It’s doubtful that any Carlton player before or since has completed a more controversial senior debut than Colin Holt, the 20-game former half-forward who died last Saturday at the age of 84.
Originally recruited to the club from neighbouring Brunswick, Holt toiled for six seasons at Under 19 and reserve grade level before getting his first senior call up – in the 10th Round of 1955 against Footscray at Princes Park.
The 21 year-old didn’t hold back. He got reported and was subsequently suspended for eight matches for kicking Footscray captain-coach Charlie Sutton no less.
All this on a day in which Carlton defender Harry Caspar, in his last appearance for the club, also had his number taken for striking Dave Bryden – for which the Tribunal duly imposed a four-match ban he never served.
The Argus’ Peter Banfield, in covering Holt’s Tribunal hearing on the night of Tuesday, June 29, 1955, reported that an obviously upset Holt had told the Chairman that he had tried to push Sutton out the way, but had not kicked the Footscray “Iron Man”.
“‘It was my first League game,” he (Holt) said emotionally. ‘I had never struck anyone before as hard to get past as Sutton’,” Banfield noted.
Despite Holt’s and Sutton’s view that the former hadn’t delivered a kick, the Tribunal sided with the reporting field umpire Alan Nash that the toe of Holt’s boot had made contact with Sutton’s leg between the knee and ankle in the second quarter.
News of the sensational hearing was splashed across the back page of The Argus, together with a photograph of a relaxed Holt and Sutton awaiting the Tribunal verdict.
Holt’s senior lapse bellied his steadiness at both Under 19 and reserve grade level at Princes Park, which saw him feature in the 1948 and ’51 Premierships with the Unders and take out the reserves’ Most Consistent Award in ’57.
In making his senior debut, Holt became the 693rd Carlton footballer since 1897 to achieve the feat. His career would span 20 games in total, the last of them the Round 10, 1957 contest with Collingwood at Victoria Park.
Through 1958 and ’59, Holt managed a further 21 senior appearances for Richmond.
Colin Francis Holt died at the Village Glen Retirement Facility. He is survived by his beloved wife Jacqueline, daughter Colleen, sons Daryl and Russell, daughter-in-law Michelle, son-in-law Mick and seven grandchildren.
His funeral took place yesterday morning (Thursday, November 8) at the Rosebud Funeral Chapel on Jetty Road, followed by private cremation.