Dale Kickett is the only living person to have played for five different AFL clubs
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RAIN MAN: As Ben Hudson considers strapping on the boots once more, we look at the company he will be keeping as a four-club player...
Career: 181 games, 1990-2002
Clubs: Fitzroy, West Coast, St Kilda, Essendon and Fremantle
As a WA boy, Kickett began his career playing senior footy with WAFL club Claremont. He was a standout for the Tigers, leading the club's goal-kicking as they racked up a 17-4 record and their seventh flag in 1989. Fitzroy came calling in that year's draft, taking Kickett with their first rounder (No.9). He played 15 games for the struggling Lions but never settled in the big smoke and packed his bags for home after just one season. Traded to West Coast for pick No.78, he spent most of the '91 season in the WAFL and was delisted after two senior games. St Kilda swooped on Kickett in the '92 pre-season draft and he tried valiantly to make it in Melbourne a second time round. He booted 20.30 in 21 games but again found himself back in WA after one year.
Back in the Claremont fold, Kickett switched from half-forward to half-back and won his second Simpson Medal in '93. The move to the backline piqued Essendon's interest, and the Bombers pre-selected Kickett, by now 25 years old, in the 1993 mid-year draft. After eight senior games in 1994, he was traded to Fremantle in a complicated deal that saw the Dockers hand away the pick used on Matthew Lloyd.
Kickett excelled under inaugural Dockers coach Gerard Neesham and wound up playing 131 games for the port club across seven years. He was Fremantle's first 100-game player and won their 1997 best-and-fairest, though he is perhaps best remembered for taking West Coast pest Phil Read to the cleaners in a spiteful Western Derby in 2000.
Kickett retired midway through the 2002 season due to lingering injuries. He remains the only living person to have played for five different AFL clubs.
Career: 73 games, 1927-37
Clubs: Collingwood, Hawthorn, Carlton, St Kilda and Fitzroy
Hughson was a 188cm ruckman and the second man to play for five different VFL clubs.
Born in 1907, he debuted for Collingwood as a 19-year-old in the 1927 season, a flag-winning year for the Magpies. He managed one game for the black-and-whites and was moved on to Hawthorn the following year. Four senior appearances for the Hawks followed before the well-built lad landed at VFA club Preston. Five years in the wilderness followed before the Blues recruited him for their 1933 season.
Hughson played nine games in the '33 season, including his first-ever final, a 13-point loss to Fitzroy in the semis. He made three more appearances the following year but walked to St Kilda mid-season after being dropped from Carlton's senior side.
Hughson's three years at the Saints were his most productive. He played 41 of a possible 54 games, including 17 games in the 1935 campaign, in which he also kicked 27 goals. St Kilda missed the top four that year by four points. It was the closest Hughson would come to playing finals footy again.
By 1937, the 30-year-old Hughson decided to spend his final season in the company of his two younger brothers, Fred and Michael, at Fitzroy. He kicked 12 goals in 15 games that year, including a career-high four majors against the Magpies in round nine.
Hughson passed away in 1985, aged 78.
Career: 39 games, 1904-12
Clubs: Collingwood, Carlton, Richmond, Melbourne and South Melbourne
A five-club player was a special thing in the early days of the VFL, and Abbott was certainly a bit of an original. In addition to turning out for the Magpies, Blues, Tigers, Dees and Bloods over nine years, the full-back also pulled on the boots for Brunswick, North Melbourne and Port Melbourne in the VFA.
Born in Collingwood, Abbott's allegiance to the Magpies wavered after just one game of the 1904 season. He made a lone appearance for Carlton in '05, a 36-point drubbing at the hands of Fitzroy at Princes Park, then spent the next four seasons bouncing around in the VFA. Called up to Richmond in 1910, he played 31 times for the Tigers over the next two years. Abbott joined the Demons in 1912 and played three games (all losses) before defecting mid-season to South Melbourne. He played a further three games for the Swans (all wins), who were the minor premiers that year.
Abbott passed away in 1947, aged 62.
Career: 231 games, 1989-2001
Clubs: Geelong, St Kilda, Brisbane Bears, Brisbane Lions and Fremantle
Fletcher gets into the five-club club on a technicality given he was part of the last Brisbane Bears side before the merger with Fitzroy. That is not to diminish his achievements as a player. The prolific ball-winner was among the best during his four years at Fremantle, and was well-regarded in five seasons with the Bears and Lions.
There are 24 in total, with veteran ruckman Ben Hudson in line to become the 25th should he strap on the boots for Collingwood in 2013. Among the notables are two-time All Australian Geoff Raines (Richmond, Collingwood, Essendon, Brisbane Bears), three-time premiership player Martin Pike (Melbourne, Fitzroy, Kangaroos, Brisbane Lions), 1999 Coleman Medallist Scott Cummings (Essendon, Port Adelaide, West Coast, Collingwood), and five-time Fitzroy leading goal-kicker Richard Osborne (Fitzroy, Sydney, Footscray, Collingwood).
Should Hudson agree to join the Magpies, he will be the first four-club player since former Brisbane and Adelaide ruckman Matthew Clarke, who retired from St Kilda in 2007.
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