Percy Bentley took over from Brighton Diggins (premiership coach in 1938) as coach of the Blues, a position he would hold for 15 years until the end of 1955 season. Under the guidance of Bentley, Carlton would eliminate the inconsistency of the previous two seasons. The 1941 season would be dominated by Carlton, Melbourne, Richmond and Essendon to set up an interesting and competitive finals campaign. The Blues, Demons and Tigers would lose only four games each during the season, while the Bombers would lose only five.
A sign of Carlton's much improved consistency was that the club didn't lose two games in a row in 1941. In all of the four losses (to Richmond in rounds 2 and 13, to Fitzroy in round 8 and South Melbourne in round 11) the Blues were competitive losing by an average margin of less than 7 points. Amazingly, due to the closeness of the competition, the club was only on top of the ladder twice during the home and away season, after rounds 12 and 18.
Going into the first Semi Final against Melbourne Carlton would have been full of confidence, having beaten Melbourne both times they met in the home and away season, including the final round, the previous game for both teams. Melbourne jumped the Blues, though, kicking 7 goals to 2 in the first quarter to lead by 27 points. The Demons maintained this margin through the rest of the match, running out winners 16.13 (109) to 11.16 (82) and advancing directly to the Grand Final.
Luckily Carlton had a double chance, thanks to finishing the home and away season on top of the ladder. Their opponents in the Preliminary Final would be Essendon, who the Blues had also beaten twice in the regular season. After a tight first term, the Bombers kicked 4 goals to none in the second quarter, and the Blues never challenged, trailing by an even eight goals at three quarter time. Essendon would go on to win by 25 points, knocking Carlton out of the finals race. The Blues were officially ranked in 3rd place for the 1941 season.
Crowd; 9,000 Takings £450
Carlton president Ken Luke donated a perpetual trophy worth £10/10 ($21) to be played for between Fitzroy and Carlton
A curtain raiser match between recruits of both clubs will be played at 1.30pm
.*Keith Shea did not play and was replaced by Bulter.
Backs; McIntyre, Gill, Baird
Half backs; Jones, Francis (Capt), Anderson
Centres; Skinner, Shea/Butler, Green
Half forwards; Cooper, Wrout, Crisp
Forwards; Schmidt, K. Baxter, Rippon
Followers; Bennett, McInnes
Emergencies; Mann, McTaggard, Butler*
Umpires; Bill Blackburn and Jack McMurray, one half each.
Carlton won; 12.6.78 - 9.14.68
Players mentioned; K. Baxter, Butler, Crisp, Francis, Hale, Schmidt, Skinner,
Goals; Schmidt 7, Crisp 3, Baxter 2
Carlton Recruits Team (34 named)
From; Rod McLean (Capt), Greive, Sleith, Bavin, Huxtable, Crisp, Sanger, Albiston, Connelly, Pilkington, Ravenscroft, McPharlin, Morgan, F. Davies, H. Davies, Wilson, Gingell, Conley, Atkinson, Allister, Green, Adams, Horner, Collicoat, Petersen, Wall, R. Johnson, H. Baxter, White, Smith, Cook, O'Brien, Tupper, Ellis.
Coach: Percy Bentley
Leading Goal-kicker: Paul Schmidt - 77 goals
Best & Fairest: Bob Chitty
Fred Davies, Harcourt Dowsley, Vin Brown, George Bailey, Lance Regnier, Jim Baird
Under the proposed plan 3rd will play 5th, and 4th plays 6th in knockout matches on neutral grounds. The two winners will then make up the usual final four.
One of the objections is that on completion of the home and away matches, the first and second placed teams would have a three week break between games.
(Herald January 31 p12)
Games began at 11.30am on the MCG with the final game at 4.30pm. Each game lasted for two 10 minutes halves. The final game to be of two 15 minute halves.
Carlton were drawn to play Melbourne in the knock out competition.
That afternoon Victoria played NSW on the SCG in Sydney winning by 63 points.
The Blues have included, Adamson (seconds), Cripps (seconds), F. Davies (Seaford), Dowsley (Melbourne), Grieve (seconds), McPherson (Footscray), Ravenscroft (South Australia), Sleith (Preston).
McIntyre, Bennett, Baxter, and Regnier are not fit. Francis is in Sydney and McLean is injured
Carlton team from; (30 named)
Adamson, Anderson, Bailey, Baird, Brown, Bavin, Butler, Carney, Chitty, Cooper, Crisp, Cripps, Dowsley, F. Davies, Grieve, Gill, Green, Jones, Mann, Mooring, McInnes, McPherson, Price, Ravenscroft, Savage, Sanger, Schmidt, Sleith, Skinner, Wrout.
Crowd; 19.572 Takings; £1,526/14/6.
This game was one of the best of the day. The Blues seemed to have the game won until two late goals for Melbourne gave them the lead.
Backs; Bailey, Gill, McInnes
Half backs; Baird, Chitty, Anderson
Centre; Brown, Skinner, Green
Half forwards; Cooper, Wrout, Crisp
Forwards; Schmidt, Dowsley, Price
Ruck; Mann, Savage
Carlton lost by 5 points
Carlton; 2.1.13 (Half time 0.1)
Melbourne; 2.6.18 (0.4)
Goals; Crisp, Wrout
Best; Chitty, Cooper, McInnes, Savage, Gill.
Collingwood played Melbourne in the Grand Final with the Woods winning by the barest of margins 2.2.14 to 2.1.13
Meanwhile, former Blue Harry Vallence playing for Williamstown at home against Sandringham booted a cool 20 goals! (29.19.193 - 3.7.25)
This haul took his tally in senior football to over 1,000 goals.