BBQ Postponed: Old Blues to be welcomed back to Princes Park

PLEASE NOTE: The BBQ scheduled for the 24th February has been postponed until later in the season.

Any enquiries should be directed to Lou Katsamas via either Email: lou.katsamas@carltonfc.com.au, Phone: 03 9389 6231 or Mail:  Lou Katsamas c/o Spirit of Carlton PO Box 83, North Carlton, VIC, 3054.

 

 

 

Tony De Bolfo, Carlton Media

The Carlton Football Club is again opening its doors to all senior footballers who ever wore the dark Navy Blue guernsey – together with former officials and staff members – to a free barbecue breakfast at the old ground.

In conjunction with the Spirit of Carlton, the club is extending the invitation to the aforementioned – together with their wives and/or partners, children and/or grandchildren – to also view a training session involving the current-listed footballers under Brendon Bolton’s watch on the morning of Saturday, February 24, commencing 10am.

Carlton is also opening up the inner sanctum – the locker room – to enable former players to be photographed with their loved ones by the lockers carrying their old guernsey numbers.

Robertson Webster Image
Former players Ron Robertson (left) and Peter Webster, pictured at the 2016 event. (Photo: Carlton Media)

The breakfast will be held on the landing by the George Harris Room at which those players and officials who so ably served Carlton can renew their old friendships.

The opportunity to reconnect has been relished by former players and their descendants – a case in point, the kinfolk of dual Carlton Premiership player the late Charlie McInnes – his daughter Laurie Morgan, grandson Luke and great granddaughters Ava and Alexa – who two years ago paid the old ground a welcome visit to be photographed in front of ol’ Charlie’s No.31 locker.

For the McInnes clan, it was as if the club had given Charlie back.

“It was absolutely sensational to see Dad’s locker, but to have Luke there and my two granddaughters to share the moment made it really lovely,” Laurie said at the time.

“It means a lot to go back. I’d only ever been in the old rooms a couple of times and they weren’t done up like they are now.”  

Ron O’Dwyer’s 80th

Happy 80th birthday to Ron O’Dwyer.



Career: 19561958
Debut: Round 2, 1956 vs Melbourne, aged 18 years, 76 days
702nd Carlton Player
Games: 13
Goals: 11
Last Game: Round 2, 1958 vs North Melbourne, aged 20 years, 73 days
Guernsey No. 7
Height: 170cm
Weight: 70kg
DOB: 5 February, 1938

Originally from Broken Hill North, and known as ‘Cookie’ around the club, Ron O’Dwyer wore guernsey #7 in 13 games for Carlton starting in 1956. He kicked 11 goals for the Blues.

O’Dwyer transferred to Collingwood, he played with the Magpies from 1959 to 1961. In his time at Magpies he played a further 27 games and booted 15 goals. He also played in the losing 1960 Grand Final with the Magpies.

Ron O’Dwyer is currently the President of the AFL X-Men organisation.

Picture:
Ron O’Dwyer in the 1956 Reserves.

Jacob Anstey’s 40th

Happy 40th birthday to Jacob Anstey.



Career : 19971998
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.

A lightly built on-baller who simply found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time with respect to era and opportunity. Very much like Kade Simpson in build, Anstey was never given easy games to find his feet and was without a Simpson-like kick that could cross lines and cause defensive angst. Anstey’s career, like many others before – and no doubt after – shows that timing and a dash of luck are always relevant commodities in sports.

Career Highlights

1997 – 5th Reserves Best & Fairest
1998 – 2nd Reserves Best & Fairest

Peter Francis’ 60th

Happy 60th birthday to Peter Francis.



Career : 19791981
Debut : Round 3, 1979 vs Essendon, aged 21 years, 73 days
Carlton Player No. 876
Games : 158 (47 at Carlton)
Goals : 58 (15 at Carlton)
Last Game : Round 11, 1981 vs North Melbourne, aged 23 years, 141 days
Guernsey No. 47
Height : 185 cm (6 ft. 1 in.)
Weight : 82.5 kg (13 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : 16 January, 1958
Premiership Player 1979

Peter Scott Francis was a hard-running, skilful wingman who is fondly remembered for his starring role in Carlton’s famous 1979 Grand Final victory over Collingwood – before he was controversially traded to Fitzroy, and went on to play 158 career games at four clubs.

Born in Heathcote in central Victoria in 1958, Francis was the nephew of Leo Francis, a wingman himself who had played 78 games with North Melbourne from 1945 to 1951. In 1977, Peter was starring for South Bendigo when he was invited to try out at Princes Park, and his form at Reserves level in the latter part of the season left Carlton’s match committee smiling. In guernsey number 47, Francis played regularly across half-forward and kicked 32 goals in only a handful of games.

The following year, he made his senior debut off the interchange bench against Essendon at Waverley in the Blues’ first game of 1979, when three other future stars in Wayne Johnston, Alex Marcou and Robbert Klomp also started their VFL careers. Peter came on late in the game and racked up nine possessions as Carlton beat the Bombers by 21 points. As that season progressed, Francis consolidated his place in a powerful team that sat two wins clear of North Melbourne on top of the ladder after the home and away rounds. Fashionably tall for a wingman of that era, he was disciplined, quick, and a fine mark overhead. His concentration was good, he was eminently coachable, and he could play either an offensive or defensive role as required.

In late September 1979, Francis took part in his twenty-third VFL game, and was one of the Blues’ prime movers in a thrilling Grand Final victory over Collingwood. In front of nearly 113,000 fans on a muddy MCG, Carlton beat the Magpies by five points in a match forever remembered for Wayne Harmes’ determined chase, dive and round-arm swipe at the ball in the dying minutes. Harmes’ actions sent the ball skidding from Collingwood’s right forward pocket into the goal-square, where Ken Sheldon raced in alone to gather and kick the goal that decided the Premiership. Harmes was a worthy winner of the inaugural Norm Smith medal as Best on Ground, but Francis, ‘Dominator’ Johnston, and champion defender Bruce Doull could all have just as easily been chosen. Whilst the Harmes – Sheldon goal will always be remembered Francis ‘arguably’ kicked the goal of the day with a snap from the boundary in front of near Bay 13 was in front of the Southern Stand, it was a huge effort with the wet, heavy footy.

The Blues confirmed their standing as a League power by topping the ladder again in 1980, only to be bundled out of the finals by two straight losses. Meanwhile, Carlton’s neighbours Fitzroy had gone into freefall. Finalists in 1979, the Lions had plunged from fourth to wooden-spooners in the space of 12 months, despite the emergence of a new star in Frank Marchesani, a classy wingman from Marcellin College who was widely-regarded as Recruit of the Year. Imagine then, the furore that erupted in the off-season when Marchesani told Fitzroy that he wanted a clearance to Carlton. Rumours abounded that he was being lured to Princes Park by financial promises that Fitzroy had no hope of matching – but these were immediately denied (and have continued to be denied) by both Marchesani and the Blues. Frank just wanted out of Fitzroy, and Carlton was his preferred destination. The next problem however, was that Fitzroy flatly refused to negotiate, so Marchesani was forced to stand out of the game for six months – until right on the deadline for mid-season clearances on June 30. With no viable option, the Lions at last relented and agreed to swap Marchesani for Peter Francis, which in turn made the situation uncomfortable for Carlton.

A few hours hours later, Carlton’s Chairman of Selectors, Wes Lofts, had the difficult task of telling Francis that the game he was about to play – against North Melbourne at Princes Park – would be his last in Navy Blue. When the news broke, it caused considerable disquiet among the Blues’ players and fans, because Francis was a popular and respected member of a very good football side. However, it didn’t destabilise the team’s spirit, and Carlton surged on to the glory of two more Premierships in 1981 and ’82.

Marchesani went on to a relatively short and chequered career with the Blues, and it can be argued that he never realised his full potential during 36 matches in five injury-plagued seasons. On the other hand, Francis was valuable and consistent at Fitzroy (40 games), Richmond (52 games) and Essendon (19 games) in a career that stretched through to 1988. Francis will be remembered as a player who could hold his own whether it was as a wingman, half-back or ruck-rover He was a player who was a consistently high possession winner. He had good ball skills and kicked well to position

When his playing days ended, Francis turned to coaching, and in 1989 took over the reins at VFA Club Box Hill (playing coach). In 1991 he moved on to St Kilda, where he was reunited with his Blues Premiership teammate Ken Sheldon and served as the Saints’ last U/19’s Coach in 1991 and Reserves coach from 1991 to 1994. Later still, he began a successful career in coaching (1995 – 1996) and as a football administration as was Regional Manager of the Gippsland Power in the elite TAC Cup Under 17 competition for more than a decade.

Away from football he works in the banking industry and lives in Warragul.

In 2010, Francis’ name graced the football media once again with the news that his nephew Andrew Collins was joining Carlton. By coincidence, Collins had agreed to move from Richmond to Carlton, in a direct swap for the Blues’ 43-game midfielder Shaun Grigg.

Bendigo All Stars Team (1972-1997).
In 1997 the Bendigo FL compiled their best team for players originating from the BFL VCFL zones for the period from 1972 – 1997, Francis was named on the wing in that team.

Playing Career
All up Francis played a total of 244 games in the senior and reserves grades during his time in the VFL, with Carlton, Fitzroy, Richmond , Essendon and more recently St Kilda Reserves.
Pre VFL days; Heathcote to 1975 ; South Bendigo 1976, Games 7, Goals 1 ;
Carlton Seniors 1979-81, Games 47, goals 17 ( Honours – Premiership 1979 )
Fitzroy Seniors 1981-83, Games 52, Goals 25 ;
Fitzroy Reserves 1983-84, Games 2, Goals 4.
Richmond Seniors 1984-86, Games: 51, Goals: 22
Richmond Reserves 1986, Games: 7, Goals: 3
Essendon Seniors 1987-88, Games 19, Goals 2 ;
Essendon Reserves 1987-88, Games 10, Goals 2 ;
Box Hill Captain/Coach 1989-90, Games 29, Goals 13 ;
St Kilda Thirds Coach 1991;
St Kilda Reserves Coach 1991-94, Games 1 ;
Gippsland Power U/18 Coach 1995-96.

Career Highlights

1978 – Reserves Leading Goalkicker (32 goals)
1979 – Premiership Player

Legends Dinner

Join the Spirit of Carlton at the annual Legends Dinner before Carlton takes on St Kilda in Round 1 of the JLT Community Series.

SCHEDULE OF GUEST BENEFITS

  • Two-course meal
  • Beverages
  • Reserved Seat

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Wednesday 28 February, 2018
Time 5:30pm – 7:10pm
Venue: George Harris Room, Ikon Park

CLICK HERE TO BOOK

 

 

 

Vale Keith, the best in the caper

Tony De Bolfo, Carlton Media

Keith McKenzie, an assistant to Carlton Captain-Coach John Nicholls through the Premiership season of 1972, and later the General Manager of the club, has died after a short illness at the age of 95. 

McKenzie, a World War II veteran who, like the future Australian Prime Minister John Gorton served as a Leading Aircraftman in Milne Bay, represented North Melbourne with distinction as a fleet-footed wingman through 130 senior appearances in an eight-season tenure from 1944 – during which time he earned the Syd Barker Medal as the Shinboners’ fairest and best.

McKenzie later assumed Senior Coaching duties at North, replacing Alan Killigrew, in a four-year term commencing 1966 – but 23 wins and a couple of draws from 84 starts reflected winters of discontent at Arden Street.

It was at this pivotal moment (1971) that the call came from Carlton’s then senior coach Ronald Dale Barassi. In an interview with this reporter, McKenzie admitted that the Barassi offer, which came after Graham Donaldson accepted the Senior Coach’s role at Fitzroy, would prove to be life-changing.

“In 1971 Ron Barassi asked me to join him as his assistant at Carlton and I knew then what I never had. I found Barassi’s coaching the ultimate . . . it changed me from a fellow who was dejected and disappointed at not being successful as a coach to a winner in a club which had a tradition of success . . . ,” McKenzie said.

“It (coaching) was a learning curve at North Melbourne (and) unfortunately I lost a bit of self-respect in my own right, but it was a case of when one door closes another opens, and I put it down to ‘Barass’ and Carlton who were marvellous to me. 

“It’s why I’ve never forgotten Carlton and why I’ve stayed with Carlton all my life.”

Nicholls said this week that while he anticipated McKenzie’s passing having recently visited him at Anzac Hostel in Brighton, he was nonetheless saddened to learn of the news.

“I’m very sad about this. Keith was a lovely bloke and he truly was a Carlton person,” Nicholls said.

“Keith originally came over as an assistant to ‘Barass’ and he was assistant to me in ’72. Back in those days, Bert Deacon, who was a wonderful friend of mine, used to play golf with him and Gordon Norris in Dandenong.”

McKenzie, until his passing the League football’s oldest surviving Senior Coach, is accredited with having coached Carlton in three senior matches as a stand-in. The first of them came in the 12th round of 1972, when Carlton faced Fitzroy at Waverley Park. The Blues were without Nicholls, Alex Jesaulenko and Geoff Southby (all of them on Victorian representative duty), yet under McKenzie’s watch still accounted for the ’Roys by six goals.

Keith McKenzie 79 Image

McKenzie then took charge in the second round of 1973, when Carlton accounted for his former team North Melbourne by 27 points at Princes Park. On that occasion, Nicholls (who was under a one-match suspension for striking a Geelong player the previous week) sought League dispensation to enter the ground that afternoon, in order to see the ’72 Premiership flag unfurled.

The third and final time in which McKenzie took charge has gone down in football infamy as The Battle of Windy Hill – an extraordinary affair with Essendon in the 14th Round of 1975. Again, Nicholls, Jesaulenko and Southby were committed to state representation when McKenzie prepared his charges for the match of the day on Saturday, July 5.

The Carlton players piled on an incredible 14.1 in the first 23 minutes of the second quarter of that one (with David McKay contributing eight of his own), but the subsequent felling behind play of Craig Davis led to an ugly all-in brawl. By game’s end, seven players – four from Carlton, three from Essendon – had their numbers taken and the Blues’ final scoreline of 27.13 (175) remains their highest-ever tally against the Bombers.

In 1976, McKenzie was appointed Carlton General Manager, a position he held until 1979. Beyond his four years running the club, McKenzie continued to serve in a myriad of roles, and he had a hand in the latter recruitments of Ken Hunter and Val Perovic, amongst others. 

A long-time confidante of Richard Pratt who employed him at Visy, McKenzie was, until recently, a regular in the Carlton rooms with Pratt’s widow and current club Director Jeanne with whom he previously played midweek croquet.

An entrepreneurial type, he famously found a way to get the better halves of Swedish supergroup ABBA decked out in dark Navy Blue guernseys. That happened on the morning of Saturday, March 5, 1977, when Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyngstad, together with their husbands Bjorn and Benny, lobbed at Tullamarine Airport to fulfil their obligations in two shows at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl as part of the band’s Australian musical tour.

In a previous interview, McKenzie vividly recalled the chain of events which led to Agnetha and Frida sporting the famous playing tops, in one of the all-time great club marketing triumphs.

Keith McKenzie Curly Austin Image
Keith McKenzie with Carlton great Rod Austin, 1977. (Photo: Supplied)

“When we knew they were about to land at Tullamarine I told our marketing bloke Michael Whitewood, ‘Grab a couple of guernseys, get up to the airport and take them out to ABBA’,” McKenzie said.

“The band later headed out to Western Australia to play four shows wearing the jumpers. I don’t know what guernsey numbers they got, but it was a real coup.”

A much-loved character at Carlton, McKenzie inherited the endearing nickname ‘Caper’ in the lead-up to the aforementioned Fitzroy game at VFL Park.

“On the Thursday before that game we rehearsed a little bit, and I said to the players, ‘Look, you’re so good you know the caper, so just go out there and do it’,” McKenzie recalled. “It was the shortest speech of all time, but that’s how I got the nickname ‘Caper’.”

McKenzie’s wife of 67 years Joan died in 2013. He is survived by his sons Roger and Paul, daughter Vicki, four grandchildren James, Victoria, Ricky and Kelly, and three great grandchildren.

A private cremation for McKenzie will take place at Springvale Cemetery, with a memorial to be held at the Sandringham Club on Monday, January 15, commencing 1pm.