A Memorable Game...with Greg Sharp
Greg Sharp was a Blue for 11 senior and 93 reserve matches in the glorious phase that delivered the 1979, 1981 and 1982 Premiership Flags. In that time, Sharp witnessed some great matches – both wins and losses - and some Carlton greats in the flesh.
On a personal level, one match that stays in the mind of Sharp was the Round 7 match of 1981. In this season, Sharp debuted and played 9 matches all up, and in Round 7 he was set a task against a Demons legend. But first there was some background to the story that takes us up to football in the Sydney League.

“I was recruited from NSW – my father came from Newcastle and I grew up in Sydney. I found Australian Rules and joined Western Suburbs – a Club my cousins had played for. When we were younger we had all played Rugby and Rugby League like all the kids did, but I had also played AFL. I played 4 years in the juniors, 1 year in Under 13, 2 years in Under 14’s and then actually gave the game away – I was sick of it. I umpired a bit and came back for the Under 19’s. At the time Ian Harry was Captain – Coach of Western Suburbs and he’d also been at Mordialloc. He also played Reserves at Carlton. We’d had some great names through Western Suburbs actually – we had John Northey, John Caulfield, George Allen and even Phil Manassa – who had all been good players in the competition. Rod Waddell – Carlton and Geelong player – had also been through there.”

“So in my first year at Western Suburbs I played in the thirds, then played 2 games in the seconds, then all year in the seniors. Ian apparently rung Carlton up and told them that he had a kid up here that might be worth a look. Keith McKenzie came up to have a look and before I knew it I was at the Carlton Football Club.

I remember one player had come up to Sydney for a Coaching Clinic – his name was Robbie Flower. He’d come up and was talking to all of the players. Anyway, 2 years later I got to play on Robbie Flower at the MCG – it wasn’t a bad turnaround! I’d been put on him at the start of the game as part of a plan to keep him out of the game.”

History shows that the Blues won by 40 points despite a massive injury list of Whitnall, Wells, Ashman and English. The game was won off a 4 goal to nil last quarter where the Blues pulled away. As a defender it is a bit hard to extract Sharp’s impact on the game, but Flower didn’t manage a major, and for the 272 game – 315 goal veteran, it would appear to be a good result for Sharp.

Sharp would finish his debut year with 9 games under his belt in a good start to the career, but over the next 2 years would only manage a further 2 before leaving the Blues for St Kilda. He would however see many of the Carlton greats – Johnston, Doull and Fitzpatrick – and also play in a number of Night Series matches – in one of Carlton’s most successful eras.

One element of ‘Footy Folklore’ in the career of Greg Sharp relates to the urban myth about the ‘bloke who was delisted because he stuffed up the kitchen renovation’. We decided to look into the event and work out whether it was true or not…
As it happens, Sharp is a carpenter by trade, although these days you’ll also find him Coaching the locals in Seymour. The story goes that Carlton’s famous Premiership Coach of the era, David Parkin, needed a carpenter to fix up his kitchen, but with Sharp moving on from Carlton shortly after, dots were joined and folklore formed around the quality of the job. Could he have done such a bad job that Parkin moved him on?

“Well, it was David’s Bathroom and the truth is far from it! I can actually show you letter of appreciation that David actually wrote to me to express his gratitude over how the bathroom looked”.

In the very strong Carlton outfit over 1982-1983, Sharp played two senior matches to take his tally to 9 overall, before he followed the ‘Carlton path’ and played a year at St Kilda as did many of his Blues compatriots of the era did. Sharp had little to do with Parkin but interestingly, the relationship has formed anew given their mutual love of Coaching.

“I’ve had quite a lot more association with David these days. I made contact with him a few years ago for advice in Coaching, as these days I’m Coach of the St Mary’s Juniors in Seymour. I’ve been coaching now for 7 years and really love it.”

With this ‘Footy Folklore’ debunked, we left Greg to hone his business and coaching interests with both having been at one stage under the watchful eye of David Parkin!

Sharp's Blueseum Biography | A Memorable Game with Greg Sharp | More from our 'Footy Folklore' series