Reproduced with kind permission from the Round 24, 2011 AFL Record.
By Howard Kotton
There was a fabulous feeling when Carlton’s 1981 premiership team gathered at Etihad Stadium last week. Many stories large and small were recalled, much to the delight of the 650 guests at the annual Spirit of Carlton luncheon.
But the story that had the crowd in fits of laughter was Alex Marcou’s recollection of the Blues’ visit to The Lodge in Canberra.
Adding to the theatre was the presence of former Prime Minister and No. 1 supporter Malcolm Fraser and his wife Tamie, who invited the team to The Lodge after its premiership victory. Marcou has dined out on the story for 30 years and it gets better every time he tells it.
The story involves Marcou and his partner at the time, known only as ‘Fabulous’, who accompanied Marcou and his teammates to Canberra. According to Marcou, everything was going well until ‘Fabulous’ had an unfortunate accident and slipped on a staircase, breaking her ankle. She was taken to hospital, accompanied by Marcou and Tamie Fraser.
Concerned about the young woman’s welfare, Tamie stayed with her in hospital while Marcou returned to the party in the Prime Minister’s car, enjoying some refreshments along the way. After Marcou and ‘Fabulous’ returned to Melbourne, Tamie was so worried about the woman’s welfare she obtained the Blue’s phone number and rang him at home, just as he was about to continue the celebrations.
Needless to say, Tamie’s timing was less than perfect and Marcou initially did not believe the Prime Minister’s wife was the other end of the phone and his reaction, laced with profanity, was priceless.
Marcou was one of 17 players from the 1981 team to attend the luncheon—Norm Smith medallist Bruce Doull, centreman Greg Wells and wingman Phil Maylin were the only absentees.
Coach David Parkin and captain Mike Fitzpatrick spoke, but there were three people in attendance who found it hard to recall the game with any fondness—former Magpies Tony Shaw, Peter McCormack and Rene Kink.
The Collingwood trio shared the stage with three of their Carlton opponents, Marcou, David McKay and Ken Sheldon, before the formal festivities ended and the conviviality and good humour continued well into the night.
Please see below video of the story referred to in this article.