Michael Voss' standing as Queensland's No.1 Australian Football product was confirmed when he was named captain of the Queensland Team of the Century.
Voss, the Brisbane Lions' dual AFL premiership captain, was preferred to vice-captain and AFL Hall of Fame member Jason Dunstall to lead a star-studded 24-man team chosen in a wonderful celebration of the past 100 years of football in Queensland.
It was yet another special honour for the 1996 Brownlow Medallist and All-Australian captain, who is generally regarded as the No.1 player in the game today and by many as the best player ever.
Also chosen from the Lions were Marcus Ashcroft, who recently became the first Queenslander to play 300 AFL games, Jason Akermanis, the 2001 Brownlow Medallist, and Mal Michael, a Queensland football product despite being born in Papua New Guinea, plus ex-Lions 200-gamer Scott McIvor.
The team, announced at a gala black tie dinner in front of 810 people at the Brisbane Convention Centre, took in virtually the entire century and closed an exhausting five-month exercise by AFL Queensland.
The Team of the Century:
B: Marcus Ashcroft, Dick Verdon, Wayne Stewart
HB: Gavin Crosisca, Don Smith, Zane Taylor
C: Scott McIvor, Doug Pittard, Des Hughes
HF: John Stackpoole, Dick Parton, Barry Clarke
F: Ray Hughson, Jason Dunstall (vc), Owen Backwell
R: Ken Grimley, Michael Voss (c), Jason Akermanis
INT: Keith Leach, Alex McGill, Noel McGuinness, Mal Michael, Gordon Phelan, Clem Ryan.
Appropriately, although without intention, the selection panel of Dr Alan Mackenzie (chairman), John Collins, Bruce Burgoyne, Peter Cummiskey, Shane Johnson, Gary Smart and Peter Blucher named a side which included representatives from each of the long-standing clubs in the State League competition, and from each era going back to the 1920s.
Twenty-one members of the team are still alive and attended the dinner, many traveling from interstate and throughout Queensland, while Pittard, Phelan and Ryan were represented by family members.
The dinner also honored the 100 finalists for the Team of the Century, plus five coaching and umpiring nominees for corresponding awards.
Norm Dare, a four-times QAFL premiership coach, successful State team coach and former coach of the Brisbane Bears, was named `Coach of the Century', while Tom McArthur, whose 500 senior games is an Australian record, was chosen `Umpire of the Century'.
Clem Ryan, a 250-game defender with Mayne who twice won the De Little Medal, was twice runner-up and had a remarkable seven years as Queensland captain, was chosen after a stellar career which began in the 1920s.
Dick Parton, a high-flying centre half forward who won the 1949 Grogan Medal and was a cornerstone of the great Windsor sides which won eight premierships in 15 years from 1937-51, was the oldest living member of the team at 86.
The breakdown of the team according to their era was:-
1920s - Clem Ryan
1930s - Dick Parton
1940s - Doug Pittard, Gordon Phelan
1950s - Dick Verdon, Ray Hughson, Alex McGill, Noel McGuinness
1960s - Wayne Stewart, Des Hughes, Ken Grimley, Keith Leach
1970s - Don Smith, John Stackpoole, Barry Clarke, Owen Backwell
1980s - Gavin Crosisca, Zane Taylor, Scott McIvor, Jason Dunstall
1990s - Marcus Ashcroft, Michael Voss, Jason Akermanis, Mal Michael
Brief penpix of the members of the Queensland Team of the Century are:-
Marcus Ashcroft is a product of Surfers Paradise via Southport who recently became the first Queenslander to play 300 AFL games. Made his debut as a 17-year-old in 1989 and has been a model of consistency and reliability, with no less than 10 top 10 B&F finishes. A key member of the Lions back-to-back premiership sides and chasing No.3 this year.
Dick Verdon was a champion fullback who played in five premierships - three with Sandgate and two with Coorparoo. He played more than 250 games, was runner-up in the Grogan Medal three times, and a proud Queensland representative from 1955-65, including a stint as State captain, before taking over as Queensland coach. Now living in Mackay.
Wayne Stewart was a renowned big-time player who posted 300 games with Mayne and Coorparoo from age 17 through until his mid 30s, tasting premiership and B&F success with both clubs. An ever-competitive ruckman / key defender, he represented Queensland 16 times from 1965 and captained the State in the early 70s.
HALF BACK LINE
Gavin Crosisca played at Wests and represented Queensland as a 16-year-old before joining Collingwood, where he played 246 games from 1987-2000 and became just the third Queenslander to top 200 games. A utility member of the Magpies' 1990 premiership team under Leigh Matthews, he wore the State colors of Queensland, Victoria and the Allies. Now an assistant-coach at Hawthorn.
Don Smith was a champion Sandgate centre half back and captain who played 300 games through the 1970s and '80s. He won the Grogan Medal as a 20-year-old in 1973 and again in '79, and was a four-times premiership player. He also played 21 State games and would have played AFL football but for his dislike of Melbourne weather. Still living on the Sunshine Coast.
Zane Taylor was one of the great Queensland utility players from the late 1970s, through to the early 1990s, and played in a staggering 16 grand finals in 16 years from 1975-90 with Southport, Windsor-Zillmere and Geelong. The official record-holder of most games for the State at 26, he won the '85 Grogan Medal, was denied a second Grogan by a controversial suspension in '83, twice won the Joe Grant Medal, was a four-times B&F winner at Southport and triple premiership captain with the Sharks. Now living in Horsham.
Scott McIvor was a Wilston-Grange product who played 200 AFL games with Fitzroy, the Bears and the Lions, and was the second Queenslander to post a double-century at the highest level. He started his career as a long-kicking wingman and ended as a reliable key position option, winning the `87 Fitzroy B&F and posting eight top 10 B&F finishes overall. Represented Queensland 14 times and played once for Victoria.
Doug Pittard was a champion centreman from Taringa and Western Districts and was Queensland's only triple medalist in a career disrupted by the Second World War. He won the De Little Medal in 1940, the Grogan Medal in 1946-47 and was runner-up by a vote in 1950. Also played more than 20 games for Queensland from 1939-50, was captain from the 1949 carnival through until 1952, and later became a highly-regarded club and State coach. Was represented by his wife Mavis Abrahams.
Des Hughes was a tall, skilful and speedy wingman who played 275 games with Coorparoo during the club's golden era of the 60s. He was a four-times premiership team member and an automatic State team selection throughout his career, wearing the Maroon jumper with distinction 15 times. Is now living in Sydney.
HALF FORWARD LINE
John Stackpoole was a 250-game Sandgate champion and long-serving club captain who is one of the Hawks' all-time greats. A genuine utility player, he played in four premiership sides in the `70s, was the League's leading goal-kicker in 1973 and was State captain seven times during an illustrious 24-game career for Queensland.
Dick Parton was a high-flying centre half forward with a prodigious drop kick who had a magnificent career with Windsor through their golden era, when they won a staggering eight premierships between 1937-51 despite the disruption of the Second World War. He won the Grogan Medal in 1949, represented Queensland from 1937-52, was State captain in 1946-47 and once kicked nine goals in an interstate match against NSW.
Barry Clarke was a player of exquisite skills who won the Wilston-Grange B&F in five different positions. He played 226 games with the Gorillas from 1971-85, won the Grogan Medal in 1972 and '76, tasted premiership success in '72, topped the League goal-kicking in 1978, and capped a wonderful representative career when he captained Queensland at the 1979 carnival in Perth. Now living on the Sunshine Coast.
Ray Hughson was a high-flying full forward with Wests through the 50s and 60s. He was the League's leading goal-kicker six years in a row, broken only by a two-year stint in Adelaide, and kicked 100 goals in a season four times. A Queensland representative from 1958 to '65, he is synonymous with Queensland football via a famous photograph which featured in all the Team of the Century promotional material. Now living on the Gold Coast.
JASON DUNSTALL (vice-captain)
Jason Dunstall is a Coorparoo product who became a genuine AFL legend and Queensland's first member of the AFL Hall of Fame. He played 269 games with Hawthorn from 1985-98 and kicked 1254 goals to rank 3rd on the all-time list. Among a multitude of highlights, he played in four premiership teams, won All-Australian selection four times, kicked 100 goals in a season six times, won Coleman Medal three times, the Hawthorn B&F four times, was club captain for four years and four times finished among the leaders in the Brownlow Medal.
Owen Backwell was a brilliant goal-kicking rover who played 300 games with Wests through the 70s and 80s. He won the Grogan Medal in 1971 and '75, topped the League goal-kicking in '77, and had a key role in the club's premiership wins of 1977-78. Also played more than 20 times for Queensland with distinction. Is now living in Hervey Bay.
Ken Grimley was a powerful ruckman/key forward who won four premierships with Wilston-Grange and Coorparoo. He kicked six goals on debut with Fitzroy in a short VFL career before returning home to win the '64 Grogan Medal after being runner-up in '61. He played 22 times for Queensland and was captain of the undefeated State teams of 1963-64.
MICHAEL VOSS (captain)
Michael Voss is widely regarded as the best player in the game today and has been an extraordinary contributor to the Bears/Lions since graduating from Morningside 12 years ago. Among a multitude of highlights in a 200-game career, he won the '96 Brownlow Medal, has five top 10 finishes in the Brownlow, is a dual AFL premiership captain, a four-time club B&F winner, a five-times All-Australian, including captain last year, and has had seven years as Lions skipper. And he's still only 27.
Jason Akermanis is an explosive midfielder/utility with the Brisbane Lions who became Queensland's second Brownlow Medalist in 2001. A Mayne product, he is in his 9th year in the AFL and is set to top 200 AFL next year. Other career highlights include win two premiership medals, three All-Australian jumpers, a Lions B&F, and a Jim Stynes Medal as a standout performer for the Australian International Rules team against Ireland.
Keith Leach was a dominant tap ruckman with Wilston-Grange who might have enjoyed an even more distinguished career but for a serious knee injury. Runner-Up in the Grogan Medal in his first year in `57, he won the medal in 1961-62, took out numerous club B&F awards and retired after Grange's premiership in `69. Was a fixture in the Queensland side for eight years from 1957.
Alex McGill was a dynamic rover who played 160-plus games with Mayne between 1953-63. A member of the three premiership sides, he was also club captain and coach, and twice runner-up in the Grogan Medal. He was State vice-captain at age 20 to the Centenary Championships in Melbourne in '58, played for the State from 1954-62 and was State captain at the Division Two Championships in Sydney in 1960.
Noel McGuinness was a prolific midfielder with Morningside and Coorparoo who won the Grogan Medal with the Panthers in 1953-54 and was runner-up by one vote in 1955. He transferred to the `Roos to win the club B&F awards in 1956-57 and play a key role to their first finals appearances. Represented Queensland with distinction from 1953-58.
Mal Michael was the first AFL player born in Papua New Guinea and is now one of the premier key defenders in the League after a pivotal role in the Lions' dual flags. A Kenmore junior and a Morningside senior grand final player at 18 in `95, he played four years at Collingwood before returning to Brisbane in 2001 and has now played 120 AFL games, with five top 10 B&F placings.
Gordon `Freckles' Phelan was a standout centreline player with Kedron and an automatic State team selection over a 13-year period before and after the Second World War, and was voted Queensland's best State player in 1946. A superbly skilled left-footer, he was regarded by many as Kedron's greatest ever player and was represented by his son Gary.
Clem Ryan was a utility defender who ranked among the best of the 1930s. He played 250 games with Mayne, won the De Little Medal twice, was runner-up twice, and was a member of numerous Mayne premiership sides, including their undefeated team of 1934. Played for Queensland over an 11-year period, including seven years as captain, and went on to be coach and manager of the State side. Was represented by his niece Glenda Barber.
COACH OF THE CENTURY
Norm Dare, a 72-game player and Reserves coach at Fitzroy, moved to Queensland in 1980 and won four premierships with Kedron and Southport in the 80s. He was Queensland coach from 1980-84, leading the Maroons to two critical Escort Cup victories in 1983-84, and also guided the Maroons to a famous State of Origin win over Victoria in 1991. Later was assistant-coach and coach with the Bears, assistant coach at North Melbourne, and is now assistant-coach at Geelong. The man who is credited with a key role in elevating the status of Queensland football.
UMPIRE OF THE CENTURY
Tom McArthur umpired an incredible 502 QAFL games over four decades from the 50's to the 80's after an accident cut short his playing career with Wests. He controlled seven grand finals, was an emergency umpire a further seven times, and had numerous interstate assignments. A man whose record is unrivalled in Australian Football.