Sleeve Tattoos are the latest trend in the AFL, there are now so many players with a ‘sleeve’ that a team could be created. We have created a best 22 side based on players with a sleeve tattoo. What we classify as a sleeve tattoo is a tattoo that goes from a players shoulder down to their wrist. In many cases players have tattoos from there shoulder to their elbow, and therefore do not fit the criteria to be selected in the team. What influenced the idea to create this team was an article published by The Herald Sun, titled AFL ink: The stories behind some of footy’s best-known tattoos.
The pacey Irish defender, Tuohy played every game for Carlton in 2015. He finished third in the clubs best and fairest, as well as making the AFL Coaches Association All-Australian Team, a reward for his terrific season. Tuohy fits in perfectly to the team with a nice tattoo sleeve down his right arm, featuring an angel playing a harp on his upper bicep.
Essendon’s running half back, Dempsey will be forced to take out the full back position due to him being the tallest defender in the side at 185cm. The ‘tattoo’ on Dempsey’s left arm, appears to be indigenous artwork, a nice sleeve respecting his aboriginal culture.
Wilson appeared to cement his spot in the GWS backline in the last 6 games of last season, averaging a career high, 14.5 disposals a game and locking down star small forwards including Jeff Garlett. He has blossomed on his 2015 form, and has been a regular for the Giants throughout 2016, playing in every game to date, as well as increasing his disposal average by 6, to 18.8. On a tattoo front, Wilson has stated to “have had a thing for tattoos and actually part-owns a tattoo shop in Bali called Boss Ink.”
Williams is an evasive half back at Collingwood, who has an ability to break the lines and kick goals. He comes into the 2016 season, off a career best season which saw him have 3, 30 possession games. Williams has Maori artwork on his right arm sleeve tattoo, which represents his ‘Kiwi’ heritage.
Jeremy Howe, former Melbourne Demon player, has improved drastically since his move to Collingwood. Known for his high flying marks, Howe has moved to the backline at the Magpie. Since the change of position it has seen Howe further develop into a trusty defender. He has many interesting images on his sleeve tattoo, one which includes greek god, Hercules.
Clancee from the Fremantle Dockers makes the half back flank position. He reads the game well, and attacks the footy hard. Pearce struggled with injury last year, however has come back well this season, playing his 100th game and collecting a season high of 28 disposals. Pearce has both arms tattooed with images ranging from a raging tiger, to spiderman comics, full of colour.
Masten is an improving West Coast Eagles midfielder. He is known at the Eagles for his versatility and speed, and has placed in the top 10 for the best and fairest for the last 3 years. He said that he got his first tattoo on the day he turned 17, he told PERTHNOW news. “Sometimes there’s a reason to ‘slap on a stamp’, other times it’s just an impulse.” He also says “That whole sleeve down my arm is a good versus evil theme. He named the images ‘St Michael, The Archangel’. Michael is the name of his Dad. Masten’s sleeve also includes a possessed girl with devil horns.
Nathan Jones, Melbourne Demons Captain, is a hard nut inside midfielder. Jones would have to be considered as one of the greatest captains of the modern era. Jones has many family symbols on both his arms, one which includes an image of his grand father who past away, one in which he is very passionate about.
Bradley Hill of the Hawthorn Hawks would be living the AFL dream, he has played four seasons for the Hawks and has won 3 Premierships. Hill is known for his elite endurance level and speed, a classy wingman who will continue to grow into an elite player of the AFL. Hill has indigenous artwork along his sleeve tattoo, representing his aboriginal culture.
Walters was the 2015 leading goal kicker for Fremantle, kicking 44 goals and only 19 behinds showing that he was a very accurate goal kicker. As well as kicking goals, Walters is also known at Fremantle for his forward pressure, having a career high of 54 for the 2015 season. Walters has a lot of ink work, with a sleeve up his right arm. On this sleeve, his last name features, just to ensure that he does not forget it.
Mitch Clark of the Geelong Cats, is an exciting, hard-at-it tall forward, and is one of the most accurate goal kickers in the competition. However, injuries have kept him on the sidelines for the past two seasons. The sleeve down his right arm has a religious theme with a tattoo of Jesus, angels and a hallway with a skull in the middle of it.
‘Dusty’ Martin, is a young gun who is having a major impact in the AFL. Martin is a strong on baller, who reads the play very well and kicks goals. He is notorious in the AFL for his ‘don’t argue’ a fend off. “There is no specific meaning for my tattoos, I just like them. My favourite one is the melted clock on my hand.” Martin said.
Jamie Elliott is a smart goal kicking forward for Collingwood. He has taken many ‘screamers’ since debuting in 2012. Elliott has a sleeve which features a patterned floral arrangement with stars, tree branches and roses throughout.
The Sydney Swans Forward, and arguably best full forward in the competition, Lance Franklin is known for kicking goals and taking strong marks. He is a premiership player for the Hawks, and a Colman Medallist. Franklin has indigenous art, which includes a man playing a didgeridoo and a snake symbolic to Aboriginal people.
Second Year player for the Melbourne Demons, James Harmes, is an exciting young talent. He is nicknamed ‘nut’ for being a hard aggressive player, who goes in for the ball with no fear. Following the lead of his Captain Nathan Jones, Harmes has his whole right arm tattooed. The feature of his sleeve is a native Indian American.
Jesse White, is currently the only player who has a sleeve tattoo that can play in the ruck. White got his tattoo when he was traded to Collingwood and said that the sleeve tattoo of a lady surrounded by flowers represents “the new beginning in [his] life and it also can relate to [his] footy. It’s a new beginning settling into the side and trying to make a mark in the AFL for myself.”
Dayne Beams is a hard running midfielder who plays for Brisbane. Beams is a high possession player who can go forward and kick goals. Beams has a sleeve on his left arm which has a dragon breathing fire down his arm, full of colour. As well as this he has a few Australian icons one which includes a kangaroo holding an Aussie flag. Beams does have some meaning to his tattoos as his family motto is printed in large letter, “Fortius Quo Fidelius” meaning strength through loyalty.
The 2011 Brownlow medallist Dane Swan makes the team easily, in fact is the player that sparked the idea to create a sleeve tattoo team. He is a gun on the football field but would certainly be potentially better known for his tattoos. He has them on his arms, legs, chest and hands. Swan says that his tattoos have “his family motto, an ominous blue dragon, skulls and scripts, just to name a few.” Swan says that although running out of space to have tattoos, he still desires to get more. “I want to get one inside my ear.”