Bendigo league tops the list of most AFL players produced

By Richard Jones

Have you ever wondered which regional or country league has produced the most footballers who went on to play AFL?

Well Glenn McMahon who runs the much-visited website has used his 2020 ‘no football’ forced lockdown with no actual games or scores to write up to good use.

He’s compiled a table showing not only how many players from the different leagues throughout Victoria have gone on to play at the highest level of Australian Rules football, but also how many games in total these players ran out for.

Bendigo heads the Top Ten list with 358 players who totalled 17,272 games, well ahead of second-placed Ballarat with 291 players (15,832 matches).

Then comes Goulburn Valley, Geelong FNL and Gippsland to round out the Top Five.

McMahon went right back to the inaugural VFL season in 1897 and his lists include those who turned out for just a single VFL/AFL game right through to the game’s giants who played 300 or more matches for their club --- or in many cases, clubs.

Here are some of the parameters McMahon used in his research.

He checked the lists of the first eight clubs to contest the inaugural 1897 VFL season and then the lists from every club which joined later: Richmond, Footscray, North Melbourne and Hawthorn.

The first eight VFL clubs were, of course, Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, South Melbourne and St. Kilda.

2020 draftees are included, those who were drafted from 1987 onwards as well as those footballers who were recruited before the national drafts began made the lists.

And of course, there’s a number of clubs who have contested a variety of different leagues during their history.

So, McMahon states “the current league the club is in is where the player records have been allocated.

“If the club is no longer in existence --- that is it’s folded --- the players’ records have been allocated to the club’s last-known league.”

So, let’s set out the regional and country leagues which have produced the most VFL/AFL players and the total number of games they’ve racked up: -


1/. Bendigo: 358 players (total games: 17,272)

2/. Ballarat: 291 (15,832 games)

3/. Goulburn Valley: 288 (11,710 games)

4/. Geelong FNL: 287 (14,271 games)

5/. Gippsland FNL: 287 (14,134).

6/. Ovens and Murray: 279 (12,010 games)

7/. Hampden: 231 (12,435)

8/. Mornington Peninsula: 202 (12,397)

9/. Outer East FNL: 188 (11,702)

10/. Wimmera FNL: 161 (8,204).


For more go to and search for: The All-Time Lists

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