Shaun McKernan, Ryan Schoenmakers and Jack Trengove.
Shaun McKernan, Ryan Schoenmakers and Jack Trengove.

Who is your club’s great survivor?

IT'S tough winning a spot on an AFL list but while few players become club greats and most come and go, there are some who survive the list manager's axe each season despite many setbacks.

There's at least one at every club.

Here are the players at your club who have forged lengthy careers without playing many games.

Do you agree? Who have we missed? Have your say in the comments section below.

ADELAIDE: ANDY OTTEN

Drafted: 2007, Games: 106

In his 12th year at the Crows, Andy Otten's career has been disrupted by two knee reconstructions which wiped out three complete AFL seasons (2010, 2015 and 2016).

After his second knee injury in Round 20, 2014, Otten waited 960 days for his next match in Round 1, 2017.

He finally reached his 100th game the following season (against Gold Coast in Round 6, 2018), nine years and 317 days after his debut in Round 12, 2008 against Hawthorn, the longest time to reach the 100 milestone in Adelaide's history.

Ottens, 30, finished runner-up in the 2009 AFL Rising Star award after playing every game that season but he's played 10 or fewer matches in seven of his past 11 seasons.

Lincoln McCarthy is loving life at the Lions. Picture: Getty Images
Lincoln McCarthy is loving life at the Lions. Picture: Getty Images

BRISBANE: LINCOLN McCARTHY

Drafted: 2011, Games: 41

The 25-year-old was traded to the Lions after seven injury-riddled seasons at Geelong, which included missing all of 2013 and 2015 to foot injuries.

A combination of groin, back, quad and hip injuries restricted McCarthy to just 27 games at the Cats and the South Australian considered quitting before he offered the move to Brisbane, where he's played every game this season - his longest uninjured streak - after enjoying an uninterrupted pre-season.

McCarthy booted a career-best four goals in his Lions debut and earned a mark of the year nomination with a spectacular leap against Port Adelaide in Round 3.

Injuries halted Andrew Phillips’ momentum at the Blues. Picture: Michael Klein
Injuries halted Andrew Phillips’ momentum at the Blues. Picture: Michael Klein

CARLTON: ANDREW PHILLIPS

Drafted: 2011, Games: 39

The 203cm ruckman was a member of Greater Western Sydney's inaugural squad but struggled for regular opportunities.

After 14 games in four seasons at the Giants, Phillips relished a move to Carlton where he managed 16 games working in tandem with Matthew Kreuzer.

Unfortunately, his 2017 pre-season was compromised with a stress reaction in his left foot. He was dropped after playing his sole game in Round 5 before succumbing to the foot injury, and a hamstring injury ended his 2018 campaign.

Although he played just five senior games in 2018, Phillips was leading the Northern Blues' best-and-fairest before the hamstring setback.

He played the first two games this year after strong pre-season form before he was a late withdrawal with a corked quad, adding just one more game in Round 7 before he was dropped.

He is out of contract at the end of the year.

COLLINGWOOD: MATTHEW SCHARENBERG

Drafted: 2013, Games: 31

The Magpies defender is only 23 but has just recently returned from his third knee reconstruction in the VFL.

Scharenberg has also had operations on both feet which has limited him to just 31 AFL games in six seasons, 17 of which came last year where he displayed outstanding kicking skills and became an intercept marking specialist before his latest career-threatening injury.

Shaun McKernan has breathed new life into his career. Picture: George Salpigtidis
Shaun McKernan has breathed new life into his career. Picture: George Salpigtidis

ESSENDON: SHAUN McKERNAN

Drafted: 2008, Games: 67

McKernan completed a stunning career revival last year with 16 goals in 10 games, including two hauls of four, as he stood up in the absence of Joe Daniher.

A hamstring injury ended his season but the 28-year-old was rewarded with a two-year contract extension.

His career looked to be on the scrapheap at the end of 2017 after just three games, the sixth straight season in which he played less than nine.

McKernan has been on a rollercoaster at Essendon after he was delisted by Adelaide in 2014.

Given a second chance by the Bombers as a rookie, McKernan was elevated to the senior list in 2016 before he delisted a second time but redrafted as a rookie before starting 2019 on the primary list.

FREMANTLE: HARLEY BENNELL

Drafted: 2011, Games: 83

The Dockers are still praying their persistence with the former Gold Coast midfielder will pay off.

His initial three-year contract returned just two games because of persistent calf injuries and off-field indiscretions, which included being banished to the WAFL after a nightclub incident last year and being kicking off a flight for being intoxicated in 2017 - but Freo kept the faith and handed Bennell a one-year contract extension.

Bennell is closing in on a long-awaited AFL comeback with some outstanding form in the WAFL.

GEELONG: JORDAN CUNICO

Drafted: 2014, Games: 15

The hard-running wingman can't catch a break after he underwent an ankle reconstruction in April in his latest injury setback.

Knee injuries forced Cunico to wait until his third season for his AFL debut in 2017 before an ankle injury wrecked his year.

He played 10 consecutive games for a total of 14 in 2018, showing enough to potentially earn another contract after this season.

Tom Nicholls remains on the Suns' list. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Tom Nicholls remains on the Suns' list. Picture: Alix Sweeney

GOLD COAST: TOM NICHOLLS

Drafted: 2010, Games: 45

Forgotten ruckman Nicholls hasn't been sighted at senior level in more than two seasons, with Jarrod Witts' arrival from Collingwood and injuries stopping him from adding to his 45-game tally - the last was in Round 20, 2016.

Witts, meanwhile, has already tallied 52 games out of a possible 56 games at the Suns.

Nicholl's contract ends this season.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY: MATT BUNTINE

Drafted: 2011, Games: 57

The popular backman finally reached 50 games in his eighth season in last year's semi-final loss to Collingwood.

Since his return from an ACL injury midway through the 2018 season, Buntine has been a reliable contributor in the the Giants' defence when called upon.

HAWTHORN: RYAN SCHOENMAKERS

Drafted: 2008, Games: 121

Schoenmakers is arguably the greatest survivor of them all and has rebuffed offers from rival clubs to stay loyal to the Hawks, even though he's had to fight for every game in brown and gold.

After missing the 2014 premiership and despite James Frawley's arrival, Schoenmakers claimed a much-deserved premiership the following year.

He even fought back from an achilles strain last season to play the seven of Hawthorn's last eight games, including the semi-final loss to Melbourne.

Ryan Schoenmakers has had opportunities to leave Hawthorn but has decided to stay. Picture: Michael Klein
Ryan Schoenmakers has had opportunities to leave Hawthorn but has decided to stay. Picture: Michael Klein

MELBOURNE: JAY KENNEDY-HARRIS

Drafted: 2013, Games: 35

Kennedy-Harris secured a one-year contract extension after a strong end to 2018 and was unlucky to miss the Demons' finals campaign.

But after 20 games in the past three season, Kennedy-Harris endured a frustrating start to the year after suffering a nasty leg injury in the JLT Series.

NORTH MELBOURNE: TAYLOR GARNER

Drafted: 2012, Games: 37

The promising forward has battled hamstring injuries for most of his AFL career.

After just 14 senior games from 2014-16, Garner had a breakout season in 2017 with 18 games but his body let him down again last year and he played just six VFL games.

Garner is contracted until the end of 2020.

PORT ADELAIDE: JACK TRENGOVE

Drafted: 2009, Games: 89

The former Melbourne co-captain was given a lifeline by Port Adelaide after the 2017 season, but despite only three games last year was retained for another season.

He's been a prolific ball winner in the SANFL but is currently out with a leg injury.

Trengove, the No.2 draft pick in the 2009 draft, was burdened with the captaincy at a young age as foot injuries cruelled his Melbourne career.

He is only 27.

Jack Trengove hasn’t been able to get on the field at the Power. Picture: Michael Klein
Jack Trengove hasn’t been able to get on the field at the Power. Picture: Michael Klein

RICHMOND: JACOB TOWNSEND

Drafted: 2011, Games: 48

The hard-bodied forward was delisted by the Tigers just 12 months after securing a fairytale premiership.

He was squeezed out of the Tigers' team before last year's finals series and then broke his leg in the last VFL game of the season.

Townsend explored his options as a delisted free agent but the Tigers assured him a spot on their rookie list if no other club signed him.

He had just one kick and two handballs in last week's loss to Geelong, his only match this year.

ST KILDA: LEWIS PIERCE

Drafted: 2012, Games: 5

The fringe ruckman is fighting for his career in 2019 but was dropped after Round 1 - a total of just five games in his seventh season.

He was delisted by the Saints after 2017 but redrafted as a rookie, then given a one-year contract after playing the last three games of 2018.

SYDNEY: SAM NAISMITH

Drafted: 2013, Games: 28

Started 2017 as the Swans' he Swans' No.1 ruckman but his season was hampered by knee and hip injuries.

Naismith missed all of last season after a knee reconstruction and is unlikely to play until the second half of 2019.

WEST COAST: FRASER McINNESS

Drafted: 2011, Games: 14

Can play in the ruck and up forward but has found it difficult breaking in a strong West Coast line-up.

However, his form in the WAFL has been exceptional.

Redrafted as a rookie after the 2017 season.

Lin Jong has had a shocking run with injuries since 2017. Picture: Mark Stewart
Lin Jong has had a shocking run with injuries since 2017. Picture: Mark Stewart

WESTERN BULLDOGS: LIN JONG

Drafted: 2012, Games: 61

Jong made headlines in 2016 when he toured Collingwood's facilities mid-season.

Since starring in the VFL grand year that year - and missing out on selection in the AFL decider - Jong has had a wretched run with injuries.

He ruptured his ACL midway through 2017, then broke his collarbone last year and his 2019 season was delayed with a serious hamstring tear which was then followed by having his appendix removed.

News Corp Australia


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