Double figures in kicks, handballs, marks and tackles – it sounds simple, right?
Basketball has long-celebrated the triple double. Names like Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson and more recently, Russell Westbrook have made this category their own over the years. In 2017, Westbrook broke the all-time record for most Triple Doubles in a single season, grabbing rebounds, assists and points at will. However, when you add just one more statistical layer to the mix, those able to achieve the ‘next level’ feat drop off dramatically.
Only four players have been able to pull off an “official” Quadruple Double in NBA history. Nate Thurmond, Alvin Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson are the only men ever to climb this mountain, and each has only done it once (Hakeem almost had two but had one rescinded once the game was reviewed and the NBA deducted an assist). Thurmond was the first to achieve this in 1974, and Robinson was the last man to pull it off, twenty years later. No one has completed it since 1994. In the last 30-odd years, we’ve seen none.
In the AFL, the quadruple-double is almost as elusive as it is in the NBA. Prior to Round 15, 2022, only six players had been able to compile enough numbers across the range of four specific categories to qualify as Quadruple Double players. I don’t think this kind of thing “Americanizes” our game more than the advanced statistics we use currently already have. We now count goal assists and score involvements. We count ground ball gets, loose ball gets, hard ball gets, and… well, I am sure there has to be one other type of get.
The Quadruple Double is more a fun kind of stat – the sort that captures a player’s influence in a number of areas, and occurs so rarely that it deserves to be celebrated when it does.
But why limit it to just these four specific categories? Why not allow clearances? Why not allow contested possessions? Well, they’d be doubling up, wouldn’t they? A clearance would be either a kick or handball, so in one action, you get to tick off two categories. It doesn’t sit well with me.
To be completely fair to those who came before, we’ve opted for only standard statistical categories. There’ll be no pressure acts, inside fifties, rebound fifties, 1%ers or hitouts included to make it easier to achieve. What we’re looking at is the pure nuts and bolts of the game – kicks, handballs, marks and tackles. To achieve a Quadruple Double, those are the designated categories a player must record double figures in.
To demonstrate just how difficult this achievement is to obtain, it is worth looking at timelines.
2008 saw the first Quadruple Double realised. One more was added in 2009, then another in 2011. Two were achieved in 2014, and one more recorded in 2015. With players now tackling more than ever, you’d think that we will see the Quad achieved more often, but as it stands, this is an incredibly difficult statistical milestone to reach.
Now, over the past two seasons, we’ve added two names to the list. Let’s run them down.
The first to pull it off was Scott Thompson for Adelaide.
In Round 9, 2008, Thompson recorded the inaugural Quad against the West Coast Eagles in Subiaco. Sadly, his huge night was wasted, as the Crows fell to West Coast by 50 points.
Scott Thompson Round 9 2008
The second man to hit the statistical Everest was Joel Selwood.
In Round 17, 2009 Selwood led his Cats against the Hawks in front of 64,000 at the MCG. As became a Selwood trademark, he elevated his game against his bitter foes, and walked away with his most complete game to date, helping to drag his team across the line in the dying moments.
Joel Selwood Round 17 2009
Next up was a player who was maligned throughout a lot of his career. Mostly by supporters of his own team.
Brent Stanton actually has several near-Quadruple doubles, but only hit the mark once. In Round 19, 2011 Stanton showed why he was rated so highly by those within Essendon. While Collingwood gave the Bombers a belting, Stanton was one of only a few stand up and walk off the ground with head held high.
Brent Stanton Round 19 2011
A three-year drought of Quadruple Doubles was broken in Round 5, 2014 when Ben McGlynn resurrected the stat for the Sydney Swans.
McGlynn was instrumental in the Swans’ victory over Fremantle at the SCG, his forward pressure and fierce intent on the ball and whoever had it in their possession saw him join elite company.
Ben McGlynn Round 5 2014
There was no drought following McGlynn’s effort, with Tom Rockliff adding a Quadruple Double to his CV in Round 20, 2014.
In a game completely dominated by the Adelaide Crows, Rockliff’s statistical masterpiece is somewhat lost. It’s hard to find things to celebrate when you’re being creamed to the tune of 105 points, but Rockliff’s individual game deserves recognition. Rocky has also been close on several other occasions.
Tom Rockliff Round 20 2014
And then there is Corey Enright – his work in defence made him a favourite, but really, he could have played anywhere
Enright was all class as he aided the Cats in their defeat of Collingwood at the MCG.
It is worth noting that at this stage of his career, many were talking about retirement for Enright. This performance may have just convinced them that he had one year left in the tank. If it didn’t, I’m not sure what else could have.
Corey Enright Round 6 2015
Not noted as a strong mark, or a strong tackler until around 2021, Karl Amon kind of snuck up and took everyone by surprise.
In Round 15, 2022 he notched 16 kicks. 10 marks, 10 handballs, and ten tackles as his Power held on to beat Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval.
Karl Amon – Round 15, 2022
And now, we add Josh Dunkley to the list.
His game against Carlton was doubly-impressive, as not only did he achieve the stat milestone, but he also managed to play a defensive game that shut down Carlton captain, Patrick Cripps in the process.
In Round Eight, 2023, he notched 22 kicks, 11 handbells, 13 tackles, and 11 marks in one of the more dominant overall midfield displays you’ll see. It’s been less than a year since Karl Amon broke the drought, but with Dunkley in this type of form, maybe his name will be one mentioned when I ask the next question.
Josh Dunkley – Round Eight, 2023
So, who gets one next?
The Mongrel would like to thank the unsuspecting guys and girls on the BigFooty Statistical Page for doing a lot of the legwork in terms of this stat before I started monitoring it. They have kept tabs on this statistical rarity and those who have come close for several years. Many thanks to you all – we’ve all been very patient waiting for this one, and I have appreciated you all cheering on the near-misses along the way.
Oh, and before I go, Wilt Chamberlain has a game available for those who are diligent that saw him achieve a Quintuple-Double, but stats for blocks and steals were not kept at the time. However, since then, stories suggesting it may have indeed been a sextuple-double have come t light, as witnesses suggest Wilt also slept with ten cheerleaders that day.
I wouldn’t put it past him!
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