AFL 3 years ago

Did you know these AFL players were born overseas?

  • Did you know these AFL players were born overseas?

Jason Holmes became the first US-raised player to make his AFL debut last Saturday, to the likely delight of the AFL, which loves international players and their ability to open up new markets.

There are plenty of famous examples of AFL players born overseas, such as Irishman Jim Stynes, New Zealander Wayne Schwass, Papua New Guinean Mal Michael, Brazilian Heritier Lumumba, and Chilean José Romero - all of whom played more than 200 games.

Even in 1897, the first year of the VFL/AFL, five overseas-born players took part: Englishman Jack Frost, Irishman George Hastings, Scotsman Henry McPetrie, Fijian Charlie Moore, and Mauritian Ivan Astruc.

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But did you know that these players were born overseas?

Peter Bell - South Korea


The former North Melbourne and Fremantle rover holds the all-time games record for AFL players born overseas. That's in addition to his two premiership medals, two All-Australian selections, four best-and-fairest awards, and five years as Fremantle captain.

Bell was born in Cheju Island, South Korea, to an American father and a Korean mother. In 1979, aged three, he was adopted by an Australian couple.

Trent Croad - New Zealand


The 2005 All-Australian centre half back famously moved from Hawthorn to Fremantle to Hawthorn again. His original move, however, was from New Zealand to Australia.

Croad's grandfather, Eric Boggs, played rugby union for the All Blacks between 1946 and 1949.

Brant Colledge - France


The young Eagle was born in France in 1994, while father Steve Colledge was coaching field hockey at the famous Racing Club de France (RCF).

Steve had previously played for Australia's national field hockey team.

Alipate Carlile - Fiji


The Port Adelaide full back was born in Fiji before moving to Australia aged one. His cousin, former footballer David Rodan, was also born in Fiji.

Rodan played 185 games for Ricmond, Port Adelaide, and Melbourne.

Ian Perrie - Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)

The notoriously inaccurate Adelaide forward, who retired in 2007, was born in Rhodesia in 1979.

He will go down in history as the only Rhodesian-born AFL player, after Rhodesia ceased to exist in 1979 - being renamed the Republic of Zimbabwe. 

Mil Hanna - Lebanon


The Carlton wingman played 190 games between 1986 and 1997, including a losing grand final in 1993 and a winning grand final in 1995.

Nicknamed The Cranium, Hanna remains the only Lebanese-born player in VFL/AFL history.

Clive Waterhouse - England


The mercurial Fremantle forward was born in England in 1974, and played mostly soccer until the age of 17.

The Dockers selected Waterhouse with pick number one in the 1995 draft. He went on to become the first Fremantle player to kick 100 goals.

Kris Massie - Sweden


The seventh pick in the 1997 draft remains the only VFL/AFL player born in Sweden.

He managed an underwhelming 131 games for Carlton and Adelaide, before settling in as senior coach of SANFL team Glenelg.

Stephen Lawrence - South Africa


The Hawthorn ruckman, who played 146 games between 1988 and 1998, was born in South Africa in 1969.

His father, Godfrey Lawrence, played Test cricket for the South African national team.

Aaron Edwards - Samoa


The small forward was born in Samoa in 1984, to a Samoan mother and a New Zealander father, and migrated to Australia aged two.

He played 94 games for West Coast, North Melbourne, and Richmond across 11 seasons.

Jim Edmond & Bob Edmond - Scotland


The Edmond brothers were born 10 years apart in Glasgow, Scotland. Bob played 10 games for Carlton in the 1960s before becoming a weightlifter, winning two sliver medals at the Olympics.

Jim captained Footscray between 1983 and 1985, leaving after 154 games due to an argument over his contract. He played 17 games for Sydney in 1986, and then became a founding player at Brisbane in 1987.

Image: Bob Edmond in 1968. Via Blueseum

Alex Jesaulenko - Austria


Jesaulenko stands as one of the game's greatest players, playing 279 games and coaching another 140. He captained both Carlton and St Kilda, and was named at half forward in the AFL Team of the Century.

He was born in 1945 in Salzburg, Austria, to a Ukrainian father and a Russian mother. He emigrated to Australia in 1949.

According to Jesaulenko, his name was actually "Esaulenko", but customs officials misheard the name and wrote it down incorrectly.

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