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Eight new guernsey holders for 2018

Matt Burgan  November 29, 2017 4:53 PM

WITH its list locked and loaded, Melbourne has announced its guernsey numbers for 2018.

In total, there are eight jumper changes, given there are six new players at the club – Jake Lever (Adelaide Crows), Harley Balic (Fremantle), Charlie Spargo (Murray Bushrangers), Bayley Fritsch (Casey Demons), Harrison Petty (Norwood) and Oskar Baker (Aspley) – while James Harmes and Corey Maynard have received lower numbers. 

James Harmes will wear number four in 2018 (Photo: Matthew Goodrope)

Harmes, who has worn No.43 in 44 games for Melbourne, will wear No.4 next year, after it became vacant following Jack Watts’ departure to Port Adelaide.

The legendary Norm Smith is Melbourne’s greatest name to have worn No.4, while four-time premiership player John Lord also wore the guernsey.

Maynard has switched to No.20 – the number worn by his grandfather Graham Campbell at Fitzroy – after making his AFL debut in the No.48 guernsey this year against the GWS Giants in Canberra.

He takes over from the newly-retired Colin Garland, who played 141 games for Melbourne in the No.20 jumper, while Matthew Febey also donned it in 143 games.

Boom recruit Lever, who had the No.6 jumper at the Crows, has inherited No.8, which was most recently worn by Heritier Lumumba, before his retirement in the lead-up to last season.

Former captain and three-time premiership player Robert ‘Tassie’ Johnson wore No.8, while former defender Graeme Yeats wore it for all but his first season in a career that spanned from 1984-95.

Spargo, who was Melbourne’s first selection in last week’s NAB AFL Draft, will wear No.9, which was previously former co-captain Jack Trengove’s number.

The great David Neitz wore the No.9 guernsey in 286 of his 306 games (a club record), while five-time premiership player Brian Dixon also sported No.9. Three-time best and fairest winner Laurie Fowler and dual Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophey winner Alan Johnson also had No.9.

Midfielder/forward Balic has been given No.27, after wearing No.24 in four matches with the Dockers in 2017.

He replaces Liam Hulett, who spent two seasons with the Demons, but didn’t play an AFL match.

Fritsch, who was Melbourne’s second pick in last week’s NAB AFL Draft, has been given one of the club’s most famous numbers: 31.

The jumper was worn by one of the game’s greatest names, Ron Barassi. Interestingly, 31 is the draft number Fritsch was claimed at.

Baker has inherited No.33, most recently worn by former ruckman Jake Spencer.

Team of the century member Gary Hardeman and livewire forward Jeff Farmer are among the Melbourne players to have worn No.33.

Petty has gained No.35 from Ben Kennedy, who held the number for the past two seasons.

Two-time premiership captain Noel McMahen wore No.35, along with the likes of 1981 best and fairest winner, and now MCC president, Steven Smith, and four-time premiership player Clyde Laidlaw and 1926 premiership player Dick Taylor.

With 44 players on Melbourne’s list next year, all numbers from No.1 to No.40 have been allotted for 2018.

But two players to wear numbers ‘outside’ of the 44 are Declan Keilty (No.45) and Lochie Filipovic (No.47), who will wear the highest number again next year.

No.41, No.43 and No.46 are vacant.

2018 Melbourne numbers

1 – Jesse Hogan

2 – Nathan Jones

3 – Christian Salem

4 – James Harmes (previously No.43)

5 – Christian Petracca

6 – Jordan Lewis

7 – Jack Viney

8 – Jake Lever (new)

9 – Charlie Spargo (new)

10 – Angus Brayshaw

11 – Max Gawn

12 – Dom Tyson

13 – Clayton Oliver

14 – Michael Hibberd

15 – Billy Stretch

16 – Dean Kent

17 – Sam Frost

18 – Jake Melksham

19 – Mitch Hannan

20 – Corey Maynard (previously No.48)

21 – Cameron Pedersen

22 – Aaron vandenBerg

23 – Bernie Vince

24 – Jay Kennedy-Harris

25 – Tom McDonald

26 – Sam Weideman

27 – Harley Balic (new)

28 – Oscar McDonald

29 – Jayden Hunt

30 – Alex Neal-Bullen

31 – Bayley Fritsch (new)

32 – Tomas Bugg

33 – Oskar Baker (new)

34 – Mitch King

35 – Harrison Petty (new)

36 – Jeff Garlett

37 – Dion Johnstone

38 – Tim Smith

39 – Neville Jetta

40 – Pat McKenna

41 – Not allotted

42 – Josh Wagner

43 – Not allotted

44 – Joel Smith 

45 – Declan Keilty

46 – Not allotted

47 – Lachie Filipovic