Des Lyons’ 80th

Happy 80th birthday to Des Lyons.

Career : 1960
Debut : Round 1, 1960 vs Richmond, aged 21 years, 313 days
Carlton Player No. 729
Games : 2
Goals : 1
Guernsey No. 20
Last Game : Round 3, 1960 vs St Kilda, aged 21 years, 332 days
Height : 183 cm (6 ft. 0 in.)
Weight : 95.5 kg (15 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : 9 June, 1938

Throughout the decades after World War II, the football press used to be filled with stories of the “March Champions” – country recruits at each VFL club who were making a big impression in the weeks before the football season began. Invariably, these future stars could “kick a bag of spuds over a wheat silo”, or “flick off a light switch, and jump into bed before the room was dark.” Sadly, such hype was rarely justified, and most of those who showed real potential early often succumbed to home-sickness within a few short weeks.

One such recruit for the Blues was Des Lyons, from Barellan in the Riverina in southern NSW. A powerfully-built 183 cm forward, he had strong hands, good endurance and a booming kick. In 1955, at the age of 16, he had briefly trained with Collingwood, but soon missed the open spaces and went back home. Over the next five seasons, Lyons played senior football with both Barellan and Leeton, where his talent was obvious, and attracted an offer of another crack at first grade football with Carlton.

Des agreed to terms, and bypassed the Reserves to make an immediate senior debut for the Blues against Richmond in the first round of the 1960 season at Princes Park. Wearing guernsey number 20 at centre half-forward, he took some time to adjust, while Richmond held sway and were travelling like winners at the last break with a handy lead of 28 points. The Blues found some extra energy in the last quarter however, and surged back into contention, with Lyons providing a reliable marking target. Carlton kicked 4.5 in a dominant last term – including a long bomb from Des that split the big sticks. Richmond were held to a solitary point for the quarter, and Carlton snatched a nail-biting draw.

Injury kept Lyons out of round 2, but he was back in action on a cold and wet afternoon at the Junction Oval in round 3, when the home side had six more scoring shots than the Blues, only to lose by four points. Shortly afterwards, Des told Carlton that he would not be continuing on. The lure of a family business, along with the comfort of a close-knit community was too strong, and it drew Des home to the bush once more.

Over the next nine seasons, Lyons forged a superb career in Riverina football with Leeton, winning three Premierships, two League Best and Fairests, two club Best and Fairests and the South West District League’s top goal-kicker award in 1967. He represented the SWDFL on 20 occasions, and more than 50 years later, is still regarded as one of the Riverina’s all-time greats.


The Age said of Lyon’s debut;
“Des Lyons played brilliantly in the first half to be the focal point of the Blues’ attack. He was quiet later but splendid marking and accurate kicking made him a constant danger.”


Des Lyons in the South West District Football League team, July 28 1963. Courtesy of

Rod Waddell’s 60th

Happy 60th birthday to Rod Waddell.

Career : 19811982
Debut : Round 18, 1981 vs Geelong, aged 23 years, 70 days
Carlton Player No. 898
Games : 5
Goals : 2
Last Game : Round 8, 1982 vs Footscray, aged 24 years, 357 days
Guernsey No. 10
Height : 178 cm (5 ft. 10 in.)
Weight : 76 kg (12 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB: 23 May, 1957

Rodney Steven Waddell was a talented, pacey, aboriginal footballer who forced his way into one of the strongest Carlton teams ever assembled when he made his debut for the Blues on the eve of the 1981 finals. Although he was a reluctant recruit at first – having already played Reserves football at Collingwood – Carlton claimed him under the VFL zoning rules in force at the time, and Rod eventually played five matches while the Navy Blues won back to back flags in 1981-82.

Waddell began his senior football career with Southern Districts in NSW, but it was his slashing performance as a ruck-rover for Lalor in the 1980 Diamond Valley Football League Grand Final, against Reservoir-Lakeside, that made VFL scouts take notice. Collingwood and Carlton soon became involved in a tug of war over his services, and the Magpies seemed to have come out on top when Waddell turned out for two Reserves games with them early in 1981. Carlton however, was convinced that the 23 year-old was residentially tied to us, and a VFL investigation quickly agreed. Collingwood were fined $500 for flaunting the zoning rules, and stripped of the four competition points they had earned with Waddell in their team. Rod was then welcomed to Princes Park, and presented with our number 10 guernsey.

After spending most of the remainder of 1981 with Carlton’s Reserves, Waddell was eventually called into the seniors in August, as one of six changes for the round 18 Match of the Day against Geelong at Princes Park. Stationed on a half-forward flank, he flashed in and out of the game, kicked a nice goal, and had a grandstand view as Carlton’s mercurial forward Peter Bosustow took Mark of the Year. Carlton won by 33 points, in a fitting tribute to champion defender Bruce Doull in his 250th game.

While elbowing his way up into the senior side was a creditable achievement by Waddell, the bigger task by far after that was to stay there. After all, Carlton had assembled a fleet of midfield runners that was the envy of every other club, and Rod faced intense competition for his place in the side each week from a galaxy of stars such as Ashman, Buckley, Sheldon, Harmes, Marcou, Keogh, Armstrong and Glascott. Although Rod didn’t lack self confidence, it was a daunting prospect indeed.

Waddell’s second match came on a Sunday afternoon at the MCG against South Melbourne in round 19, when he came off the bench to replace his captain Mike Fitzpatrick during the third quarter, and helped his side to 23-point win. His third was another unforgettable occasion; the second Semi Final against Geelong on the wide expanses of Waverley Park, in front of a crowd of 66,000. Waddell had a relatively easy day and warmed the bench for most of the game, as Carlton dominated the second half, and qualified for the Grand Final with an emphatic win by 40 points.

During the fortnight leading up to the Premiership-deciding clash between traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood, the Blues’ concerns revolved around two players who were automatic inclusions if fit; full-back Geoff Southby, and rover Rod Ashman. Southby was never a real chance of playing because of a torn thigh muscle, and he was replaced on selection night by Scott Howell. Ashman, however – with ongoing concerns about a knee – only convinced the selectors he was right on the day before the match, and Waddell was the obvious choice to make way for him. On that fabled Saturday afternoon, Howell and Ashman both put in solid efforts in a spine-tingling contest that eventually fell to the resolute Blues by 20 points.

As Carlton set about defending that hard-fought flag in 1982, Waddell managed two more senior appearances by round 8, but then was informed by the match committee that his future lay down the Western Highway at Geelong. The Cats, knowing full well the depth of talented small men at Princes Park, had approached the Blues to secure the services of Waddell, and come up with an offer hard to refuse. Waddell too, realised that he would get far more opportunities at Sleepy Hollow, and was happy to make the move.

Rod added another 20 senior matches and 10 goals to his credit over the next three seasons, although the highlight of his time with the Cats was his dominant game in the 1982 Reserves Grand Final defeat of St Kilda. Playing as a ruck-rover, Waddell kicked six goals and was clearly Best on Ground.

After finishing at Geelong in 1984, he headed off to Darwin in the off-season and took part in another Grand Final when his team Nightcliff lost to St Mary’s in that season’s NTFL Grand Final. He then returned to Victoria, and rejoined the Lalor Bloods to finish off an interesting and varied career. He would later play at Ararat and Marong Football clubs.

Rod Waddell’s sister is the mother of Geelong premiership player Steven Motlop.

Scott Freeborn’s 40th

Happy 40th birthday to Scott Freeborn.

Career: 2000-2002 (Listed Player: 1998-2003)
Debut: Round 5, 2000 vs Essendon, aged 21 years, 324 days
1039th Carlton Player
Games: 48
Goals: 17
Last Game: Round 9, 2002 vs Adelaide, aged 24 years, 6 days
Guernsey No. 17 (2000 – 2003).
Height: 183cm
Weight: 87kg
DOB: 20 May,1978

Scott Freeborn was a blonde-haired left footer originally rookied by the Blues in 1998. Brother of Collingwood / Kangaroo player Glen, Scott played 48 games for the Blues between 2000 and 2002. He was recruited from Port Adelaide Magpies, but also played for Woodville-West Torrens.

Freeborn’s time on the rookie list was spent on the wing and half forward, in the No. 46 guernsey (1998 – 1999). His form was sufficient to be promoted by season 2000, when he made the seniors for the Round 5 clash against the Bombers. Over the season, he played as a defensive midfielder where his strength and endurance were most useful. Tight as a player, Freeborn also was an oddity in that he would slice his preferred left foot often, kicking the occasional airball.

In 2001, Freeborn played almost the entire season of 23 games in defence, including finals performances versus Adelaide (win) and Richmond (loss)- missing just one game due to a thigh injury. Come 2002 however, he would manage just 7 games- missing the start of the season with an Achilles injury and suffering a broken collar bone mid season, which would force him to miss the remainder of that year. Osteitis pubis and a debilitating foot injury would then severely impact on his career, forcing him to miss the whole of season 2003 without playing a single game and he was then delisted.

Career Highlights

2000 – Best First Year Player Award

Scott Howell’s 60th

Happy 60th birthday to Scott Howell.

Career : 19801985
Debut : Semi Final, 1980 vs Collingwood, aged 22 years, 126 days
Carlton Player No. 866
Games : 39
Goals : 12
Last Game: Round 6, 1985 vs Essendon, aged 26 years, 359 days
Guernsey Nos. 40 (1976 – 82) and 12 (1983 – 85)
Height : 193 cm (6 ft. 4 in.)
Weight : 88 kg (13 stone, 12 lbs.)
DOB: May 10, 1958
Premiership Player 1981

The only third-generation Premiership player in VFL/AFL history, Scott Howell spent nine seasons at Princes Park, beginning with the Under 19 team in 1976. Like his champion father Jack “Chooka” Howell, Scott was a loyal servant of the Blues, and he made the most of his ability with a memorable game in the 1981 Grand Final.

“Chooka” Howell played 137 matches for Carlton from 1942 to 1954, including the desperately-close ’47 Premiership victory over Essendon. Some 25 years earlier, Chooka’s father, Jack (Senior) was Best on Ground for South Melbourne when the Bloods beat Collingwood for the 1918 flag. So Scott’s triumphant victory in 1981 – also over Collingwood – completed the Howell family’s unique achievement of three Premierships in successive generations.

Scott was recruited by Carlton from East Sandringham as a 17 year-old in 1975. He developed his craft as a mobile tall defender in the thirds and seconds teams for four seasons, until he was called into the Blues’ seniors for the cut-throat first Semi Final against Collingwood in 1980. That made Scott only the second Carlton player to make his debut in a final, after Maurie Beasy in 1920. Starting on the interchange bench, Scott was sparsely used as Carlton went down to a rampaging Collingwood by 50 points. First-year Blues coach Peter ‘Percy’ Jones was then promptly sacked, and replaced by ex-Hawthorn Premiership coach David Parkin.

Under Parkin, Carlton collected the minor premiership in 1981, before brushing aside Geelong in the Second Semi Final to set up yet another Grand Final showdown against Collingwood. The Magpies had beaten the Blues in each of their three previous clashes that year, and their prospects were boosted in the lead-up to the game when Carlton’s champion full-back Geoff Southby was ruled out with a lower back injury. The player Parkin chose to replace Southby was Howell, who had enjoyed a consistent season of 14 games in the Blues defence.

In the 48 hours prior to the Grand Final, all eyes were on Victoria Park and Collingwood’s captain Peter Moore; their 198 cm star ruckman/forward and 1979 Brownlow Medallist, who was battling to recover from a hamstring strain he had suffered in the Magpies’ narrow Semi Final win over Fitzroy. After their last training session, Collingwood coach Tom Hafey gambled by selecting his match-winner as a permanent forward pocket, with the aim of stretching the Blues’ defence. David Parkin countered by assigning Howell to shadow Moore, and told him to run the Magpie skipper up the ground at every opportunity. Scott carried out his instructions to the letter, and although he had only a handful of possessions himself, Moore was hardly sighted. Carlton dominated the second half of the match to win by 20 points, and Howell completed the remarkable three flags in three generations feat for his family, whilst also becoming the first (and so far, only) Blue to wear guernsey number 40 in a Premiership team.

Although his career at Princes Park lasted another four years after that 1981 triumph, Howell was never able to claim a permanent place in a formidable Carlton team that remained a flag contender for more than a decade. He was overlooked for the 1982 flag side, and in 1983 changed his playing number from 40 to number 12. That same year, he warmed the bench when Carlton’s season ended with a 33-point defeat by Essendon in the Elimination Final.

Scott’s last senior game for the Blues came at Windy Hill in round 6 of 1985 against Essendon, when the Bombers thrashed their visitors by 109 points. It wasn’t the best way to finish up, but happily Scott’s place in Carlton’s history was already resting on more positive achievements. He played out the rest of the year with Carlton Reserves and experienced the thrill of one last Grand Final at the MCG when the Blues were beaten by Hawthorn in front of a massive crowd.

In 1986, Howell and his Premiership team-mate Mario Bortolotto were cleared to VFA club Sandringham. The Zebras took advantage of Scott’s versatility, and his first two years were outstanding. Playing primarily in the ruck, Howell kicked 36 goals in 36 games, and won consecutive Best and Fairests in 1986 and 1987. Injury curtailed his third season however, and he retired at the age of 30 in 1988.

Career Highlights

1976 – 4th Under-19s Best & Fairest
1981 – Premiership Player
1983 – Night Premiership Player
1984 – 6th Reserves Best & Fairest
1984 – Reserves Best Clubman Award
1985 – 5th Reserves Best & Fairest

Phil Poursanidis’ 50th

Happy 50th birthday to Phil Poursanidis.


Career: 1988-1989
Debut: Round 6, 1988 vs St Kilda, aged 19 years, 364 days
952nd Carlton Player
Games: 3
Goals: 3
Guernsey No. 49 (1988 – 1989).
Last Game: Round 22, 1989 vs Brisbane, aged 21 years, 117 days
Height: 192cm
Weight: 87kg
DOB: 9 May, 1968

Poursanidis was seen as a key forward prospect when he was recruited from the Paramount Football Club in the mid-eighties, he would play two seasons with the Carlton thirds and captained the team during the 1987 season. The highlight of his time at Carlton came when he kicked eight goals in a Reserves Grand Final win in a twenty point win against the Saints.

He was given three senior games at full-forward over 1988 and 1989, but could only manage three goals. Although he was a good mark, he was considered only as a full forward and unfortunately was never tried in other positions. He made his debut in the same game as Gerard Butts and Michael Garvey.

Poursanidis would later play a season at VFA club Preston before hanging his boots up at the age of 25.

Career Highlights

1986 – U/19’s 4th Best & Fairest
1987 – U/19’s 4th Best & Fairest
1987 – U/19’s Captain
1987 – Reserves Premiership Player
1988 – Reserves Leading Goalkicker 40 goals (5th in the competition)

Upcoming Event: AFLPA Game Day Function

AFLPA Game Day Function

Date: Sunday, 20th May, 2018: MCG
Venue: Medallion Club Dining Room (in the Great Southern Stand)
Enter Gate 6 and take Lifts 14 & 15 to Level 2.
Cost: $30 per head (This includes entry to the MCG, Platinum seating on 2nd level, and before game gourmet canapes and half-time finger food) NB: Cash Bar facilities are available.
Dining Room open: 11.45 am
Game start: 1.10 pm
Enquiries: Call Ciaran Sheehan (AFLPA)
Ciaran Sheehan
Alumni Programs Coordinator
D: 03 8651 4366 | M: 0409 020 054 |

Former ruck-rover Tom Jones dies

Tony De Bolfo, Carlton Media

Former Carlton footballer Thomas Jones, a seven-game senior player with the club through 1951 and ’52, has died at the age of 87.

Recruited from Altona, Jones pursued his football dream through the club’s Under 19s outfit for which he was a Premiership player in 1948 and ’49, and then its reserve grade outfit where he also savoured Grand Final victory in 1951 – the year he also completed his senior debut. He is pictured amongst the 49ers at Princes Park, the tallest of the Carlton players standing in the back row.

An old teammate from the 49ers, Hugh Cornell, remembered Jones taking on ruck duties back then.

“Tom was a big fellow, he featured in the ruck. I’m afraid I lost track of him. He was very tal, and very strong, and made all the difference when you’ve got someone like that.”

“I’m afraid I lost track with him in recent years, but I remember him as a very pleasant fellow to deal with. He was a nice person.”

1949 U19 Team Image
Tom Jones (the tallest player pictured) featured in the 1949 U19 team. (Photo: Carlton Media)

Jones’ first senior appearance came in the 16th Round of 1951 against Fitzroy at Brunswick Street, when he was named ruck-rover. He completed his senior debut with Bill Milroy and George Stafford.

The dramatic contest ended in a draw, with the lively Keith Warburton booting five goals for the visitors.

Recalled after a long layoff for the 9th round contest with Richmond in 1952, Jones savoured his first Carlton victory, by a solitary goal, in a low-scoring affair at Punt Road.

That afternoon, white waterproof footballs were used for the first time.

Round 10, 1952 saw Jones play his part in a 55-point win over Footscray at Princes Park, with Jack Spencer booting six goals in an inaccurate team tally of 15.22.

The following week, Jones booted two goals in the Blues’s comfortable 37-point win over Hawthorn at Princes Park – a match best remembered for Ollie Grieve’s report by a boundary umpire for attempting to strike a spectator.

At the subsequent hearing, Grieve told members of the Tribunal that he merely had lost balance after flying for a mark and had crashed into the boundary fence and the hapless spectator. The charge was promptly thrown out.

Named in a forward pocket for the 12th Round of 1952, Jones booted a goal in another drawn contest, with Carlton and Melbourne locked at 50-50 when the final siren sounded. The following week, he contributed to a hard-fought win over North Melbourne in sodden conditions at Princes Park. 

Incredibly, Jones’ seventh and final senior appearance for Carlton – the Round 14 contest of 1952 with South Melbourne at the Lakeside Oval – mirrored his first and fifth matches matches, with final scores dead level.

In 1953, Jones resolved to pursue his playing career with Footscray, stringing together 13 senior appearances through the ’53 and ’54 seasons.

Jones died peacefully on April 20. His wife Coral predeceased him. He is survived by sons Brad, Steve and Michael, daughters-in-law Susan, Tish and Angie, and four grandchildren.