Career: 1999 - 2007
Debut: Round 1, 1999 vs Essendon, aged 23 years, 36 days
Carlton Player No. 1 030
Games: 196 (Carlton; Overall: 251)
Goals: 221 (Carlton; Overall: 247)
Guernsey No. 12
Last game: Round 20, 2007 vs Essendon, aged 31 years, 182 days
DOB: 17 February, 1976
Leading Goalkicker: 2001
What a pleasure it is to write a profile on Carlton star, Matthew Lappin. There's no doubt that "Skinny" Lappin was a club favourite given his small stature, amazing skill levels, freakish goal abilities at times and well, let's be honest, cheap trade price where we grabbed him from the Saints (together with Pick 58) in return for picks 22 and 53 in 1998. Begley and Schwarze were OK players, but nowhere in the league of our Matty Lappin.
Lappin was originally drafted in 1993 with pick #40. Over 5 seasons with the Saints, it is fair to say that Lappin, although seen to be skilled, underperformed with 55 games and 26 goals.
But the trade to the Blues suited Lappin, who found himself the key small forward on the list. He made an immediate impact, with a Mark of the Year in his first game for the Blues - Round 1, 1999, being leading goalkicker in 2001 (49 from a small forward) and fast became one of the senior players on the team. He has also become very reliable for injuries with minimal games lost, playing 178 games with the Blues between 1999 and 2006 at just under 20 a season.
But the best was probably yet to come. Although Lappin turned down a lucrative offer to join Richmond in 2002 as the Blues fell to the wooden spoon, Lappin was thrown back to defence in 2003 and 2004 and became a key rebounding defender. In 2004, Lappin made the All-Australian team and was very very very unlucky not to win the inaugural John Nicholls Medal, coming third in a tight contest with David Teague and Nick Stevens. The money was on Lappin, who had a standout year. In 22 games at half back he averaged 20.2 disposals and 5.2 marks a game
Lappin had a tougher year in 2005, as the entire team struggled to win matches and was thrown around all over the field. He still played all 22 games, averaging 16.8 possessions, kicking 25 goals and finishing sixth in the Best and Fairest. Come seasons end and some tricky contract negotations, Lappin remained loyal to Carlton, signing up for 2 more years. He was made vice captain in 2006.
In 2006, Lappin played the first 13 games but his unbroken run of 69 consecutive league games came to an end in Round 14 after withdrawing just before the game with a knee injury. He returned in Round 15 but struggled to get into the game, only gathering 7 possessions. He spent the next 2 games in the VFL but returned in Round 18 with renewed enthusiasm and had between 23 & 36 possessions in the final 5 games of 2006. For the seventh straight year, Lappin finished in the top 10 at the club for possessions. Even though 2006 had been an up and down year for Matthew, he again finished in the top 10 in the Best and Fairest.
Lappin would have an up and down 2007; from a slow start in Rounds 1 and 2 to a pivotal forward role in our resurgence in the Essendon clash, to near BOG against the Eagles the week after and 5 goals against the Bulldogs, and then again to a few quiet games in the middle of the year. Lappin would kick 18 goals to Round 15 to prove himself still dangerous around goals. He played his 250th AFL game against St Kilda in Round 17 and again managed to kick a goal.
Shortly after pulling out of the Round 21 clash versus North with a sore back apparently caused by unfolding a stroller, and on a sad day for Carlton, Lappin announced his retirement after 196 games in Navy Blue, and 251 AFL games overall. Unfortunately, Blues fans were not able to say goodbye to Lapin in his final game in Round 20, but he would leave us with 2 lasting memories in that game through his two majors of the day - a wonderful left foot impulse snap from 25 metres out after a contest, and a rollicking bouncing shot from outside of the 50.
Skinny was a Champion player and a favourite of many Carlton fans. Lappin also had International Honours in 2001, 2005 and 2006, proving again that he was one of the best, and most elusive, players in the land of this era.
Lappin's stellar contribution to the Club was not yet complete, however, with his appointment as an Assistant Development Coach for 2008. The role saw him continue in Northern Blues colours in 2008 before moving to an Assistant (Forward line) Coach role at the Club for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Lappin became part of Mick Malthouses' stable in 2011 when he was appointed as an assistant coach at Collingwood, Lappin spent four years at Collingwood in various roles but mainly as a forwards coach. Gold Coast Suns appointed Lappin as Head of Development at the start of 2015 in which he filled this role until the end of the 2017. NEAFL club Southport appointed Lappin as an assistant coach for the 2018 season.
Skinny Lappin to the rescue
In a bizarre twist of events last Saturday morning (August 2015), Gold Coast SUNS development coach, Matthew Lappin, was required to pull the boots on and represent the reserves. The former St Kilda and Carlton star is the assistant coach in the NEAFL, and when one of the top-up players wasn't aware he was supposed to be playing for the SUNS, Lappin came to the rescue. In a pair of attention-screaming fluoro boots that are more usually set aside for players in their prime, Lappin didn't look out of place early in the piece. He got involved in an early goal to demonstrate his nous around goal. And every time he came off for a spell, he was heard calling for his latest GPS numbers. At 39, the former livewire forward, who has wound back the clock at local club Labrador this season, was as interested in his ability to cover the ground than in how many times he could touch the footy. Lappin finished his maiden appearance in red and yellow on the pine, nursing a handful of leg injuries that could suggest he might not pull on the jumper again this week. Although in a NEAFL season that's had it all, none would be surprised to see him working front and centre inside 50 this weekend.
Milestones50th Carlton Game: Round 1, 2001 vs Fremantle
100th Carlton Game: Round 7, 2003 vs St Kilda
150th Carlton Game: Round 13, 2005 vs Western Bulldogs
100th AFL Game: Round 21, 2000 vs Port Adelaide
150th AFL Game: Round 2, 2003 vs Collingwood
200th AFL Game: Round 8, 2005 vs Geelong
250th AFL game: Round 17, 2007 vs St Kilda
100 Goals (Carlton): Round 18, 2001 vs Essendon
200 Goals (Carlton): Round 18, 2006 vs Melbourne
100 Goals (AFL): Round 4, 2001 vs Adelaide
200 Goals (AFL): Round 3, 2005 vs Collingwood
Career Highlights1999 - Mark Of The Year
1999 - 9th Best and Fairest
2001 - Leading Goalkicker
2001 - International Rules Series
2001 - 3rd Best and Fairest
2002 - 10th Best and Fairest
2003 - 4th Best and Fairest
2004 - 3rd Best and Fairest
2004 - All Australian
2004 - Most Carlton Votes in the Brownlow Medal
2005 - Pre Season Premiership Player
2005 - International Rules Series
2005 - 6th Best and Fairest
2006 - 8th Best and Fairest
2006 - Internatonal Rules Series
2007 - Pre-Season Premiership Player
LinksArticles: The Longest Roads to Glory! | Our Greatest Flagless Greats
Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Matthew Lappin | Career Breakdown | Lappin's Blueseum Image Gallery