Happy 50th birthday to Adrian Bassett.
Career : 1990-1992
Debut : Round 1, 1990 vs Sydney, aged 23 years, 20 days
Carlton Player No. 964
Games : 31
Goals : 12
Last Game : Round 16, 1992 vs Brisbane, aged 25 years, 115 days
Guernsey No. 37 (1990 – 1992).
Height : 186 cm
Weight : 81 kg
DOB : 11 March, 1967
Adrian Bassett was a lightly-built and pacey left-footed defender who was one of two players drafted by Carlton from VFA club Coburg in the 1990 VFL Pre-Season Draft. The other was Tim Rieniets, who like Bassett, had been a dominant force in Coburg’s 1988-89 Premiership double triumph over Williamstown. Bassett was taken at selection 13, and Rieniets at number 27.
When Bassett was drafted by the Carlton, it was his second stint at the Blues. He had previously played with the U/19’s and Reserves but had been delisted, the Blues had drafted him from Castlemaine (he had previously played with Campbell’s Creek). His move to Southport (QLD), and then to the Phil Cleary led Coburg gave him the experience and confidence for another crack with Carlton.
Bassett was assigned guernsey number 37, and made his senior debut for the Blues against Sydney at Princes Park in round one of 1990. Playing at full-back alongside another first-gamer in Stephen Edgar, Bassett was given an early lesson in the pressures of VFL football when Carlton led the Swans by 45 points at half time, only to be over-run in the second half and beaten by five points.
Throughout the rest of a disappointing season, Bassett was shuffled through several positions; from the back pocket, to the wing and ruck-roving. His fourteen matches produced six goals and two or three eye-catching performances – particularly in round nine against Fitzroy at Princes Park. The field umpires awarded him three Brownlow Medal votes that day, for his slashing game across half-forward.
In 1991 the re-appointment of David Parkin as coach of the Blues (after a five-year absence) signalled a renewed commitment by everyone at Carlton. Two seasons of mid-table mediocrity was enough for the Blues – it was time to re-evaluate the playing list and go looking for some quality recruits. Bassett had another consistent year – settling on to a wing next to Craig Bradley, and playing 16 games for 6 goals – but the Blues slipped further down the ladder to wind up eleventh of the 15 teams.
The good news was that Carlton’s scouts and the football department had been active throughout the year, and 1992 would be remembered for the debut at Princes Park of quality recruits like Greg Williams, Anthony Koutoufides, Earl Spalding, Rohan Welsh, Matthew Hogg and Ron De Iulio.
Unfortunately for Bassett, an influx of players of this standard meant that he was among the casualties. Although he continued to play good football with the Carlton Reserves, from then on, his senior opportunities were severely limited. His only game with the firsts in 1992 came late in the season, when the Blues hammered the Brisbane Bears by 99 points in round 16 at Princes Park.
That turned out to be Adrian’s last match for Carlton, as he was sent back to the seconds the following week, and let go at season’s end. But at least his last game had been a pleasant memory, and he spent it running the wing at Princes Park alongside two of Carlton’s greats in Greg Williams and Fraser Brown.
1986 – U/19’s Vice-Captain.
1990 – Best First Year Player Award