While successful AFL players can come in all shapes and sizes, certain physical attributes, such as height, can play an important part in successful performance. Being tall is clearly an advantage, though there are many short players who have had successful AFL careers despite their short stature. The possible advantage of being short is a lower center of gravity, which may result in better balance and agility, a clear advantage while going for the loose ground balls.
Jim 'Nipper' Bradford is the shortest Aussie rules footballer to ever play. He played seven games with Collingwood in 1943, and nine with North Melbourne in 1949.
Short players are generally midfielders. Comparing playing positions of AFL players from 2012-2018, ruckmen were the tallest (average 201.4cm), followed by the defenders, then forwards, and the shortest were the midfielders (average 184.4cm ).
List of the Shortest AFL Players Ever
|Rank||Ht (cm)||Ht (feet/inch)||Player||Team||Years|
|1||155||5' 1"||Jim 'Nipper' Bradford||Collingwood, Nth Melbourne||1943-1949|
|2||157||5' 2"||Charlie Hardy||Esssendon||1921-1925|
|3||162||5' 4"||Danny Craven||St Kilda, Brisbane Bears||1989-1995|
|4||163||5' 4"||Tony Liberatore||Footscray||1986-2002|
|163||5' 4"||George"Tich" Shorten||Essendon||1923-1926|
|6||165||5' 5"||Daniel Schimmelbusch||Nth Melbourne||1978-1981|
|165||5' 5"||Paul Callery||Melbourne, St Kilda, Sth Melbourne||1970-1980|
|8||166||5' 5.5"||Brad Gotch||Fitzroy, St Kilda||1982-1990|
|166||5' 5.5"||Ian Ridley||Melbourne||1971-1973|
|166||5' 5.5"||Alby Rodda||Melbourne||1939-1950|
|168||5' 6"||Caleb Daniel||Western Bulldogs||2015+|
|168||5' 6"||Barry Cable||Nth Melbourne||1970-1977|
|168||5' 6"||Bluey Adams||Melbourne||1953-1964|
|14||170||5' 6"||Lou Richards||Collingwood||1941-1955|
Data Source: the height data is taken from the player's profile on Wikipedia (Oct 2022)
Author: Article by Rob Wood, with extra research by Casper Wood and Hamish Jenkins.
- List of the Tallest AFL Players
- AFL Player Anthropometry by Position
- Sport Specific Anthropometry - about body size and composition of many sports
- All about anthropometry testing
- Procedure for measuring Height
- Examples of the World's shortest athletes
- Height growth charts — monitoring height changes over time
- Indigenous AFL players are shorter, lighter and faster
- Converting cm to ft and in and vice versa.