have also been a breeding ground for the Brisbane Lions with six heading north including first round pick this year, Alex Witherden.
The Murray Bushrangers have had no shortage of draftees in recent years and they also have 12 draftees on two clubs’ lists with six apiece at both Hawthorn and North Melbourne. Rounding out the clubs with six or more affiliated players, Adelaide has six Calder Cannons on its playing list.
But which clubs have produced the most players currently on an AFL list? Allowing for human error, Geelong Falcons and Murray Bushrangers led the way with a mammoth 45 apiece, four ahead of the Oakleigh Chargers.
The Dandenong Stingrays slot into fourth with 38 – with extra thanks to St Kilda – just ahead of the Sandringham Dragons who with a bumper draft in 2016, overtook the Calder Cannons, who are equal with the North Ballarat Rebels on 34 players each.
Eastern Ranges (30), Gippsland Power (28) and Northern Knights (26) round out the teams with 20 or more before some of the interstate clubs begin to have a say.
East Fremantle has an impressive 19 players on AFL lists, with Glenelg the highest South Australian club with 18, followed by West Australian pair Claremont and Swan Districts on 17.
The Western Jets slot in there too with 17 former players on AFL lists, before a gap to the Bendigo Pioneers and a trio of South Australian clubs on 13 players. The Pioneers join North Adelaide, Norwood and Woodville West Torrens inside the top 20, while South Fremantle and West Adelaide have 12 former graduates on AFL lists.
Perth, Port Adelaide and Sturt round out those clubs in double figures with 11 players apiece, before the first non-traditional football state club comes into play.
Aspley has nine players on an AFL list, the same number as Central Districts and West Perth, ahead of Peel Thunder and Redland on eight.
Of all the stories, the Western Bulldogs’ four Bendigo Bombers is impressive, with Shane Biggs, Tom Campbell, Stewart Crameri and Tory Dickson all coming from the feeder club, albeit with two of those four via other AFL clubs.
Top AFL Feeder club alliances:
(9) St Kilda-Dandenong Stingrays
(7) Collingwood-Oakleigh Chargers | Richmond-Northern Knights
(6) Adelaide-Calder Cannons | Brisbane-Geelong Falcons | Geelong-Geelong Falcons | Hawthorn-Murray Bushrangers | North Melbourne-Murray Bushrangers
(5) Brisbane-Aspley | Carlton-Gippsland Power | Carlton-Oakleigh Chargers | Collingwood-Murray Bushrangers | Essendon-Sandringham Dragons | Melbourne-Sandringham Dragons | West Coast-Claremont | West Coast-East Fremantle
Top feeder club by AFL club:
Adelaide: Calder Cannons (6)
Brisbane: Geelong Falcons (6)
Carlton: Geelong Falcons/Oakleigh Chargers (5)
Collingwood: Oakleigh Chargers (7)
Essendon: Sandringham Dragons (5)
Fremantle: Swan Districts (4)
Geelong: Geelong Falcons (6)
Gold Coast: Dandenong Stingrays/South Fremantle (4)
GWS: Dandenong Stingrays/Murray Bushrangers (5)
Hawthorn: Murray Bushrangers (6)
Melbourne: Sandringham Dragons (5)
North Melbourne: Murray Bushrangers (6)
Port Adelaide: Murray Bushrangers (4)
Richmond: Northern Knights (7)
St Kilda: Dandenong Stingrays (9)
Sydney: Geelong Falcons (3)
West Coast: Claremont (5)
Western Bulldogs: Bendigo Bombers/Gippsland Power/Eastern Ranges (4)