Career : 1946 - 1947
Debut : Round 9, 1946 v Geelong, aged 22 years, 268 days
Carlton Player No. 612
Games : 7
Goals : 1
Last Game : Round 4, 1947 v Footscray, aged 23 years, 230 days
Guernsey No. 24
Height : 182 cm ( 5 ft. 11 in.)
Weight : 72 kg (11 stone, 5 lbs.)
DOB : September 22, 1923
Tom Eldridge took part in his first senior match for Carlton only weeks after he was discharged from service with the Australian Army in World War II. A local lad from Moreland in Melbourne’s north, he had turned out regularly with amateur club Carlton District before he enlisted for military duty in 1941 - soon after his eighteenth birthday.
Eldridge served throughout the war in mainland Australia with the 59th Battalion, a Militia unit trained for the defence of northern Australia. At war’s end in 1945 he returned to Melbourne, and was discharged in February 1946. Soon afterwards, he found himself at Princes Park, and in June of that year was named to play at full-forward against Geelong in his first senior match. While the Blues won comfortably, Eldridge managed just one goal, and was dropped to the reserves bench the following week. In all, he played five of his seven matches for Carlton as a reserve.
The only other time that Tom was part of the Blues’ starting line-up was in the last round of 1946, against Collingwood at Princes Park. Eldridge played in a back pocket on that Saturday afternoon, as two of Carlton’s 1945 Premiership heroes; Bob Chitty and Clinton Wines, bowed out with a hard-fought, 5-point victory over the Magpies.
Eldridge himself persevered into 1947, when he played just one more senior game (again, off the bench) in round 4 against Footscray at Princes Park. Carlton thrashed the Bulldogs by 54 points, and Tom was on the field at the final siren.
FootnoteThe Argus May 22 1946;
"Tom Elridge who was among the most conspicuous of the younger players at training, and whose progress was retarded when an injury at work led to a finger amputation, is training again. He will start with the seconds for match practice."
1951 Tom Eldridge was appointed captain of Yarraville.
Tom Eldrige Yarraville 1951