1944 SummaryGeelong managed to field a team in 1944 for the first time in 3 years, due to World War II. This removed the problem of having to deal with byes for the VFL and allowed the season to have its traditional 18 home and away rounds. The Cats would struggle, however, winning only one game and losing eight by over 50 points (including three 100 point-plus losses, one of which was to Carlton). Jim Francis was appointed Carlton's captain for the season but didn't play a senior game. He tried to make a comeback in the reserves but broke down and then retired. Bob 'Bomber' Atkinson took over as captain for the rest of 1944.
After a first round loss to South Melbourne, Carlton was one of the teams in good early-season form, winning 7 games in a row between rounds 2 and 8 to be first on the ladder, half a game ahead of Richmond in second place. In the second half of the season the Blues could only split their games, winning 5 of the last 10 matches. This included narrow losses to Footscray in round 11 and again to the Dogs by only 1 point in round 18. This second loss to Footscray occurred in controversial circumstances and would cause Carlton to miss out on a finals appearance by half a game, finishing in fifth behind the Dogs.
In many ways this season was the exact opposite on the previous year. In 1943 we had started poorly, gained form in the second half of the season, and then narrowly squeaked into the finals because Hawthorn had lost in the final round by 1 point.
People of 1944Captain: Bob Atkinson / Jim Francis
Coach: Percy Bentley
Leading Goal-kicker: Jim Mooring - 42 goals
Best & Fairest: Bob Chitty
Second Best & Fairest: Jim Mooring
Jim Park Memorial Cup: Bob Chitty
Most Consistent: Arthur Sanger
Special Trophy, Most Consistent: Frank Anderson
Most Improved: Jim Clark
Eddie Miller Trophy, Most Serviceable Player: Rod McLean
MilestonesDebuts: Jack Conley (135 games), Ritchie Green (95 games), Les Gregory (2 games), Ern Henfry (84 games), Bert Lucas (7 games), Les McCann (7 games), Harold McDonald (1 game), Les Marden (2 games), Ernie Spence (4 games), Herb Turner (84 games), Alex Way (32 games) and Doug Williams (121 games)