Career : 1934 - 1935
Debut : Round 4, 1934 vs Geelong, aged 28 years, 35 days
Carlton Player No. 507
Games : 17
Goals : 23
Last Game : Round 8, 1935 vs Melbourne, aged 29 years, 54 days
Guernsey No. 4
Height : 189 cm (6 ft. 2 in.)
Weight : 88 kg (12 stone, 12 lbs.)
DOB : 21 April, 1906
When tall, slim Jack Cashman led the team on to the field in his first game for the Navy Blues against Geelong in round 4, 1934, he became just the second individual in the long history of the Carlton Football Club to captain the side on debut. The first was of course, Jimmy Aitken, who led the Blues into our first match in the VFL in 1897. Cashman’s situation was brought about because Carlton’s appointed leader at that time; Maurie Johnson, and vice-captain Charlie Davey had both been ruled out of the match by injury. So as deputy vice-captain, Jack was next in line.
While that may seem curious, Cashman was no raw recruit. He was a seasoned, experienced ruckman-forward who had already played 76 matches with Fitzroy, and just two years earlier, had captain-coached West Perth to the WAFL Premiership. He was the ideal man to lead the Blues on that particular Saturday afternoon, and proved it when Carlton beat the Cats by 10 points in a high standard contest.
One of many talented players who showcased their skills on both sides of the continent during the twenties and thirties, Cashman was born in Zeehan, Tasmania in 1906, but grew up in Fitzroy. He joined the Maroons in 1926, and gave them valuable service for six seasons as a mobile ruckman or sometime key forward. Fitzroy enjoyed little success during that time, but Cashman’s abilty was recognised by his selection in Victorian representative teams on four occasions.
In 1932, Cashman left Fitzroy and crossed the continent to join West Perth as captain-coach, making himself an instant hero when the Cardinals beat East Perth by 43 points in the WAFL Grand Final. Described as “strong-willed, single-minded, and very forceful on the ground,” Jack took his team into the finals again the following year, only to lose the Preliminary Final to Subiaco by 4 points.
Fitzroy enticed Cashman back to the Brunswick Street Oval as captain-coach in 1934, but his homecoming was brief and unhappy. Just two rounds into the season, Jack claimed that he didn’t have the full support of the Fitzroy committee, and abruptly resigned. That was when Carlton stepped in, inviting the 28 year-old to play out the year with the Blues.
Following on from his auspicious start with his new club against Geelong, Cashman captained Carlton in two more matches in 1934, before ‘Mocha’ Johnson returned to take up the reins again in round 7. Cashman then went to centre half-forward for three games, prior to seeing out the season in the ruck. In his first 12 appearances in Carlton’s number 4 guernsey, he kicked 19 goals, while the team just missed out on a finals berth in fifth place on the ladder.
Season 1935 saw changes at the top at Princes Park, with a new coach in Frank Maher, and a new captain in Charlie Davey. Like Cashman, Maher was a determined, no-nonsense character, and it is not hard to conclude that he and Jack didn’t always agree on methods and tactics. They probably clashed early in the season, but it wasn’t until Jack was relegated to 19th man against Melbourne in round 8, that the situation apparently blew up. Although Carlton beat the Demons by 12 points that afternoon, Cashman’s brief stay at Princes Park ended unhappily when he told Maher that he was finished with the Blues.
Later that year, Cashman starred at centre half-forward for VFA front-runners Yarraville when the Villains defeated Camberwell by 9 points in a hard-fought Grand Final at Toorak Park. Despite that triumph however, Jack headed back across the Nullarbor to rejoin West Perth in 1936.
Vigorously pursued by Yarraville, Cashman finally agreed to return to Victoria in 1937 as captain-coach, and took the Villains to fourth on the ladder. Although rising 32 by then, Jack provided a reliable target at centre half-forward in two of that season's play-offs; Yarraville's draw with eventual Premiers Prahran in the first Semi Final, followed by a heavy defeat in the replay.
In 1938, with Carlton on the verge of a sixth VFL Premiership, Jack was back in his home state of Tasmania in charge of the Cananore Football Club, where he rounded off a memorable career by coaching the Canaries into the TFL finals twice in three years. After that, another 44 football seasons were to be watched and enjoyed before John Joseph William Cashman passed away at Parkville on the 18th July, 1982, aged 75.
Cashman's Good Debut With CarltonPerth's Daily News reports on Jack Cashman.
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