Benetti briefly appeared for the local Carlton Stars and represented Carlton in a single reserve grade match in 1955 - only to be recalled to the Parade team under the school rules of the day. He did not represent the Blues for the remainder of the ’55 season, but completed his apprenticeship in their reserve grade teams through 1956 and ’57.
Benetti earned a number of honourable mentions for his performances in the curtain-raisers, but his progress was interrupted by a foot ailment, which precipitated the removal of a right foot toe nail and the top of one toe of the left foot, which cost him many games in his second season.
He finally broke through in the third round of 1958, completing his senior debut against Geelong at Princes Park in the No.8 dark Navy Blue guernsey now worn by Matthew Kreuzer.
Benetti was named on a half back flank in that match, alongside Peter Webster at centre half-back and the late Denis Zeunert.
Webster, one of the few members of that particular team still living, remembered Benetti as a physically aggressive type.
“He was a very solid player. You’d probably say he was a good honest player and he was certainly hard at it,” Webster recalled.
John Benetti and first cousin Sergio Silvagni at an Old Paradians function in 2011. (Photo: Anthony De Bolfo)
Dubbed “Tank” by supporters for his tree-trunk thighs and fearless, straight-ahead style of play, Benetti earnt early praise. The journalist Damon Mills, in an article for Sports Novels in 1958 (which carried the headline “Benetti is Carlton’s atom bomb of the half-back flank”) wrote: “He (Benetti) thrilled with his relentless pursuit of the ball, a brilliant flying mark and a speedy clearing dash”.
According to football folklore, Benetti also earned the nickname "Troubles" over the journey, for making a habit of complaining to the club’s Chairman of Selectors Jack Wrout whenever he was omitted from the seniors.
But he will be remembered for gamely contributing to his team’s last line of defence in the losing Grand Final of 1962, and for being named amongst his team’s better contributors through that finals series.
And he also represented Victoria against South Australia the following year.
Benetti’s final game for Carlton came against the arch foe Collingwood in Round 16, 1965, on the occasion of Berkeley Cox’s 100th senior appearance.
On completion of his senior League career, Benetti joined VFA outfit Oakleigh as Senior Coach, and, later, VAFA A-Grade team Ivanhoe in 1972 and ’73.
A little known fact is that Benetti also helped build the since-demolished Olympic Tyres Scoreboard at the Garton Street end of Princes Park.
A massive stroke suffered years ago cruelly robbed Benetti of his speech and severely incapacitated him, but never dimmed his love for the game. He would often be seen as an interested spectator at Carlton matches, and in late 2010 gathered with his old schoolmates when Parade College’s greatest team of VFL/AFL footballers was named.
John Benetti is survived by his wife Irene, daughters Janine and Sue, and son Glen. Another son, Peter, died in early September.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be finalised.
A very happy 60th to Wow today!
From the Blueseum:
Career : 1978 - 1985
Debut : Round 1, 1978 vs Richmond, aged 24 years, 150 days
Carlton Player No. 871
Games : 92
Goals : 31
Last Game: Round 3, 1985 vs North Melbourne, aged 31 years, 162 days
Guernsey No. 2 (1978 - 1985).
Height: 200 cm (6 ft. 7 in.)
Weight : 103 kg (16 stone, 3 lbs.)
DOB : 2 November, 1953
Premiership Player : 1982
Warren "Wow" Jones added more than his share to the rich tapestry of the Carlton Football Club in his 92 games for the Blues between 1978 and 1985. Perhaps best remembered for the myth that grew from his nickname, Wow was a heavily-tattooed giant at 200 cm and 102 kg - but one whose forbidding appearance hid a surprisingly gentle nature off the field.
Jones was born in Wellington New Zealand, before growing up in Queensland. He learned the Australian game with Morningside Football Club, and later moved south to Castlemaine in central Victoria. When Carlton recruited him, he was a match-hardened 24 year-old whose determination and ruck skills - especially his palming of the ball to his rovers – made him the ideal back-up for Mike Fitzpatrick. Jones was handed the fabled number 2 guernsey, and didn't disappoint. During his eight seasons with the Blues, he represented Queensland in 1979 and played in seven finals, including his finest moment; the 1982 Grand Final. In an epic match, Wow was one of the keys to Carlton's upset win over Richmond when he almost single-handedly took on and subdued the Tiger ruck duo of Mark Lee and David Cloke.
When Fitzpatrick retired in 1983, Wow assumed the mantle of number one ruckman, only to be struck down by glandular fever while in the best form of his career. It took him more than a year to recover, and when he did return, he was confronted by the emerging talent of a young Justin Madden. Aged 31, Wow knew his time at Carlton was almost up. So when St Kilda made him an attractive offer in 1985, he crossed to the Saints (with Carlton’s encouragement) and went on to play another 31 games in three seasons. His efforts at St Kilda were as whole-hearted as ever, and the big bloke was soon as popular at Moorabbin as he had been at Princes Park.
In 1989, Warren Jones headed to VFA club Brunswick with fellow premiership team-mate Wayne Harmes. He also assisted Col Kinnear as a specialist ruck coack for the Sydney Swans in 1989. The following year he quit as a player and headed back to St Kilda to help out ex-teammater Ken Sheldon as a ruck coach at St Kilda.
Many happy returns for Jeremy Smith today.
From the Blueseum:
Career: 1991 - 1994.
Debut and only Game: Round 8, 1993 vs Footscray, aged 19 years, 196 days
Carlton Player No.: 991
Guernsey No. 41 (1992 - 1994).
DOB: 31 October, 1973
Jeremy Smith was a left-footed flanker / winger drafted from Sandy Bay Tasmania with Pick 95 of the 1989 National Draft, this was Carlton's seventh pick overall. He was also delisted in 1991 but re-drafted in the 1992 Pre-Season Draft.
Despite a number of years on the list, Smith would debut in Round 8, 1993, a loss to Footscray, and would only play the solitary game of VFL / AFL football. Within Smith's 7 possessions was a nice goal from the 50 metre line.
David McKay from 1974
Keen for a bit of bowling with some other past players? Get a group of four together and participate in the Ken McKaige cup, the SOC will pay for your entry. See below for details.