Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
John Barnes

Known as
John Barnes

1 June 1969 (age 54)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 335d
Last game: 32y 120d

Height and weight
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 95 kg

Senior clubs
Essendon; Geelong

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 20, 22
Geelong: 6

Recruited from
Essendon (1992); Geelong (2000)

John Barnes

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
EssendonV/AFL1987-1990, 2000-200158250.4379%6.434.363.954
V/AFL1987-1990, 1992-2001202900.4561%7.456.005.3438
Total1987-1990, 1992-2001202900.4561%7.456.005.3438

AFL: 9,832nd player to appear, 629th most games played, 1,212th most goals kickedEssendon: 928th player to appear, 323rd most games played, 284th most goals kickedGeelong: 901st player to appear, 90th most games played, 129th most goals kicked

Exciting big man - the mainstay of the Geelong ruck division who has kept some of his best games for the finals. Shows great athleticism and marking strength ..... One of Geelong’s characters.¹

At 193cm and 95kg John Barnes was by no means the most physically imposing of ruckmen, but he compensated for this with great athleticism, and he improved noticeably over time. Recruited by Essendon from Cobram he found it difficult to hold down a regular senior spot and between 1987 and 1990 managed just a dozen games. Traded to Geelong in 1991 he quickly showed significant improvement and he was a key player for the Cats in 144 games over nine seasons. Twice selected to represent Victoria during this phase of his career his advancement was interrupted when he sustained a broken arm in 1997. During his absence from the team Steven King assumed the main rucking mantle and retained it on Barnes’ return. 

Still seeking challenges, in 2000 he returned to Essendon and went on to be a key player, as a ruckman, in the Bombers’ triumph over Melbourne in that year’s grand final. His final couple of seasons saw him add another 46 games and, following the 2001 grand final loss to Brisbane, he retired. John Barnes’ dynamic, agile sgtyle of play made him a popular figure among the fans of both of his clubs, but it has to be admitted that he also sometimes behaved a little irresponsibly, much to his coaches’ frustration.

Author - John Devaney


1. 1995 Select AFL card number 285.


Full Points Footy Publications, Crème de la Crème


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.