Red and WHITE – Craig White column May 2

Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 6:31 AM

 FOR this week's column I thought I would take the opportunity to pick out the best three teammates I've played with in my time here at South Fremantle and then the three toughest opponents I've come up against. It wasn’t easy, but here's what I came up with.

My top three teammates have been Evan Hewitt, Toby McGrath and Peter Bell.


He was just such a smart forward and he taught me a hell of a lot as a kid coming through about where to go and how to run. He was a super big body and made your job as a small forward a lot easier. He never got outmarked and you knew that if he didn’t mark it himself, it was going to ground pretty close to him so playing footy with him was very predictable. He was so solid and hardly ever played a bad game, and was a big part of why we won the 2005 premiership. He was also a good, reliable shot on goal. We had that success of winning in 2005 and then we got beaten in 2006 which is when he finished up. He was a massive loss for us but that was when Callum Wilson stepped up and sort of became the new Evan Hewitt for us.












I've had the pleasure of playing pretty much all my senior footy with Toby and he is one guy that you just always know what you are going to get with him. When I first started, Toby was our match-winner and led the team very well from the middle and winning a Sandover and Simpson Medal was a massive effort. Then in the later part of his career he was a great leader and teacher, and marshalled the back-line when he was down there and I definitely learned a lot from him in that role. He was such a good teammate and great clubman as well.  It's fair to say he worked hard and played hard as well. He was definitely at the forefront at all the social activities at the club throughout my time and he was a big reason why we got going on a fair few footy trips to some extravagant places.


We were pretty lucky in 2009 to get Belly and 'Wiz' come back and play for us. It was just a short time, but what Belly brought to the club in terms of leadership, his knowledge of the game and ability to teach everyone what was required both on and off the field was enormous. His rehabilitation when injured and his training standards was a real eye-opener to see someone who had been at the top of the elite level. He probably didn’t need to go as hard as he did given his reputation, but he was giving 110 per cent and the boys were really grateful of everything he did. He was a big part of our social activities and was very generous with a few functions that he put on for the boys as well.

Obviously it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to three and the two Hamsy boys and Hayden North were the others who I was contemplating putting in there. I was going to put the two Hams boys in there as third and I thought of Hayden North so they were the three that just missed out.

As far as opponents go, I couldn’t go past Brad Smith from Subi, Paul Ridley from East Perth and then Andrew Krakouer for his year with Swans.












He was a super talent and super-reliable great mark and great kick. He was at the forefront of Subiaco being as strong as they were for so many years. Unfortunately he got a little bit unlucky when he got drafted to the Eagles, but having played a fair bit of my career down back I saw firsthand what he was capable of. He got hold of us in some of those games and you knew he would not miss any time he got a shot on goal. You would pretty much put your head down and walk back to your position when you knew he was having a shot.


I got the chance to play on Paul Ridley against East Perth and it was just the one season at the twilight of his career. It was my fourth or fifth game and John Dimmer put me down in a back pocket for an initiation and Paul Ridley went to town and kicked six goals on me. David Gault always used to talk about Paul Ridley and then I got to see firsthand what he had done to Gaulty the first time, and he definitely taught me a football lesson that day. The great thing about JD as our coach was that he was willing to back in his players for big jobs like that and more often than not they worked, but that day Riddles turned back the clock a couple of years and pulled my pants down.


That season that he played in 2010 was unbelievable and it was topped off by his A-grade grand final performance. To then see him get a second chance in the AFL and play really good footy was great. At WAFL level at that time, he was untouchable and you couldn’t lay a hand on him or tackle him, and he was very sharp around goals and even kicked a torpedo from the Dockers pocket one day at Freo from only 30 metres out and it still sailed through. That summed him up all over.

By Craig White