Career : 1976 - 1977
Debut : Round 17, 1976 vs Hawthorn, aged 22 years, 297 days
Carlton Player No. 861
Games : 4
Goals : 0
Last Game : Round 3, 1977 vs St Kilda, aged 23 years, 198 days
Guernsey No. 33 (1976 - 1977)
Height : 192 cm (6 ft. 3 in.)
Weight : 89 kg (14 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : 30 September, 1953
Another product of the Bendigo Football League - Carlton’s central Victorian recruiting zone prior to 1985 - Trevor Fletcher played four senior games (all off the bench) in a brief stay at Princes Park in 1976-77. Afterwards, the 192 cm ruckman-defender enjoyed a varied on-field career before turning his hand to coaching. He guided Bairnsdale to a famous Latrobe Valley League Premiership in 1981, and later, took charge of Footscray’s Under 19 squad.
Fletcher began his football journey in his home town of Charlton in northern Victoria, but it was his role in South Bendigo’s 1974 BFL Premiership that really sparked Carlton’s interest. Having agreed to terms with the Blues, he crossed to Princes Park in 1976 and took over the number 33 guernsey previously worn by another Bendigo boy; 1972 Premiership defender Paul Hurst.
Some eye-catching efforts in the ruck with Carlton Reserves ensued, before Fletcher was eventually called into the senior team for round 17, 1976, when the co-tenants of Princes Park - second-placed Carlton, and ladder-leaders Hawthorn - clashed in the match of the day. Sharing the reserves bench with Graeme Whitnall on that Saturday afternoon, Fletcher made it on to the field late in the game to become Carlton's sixth debutant of the year after Kevin Heath, Tony Pickett, Leigh McConnon, Jim Buckley and Peter Brown. The switched-on Blues were up for the contest, and upset the Hawks by 31 points.
Twice more over the following weeks – in rounds 19 and 22 – Fletcher watched the first bounce from the bench while the Blues kept on winning. Having snatched the minor premiership from the Hawks, Carlton shaped up for the finals with confidence, but Hawthorn turned the tables in a slogging Semi Final in the wet at Waverley. Then a week later at the same venue, North Melbourne inflicted a coup de grace to Carlton’s season - edging out the Blues by a single, heart-breaking point in the Preliminary Final.
Having missed out on a place in both of Carlton’s finals line-ups, but encouraged by winning the club’s Reserves Best and Fairest, Fletcher saddled up for his second season in 1977, and was named as 19th man for his fourth game when Carlton met St Kilda at Princes Park in round 3. Although the Saints had first use of a strong breeze blowing straight down the ground, they didn’t make the most of it. The Blues did, piling on 8 goals in the second term and another 12 after half-time, to smash their visitors by 107 points. Flamboyant ruckman ‘Percy’ Jones was a star for the Blues, before leaving the ground in the last quarter to allow Fletcher to join in the fun.
Sometime soon after that match however, Fletcher changed his mind about VFL football, and advised the Blues that he would not be continuing. A teacher by profession, he subsequently moved to western Victoria, and played good football for a couple of seasons with the Portland Tigers.
In 1981 he was appointed captain-coach of Bairnsdale in the strong Latrobe Valley Football League. Inspired by the potential of two outstanding teenagers in Brian Royal and Tom Alvin, Fletcher brought out the best in the club’s youngsters by challenging them at every opportunity, and the Redlegs came good at the business end of the season to beat Sale by 21 points in a cracker of a Grand Final.
‘Choco’ Royal went on to play 199 games for Footscray, winning their Best and Fairest and All Australian honours, while Tom Alvin became one of the Blues’ great defenders - a 1987 Premiership star and Hall of Fame inductee. In a Footy Week magazine interview during his Premiership year, Alvin paid tribute to Trevor Fletcher as his greatest influence, because of "the faith he offered".
Fletcher also wore No.51 (1974) and 53 (1974) when he played reserves grade football for Carlton.