John Lloyd, the Carlton half-back in the early years under Ron Barassi’s watch, and patriarch of the Lloyd football family, has passed away after a long illness at the age of 77.

Recruited to the club from Yarrawonga in what was Barassi’s maiden season as Carlton captain-coach, Lloyd was handed the No.18 guernsey now worn by Sam Walsh – and locker space between the 1964 Brownlow Medallist Gordon Collis at No.17 and the ’68 premiership back pocket Ian Collins at 19.

“They were terrific days,” Lloyd recalled in an interview with this reporter eight years ago. “Barassi recruited me to Carlton in ’65 and it was a really good time. There was so much change with him coming to the Club as playing coach, and it was really exciting.”

It was in Round 4 of 1965, against North Melbourne at Princes Park, that Lloyd emerged from the dugout and took his place on the field for the first time. The home team thumped North by 63 points in that one, with Jim ‘Frosty’ Miller booting five goals and the late Terry Board adjudged best afield.

Lloyd’s senior career at Carlton would span three seasons and 29 matches – the last of them the 1967 second semi final against Richmond, when opposition ruckman Neville Crowe was found guilty of striking John Nicholls and duly suspended, thereby depriving him of his place in the Tigers victorious ’67 Grand Final team.

At the time, Lloyd’s 29 outings for Carlton would have been more than enough to ensure son Matthew also donned the dark Navy Blue guernsey.

“Earlier in the piece, 20 games was the number required, and I had 29 to my name,” Lloyd said.

“Carlton had talked about drafting Matt under the father-son rule, but he was only 13 or 14 at that stage and by the time he was due to be drafted the rule was changed from 20 to 50 games – and that was it.”

Regrettably the club fell foul of the red tape, and whereas John never once put the football over the goal umpire’s hat, Matthew would boot 926 career goals for Essendon.

Lloyd was a welcome guest at The Plenary for Carlton’s 150th anniversary celebrations in June 2014.

That night, he talked of the sheer privilege of renewing acquaintances with old Princes Park contemporaries, ‘Barass’ included.

“I’ve seen Adrian Gallagher, Barry Gill, John Gill and Jimmy Pleydell, and I’ve been doing the rounds trying to get to a few more,” Lloyd said towards the end of proceedings.

“But there’s so many in the house that I can’t get to them all unfortunately.”

To the end, John maintained an interest in the on-field fortunes of his former club – particularly so with son Brad’s involvement as Carlton’s Head of Football but he was equally invested in Matthew’s post-football media career and Simon’s progression as Geelong’s General Manager - Football.

Carlton CEO Brian Cook paid tribute to Lloyd’s legacy to the game.

“On behalf of the Carlton Football Club, we send our deepest condolences to the Lloyd family, following the passing of John,” Cook said.

“John paved the way for his family, who have given such outstanding service to football across such a long period of time, a lasting legacy that would no doubt make his family incredibly proud.”

John Lloyd was the 773rd player to represent Carlton at senior League level. The Carlton Football Club mourns John’s passing and extends its deepest sympathies to all members of the Lloyd family.

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