Revisiting the RoundsAuthor: Warren Tapner - Published Tue 02 of Mar, 2010 01:40 AEDT - (37300 Reads)
Articles published progressively throughout Season 2010
|Rounds:||1 to 5||6 to 10||11 to 14||15 to 18||19 to 22|
For every devotee of AFL football, the most eagerly-anticipated game each season – apart from the finals, of course - has to be round one. Regardless of where our team finished the previous year, the weeks and days leading up to the opening match of a new season inevitably brings a delicious upsurge in hope and confidence. The playing list has been pruned, the coaching staff is settled. Most of our injured players are fit and firing again, and the latest recruits are rearing to go. For the moment at least, everything else is irrelevant. All that matters now is that soon will come that spine-tingling moment when the umpire holds the ball aloft, the siren sounds, and to an enormous roar from the grandstands, a new Premiership season is launched.
Here at the Blueseum, we have delved into our archives to bring our readers our favourite reminiscences from first-round matches down through the years – some of the good times and bad, triumphs and tribulations from the glorious history of the Old Dark Navy Blues.
THE BIG RECRUITSSince 1897, Carlton supporters have generally come away from our first game of the season in a buoyant mood, brought about by a victory on the field, the debut of a new Carlton star, or both. Many of the greats have worn the senior team’s CFC monogram on their chest for the first time in round one, including “Soapy’ Vallence, John Nicholls, Alex Jesaulenko, Geoff Southby, Mike Fitzpatrick, Wayne Johnston, Ken Hunter, Stephen Kernahan, Craig Bradley, Chris Judd, and at least a dozen others.
NEW COACHESCoaches too, traditionally begin their tenure in round one. Jack Worrall was Carlton’s first full-time custodian, way back in 1902. A true legend of the club and of the game, he led the Blues to triple Premiership glory in 1906, ’07 and ’08. Later dumped by Carlton, he was snapped up by Essendon, and promptly took them to successive Premierships in 1911-12. Worrall’s first match in charge of Essendon was in round 1, 1911, against his former club - and it ended in a draw! Three years later, Carlton shared the points again when we started 1914 with a draw against Collingwood at Victoria Park. We have also finished all square twice in round one matches against Fitzroy; in 1915 and 1982.
THREE BIG BAGSOver the years, the Blues have had some spectacular first-up victories, particularly in 1984. Drawn to meet North Melbourne at Waverley Park, Carlton unveiled five new faces for the game when champion defender Bruce Doull played his 329th senior match to break John Nicholls’ club record. Among the debutantes was boom WA recruit Warren Ralph, who sent the crowd into raptures when he kicked 9 goals, and Carlton demolished the Roos by a massive 137 points. Ralph’s feat equalled that of Alex Jesaulenko, who steered through nine majors against Essendon in a spectacular start to his 100-goal year in 1970.
They were great performances by Jezza and Ralph, but not quite the best for Carlton in an opening round - because in 1943, Jim Baird kicked ten of Carlton’s 17 goals in a 44-point win over Richmond at Princes Park. A wonderfully versatile footballer, ‘Bones’ Baird would go on to play in two Premiership teams for the Blues, and his big bag against the Tigers remains Carlton’s round one record.
THUMPING THE TIGERSSpeaking of the Tigers, who will ever forget round 1, 2009, when the Blues thrashed the yellow and bleak by 83 points in front of a huge crowd of 87,043 at the MCG? The depth and quality of our recruits over recent seasons came to the fore on that balmy Thursday night, as Carlton unveiled some of the class of 2009 in Jeffery Garlett, Sam Jacobs, Aaron Joseph and Mitch Robinson. This was the second-largest crowd ever for a first-round match involving Carlton - just 76 fewer than 1995, when 87,119 turned up to see ‘Sticks’ Kernahan (in his 200th game) lead the Blues to an emphatic victory over Collingwood.
FIRST KICK – FIRST GOALThat huge win over Richmond was a night of joy and boundless encouragement for every Bluebagger, made even more so when Jeffery Garlett goaled with his first kick. This made Jeff the fifth first-round debutante for the Blues known to have achieved that feat, after ‘Mickey’ Crisp (1939), Stephen Kernahan (1986), Jon McCormick (2003) and Bryce Gibbs (2007).
DIESEL AND DENHAM
There have been controversies too, to start the season – such as in 1997, when the long-running feud between Carlton’s Greg ‘Diesel’ Williams and Essendon’s Sean Denham erupted shortly after the final siren signalled a 7-point win to the Bombers. Words were exchanged between the pair as the teams began to leave the ground, and Williams lunged at Denham - just as umpire Andrew Coates stepped between them. In trying to get to Denham, Diesel seemed to brush Coates aside – and that action later brought Williams a 9-week suspension for interfering with an umpire. Even now, those of us who remember that incident are still staggered by the penalty.
THREE FAREWELLSSadly, a few careers have actually ended in round one, including those of immortals Rod McGregor (1920), Garry Crane (1976) and Ted Hopkins (1971). All played their last matches for Carlton just as a new season began – the first two struck down by serious knee injuries, and Teddy (hero of the 1970 Grand Final) because by then he had achieved more than he ever really believed he could.
TWO BIG LOSSESOf course, to balance all of this, there has been the odd flogging – but they are few and far between. The worst was in 1978, when Richmond kicked a record 25.24 (174) and hammered the Blues by 77 points. The most memorable from a football purist’s point of view came in 1994, when Adelaide’s Tony Modra kicked 13 goals and Carlton lost by 66 points.
So now, on the verge of a new season in a competition that becomes more intense, and more even with every passing year, the Carlton Football Club again stands ready and eager for the contest. We are forged in adversity, shaped by tradition, inspired by champions – and this year, as always, they will know that they’ve been playing....against the Famous Old Dark Blues!
Next up in our look back at the highlights, lowlights, controversies and ramifications from each round of matches throughout Carlton’s history, it’s time to take a stroll through the history of round two. Ever since Carlton’s VFL debut in 1897, the second match of the season has produced memorable games, including our huge, record-breaking win over Hawthorn in 1969. Along the way, we have also welcomed a list of recruits destined for stardom, and suffered through plenty of those always-frustrating draws.
EARLY DAYS - BIG LOSSESApart from our first decade in the VFL, there haven’t been very many heavy defeats for Carlton in the second week of the season. Our biggest losing margin second up was by 87 points, at the hands of Collingwood in 1901. But our three lowest scores from that time are still in the record books; 1.5 (11) against Geelong in 1899, 0.7 (7) against Collingwood in 1901, and 0.8 (8) against South Melbourne in 1902.
BIG WINSRound 2, 1969 became one of the great days for the Carlton Football Club when the reigning Premiers scored 30.30 (210), and routed Hawthorn by 128 points at Princes Park. Carlton’s extrovert ruckman ‘Percy’ Jones kicked seven goals that afternoon, while the Blues’ forwards waltzed through a loose pattern of witches hats masquerading as the Hawthorn defence. That mammoth total still stands as Carlton’s all-time highest score, yet remarkably, could have been so much better. Champion forward Alex Jesaulenko, (who was brilliant, but bafflingly erratic with his kicking) scored 6 goals, 12 behinds for the match.
In another huge win in 1985, Carlton amassed 25.19 (169) and kept St Kilda goalless until the third quarter at Moorabbin. The Saints wound up scoring only 2.17 (29), and the 140-point difference between the teams is still Carlton’s biggest winning margin in round two. At centre half-forward for the Blues, Mark Maclure was in scintillating form, kicking six good individual goals, and helping to set up as many more.
LOTS OF DRAWSWhen he took Carlton to our first three flags in 1906-’07-’08, super coach Jack Worrall seemed set for a long stay. However, within two years of achieving that triple triumph, he had been dumped and snapped up by Essendon. Worrall’s first game in charge of the Same Old was played against Carlton in round 1, 1911, and finished in a draw. The following week, the Blues fought out another tie with South Melbourne.
In round 2, 1913, we finished all square with the Bloods for the second time in three years, and in 1924 drew once more with Essendon. Then in 1992, Carlton and the Bombers shared the points yet again in the highest-scoring draw in VFL/AFL history, when the more accurate Essendon kicked 20.12 (132) to the Blues’ 19.18 (132) at the MCG. In between, we also tied with Collingwood at Victoria Park in 1972.
BIG RECRUITS AND BIG BAGSAmong the greats to have worn the navy blue guernsey for the first time at senior level in round two are Rod McGregor (1905), Horrie Clover (1920), Jack ‘Chooka’ Howell (1942), Gordon Collis (1961) Robert Walls (1967) and Peter Motley (1986).
When talking about individual goal-kicking feats in round 2, Essendon features once more. Against the Bombers in 1936, the great Harry ‘Soapy’ Vallence kicked 9 goals, when the Blues smashed the red and black by 102 points at Princes Park. Other big bags in this round have come from Stephen Silvagni (8 against Hawthorn in 1992), Simon Minton-Connell (7 against Collingwood in 1990) and - as already mentioned – Peter Jones (7 against Hawthorn in 1969).
A MEMORABLE VICTORYOne of the most remarkable of Carlton’s round 2 victories came in 1934, when the Premiers of the previous year, South Melbourne, took on the Blues at Princes Park. In an open, high-scoring thriller, South’s star full-forward Bob Pratt was unstoppable, and kicked ten goals – but a courageous Carlton team wouldn’t lie down, and hung on to win the game by three points.
A SAD FAREWELLOne of a handful of prominent Blues to have their career ended after a round 2 match was 1938 Premiership rover Jack Hale, who got tangled in a pack and broke his leg against Richmond in 1941. Renowned for his courage, Jack was only 26 when that happened, and the break was so severe that he never played again - although he later coached both South Melbourne and Hawthorn.
FACING UP TO FEVOLAAfter 187 games and 575 goals for the Blues, Carlton’s controversial former full-forward Brendan Fevola played his debut match for his new club, the Brisbane Lions, in the second game of season 2010. On a beautifully warm Thursday evening at The Gabba, a sell-out crowd was treated to a pulsating contest that eventually went to the home side by 19 points. Brisbane’s imposing captain Jonathan Brown booted seven goals in a match-winning display, while a nervous Fevola managed another three – despite being kept under tight control by Carlton full-back Michael Jamison.
As we have often seen, round two can be pivotal to a team’s fortunes for the rest of the year. For a side that starts with two good wins and gets its confidence up, great things are possible. Conversely, two losses can easily dent morale, allowing doubts to start creeping in. Happily, doubt, like mediocrity, has never been tolerated for long at the Carlton Football Club.
Throughout the modern history of the Carlton Football Club, round three of each season has generally provided much more success than failure. Some great players have made their debut at senior level, but few established stars have chosen, or been forced to retire. Of all the opposing teams, Essendon features most prominently in this round, which has seen some remarkable games, some huge victories, a few big losses - and most surprisingly, not one draw.
BIG WINSCarlton’s biggest winning margin in round three stands at 107 points, achieved against St Kilda in 1977. We destroyed Hawthorn by 105 points at Princes Park in 1949, and gave the Saints another hiding at Moorabbin in 1986, when a rampaging Carlton kicked 12 goals in the third quarter and won by 88 points. In 1987, we thumped Footscray by 87 points on their home ground, and in 1931 hammered Essendon by 82 on ours.
NOT SO BIG LOSSESCarlton’s worst loss in round 3 was inflicted by Essendon at Windy Hill way back in 1945. The margin was exactly 100 points, and marked the first time that the Blues had ever lost by triple figures. Carlton had the last laugh however, because after the Bombers wound up eighth on the ladder, the Blues went on to defeat South Melbourne in a controversial Grand Final, claiming our seventh VFL Premiership.
In round 3, 1925, Melbourne beat Carlton by 46 points at the MCG, and in 1964 the Demons won again, by exactly the same margin, at the same venue. The only other heavy defeat suffered by the Blues in this round came in 1989, when we travelled to Kardinia Park and lost to Geelong by 53 points.
BIG RECRUITSSome of the outstanding players to have laced up their boots for the first time as Blues in round three include former Fitzroy champion Mick Grace in 1903, brilliant goal-sneak Vin Gardiner in 1907, future club captain and coach Ray Brew in 1923, and Premiership rover Jack Hale in 1933.
The years leading up to, and including World War II produced Paul Schmidt (1937), Ken Baxter (1938), as well as Lance Collins and Fred Fitzgibbon (both in 1942). Since then, we have welcomed David McKay (1969), John O'Connell (1970), David Glascott (1981), Nick Stevens (2004) and Matthew Kreuzer (2008).
LOTS OF GOALSSome of Carlton’s outstanding forwards have had good days in this round, including Lance Collins, who goaled with his first kick on debut in 1942. Ray Garby posted seven majors against Geelong in 1948, and Noel O'Brien also got seven against Fitzroy in 1955. The only other sharp-shooters to have done better than that are Brendan Fevola, who notched eight goals against Essendon in 2007, Paul Schmidt, who bagged nine against Hawthorn in 1941, and the great Stephen Kernahan, who dominated the game against Footscray in 1995, and kicked the magic ten.
FIRST STEP ON A LONG ROADCarlton was enduring the worst losing streak in club history - 14 games in succession - when new coach Jack Worrall sent his Blueboys out onto the Junction Oval to play St Kilda in round 3, 1902.. Although the Saints produced the better football and had more scoring shots, Carlton ended the match jubilant, when their total of 4.9 (33) edged out St Kilda’s 2.13 (25) by eight points. With this minor triumph, Worrall had chalked up his first win on the long climb to Premiership glory in 1906-07-08.
BLOWING IN THE WINDIn round 3, 1968, Carlton played Essendon at Princes Park on the Anzac Day holiday Thursday. In the first quarter, an almost cyclonic wind blew up, and wreaked havoc with the match.
A hot dog stand on the outer terraces was blown over, and a large circular steel plate was lifted from the roof of the partly-completed George Harris Stand. As the big crowd scattered, it crashed to the ground in front of the Heatley Stand, and it was a minor miracle that no-one was seriously injured.
Meanwhile, out on the field, both teams found skilful play impossible. At half-time, Carlton 0.7 (7) led Essendon 0.5 (5) and things didn’t improve much at all until the last quarter, when the wind shifted to favour the outer end, and Essendon kicked away to win by five goals.
BACK TO FRONT, AND BACK AGAINChampion Blues full-back Geoff Southby always fancied himself as a forward, and in 1976 – his sixth season - he proved what he could do at the other end of the ground when he booted five goals at full-forward in Carlton’s 49-point win over Fitzroy at Waverley Park. The experiment was short-lived however - because when it came down to a choice between a capable full-forward, and one of the all-time great full-backs, there could be only one outcome!
HELLO – ROAD SERVICE?One of the more bizarre episodes in Carlton’s history occurred in round 3, 1985 – again at Princes Park. Carlton was 16 points in front of North Melbourne deep into time-on in the last quarter, and should have won the game. But when the club’s timekeeper pressed the siren button at full time, nothing happened – because the car battery that powered the siren had run flat.
So while club officials frantically scrambled to find a replacement, the game continued, and North Melbourne charged home. They kicked three goals – the last at the 34-minute mark – to hit the front just as the siren eventually wailed with North Melbourne winning by two points. The real ramifications of that loss came later in the year, when Carlton missed out on the double chance by 2 points, and went down again to North Melbourne in the Elimination Final.
IS THAT YOU, BLUE?Carlton caused a furore – most notably, among our own supporters – by wearing a bright sky blue strip on to the field for our match against Adelaide at Princes Park in 1997. In what has become known as the M&M Game, the club accepted a lucrative $250,000 offer from confectionery giant Mars to change our traditional colours for the first time in our history. In the modern era of AFL-enforced clash strips, that doesn’t seem all that unusual, but at the time of this game, many fans were outraged, and not even our impressive 28-point win over the Crows could appease them.
48.....CRASH!By 2007, the Carlton faithful had endured five years of bleak despair. Huge fines and draft penalties incurred in 2002 had condemned the club to three wooden spoons, and even a period teetering on the brink of oblivion. But the times were changing. There was renewed resolve at Princes Park, led by incoming President Richard Pratt, a new CEO in Greg Swann, and widespread commitment throughout the club. This brought a groundswell of support from Carlton fans across Australia, who pitched in to buy a record 35,000 memberships and give the club a sound financial base.
In round 3 of that pivotal year, Carlton met the undefeated Essendon on a Saturday afternoon at the MCG in front of 64,000 fans. Blues supporters were ashen-faced at quarter time when the Bombers led by 38 points, and in despair when the margin had blown out to 48, mid-way through the second term. But inspired by Brendan Fevola at full-forward - who kicked eight telling goals in a Best on Ground effort - Carlton surged back into the match from that point on, and overwhelmed Essendon in a grandstand finish to win by three points.
Over time, this will surely be seen as one of Carlton’s most significant victories - because like Jack Worrall’s team of the previous century, the Blues of 2007 had overcome doubt and despair at last, and taken the first step on a long road back to finals football.
More than 100 years ago, on Saturday, May 29, 1897, the Navy Blues of Carlton played their fourth match in the embryo Victorian Football League, against Geelong at Corio Oval. In an open, entertaining contest, the Pivotonians proved too good and won by 22 points – but what is more remarkable about that game is that three future Carlton captains were playing for Geelong!
Since those heady days of the new competition, round four of each season has often set the stage for big wins by the Blues, and showcased the talent of some of our club’s best-ever forwards. There has been the odd controversy, only a few drawn matches, and happily, very few big losses. But in reviewing the history of this round, let’s go back to the very beginning.
IS THAT YOU, SKIPPER?That loss to Geelong in round 4, 1897 kept the Blues winless. However, within a decade three of Geelong’s stars that afternoon had switched clubs and gone on to captain the Blues. Henry McShane was the first, in 1899; followed by his older brother Joe in 1902. Jim Flynn followed in 1903 and was the most successful; leading his new team to Grand Final glory in 1906 and 1907.
TOPPING AND GOTZ IN TROUBLEThe first two decades of the VFL were marred by on-field violence that often spread onto the terraces. Umpires and players were being attacked as they left the field, and the game’s administration was under constant pressure to clean up the game. In round 4, 1910, Carlton forward George Topping decked South Melbourne’s Herb Streckfuss in the last minutes of a fiery game at Princes Park. He was reported, found guilty, and suspended by a nervous judiciary for two whole seasons – or 35 matches.
Twelve months later, Carlton met University at the MCG in the corresponding game, and the Students’ Vic Trood was stretchered off the ground after being hit with a heavy shirt-front by rugged Blue Martin Gotz. The field umpire didn’t see the incident and therefore took no action, but University was outraged. They told Carlton that they would not play the Blues again, then laid a civil charge of assault against Gotz, who was subsequently found guilty and fined ten pounds – in default, two months in jail.
Horrified, Gotz immediately appealed against the decision, and to all-round relief from Carlton and the VFL, the conviction was quashed. Gotz was able to continue his career, while Trood made a full recovery and played on for University for another three seasons.
BIG WINSAs we have in every round of the season, the Navy Blues have handed out some big defeats to opposition teams in round 4, highlighted by our 96-point demolition of St Kilda in 1928. Throughout the 1980’s, Carlton eagerly looked forward to this round. We pulverised Hawthorn by 61 points in 1982, Geelong by 72 in 1985, Fitzroy by 81 in 1986, West Coast by 87 in 1987, and Sydney by 86 points in 1988. Hawthorn was on the end of our most recent hammering by 10 goals or more, when they lost to a rampant Blues outfit by 87 points in 1994 at VFL Park, Waverley.
NOT SO BIG LOSSESCarlton’s heaviest defeats in this round have come at the hands of North Melbourne in 1974 (72 points), Collingwood in 1969 (64 points), Fitzroy in 1946 (62 points) and West Coast in 2007 (61 points).
SPLITTING THE MIDDLECarlton’s goal-kickers have often terrorised opposition defences in round four, with more than a dozen players posting six goals or more. The best individual effort so far is 8 majors - shared by Les Allen against South Melbourne in 1930, the great ‘Soapy’ Vallance against Hawthorn in 1932, and crowd favourite Mil Hanna, against Melbourne in 1991.
The most remarkable effort however, has to be that of Clen Denning, who, in his debut match, kicked six goals with his first six kicks against South Melbourne in 1935. In a couple of notable double acts, Wayne Johnston kicked seven goals and Stephen Kernahan notched six against West Coast in 1987, while on the same day that Mil Hanna got his eight against Melbourne, Jon Dorotich also chimed in with six.
BIG NICK’S MILESTONE MATCHESCarlton legend John Nicholls reached two career milestones in round four – his 150th game in 1966, and his 250th match in 1971. Carlton’s performances have not always been appropriate on these sorts of occasions, but both of these games ended in good wins for the Blues – by ten goals over Essendon in 1966, and by 13 points over Geelong in 1971 – despite some desperately wayward kicking for goal against the Cats.
HANDY ADDITIONSAmong the select group of individuals who have worn our monogram on their chests at senior level for the first time in round four are Premiership players Bob Green (1933), Jack Bennett (1940), Vin Brown (1941) and Des English (1980).
ALL SQUARE AT THE BELLSo far, there have been three drawn matches involving Carlton in the fourth game of the season. The first was in 1914 against South Melbourne at the Lake Oval, and the second was a scrambly game at Princes Park against Fitzroy in 1921.A blustery, swirling wind and frequent showers made skilful play and accurate kicking impossible that afternoon, as shown by the final score of Carlton 5.20 (50) to Fitzroy 6.14 (50).
Another 84 years passed before the third draw in round 4 came in totally different circumstances. On a cool and calm Saturday night at Football Park in Adelaide in 2005, a Carlton team robbed of its two key defenders by injury took on the reigning competition Premiers Port Adelaide, and fought out a courageous tie.
A look back through Carlton’s record in the fifth game of the season shows that we have introduced a galaxy of future stars in this round, and won most of the milestone matches that circumstances have tossed up.
What is surprising however, is that for a club accustomed to regularly pulverising the opposition, we have won by ten goals or more only three times over the years in round 5, while suffering defeat by the same margin on four occasions ourselves. As for draws, there has been just the one - way back in 1921. Some of the Blues’ greats have been farewelled at this point in the season, while our gun forwards have kicked plenty of goals. There have been lots of highlights, very few lowlights, and as always, plenty to reminisce about.
THREE BIG WINSCarlton’s record winning margin in round five stands at a relatively-modest 89 points, set in 1919 when the Navy Blues steamrolled Melbourne at Princes Park. We were fifth on the ladder prior to that game, but leapt to third afterward with a percentage of 211.93. Percy Daykin was a star for the Blues, with four goals.
In our Premiership year of 1968, Carlton went closest to topping that effort when we destroyed Footscray by 72 points in another big home-ground win. Full-forward Brian Kekovich kicked 6 majors, and once again we dramatically improved our ladder position, from eighth to fourth.
In another Premiership season in 1981, St Kilda fell to Carlton at Moorabbin Oval in a spectacular match that ended with Carlton destroying the host side by 64 points. Led by former Blues champion Alex Jesaulenko, the Saints started chock-full of confidence. They kept the Blues goalless in the first term, and set up a handy lead of 20 points with precise, open football.
But after that it was all Carlton. With ex-Saint Val Perovic impassable at centre half-back, and ruckmen Mike Fitzpatrick and ’Wow’ Jones dominating the stoppages, rover Rod Ashman had a picnic all around the ground. Fitzpatrick went to centre half-forward after the main break, and kicked four goals in nine minutes against the wind, while the Blues piled on 19 goals after quarter-time to run out easy winners.
OUR ONLY DRAWFor the second time in three games, West Australian Harry 'Shanta' Morgan kicked five goals for the Blues in a hard-fought fought draw with South Melbourne at the Lake Oval in round 5, 1921. Almost ninety seasons later, this remains the only draw involving Carlton in round five, although the week beforehand, we had also finished all square with Fitzroy at Princes Park.
BIG ARRIVALSOne of the first real stars to take the field for Carlton on debut in game five was brilliant South Australian wingman George Bruce, in 1903. He very quickly formed a superb centre line with Rod McGregor and Ted Kennedy, and helped take Carlton to our first treble of Premierships in 1906-07-08. Next was Gordon Green in 1911, who captained the Blues a decade later, and played in our 1914 and 1915 flag teams. Sadly, the career of Alf Baud – who made his debut in round 5, 1913, and was once described as a better player than Hadyn Bunton – ended when he was badly wounded in World War 1.
Another future captain in Maurie ‘Mocha’ Johnson came along in 1927, followed by the rare talent of another WA import, Ron ‘Socks’ Cooper in 1932. In 1945 - the last year of World War II - 17 year-old Ken Hands started in round 5, went on to play in the ‘Bloodbath’ Grand Final triumph, and launched a career that would eventually lead to the captaincy of the Blues and a worthy place in the Carlton Hall of Fame.
Few realised it at the time, but round 5, 1969 was a very special occasion for the Carlton Football Club – and not only because the Blues defeated South Melbourne by 25 points. On that Saturday afternoon at Princes Park, on May 3, 1969, a quiet, ambitious youngster from Jacana sat on the reserves bench for the first of his 356 matches for the Navy Blues. His name was Bruce Doull, and included in that tally would be no fewer than six Grand Finals (and four Premierships) for the champion later recognised as one of the greatest defenders ever to have played the game.
Another Hall of Fame inductee in Rod Ashman started his career in 1973, before going on to play in Carlton’s 1981-82 flag sides. ‘Ashy’ too, will forever be revered at Princes Park for his long career of 236 games, and his well-deserved place in Carlton’s Team of the 20th Century. In more recent times, round five has provided the launching pad for the exploits of popular 1995 Premiership defender Michael Sexton (in 1990) and boom number 2 draft pick Andrew Walker, in 2004.
FOND FAREWELLSThe list of prominent Blues who have retired after round five includes former captain-coach Jack Wells in 1914, and two-time Premiership full-back Ernie Jamieson in 1922. Harold Carter, who crossed to Carlton from Fitzroy and won our club goal-kicking award in 1927, retired the following year, and Jim Knight came to Carlton when Geelong went into recess in 1942, only to be tragically killed in action in New Guinea not long after his last game in round 5, 1943. Premiership wingman Bob Green also lost his life in freakish circumstances, four years after he finished up in 1945.
Another favourite son; three-time Premiership forward and future flag-winning coach Robert Walls retired in 1978 – after the same game in which Ken Hands started his career - while in 1992, the versatile and popular Paul ‘Molly’ Meldrum called it a day after round five, following 158 quality games and 140 goals over eleven seasons.
CHOPPING UP DEFENCESDuring the first decade of this century, round five was a happy hunting ground for Carlton’s talented, controversial spearhead Brendan Fevola. In successive seasons, Fev kicked eight goals against North Melbourne in 2003, and six against West Coast in 2004. He then followed up with another seven against Melbourne at the MCG in 2008. Fevola’s effort against the Kangaroos stands as Carlton’s equal-best for round 5, matching the eight majors kicked by Harry ‘Soapy’ Vallence against Collingwood back in 1938.
‘Soapy’ in fact had some memorable matches in this round against Collingwood throughout his great career. As well as that mentioned above, he steered through seven at Victoria Park against the ‘pies in 1931, and two years later in the corresponding match, launched a monster torpedo punt that split the posts from a distance later measured at more than 91 yards (83 metres). Soapy’s predecessor, Horrie Clover, also kicked seven against Collingwood in a round 5 game at Victoria Park in 1924.
Rover Leo Brereton achieved a rare double when he booted successive six-goal hauls in this round, against Essendon at Windy Hill in 1960, and North Melbourne at Arden St the following year. Harcourt Dowsley (1941, against St Kilda) and Vin Waite (1966, against Melbourne) both scored goals with their first kicks at senior level.
LINES IN THE....OVALWhen the South Melbourne team emerged from the player’s race at Princes Park in round 5, 1977, they were confronted by a series of dark-green lines painted on the oval at both ends of the ground. It was later revealed that these were distance markers, at 30, 40 and 50 metres from goal. The Blues had been practising hard with them, too, because by the end of an entertaining match, Carlton had kicked 21.8 (134) to comfortably beat the Swans’ 16.11 (107). In its wisdom, the VFL immediately banned the lines, but in time sanity prevailed, and by the early eighties every VFL ground featured the now-familiar 50 metre arc – an innovation that has added a whole lot of interest and enjoyment to the game for every football fan.
THE ODD BAD DAYMargin-wise, Carlton’s worst defeat in the fifth game of any season came in the foundation year of the VFL in 1897. After the Blues lost to the Melbourne Fuchsias by 81 points, The Argus newspaper said; “In the many games that Carlton and Melbourne have played over the last 20 years, the strength of one side, and the weakness of the other was never more farcibly shown".
It took almost another decade to turn things around, but since then, our only other defeats by ten goals or more have come in 1958 against Collingwood (73 points), 1925 against Geelong (72 points) and 1983 against Fitzroy (60 points).
HIT THE SIREN, HIT THE SIREN!In rare circumstances at Moorabbin Oval in round 5, 1967, the siren failed to sound at half-time, and the game continued for 20 seconds longer than it should have. During that vital period, Carlton defender Barry Gill kicked one of his two goals for the match, and the Blues ended up beating St Kilda by five points. Ultimately, that loss cost the reigning premier Saints a finals berth.
MILESTONESOver the seasons, game five has been a big host of milestone matches. John Nicholls (1963), Mark Maclure (1979) and David Rhys-Jones (1991) all played their 100th VFL/AFL game in this round. One of the stars of the 1995 Premiership, Peter Dean, racked up his 150th match for the Blues against St Kilda in 1993, while Rod McGregor (1917) and Earl Spalding (1996) celebrated their 200th games against Richmond and West Coast respectively. In round five, 1997, Carlton looked to honour our midfield maestro Craig Bradley with a victory over Geelong in ‘Braddles’ 250th match, but lost to the Cats by 8 points in a cracker of a contest.
BEEN WAITING LONG?Finally, we couldn’t wrap up this review without acknowledging a herculean feat by Carlton’s former co-tenants at Princes Park, the Hawthorn Football Club. In round 5, 1939, the Mayblooms finally defeated the Blues by three points at Glenferrie Oval – after 14 years of trying, and 25 straight losses.
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