In 1934 the Robert Reynolds Trophy, in dedication to a past club Vice President, was introduced to be awarded annually to the club's best and fairest player. This award continued until 2003, with the best and fairest award re-named the John Nicholls Medal in 2004, in dedication to the player who had won the most Robert Reynolds Trophies (5 in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, and 1967). The change was made largely because the club felt that the best and fairest award should be named after a champion player, rather than a past administrator.
For the first time since 1926, the Blues missed the finals after finishing in fifth place. Perhaps the highs of 1932 were well and truly behind the team, or perhaps this would be the driver to a renewed effort. Only history would tell, but in 1934, 12 wins just were not enough. The club was also crippled by injuries; only four players playing in every game. At one point, the Blues had ten top line players out injured. Several controversial suspensions didn't help.
The season started well enough, with a solid win against Hawthorn and a narrow victory over South Melbourne. In fact, the season looked very promising at the the end of Round 12, Carlton having won 9 of its 12 games. The Blues were sitting in fourth place on the ladder, but in a close season were only half a game from top spot.Then the injuries started mounting.
Successive losses to South Melbourne, Richmond and Geelong (all subsequently finalists) in the next three rounds dropped the club to fifth place, 10 points out of the top 4. Three consecutive wins in the final three rounds closed the gap to fourth place to 6 points, but the Blues fell short of an eighth finals appearance in a row, finishing the season with a 12-6 win/loss record. Fifth place seems to be a fair indication of the teams ability in 1934, 5 of our 6 losses were to teams that would finish in the Top 4 and the club would only win 2 of its 7 games against the finalists.
The pain of missing out on finals would be shortlived, the Blues improving markedly in 1935 to once again play in finals football.
People of 1934Captain: Maurie Johnson
Coach: Dan Minogue
Leading Goal-kicker: Creswell 'Mickey' Crisp - 44 goals
Best & Fairest: Creswell 'Mickey' Crisp
vs Wimmera at Central Park Stawell, August 11Carlton arrived on Friday and were given a civic reception by the mayor Cr. S. P. Freeland. Then the team was given a tour of the Great Western wine cellars.
An overcast day greeted the players for the match.
Gate takings 72 pounds.
Vallence scored 6 goals in the final term.
Five minutes before the final siren J. Cooper flew for a mark and came down heavily. Cooper broke a bone in his ankle, he was taken to the hospital and returned home with the team.
J. Francis was presented with a cup for the best and fairest Carlton player, although he was not mentioned in the match report as one of the better players.
On the Monday holiday the team had a picnic in the Grampians.
Backs; K. Dunn, A. DeLuca, R. McLean
Half backs; D. Arrell, J. Francis, F. W. Gilby
Centres; J. W. Kelly, R. Green, F. Finn
Half forwards; D. Mutimer, J. Cooper, H. Vallence
Forwards; A. Clarke, F. Anderson, McElroy
Followers; E. Pollock, M. Johnson
Rover; R. Cooper
19th Man; D. Treweek
Carlton won by 23 points.
Carl; 7.7 9.8 11.12 18.14.122
Wim; 1.3 5.10 12.12 14.15.99
Goals; H. Vallence 8, J. Cooper 3, F. Anderson 2, R. Cooper 2, M. Johnson, E. Pollock, A. Clarke
Best; Johnson, R. Cooper, Vallence, Green, DeLuca, Anderson, Finn.
MilestonesDebuts: Dave Arrell, Bernie Treweek, Wally Mutimer, Frank Anderson, Jim Francis, Keith Dunn, George Dougherty, Frank Finn, Jack Cashman, Terry Ogden, Alby De Luca, Bobby Mills, Harold Maskell
FootnoteA total of 1,732,400 attended the V.F.L. home and way season.
This is down by 13,700 on the 1933 season.