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The thirty-something club

Luke Hodge is set to become just the third player in Brisbane Lions history to play beyond their 35th birthday.

Having turned 35 last Saturday, Hodge will join Roger Merrett and Alastair Lynch on the top shelf of the club’s senior statesmen when the Lions play St.Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Merrett is the oldest Brisbane player, having played his last game in the Bears’ 1996 preliminary final at 36 years 155 days, while Lynch was 36 years 98 days when he bid farewell to the club and the game in the 2004 grand final.

Merrett and Lynch each played 123 games for the club beyond 30.

Among 320 Brisbane players only 50 have played beyond their 30th birthday after Dayne Zorko joined the 30-something club in Round 1 and Mitch Robinson did likewise in Round 12.

Simon Black sits fourth on the ‘oldies’ list, having played his last eight games at 34,, while five others have played beyond 33 – Ben Hudson, Andrew Bews, Matt Rendell, Shaun Hart and Geoff Raines.

Black (89) and Hart (84) rank third and fourth for games for the club beyond 30.

Hudson, now an assistant-coach with the Lions, is the only member of the club’s 30-Plus Club to play elsewhere after leaving Brisbane. He played seven games as a 34-year-old with Collingwood in 2013.

THE 30-SOMETHING CLUB ...

Player

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

Total

Alastair Lynch

6

27

21

21

22

17

9

123

Roger Merrett

18

23

16

16

16

19

15

123

Simon Black

25

17

22

17

8

 

 

89

Shaun Hart

22

24

26

12

 

 

 

84

Andrews Bews

17

17

20

5

2

 

 

61

Geoff Raines

16

20

19

4

 

 

 

59

Martin Pike

25

25

9

 

 

 

 

59

Stefan Martin

22

22

12

 

 

 

 

56

Marcus Ashcroft

25

25

1

 

 

 

 

51

Jonathan Brown

20

15

13

 

 

 

 

48

Luke Power

21

23

 

 

 

 

 

44

Richard Champion

19

17

7

 

 

 

 

43

Mike Richardson

15

22

 

 

 

 

 

37

Darryl White

19

12

6

 

 

 

 

37

Mark Williams

22

13

 

 

 

 

 

35

Martin Leslie

9

21

 

 

 

 

 

30

Luke Hodge

 

 

 

19

11

 

 

30

Daniel Merrett

10

19

 

 

 

 

 

29

Michael Voss

21

8

 

 

 

 

 

29

Rodney Eade

12

13

4

 

 

 

 

29

Michael McLean

20

5

1

 

 

 

 

26

Craig Lambert

14

12

 

 

 

 

 

26

Nigel Lappin

8

14

 

 

 

 

 

22

Daniel Bradshaw

21

 

 

 

 

 

 

21

Craig McRae

19

1

 

 

 

 

 

20

Ash McGrath

12

6

 

 

 

 

 

18

Ben Hudson

 

 

 

18

 

 

 

18

Matthew Kennedy

9

8

 

 

 

 

 

17

Brad Scott

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

Chris Johnson

9

5

 

 

 

 

 

14

Matt Maguire

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Matt Rendell

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

13

Rod Lester-Smith

5

10

 

 

 

 

 

15

Tim Notting

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

Dayne Zorko

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

Frank Dunell

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

Scott McIvor

10

1

 

 

 

 

 

11

Phillip Walsh

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

Ken Judge

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

Mick McCarthy

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

Clark Keating

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Damian Bourke

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Brent Staker

2

4

 

 

 

 

 

6

Brent Moloney

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Justin Leppitsch

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

John Gastev

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Andy Gowers

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Chris Scott

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Travis Johnstone

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Mitch Robinson

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

TOTAL

597

429

177

124

59

36

24

 

 

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

 

 

Marcus Ashcroft has played most games for the club before turning 30 at 267. Then follows Michael Voss (260), Nigel Lappin (257), Luke Power (241), Black (233), Darryl White (231), Justin Leppitsch (223), Chris Scott (213) and Jonathan Brown (210).

Jed Adcock is the only 200-gamer who finished in Lions colors before turning 30. A current assistant-coach, Adcock played 206 games with Brisbane before seven games as a 30-year-old with the Western Bulldogs in 2016.

Daniel Rich, having turned 29 on 1 June, is on track to follow Adcock. He has played 195 games.

In Fitzroy days, 113 of the club’s 1157 players played after turning 30, including 14 whose career extended beyond the age of 35.

The oldest Fitzroy player was Charlie Norris, an 18-game 1910 Collingwood premiership player who switched clubs in mid-1911 to play 106 games with Fitzroy. He was 37 years 18 days old in his last game in 1918, and played all but four of his Fitzroy games, including the 1913 and 1916 premierships and the 1917 grand final loss beyond 30.

Percy Parratt, a 1913-16-22 premiership player and inaugural Brisbane Lions Hall of Fame inductee in 2012, was next oldest at 36 years 235 days. He played 195 games from 1909-1923.

Fitzroy games record-holder Kevin Murray, a Lions Hall of Fame Legend, played until he was 36 years 74 days, while 1944 Fitzroy premiership players Clen Denning and Bert Clay, and John Rantall, who played six games for Fitzroy in 1960 to break the AFL games record after a fine career at South Melbourne and North Melbourne, also played for the club at 36.

Eight Fitzroy players played at 35 – recent Brisbane Lions Hall of Fame inductee Frank Curcio, inaugural Hall of Famer Bernie Quinlan, 2016 inductee Jimmy Freake, plus 1899 premiership player Geoff Moriarty, long-time Melbourne stalwart Norm Smith, Joe Kerrigan, who played only five games in 1897 and 1899,l and Doug Hawkins, who finished his career at Fitzroy after 17 years at Footscray.

Hodge has played 97 career games beyond his 30th birthday after starting the 2019 season equal 34th on the all-time AFL games list at 324.

Having played 11 of the Lions’ first 12 games this year, the former Hawthorn champion has already passed Jason Akermanis (325), Jude Bolton (325), Ian Nankervis (325), Barry Round (328), John Nicholls (328), Sam Mitchell (329), Gary Dempsey (329), Justin Madden (332), Drew Petrie (332), Leigh Matthews (332), David Cloke (333), Kevin Murray (333) and Brendon Goddard (334) to climb to 21st.

With 12 matches remaining in the home-and-away season he could top John Rantall (336), Nick Riewoldt (336), Andrew McLeod (340) and Chris Grant (341 to jump to 17th.

Out of his reach this year are Doug Hawkins (350), Matthew Pavlich (353), Paul Roos (356), Bruce Doull (356), John Blakey (359), Brad Johnson (364), Shaun Burgoyne (366 and counting), Bernie Quinlan (366), Adam Goodes (372), Craig Bradley (375), Simon Madden (378), Robert Harvey (383), Dustin Fletcher (400), Kevin Bartlett (403), Shane Tuck (426) and Brent Harvey (432).

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