MEMBERS of Carlton’s 1979 premiership team will gather for next year’s 40th anniversary of the Grand Final triumph over Collingwood minus one, with the premature passing of wingman Michael Young.
Young died in Melbourne after a long battle with cancer this morning, three months to the day short of his 60th birthday.
Recruited to Carlton from the Hobart-based Clarence in 1977, Young inherited the No.19 of the 1972 premiership back-pocket John O’Connell, who in late 1989 himself succumbed to cancer at the age of 38.
Young took out Carlton’s reserve grade best-and-fairest award in ’77. The following season, in thr 15th round of that year against St Kilda at inhospitable Moorabbin, he completed his senior debut.
Though the late Denis Collins’ presence on a wing curtailed Young’s senior appearances through 1978, a series of solid showings at reserve grade level through mid-’79 warranted his recall . . . and timing as they say is everything.
Young was part of Carlton’s emphatic semi-final victory over North Melbourne at VFL Park. He was just 20 years old and 22 senior appearances into his senior career when he played his part in the feted outfit, captained and coached by Alex Jesaulenko, which prevailed by five points on a wet deck on Grand Final day.
The following season, Young turned out in 15 senior matches including both finals, but after 37 senior games in total was moved on at the completion of a particularly trying season for the Club. Relocating to Melbourne, Young represented the Redlegs in 15 more matches through two seasons until his delisting in 1982, and despite briefly training with Essendon subsequently gave the game away.
Michael Young played 37 games for the Blues, including the triumphant 1979 Grand Final.
A fellow member of the ’79 team which delivered Carlton’s 12th League premiership was the three-time premiership player Ken Sheldon, who said of Young: “Michael was a very talented, charismatic and loyal teammate who ran his opponents around in circles . . . and often some of his teammates too”.
Another team member, the four-time premiership player David McKay, said: “Michael was a champion fellow and a very good player for Carlton in a premiership season”.
“I know Michael had been ill and undergoing treatment in The Alfred for quite a while. The old Carlton runner Brendan O’Sullivan was a regular visitor to him and ‘Curly’ Austin, Barry Armstrong and Alex Marcou had also been in to see him,” McKay said.
“I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and thought he was on the mend. He was going into rehab and was even considering fronting up to our most recent Spirit of Carlton function, but it wasn’t to be.”
Nineteen members of Carlton’s premiership 20 of 1979, including the inaugural Norm Smith Medallist Wayne Harmes, are still living. Most of them will gather at Prahran’s College Lawn Hotel this week to raise a glass to their old teammate.
The team was as follows:
Backs: Wayne Harmes, Geoff Southby, David McKay
Half-backs: Peter McConville, Bruce Doull, Robbert Klomp
Centres: Peter Francis, Alex Jesaulenko (cc), Michael Young
Half-forwards: Wayne Johnston, Mark Maclure, Trevor Keogh
Forwards: Mike Fitzpatrick, Peter Brown, Ken Sheldon
Followers: Peter Jones, Barry Armstrong, Jim Buckley
Interchange: Rod Austin, Alex Marcou
ALEX Boyle, Carlton’s resident full-back in eight senior matches through 1953 and ’54, has died at the age of 88 after a long illness.
Considered the logical successor to the premiership-winning full-back Ollie Grieve, Boyle joined the Club from Oakleigh having earned a reputation in VFA circles as a dashing defender of renown. Prior to 1949, he’d played for rival Association club Frankston where his on-field prowess was identified by Carlton’s 1938 premiership captain-coach Brighton Diggins.
In football terms, Boyle was hot property. On June 25, 1952, The Argus reported that Oakleigh had finally relented in clearing Boyle, who’d stood out of the game for the opening 10 games of that season out of frustration in not earning a Carlton clearance.
The Devils’ move meant that Boyle’s new club had acquired what The Argus correspondent noted was “one of the most sought after VFA footballers for years”.
“Two other League clubs – South Melbourne and Footscray – were anxious to secure the services of Boyle,” the writer observed.
“Footscray tried to sign him in 1950, 1951 and again early this season. South Melbourne failed to obtain permission from Oakleigh to interview him in 1950. Boyle trained at Carlton four years ago and the club unsuccessfully sought him last year.”
Former Blue Alex Boyle. (Photo: Boyles Studio)
Named at full-back between Bruce Comben and Brian Molony, the 23-year-old Boyle completed his senior debut in Dark Navy against Footscray in the opening round of season 1953 – the same game in which a future Brownlow Medallist John James turned out for the first time.
Inaccuracy in front of goal cost Carlton the four points that Saturday afternoon – 7.18 (60) to the Bulldogs’ 9.11 (65) – and Boyle did not represent the team again that season.
On the Wednesday after the match, Boyle’s name appeared in The Argus beneath the headline PROBLEM FOR BLUES.
The unnamed reporter noted that the chief worry facing Carlton selectors was finding a successor to Boyle at full-back.
“Boyle leaves on an overseas business trip this week and may not be available again this season,” the correspondent wrote.
This week, Boyle’s son Phil revealed the circumstances behind his father’s sudden departure.
“Dad got a lucrative offer to be foreman for the construction of a cantilever crane on Christmas Island,” Phil said.
“They used to load phosphate onto ships by hand over there and Dad, who was a structural engineer, arranged for the crane to shovel it out.”
Boyle wore the guernsey No.5 of Sam Petrevski-Seton into the Footscray match and then the No.6 of Kade Simpson through a further seven senior appearances in ’54 – the last of them against Geelong in Round 18 at Kardinia Park.
Later cleared by the club, Boyle took up the role of senior coach for Pearcedale in the then Mornington Peninsula Football League in 1955.
“Dad took on a series of coaching jobs throughout in country Victoria and he was captain-coach of Narrandera Imperials in New South Wales,” Phil said.
“He played on into his mid-30s but he copped a crook hip which meant he didn’t go to watch many Carlton games later on. I can only remember a couple of occasions where he went along to watch, but having said that he always followed Carlton with interest and Carlton was his team.”
Boyle was the 662nd player to represent the Carlton Football Club at senior level since the VFL’s foundation season of 1897.
Two of Boyle’s old Carlton contemporaries, Ron Robertson and Peter Webster, remembered Boyle, but acknowledged that after 65 years, memories of their former teammate are all too fleeting.
In terms of the character of the man, Boyle’s son Phil, who was putting the finishing touches to his father’s eulogy when contacted for this story, offered the following:
“Dad was intelligent and hard-working. For more than a dozen years he worked seven days a week because the family store was burnt out up at Narrandera, we lost a lot and when Dad came back he was fighting to get back on top again,” Phil said.
“He wasn’t one for detail. He didn’t watch a movie or read a picture book. If it wasn’t real he wasn’t interested. As I say in my eulogy, he was a real man – an old fashioned sort of person in that way. Life was tough growing up, his parents broke up and I think he was loyal to all his friends because of that.”
Alexander (Alex) William Boyle died peacefully in Frankston Hospital on July 29. He was a husband to Catherine and formerly Pat (deceased), father to Bruce (deceased), Mal and Phil, step-father to Michael and Kristy. He was also a much-loved grandfather and great grandfather.
A celebration of Boyle’s life will be held at the Rosebud Funeral Chapel, 123 Jetty Road, Rosebud, on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, commencing 2.30 pm.
Happy 50th birthday to Andrew McKinnon.
Debut: Round 1, 1989 vs Footscray, aged 20 years, 247 days
956th Carlton Player
Last game: Round 22, 1990 vs Fitzroy, aged 22 years, 35 days
Guernsey No. 47 (1989 – 1990)
DOB: 28 July, 1968
Andy McKinnon came to Carlton from outer-eastern Olinda as a solidly built, promising rover-forward, and spent almost two seasons with the Blues’ Reserves team before gaining senior selection in 1989.
After showing promise in his first dozen games, he suffered a serious foot injury that prematurely ended his career in just his second year.
McKinnon was a Premiership Player at Reserves Level in 1990.
1986 – George Armstrong Medal – U/19’s Best & Fairest Award
1985 – 2nd U/19’s Best & Fairest
1988 – 2nd Reserves Best & Fairest
1989 – 2nd Reserves Best & Fairest
1990 – 5th Reserves Best & Fairest
1990 – Reserves Premiership Player