One of the greatest things about the AFL is the Father-Son rule that allows clubs to preferential treatment when it comes to drafting the sons of former players.
It was a big moment for Collingwood fans when Peter Daicos’ son Nick joined his brother, Josh Daicos at the Magpies during the 2021 AFL Draft.
Sam Darcy, son of Bulldogs great Luke, joined the Western Bulldogs during the draft also, taken at pick 2.
Some of the best players in the history of the AFL have been drafted through the Father-Son rule and we have come up with ten of the best Father-Son combinations in the history of the AFL.
Gary Ablett Sr. – Gary Ablett Jr.
They could play Australian Rules for another 1000 years and it will be tough to top this duo.
Gary Ablett Sr. played 242 games for Geelong and is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the AFL, but many would argue that Gary Ablett Jr. surpassed his famous father.
Geelong only had to part with the 40th overall draft pick to secure Ablett during the 2001 AFL draft and he went on to drive the club to two AFL Premierships, while picking up a swag of individual awards along the way.
Ken Fletcher – Dustin Fletcher
Essendon have got an incredible amount of value out of this father-son combination.
Ken Fletcher played 264 games for Essendon from 1967 to 1980 and very few people would have believed that his son would play over 130 more games for the club.
Fletcher joined the Bombers in 1992 and was pivotal in their two Premiership wins in 1993 and 2000.
The veteran defender finally retired at the end of 2015 with 400 games to his name and along with his father holds the record for the most VFL/AFL career games played by a father and son.
Sergio Silvagni – Stephen Silvagni
The Silvagni family is the first family of the Carlton Football Club.
Sergio Silvagni played 268 games for Carlton from 1958 and 1971 and was involved in two Premiership victories, but he was made even more famous by the exploits of his son Stephen Silvagni – also known as SOS (Son Of Serge).
Silvagni made his AFL debut in 1985 and over his 312 games career he stamped himself as one of the greatest ever full-backs in the history of Australian Rules.
The Silvagni name lives on at Carlton – his son Jack made his debut for the club against Collingwood in recent years.
Jack Hawkins – Tom Hawkins
Tom Hawkins could very well have ended up as the number 1 draft pick in the 2006 National Draft if it was not for the father-son rule.
Jack Hawkins played 182 games for Geelong from 1973 until 1981 and that meant that Geelong were able to secure Tom with the 41st pick of the draft.
It is fair to say that this created plenty of controversy and was one of the main reasons that the father-son rule has been changed somewhat in recent years.
It didn’t bother Geelong – Hawkins has played in two Premiership sides and has been their leading goalkicker on a number of occasions.
Peter Hudson – Paul Hudson
Peter Hudson may be one of the most underrated forwards in the history of Australian Rules.
Hudson kicked goals for fun throughout his career in the VFL as well as the Tasmania Football League and he was the leading goalkicker in the VFL on four occasions.
Paul Hudson never reached the heights of his father, but he still kicked plenty of goals in 134 games for Hawthorn before he earnt All Australian selections after he was traded to the Western Bulldogs in 1997.
Tim Watson – Jobe Watson
Jobe Watson will make his comeback to the AFL this season and nobody will be prouder than his father Tim.
Tim Watson played over 300 games for Essendon from 1977 to 1994 – with a year off in 1992 for a premature retirement – and he was involved in three premierships during a golden period for the Bombers.
Jobe Watson was drafted under the father-son rule in 2002 and it is fair to say that he had a slow start to his career, but he eventually developed into one of the best midfielders in the competition.
Tony Liberatore – Tom Liberatore
Vision of Tony Liberatore watching the Western Bulldogs during the 2016 AFL Finals went viral and it is clear that he still has a great passion for the club.
Liberatore played 283 games for the Western Bulldogs from 1986 until 2002 and he was never able to win an elusive Premiership, but he did win the 1990 Brownlow Medal and held the record for the most tackles in the history of the VFL/AFL.
Tom Liberatore has been excellent for the Western Bulldogs and he has already secured the AFL Premiership medal that his father missed out on.
John Scarlett – Matthew Scarlett
John Scarlett was a journeyman for Geelong from 1967 until 1977, but his biggest contribution to Geelong came to the cub in the form of his son Matthew Scarlett.
The Cats got Scarlett for an absolute steal with the 45th overall draft pick in the 1997 AFL Draft and he went on to achieve just about everything there is to achieve in the AFL.
Scarlett finished his career as a three-time premiership player, a six-time All Australian and he won the Carji Greeves Medal for Geelong’s Best And Fairest in 2003.
Alan Richardson – Matthew Richardson
Alan Richardson is another player that made his greatest contribution to his AFL club through his son.
Richardson played 103 games for Richmond from 1959 to 1969 and was a premiership player in 1969, but it was his son Matthew that went on to become one of the greatest players in the history of the club.
Richardson was a rare high-point for the Tigers during a very bleak period in their history and he finished his career with exactly 800 goals, while he still holds the record for the most goals kicked at the MCG.
Bryan Cousins – Ben Cousins
Ben Cousins was one of the few players that was involved in a heated bidding war to be drafted through the father-son rule.
Bryan Cousins played for Perth in the WAFL as well as Geelong in the VFL and that meant that Cousins was eligible for Geelong, West Coast and Fremantle under the father-son rule.
Cousins ended up joining the West Coast Eagles and it ended up working out extremely well for the club – Cousins won the Brownlow Medal in 2003 and played a key role in the club’s charge to the 2006 AFL Premiership.