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AFL or Sheffield Shield? Why not both?

Michael Clark: "I've lived every young kid's dream of playing footy and cricket at a high level and I wouldn't trade that for anything" Getty Images

On Friday night, former Victoria allrounder Alex Keath makes his AFL debut for Adelaide Crows, making him the first man in many years to achieve the career double of playing AFL football and first-class cricket. The feat was far more common in the amateur era, when figures such as Keith Miller, Laurie Nash, Sam Loxton, Max Walker and Warwick Armstrong combined both sports. Simon O'Donnell was the last to play Test cricket and VFL/AFL football. Here, ESPNcricinfo presents a list of players who, like Keath, failed to reach Test status but played first-class cricket and Aussie rules at the highest level from the 1980s onwards.

Nick Jewell
Best known as a dour opening batsman who played 62 first-class games for Victoria during the first decade of this century, Jewell also had an extremely brief AFL career. His father, Tony Jewell, is a famous AFL name, having played for and coached the Richmond Football Club, and Nick likewise found his way onto Richmond's list as a teenager. He played just a single AFL match, against Fremantle at the WACA in 1997, before he concentrated on his cricket skills.

Michael Clark
No, not Michael Clarke. This one lacks an E. Like Jewell, Clark managed only a single AFL game before focusing his attention on cricket. The son of former Test fast bowler Wayne Clark, Michael's only AFL outing came for Fremantle against Adelaide Crows in 1999. Injury problems affected his football career, but he was able to perform as a regular member of the Western Australia attack - he was a left-arm fast bowler - from the 2001-02 season onwards. Clark played 17 first-class games and 12 one-day matches, and upon his retirement in 2006 he said: "I've lived every young kid's dream of playing footy and cricket at a high level and I wouldn't trade that for anything."

Craig Bradley
One of the last men to play first-class cricket while simultaneously being a contracted VFL/AFL player, Bradley was a footballing legend who played 375 games for Carlton and a phenomenal 473 senior matches when his SANFL career for Port Adelaide is also included. But he was also a batsman of serious talent, and had played for Australia Under-19 alongside future stars like Craig McDermott. Bradley played two Sheffield Shield games for South Australia in 1983-84, and two more for Victoria in 1989-90. He would surely have had a more extensive cricket career had football not taken up so much of his time.

Geoff Parker
Parker was active around the same time as Bradley and likewise played cricket for both South Australia and Victoria. Unlike Bradley, Parker centred his playing career around cricket. A batsman and medium-pace bowler, Parker played 37 first-class games across the late 1980s and the 1990s. At the 1988 Youth World Cup, he was Australia's captain and led future internationals such as Stuart Law and Alan Mullally, while opposing national captains included Brian Lara and Mike Atherton. The following year, Parker played two football matches for Essendon, and he has returned to football in later years, serving as recruiting manager for Port Adelaide in the AFL.

Jamie Siddons
His cricket career is well known - Siddons is third on the all-time list of Sheffield Shield run scorers, played a single ODI for Australia, and has coached Bangladesh - but what is less remembered is that he also played two football matches for Sydney Swans in 1984. He knew how to get a bit of the ball, too, picking up 16 disposals against North Melbourne in his second and final game. Four years later, he played his solitary cricket international, an ODI against Pakistan in Lahore.

Todd Breman
A medium-pace bowler, Breman played ten first-class games and five one-day matches for Western Australia in the mid-1980s, while also playing football in the WAFL. However, after being drafted by the West Coast Eagles in 1988, he concentrated on his football career and played 48 matches for West Coast and Richmond across a five-year period.

Earl Spalding
An AFL team-mate of Craig Bradley's at Carlton - they played in the 1995 premiership together - Spalding had been a talented fast bowler as a young man, and played four first-class games for Western Australia in 1984-85. His tally of 12 first-class wickets included champion batsmen such as Aravinda de Silva and David Hookes. Spalding now coaches Perth in the WAFL.