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Mike Sheahan’s top 50 players

Wayne Carey, Mike Sheahan and the 150th anniversary book

Mike Sheahan is one of Australia's most respected Australian football analysts and it was he who was charged with naming the game's top 50 players for a new book created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the nation's indigenous code.

The Australian Game of Football covers every aspect of our game, in all parts of Australia, but surely the section which will create the most debate is the list compiled by the Herald Sun's chief football writer. Even an expert like Sheahan admitted compiling such a roll of honour over 150 years of Australian football was an 'overwhelming and impossible task'.

In annointing North Melbourne premiership superstar Wayne Carey the greatest of all time, Sheahan said he just loved the way Carey played the game on a weekly basis.

"No one in my time has been so productive, so consistent, so exciting in the most difficult area on the field," Sheahan said in Thursday's Herald Sun.

There will no doubt be more opinions on Thursday than there have been rushed behinds over the last 150 years, so scroll down and make up your own mind.

Mike Sheahan's top 50

1. Wayne Carey
Born: May 27, 1971
1989-2001: Kangaroos 2003-04: Adelaide
Games: 272 Goals: 727

2. Leigh Matthews
Born: March 1, 1952
1969-85: Hawthorn
Games: 332 Goals: 915

3. Ted Whitten
Born: July 27, 1933 Died: August 17, 1995
1951-70: Footscray
Games: 321 Goals: 360

4. Gary Ablett
Born: October 1, 1961
1982: Hawthorn 1984-96: Geelong
Games: 248 Goals: 1030

5. Jason Dunstall
Born: August 14, 1964
1985-98: Hawthorn
Games: 269 Goals: 1254

6. Tony Lockett
Born: March 9, 1966
1983-1994: St Kilda 1995-99, 2002: Sydney
Games: 281 Goals: 1360

7. John Nicholls
Born: August 13, 1939
1957-74: Carlton
Games: 328 Goals: 307

8. Graham Farmer
Born: March 10, 1935
1962-67: Geelong
Games: 101 Goals: 65

9. Kevin Bartlett
Born: March 6, 1947
1965-83: Richmond
Games: 403 Goals: 778

10. Greg Williams
Born: September 30, 1963
1984-85: Geelong 1986-91: Sydney Swans 1992-97: Carlton
Games: 250 Goals: 217

11. Ian Stewart
Born: July 14, 1943
1963-70: St Kilda 1971-75: Richmond
Games: 205 Goals: 80

12. Bill Hutchison
Born: April 28, 1923 Died: June 18, 1982
1942-57: Essendon
Games: 290 Goals: 496

13. Dick Reynolds
Born: June 20, 1915 Died: September 2, 2002
1933-51: Essendon
Games: 320 Goals: 442

14. Bob Skilton
Born: November 8, 1938
1956-71: South Melbourne
Games: 237 Goals: 412

15. Haydn Bunton Snr
Born: July 5, 1911 Died: September 5, 1955
1931-37; 1942: Fitzroy
Games: 119 Goals: 207

16. Peter Hudson
Born: February 19, 1946
1967-74; 1977: Hawthorn
Games: 129 Goals: 727

17. Simon Madden
Born: December 30, 1957
1974-92: Essendon
Games: 378 Goals: 575

18. Royce Hart
Born: February 10, 1948
1967-77: Richmond
Games: 187 Goals: 369

19. Michael Voss
Born: July 7, 1975
1992-2006: Brisbane Lions
Games: 289 Goals: 245

20. James Hird
Born: February 4, 1973
1992-2007: Essendon
Games: 253 Goals: 343

21. Gordon Coventry
Born: September 25, 1901 Died: November 7, 1968
1920-37: Collingwood
Games: 306 Goals: 1299

22. John Coleman
Born: November 23, 1928 Died: April 5, 1973
1949-54: Essendon
Games: 98 Goals: 537

23. Darrel Baldock
Born: September 29, 1938
1962-68: St Kilda
Games: 119 Goals: 237

24. Malcolm Blight
Born: February 16, 1950
1974-82: North Melbourne
Games: 178 Goals: 444

25. Bruce Doull
Born: September 11, 1950
1969-86: Carlton
Games: 356 Goals: 22

26. Alex Jesaulenko
Born: August 2, 1945
1967-79: Carlton 1980-81: St Kilda
Games: 279 Goals: 444

27. Syd Coventry
Born: June 13, 1899 Died: November 10, 1976
1922-34: Collingwood
Games: 227 Goals: 62

28. Jack Dyer
Born: November 15, 1913 Died: August 23, 2003
1931-49: Richmond
Games: 312 Goals: 443

29. Ron Barassi
Born: 27 February, 1936
1953-64: Melbourne 1965-69: Carlton
Games: 254 Goals: 330

30. Robert Harvey
Born: August 21, 1971
1988-Present: St Kilda
Games: 359 Goals: 208

31. Kevin Murray
Born: June 18, 1938
1955-64; 1967-74: Fitzroy
Games: 333 Goals: 51

32. Barry Cable
Born: September 22, 1943
1970, 1974-77: North Melbourne
Games: 115 Goals: 133

33. Stephen Kernahan
Born: September 1, 1963
1986-97: Carlton
Games: 251 Goals: 738

34. Nathan Buckley
Born: July 26, 1972
1993: Brisbane Bears 1994-2007: Collingwood
Games: 280 Goals: 284

35. Stephen Silvagni
Born: May 31, 1967
1985-2001: Carlton
Games: 312 Goals: 202

36. Bob Rose
Born: August 7, 1928 Died: July 7, 2003
1946-55: Collingwood
Games: 152 Goals: 214

37. Walter Henry ‘Dick’ Lee
Born: March 19, 1889 Died: September 11, 1968
1906-22: Collingwood
Games: 230 Goals: 707

38. Bob Pratt
Born: August 31, 1912 Died: January 6, 2001
1930-39, 1946: South Melbourne
Games: 158 Goals: 681

39. Peter Matera
Born: April 3, 1969
1990-2002: West Coast Eagles
Games: 253 Goals: 217

40. David Dench
Born: August 23, 1951
1969-84: North Melbourne
Games: 275 Goals: 29

41. Doug Wade
Born: October 16, 1941
1961-72: Geelong 1973-75: North Melbourne
Games: 267 Goals: 1057

42. Ben Cousins
Born: June 30, 1978
1996 -2007: West Coast Eagles
Games: 238 Goals: 205

43. Michael Tuck
Born: June 24, 1953
1972-91: Hawthorn
Games: 426 Goals: 320

44. Francis Bourke
Born: April 2, 1947
1967-81: Richmond
Games: 300 Goals: 71

45. Len Thompson
Born: August 27, 1947 Died: September 18, 2007
1965-78: Collingwood 1979: South Melbourne 1980: Fitzroy
Games: 301 Goals: 275

46. Glen Jakovich
Born: March 24, 1973
1991-2004: West Coast Eagles
Games: 276 Goals: 60

47. Gary Wilson
Born: July 17, 1953
1971-84: Fitzroy
Games: 268 Goals: 452

48. Albert Collier
Born: September 7, 1909 Died: February 22, 1988
1925-30, 1933-39: Collingwood 1941-42: Fitzroy
Games: 217 Goals: 66

49. Wayne Schimmelbusch
Born: January 19, 1953
1973-87: North Melbourne
Games: 306 Goals: 354

50. Jack Mueller
Born: September 9, 1915 Died: June 14, 2001
1934-50: Melbourne
Games: 216 Goals: 378

The Australian Game of Football, the official book created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Australian football, is to be launched at Yarra Park near the MCG, on Sunday, March 9. It has been produced by the AFL's publishing partner, Geoff Slattery Publishing, has been three years in the making.

The book has a definitive account of Australian football's beginnings by historian Gillian Hibbins, covers every aspect of our game, in all parts of Australia. It's an examination of the impact of our game on every part of the Australian community, and covers the heroes over the decades.

Content in The Australian Game of Football includes chapters on the spread of the game from its Victorian beginnings, the influence of coaches, and the development of strategy, the role of women, the impact of indigenous players since the game's inception A Matter Of Choice (written by dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes), the media, and a dedicated section on each of the 15 decades of the history of the game, including the news stories and the heroes of each decade.

The 396-page The Australian Game of Football retails for $89.95 and is available in bookstores from Sunday, March 9.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of the clubs or the AFL.