1964, a newly-elected committee led by the pugnacious George Harris caused one of the biggest shocks in VFL history by almost immediately poaching Ron Barassi from the Melbourne Football Club. Barassi was installed as captain-coach of the Blues in 1965, with immediately positive results. For most of the season, the club floated between fourth and sixth place on the ladder - but after only winning five and a half games the year before, there was obvious improvement.
Barassi's Blues won four games in a row between rounds 4 and 7; another four out of five between rounds 9 and 13, finishing the year with 10 wins and 8 losses to hold sixth place on the ladder. More consistent in '65, Carlton may not have been the best side in the competition, but the scores suggest that we at last had a team giving their all for the jumper.
In fact, the only low point in the season came after round 14, when the club lost four straight games. After round 13 we were clinging to fourth spot on the ladder by percentage, but then fell away. A resurgent round 18 victory over Essendon saw us finish the year in sixth, two wins behind the fourth-placed Bombers. Such obvious improvement gave Carlton fans hope that Barassi was in fact the real deal, and that he could indeed turn around the fortunes of the famous Old Dark Blues.
Sadly, tragedy intervened against this optimistic backdrop when Carlton's popular 25 year-old ruckman Maurie Sankey was killed in a car crash shortly after the season concluded. Vice captain of the team, Maurie had played exactly 100 games for his beloved Blues.
Leading Goal-kicker: Bryan Quirk - 29 goals
Best & Fairest: John Nicholls
Stan Harrison, Barry Schmidt, Ron Stone, Denis O'Sullivan, John Lloyd, Bryan Quirk, Jeff Trotman, Terry Board, John Kemp
Debuts (Carlton): Ron Barassi