Happy 40th birthday to Jacob Anstey.
Career : 1997 – 1998
Debut : Round 7, 1997 vs Richmond, aged 19 years, 103 days
Carlton Player No. 1017
Games : 16
Goals : 5
Last Game : Round 19, 1998 vs Melbourne, aged 20 years, 193 days
Guernsey Nos. 41 (1997) and 12 (1998).
Height : 176 cm (5 ft. 9 in.)
Weight : 71.3 kg (11 stone, 3 lbs.)
DOB : 27 January, 1978
Jacob ‘Jake’ Anstey was recruited by the Blues from Tuggeranong in the ACT – the same club that produced an earlier high-profile Carlton draftee in Aaron Hamill. A clever, but slightly-built rover-forward, Anstey had been considered a likely AFL footballer since his selection in the 1994 Under 17 All Australian team. Carlton’s recruiters were pleasantly surprised when he was still available at selection 63 in the 1995 National Draft, and snapped him up.
Wearing guernsey number 41, Jake was given a patient introduction to AFL football through Carlton Reserves, and wasn’t promoted until well into his second season. Eventually, he made his senior debut in round 7, 1997, when Carlton took on Richmond at the MCG, and emerged victorious by 22 points. Blues captain Stephen Kernahan kicked only one goal in that game, but it was enough to set a new club aggregate goal-kicking record of 723 goals – breaking the mark previously held by another club legend in Harry Vallence.
A fortnight later, Anstey himself booted his first senior goal in round 9 against Fremantle, and two more in round 15 against Melbourne. He finished the year with four goals and nine games to his credit, although in seven of those matches, he started from the bench.
In 1998, Jake switched to guernsey number 12, and played the best game of his AFL career in a desperately-close loss to Essendon in round 3 at the MCG. Sharing the roving duties with Darren Hulme, Anstey gathered 13 possessions and kicked an important major as the Blues finished all over the Bombers, only to lose by a point. Between then and round 18, he managed another six games, but his scoring opportunities had dried up and he added only one more goal to his tally.
Amid concerns over his slender 71 kg frame, the Blues delisted Anstey at the end of that season. So he nominated again for the National Draft, and was picked up by St. Kilda at pick 81. He wasn’t able to break into the Saints’ senior line-up in his only season at Moorabbin however, and at the end of 1999 he moved on to the second stage of a notable career at suburban and country level.
In 2001, Anstey was voted Best on Ground while starring for Yarra Glen in the Grand Final of the Yarra Valley and Mountain District Football League, under the coaching of another former Blue; 1995 Carlton Premiership defender Adrian Whitehead. The following year, when Whitehead was appointed assistant coach at VFA heavyweights Port Melbourne, Anstey went with him, and was joined by his younger brother Sam. Sam Anstey too, had been at Carlton, playing Reserve Grade football in 1999.
After one season at Port Melbourne, Jake Anstey and Whitehead crossed to Donvale in the Eastern Football League as captain and coach respectively. Jake gave the Magpies three valuable seasons, then headed to the far north of Victoria to captain-coach Mildura in the Sunraysia Football League. After leading the Demons to the SFL Premiership in 2007, he retired from the field in 2010, aged 32.
1997 – 5th Reserves Best & Fairest
1998 – 2nd Reserves Best & Fairest