Past Player Birthdays: 23rd – 30th April

April 23rd: Brendan Hartney

Career: 1981-1985
Debut: Round 11, 1981 vs North Melbourne
Carlton Player No.: 895
Games: 32
Goals: Nil
Last Game: Round 18, 1985 vs Sydney
Guernsey No. 24
Height: 179cm
Weight: 81kg
DOB: 23 April, 1958

Recruited from Sandhurst in 1981 after playing more than 100 games with the Bendigo club. Won the reserves best and fairest award in 1983 by 16 votes despite playing 8 games in the seniors and only 14 reserves games. A very underated footballer who battled hard to maintain a spot in the Blues line-up due to an abundance of quality defenders of the same ilk.

April 26th: Simon Minton-Connell

Career: 19891991
Debut : Round 15, 1989 vs Collingwood, aged 20 years, 80 days
Carlton Player No. 962
Games : 19
Goals : 50
Last Game: Round 24, 1991 vs Richmond, aged 22 years, 126 days
Guernsey Nos. 53 (1989) and 29 (1990-91)
Height: 190 cm (6 ft. 2 in.)
Weight: 83 kg (13 stone, 1 lb.)
DOB : 26 April, 1969

Tasmanian-born Simon Minton-Connell spent time on the lists of four AFL clubs – Carlton, Sydney, Hawthorn and Footscray – in a ten-season career from 1989 to 1998. A capable, accurate full-forward, he was the nephew of Hawthorn’s legendary Peter Hudson, and to date, the only player in Carlton’s history to have worn guernsey number 53 in a senior appearance for the Blues.

Nicknamed ‘SMC’, Minton-Connell first attracted Carlton’s attention as a dashing defender for North Hobart and Tasmania in the elite Teal Cup competition. He was drafted by the Blues at number 38 in the 1986 National Draft, and spent two seasons with Carlton’s Under 19 and Reserve teams. During that time, he was trialled as a key forward, where he discovered an aptitude (and a considerable hunger) for scoring goals… to read more click here.

April 27th: Jon Dorotich

Career : 19861993
Debut : Round 1, 1986 vs Hawthorn, aged 23 years, 338 days
Carlton Player No. 932
Games : 132
Goals : 103
Last Game: Round 15, 1993 vs Brisbane, aged 31 years, 74 days
Guernsey No. 6
Height : 193 cm (6 ft. 4 in.)
Weight: 97 kg (15 stone, 4 lbs.)
DOB : 27 April, 1962
Premiership Player: 1987

Jon Dorotich was a big, rugged, key defender from South Fremantle who enjoyed a notable football career on both sides of the continent for 17 seasons between 1981 and 1997. Blessed with vice-like hands and a raking left foot, he played in successive Grand Finals for Carlton against Hawthorn in 1986 and 1987; suffering a loss in the first, then taking sweet revenge in the second. After finishing at Carlton, he returned to WA and claimed more glory; as both a 100-goal full-forward, and captain of South Fremantle’s 1997 Premiership team.

Better known as “Dorra” throughout his career, Dorotich came under notice by the Blues when represented WA against Victoria at Subiaco Oval in 1984. Starting on the bench, he came on to take some telling pack marks as WA held out the Big V by four points in a clinker of a game. The Carlton recruiting machine swung into action, and Dorotich joined the Blues in time to make his debut at centre half-back against Hawthorn in round 1, 1986 on an auspicious day for the Carlton Football Club…for more click here.

April 27th: David Glascott

Career : 19811991
Debut: Round 3, 1981 vs Fitzroy, aged 19 years, 349 days
Carlton Player No. 891
Games : 173
Goals : 81
Last Game: Round 24, 1991 vs Richmond, aged 30 years, 125 days
Guernsey No. 32
Height : 183 cm (6’1″)
Weight : 71.3 kg (11.3)
DOB: April 27, 1961
Premiership Player: 1981, 1982, 1987
Carlton Hall of Fame (2001)
Best Clubman 1989

For most of his career, David Glascott might have been mistaken for a young public schoolboy. With his slender build, his longish blonde hair and his baby face, he seemed anything but a star VFL footballer. But looks are often deceiving, and in Glascott’s case, the fresh face and spindly legs belonged to a determined and skilful midfielder who was a valuable member of three Carlton Premiership teams.

Originally from Thomastown in Melbourne’s north, Glascott starred on a wing in Carlton’s 1979 Under 19 flag side, then worked his way through the Reserves team to make his senior debut in 1981. Standing 183 cm and just 71 kg, the wirey youngster in guernsey number 32 quickly became a crowd favourite. It wasn’t just his ability to get the ball and use it well that was admired; it was the courage he showed in chasing hard and tackling hard, whatever the opposition.

Playing on a wing, Glascott was a fine contributor in the 1981 and ’82 Premiership teams in a dream start to his career. Then as he matured into an elite player he became a handy all-rounder at both ends of the ground. In the 1986 Grand Final loss to Hawthorn he shared the roving duties with Bernie Evans, and when the Blues took their revenge on the Hawks in ’87, he controlled one back pocket in a dominant Carlton defence……for more read here.

28th April: Ken Hunter

Career : 19811989
Debut : Round 1, 1981 vs Richmond, aged 23 years, 334 days
Carlton Player No. 889
Games : 147
Goals : 160
Last Game : Round 5, 1989 vs Hawthorn, aged 32 years, 1 day
Guernsey No. 9
Height : 183 cm (6 ft. 0 in.)
Weight : 76 kg (12 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : 28 April, 1957
Premiership Player 1981, 1982, 1987
All Australian 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983
Best and Fairest 1981
Leading Goalkicker 1983 (43 goals)
Carlton Hall of Fame Inducted 1998
Carlton Team of the Century

Ken Hunter was already 23 years old when he was recruited to Carlton from Claremont, WA in 1981. A seasoned, two-time All Australian defender, he had finished runner-up to champion ruckman Graham Moss three years in succession as Claremont’s Best and Fairest. Over the same period, he had suffered a broken jaw on three separate occasions, while earning widespread acclaim for his aerial ability and his outstanding bravery in marking contests.

Two other VFL clubs in North Melbourne and Richmond had previously shown interest in Hunter, but both clubs ultimately decided that at 183 cm and only 76 kg, he was just too lightly-framed for the rigours of VFL football. Indeed, Richmond’s President at that time, Ian Wilson – when he heard that Carlton had signed Hunter – was even quoted as saying that Richmond “doesn’t recruit half-back flankers.” That comment was to haunt Wilson for a decade, as Ken went on to forge a magnificent career in Navy Blue……..for more read here.

30th April: Adrian Gleeson

Career : 19861996
Debut : Round 7, 1986 vs Collingwood, aged 19 years, 10 days
Carlton Player No. 938
Games : 176
Goals : 174
Last Game : Round 18, 1996 vs Fremantle, aged 29 years, 95 days
Guernsey No. 12
Height : 178 cm (5 ft. 10 in.)
Weight : 78 kg (12 stone, 4 lbs.)
DOB : 30 April, 1967
Premiership Player: 1987
Victorian Representative 1990, 1991

Adrian ‘Bear’ Gleeson joined Carlton from Koroit – near Warrnambool, in Western Victoria – in 1986, and carved out a fine career of 176 games, including two Grand Finals and the 1987 Premiership. A cheeky, hard-running rover-forward with great endurance and an eye for the goals, he was also a loyal clubman who happily contributed his skills and experience to the Blues’ Reserves team for an extra season after his days as a senior player were curtailed by injury.

Gleeson was the youngest in a family of seven sons who all played senior football. As a toddler he was nicknamed ‘Humphrey’ which later became ‘Humphrey Bear’ when he was given a Humphrey B. Bear suit as a gift and couldn’t be parted from it. On the football field however, his team-mates just called him ‘Bear’, a moniker that was to become his trademark at Princes Park……..for more read here.

An ANZAC Day Tribute

The Spirit of Carlton Past and Present would like to thank and pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country in the military. Over 200 former Blues players have served in the military, we highlight one today, Harry Furnell with an edited extract from his bio on the Blueseum.

It is astounding that Australian Football in general seems to have almost completely overlooked the exploits of Herbert Giblin ‘Harry’ Furnell – surely one of the truly great figures to have represented the Carlton Football Club.

Harry’s brief but brilliant playing career with the Blues was cut short by the demands of his medical studies at Melbourne University in the years after World War 1. He graduated in 1921, then undertook further training overseas, before establishing a private practice in Abbotsford. At the same time, he served as an officer in the Medical Corps of the Australian Militia (a forerunner of the modern Army Reserve).

He travelled to London and Edinburgh in 1927 to study surgical techniques, and to Dublin and Vienna to train in obstetrics. That same year he became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, and back home, a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Medical Corps. By 1932 Harry had been promoted to the rank of Major, but on those weekends when he wasn’t training with his troops you would find him at a football match, urging on his beloved Blues. The principles of discipline, courage and service to others that guided him throughout his life, came to the fore again in September 1939, when Great Britain declared war on Germany and the Second World War began.

Within weeks, Harry was among the first to volunteer for active service. He was given the service number VX 73, and command of the 2/2nd Field Ambulance, which sailed for the Middle East in April 1940. He was soon in the thick of the action as the Australians advanced through Libya in January 1941. His unit history records that ‘Major Furnell was continuously forward, supervising the collection of the wounded under enemy fire’.

On January 27, during an air-raid near the town of Derna, he saved the life of a wounded soldier by carrying him to a slit-trench and maintaining pressure on a severed artery until help arrived. For this singular act of bravery, and others like it, he was Mentioned In Despatches on the first of four occasions. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in February 1941, and from April to October that year, was among the 35,000 troops and 10,000 enemy prisoners encircled in the siege of Tobruk. Appointed Assistant Director of Medical Services, Harry was primarily responsible for maintaining the health of the garrison throughout the siege – a task he accomplished to wide acclaim.

Following the Tobruk campaign, Harry was asked to take responsibility for the medical support for the El Alamein offensive in July 1942. He established forward surgical stations for the treatment of the severely wounded, and introduced air evacuations, in a brilliantly successful ‘triumph of organisation and detailed planning.’ For his efforts at Tobruk and El Alamein, Harry was awarded a CBE (Commander in the Order of the British Empire). He was also Mentioned In Despatches again for further acts of personal bravery in June, 1942.

In 1943 Harry was promoted to the rank of Brigadier, and posted back to Australia as Deputy Director of Medical Services for the defence of New Guinea. He spent the following two years embroiled in that crucial campaign, fighting disease and a fanatical enemy in some of the harshest terrain on earth. Twice more – in April and October 1944 – he was Mentioned In Despatches for exceptional leadership in the field. By July 1945, Japanese forces were in full retreat and the end of the war was in sight. Harry returned to Australia, and was placed in reserve. In November of that year he capped his military career, when he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. In a classic understatement, the citation simply read; ‘for efficient and competent leadership in the campaigns at Derna, Tobruk and Benghazi.’

Back in civilian life, Harry was appointed Deputy Director of Medical Services for the Citizens Military Forces of Southern Command in Melbourne from 1946 to 1951, and in 1962 he was appointed an honorary Colonel of the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. During this time he was also able to rekindle his love of the game of Australian Football in general, and the Carlton Blues in particular.

Harry’s life journey ended on the 22nd of November 1973, when he passed away in East Melbourne. His grave can be found at Springvale cemetery. At his funeral a former wartime comrade, W.W. Lempriere, spoke of Harry’s courage, endurance, high principles and sense of humour, while a medical colleague, Sir Geoffrey Newman-Morris, told of Harry’s ‘kindness, gentleness, and the firm and decisive manner in which he served the profession he loved and adorned so well.’

Harry Furnell was an extraordinary man, a brave and resourceful soldier, a gifted footballer and a great human being. And he was one of ours.

For the full text please read:

A Captain Cook at the Endeavour Room

The game on Saturday night between Carlton and Adelaide saw the first Spirit of Carlton home game function for the year at Etihad Stadium and the first time that the SOC has been able to use the magnificent Endeavour room. This room is available exclusively to SOC members and will be our main venue for the remaining five home game functions at Etihad this season.

When I walked into the room the very first thing that struck me was how similar it was in feel to the old Social Club at Visy Park. There was the bar at the back, plenty of standing room, large windows revealing magnificent views of the ground and rows of exclusive premium seating just outside the room for those who like to sit down and soak in the atmosphere. I have to admit it did bring back a lot of fond memories and the room along with the familiar faces of fellow Blues supporters made me feel like I was ‘home’ at the footy again.

Past players and officials in attendance on Saturday night included, David Rhys-Jones, Alex Marcou, Val Perovic, Ian Prendergast, Mil Hanna, Jamie Dunlop, Steve Da Rui, Tony Zoanetti, Frank Brosnan, Gary Higgins, Gary Vallence, Mark Naley, Mark Amos and Albert Millson.

The room can hold 300 people so there is plenty of room for anyone thinking of coming along. If you are a SOC member for just $50 you get a premium seat just out the front of the Endeavour room, drinks at bar prices, free finger food at half time, great raffle prizes and exclusive auction items and being able to mingle with past greats of the club. You get an experience at the footy that can cost some people thousands of dollars.

If you haven’t already get yourself a SOC membership. There are still 5 more home game functions at Etihad and another 3 at the MCG. For a small outlay you can get a big experience.


To see what happens at half time and interviews with Ian Prendergast and Mil Hanna please check out our video below.


Past Player Birthdays: 16th-22nd April

April 18th: Dennis Munari

Career : 19671970
Debut : Round 8, 1967 vs Geelong, aged 19 years, 45 days
Carlton Player No. 799
Games : 41
Goals : 20
Last Game : Round 22, 1970 vs Melbourne, aged 22 years, 132 days
Guernsey Nos. 37 (1967) and 8 (1968-70)
Height : 178 cm ( 5 ft. 10 in.)
Weight : 76 kg (12 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : April 18, 1948
Premiership Player 1968

Dennis Munari came to Carlton as a promising centreman from that wonderful football nursery of Assumption College at Kilmore. A stylish right-footer, he was solid in his debut season in 1967, only to be edged out of his preferred position early the following year by the arrival of Tasmanian sensation Brent Crosswell. Munari then found a niche as second rover to Adrian Gallagher, and was instrumental in Carlton’s drive to the 1968 Premiership.

Munari wore guernsey number 37 for his first senior appearance – off the bench – in round 8 of 1967, against Geelong at Princes Park. The Blues won a thriller by four points, then lost another cliff-hanger by 2 points to Richmond a week later. In captain-coach Ron Barassi’s third season in charge, Carlton had begun emerging as a force after years of mediocrity, winding up the home and away rounds just two points adrift of minor premiers Richmond… for more visit here.

April 20th: Mark Majerczak

Career: 1987 – 1991
Debut: Round 10, 1987 v Brisbane
946th Carlton Player
Games: 17
Goals: 20
Last game: Round 18, 1991 v Brisbane
Guernsey No. 33, 48
Height: 180cm
Weight: 75kg
DOB: 20 April, 1968

‘Magic’, as he was known to Carlton fans, was a goalsneak who played 17 games for the Blues in the late 1980s. He was an accurate left foot kick and a consistent performer in the reserves, but found it hard to crack a regular spot in the team during a time when finals were a given for Carlton. Had better than a goal a game ratio which indicates that he knew where the sticks were, but suffered in comparison to similar size players such as Mark Naley.

Mark’s first kick in senior footy with the Blues resulted in a goal – a classy pick-up, slight shimmy and a kick from about 40 metres out from the scoreboard end at Princes Park.

Recruited from St Marks/Fawkner, Mark has also played Little League Football for Carlton (in 1979). Those were the days when each club ran their own Little League Squads – at this time the Carlton Squad was coached/managed by Keith Duggan, who had an uncanny resemblance to Australian entertainer Rolf Harris…. for more visit here.

April 20th: Phil Maylin

Career : 1980 – 1984
Debut : Round 1, 1980 vs Collingwood, aged 23 years, 343 days
Carlton Player No. 881
Games : 89
Goals : 48
Last Game : Round 22, 1984 vs South Melbourne, aged 28 years, 134 days
Guernsey No. 13
Height : 175 cm (5 ft. 9 in.)
Weight : 76 kg (12 stone)
DOB: 20 April, 1956
Premiership Player: 1981, 1982

A hard-working, tenacious utility from South Australian club Woodville, Phil ‘Shark’ Maylin was a month short of his 24th birthday when he made his debut for the Blues in 1980, and went on to be a popular member of Carlton’s 1981 and ‘82 Premiership sides. Virtually from the day of his arrival at Princes Park in the late summer of 1979, his application and work ethic demanded that a place be found for him in the reigning Premiership team.

Wearing guernsey number 13, Maylin went through a baptism of fire against Collingwood in his first senior game at Victoria Park in round one of 1980. Playing on a wing alongside Ken Sheldon and Peter Francis, Phil earned respect for his hardness at the contest, as Wayne Johnston kicked seven goals and Carlton won a torrid clash by 38 points. Former St Kilda defender Val Perovic also did well for the Blues in his first appearance for his new club, while Peter ‘Percy’ Jones made a good start to his senior coaching career….. for more visit here.

April 21st: Tom Alvin

Career : 19841994
Debut: Round 1, 1984 vs North Melbourne, aged 21 years, 344 days
Carlton Player No. 914
Games : 218
Goals : 95
Last Game: Qualifying Final, 1994 vs Melbourne, aged 32 years, 143 days
Guernsey No. 31
Height : 183 cm (6 ft. 0 in.)
Weight : 80 kg (12 stone, 8 lbs.)
DOB : 21 April, 1962
Premiership Player 1987
Carlton Hall of Fame : 1999

Tom Alvin was recruited by Carlton in 1984 from the strong Latrobe Valley club Bairnsdale, where he had developed into an outstanding country footballer under the guidance of his coach; ex Blue Trevor Fletcher. Fletcher placed a lot of faith in the club’s youth, and Alvin was one of the main beneficiaries. To this day Tom credits Fletcher as being one of the greatest influences in his career, while Bairnsdale won a Premiership in 1981 with Alvin playing a key role. By 1983, the 21 year-old had been tied to Footscray for a season or two, but when his contract lapsed, Carlton believed in his potential and offered him a second chance at a league football career. It was a winning punt by the Blues, and Alvin was eventually able to play for the team that he followed avidly throughout his childhood. Wearing guernsey number 31, Tommy turned into a popular, consistent and long-serving defender who was an integral member of three Carlton Grand Final teams…. for more visit here.

Get Your Tickets for Round Five


Tickets for the Round 5 Carlton V Adelaide match at Docklands will be on sale from 9.00 am Monday and will sell fast. The cost is $50.00 per ticket which includes entry to the ground a reserved seat and finger food in the Spirit of Carlton room. Your MC will be none other than Jimmy Buckley, there will be past player interviews, auctions and raffles on the day. Tickets will be sold on a first in best dressed basis. To book tickets call Justine Wratten on 0438271948, between the hours of 9am-5pm.

Please note : These tickets are only available to paid up Spirit Of Carlton members. If you have not yet joined and would like to take advantage of these wonderful tickets, please ring Justine to get your membership ASAP.

SOC Takes On The Top End

Join Syd Jackson, Ken Hunter, Val Perovic & other Carlton legends in Darwin for this very special event. Don’t miss your chance to rub shoulders with some of the greats of the game.

There will also be plenty of fantastic auction items available on the day.

Date : 27th of May 2011.

Time : 12.00pm

Venue: Kantilla’s Room, TIO Stadium, Abala Rd, Marrara.

Cost: $120.00 per person, Includes gourmet lunch by Karen Sheldon catering, beer, wine and soft drink.


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Syd Jackson


Playing Career : 19691976
Debut : Round 1, 1969 vs St Kilda, aged 24 years 278 days
Carlton Player No. 808
Games : 136
Goals : 165
Guernsey No. 5
Last Game : Preliminary Final, 1976 vs North Melbourne, aged 32 years 79 days
DOB : July 1, 1944
Premiership Player 1970, 1972
Carlton Hall of Fame (2006)

Ken Hunter

Career : 19811989
Debut : Round 1, 1981 vs Richmond, aged 23 years, 334 days
Carlton Player No. 889
Games : 147
Goals : 160
Last Game : Round 5, 1989 vs Hawthorn, aged 32 years, 1 day
Guernsey No. 9
DOB : 28 April, 1957
Premiership Player 1981, 1982, 1987
All Australian 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983
Best and Fairest 1981
Leading Goalkicker 1983 (43 goals)
Carlton Hall of Fame Inducted 1998
Carlton Team of the Century

Val Perovic

Career : 19801985
Debut : Round 1, 1980 vs Collingwood, aged 26 years, 185 days
Carlton Player No. 882
Games : 97
Goals : 1
Guernsey No. 15
Last Game : Round 10, 1985 vs Hawthorn, aged 31 years, 249 days
Height : 194 cm ( 6 ft. 4 in.)
Weight : 97 kg (15 stone, 4 lbs.)
DOB : 25 September, 1953
Premiership Player 1981, 1982

Get Your Tickets for Round Four


Tickets for the Round 4 Carlton V Essendon match at The MCG will be on sale at 9.00 am and will sell fast. The cost is $35.00 per ticket which includes entry to the ground a reserved seat and finger food in the Spirit of Carlton room. Your MC will be none other than Jimmy Buckley, there will be past player interviews, auctions and raffles on the day. Tickets will be sold on a first in best dressed basis. To book tickets call Justine Wratten on 0438271948, between the hours of 9am-5pm.

Please note : These tickets are only available to paid up Spirit Of Carlton members. If you have not yet joined and would like to take advantage of these wonderful tickets, please ring Justine to get your membership ASAP.

Spirit of Carlton In Perth

By Wes King

On Friday, South Perth Bowling Club played host to our SoC function.

With a large turn-out of dyed in the wool Blues fans, plus a huge cast of past players, Richard Dennis (WA head of SoC and 87 Premiership player) was confident it was always going to be a great day.

Crowd shot.Jon Dorotich once again did a fantastic job as Master of Ceremonies, asking the right questions to get some great stories going. Guests of Honour for the day, Des English, Alex Marcou and Wayne Harmes, had the audience intrigued and amused with some of their fabulous tales of the premiership years of 79, 81 and 82.

Thirty years later there is still a belief among all of the boys that we should have won 80 as well.

Adding to the atmosphere of the afternoon, we were fortunate to have several other Blues from that era in attendance. Peter Bosustow, David McKay, Ross Ditchburn, Denis Collins and Allan Montgomery all made it, with Buzz and Swan adding their own comments in question time.

Players from the mid 80’s in Dorotich, Dennis, Shine, Da Rui and Povey all shared experiences from their time at the club with people on their tables. Given we were playing the arch enemy that night, a rousing reception was given to David McKay when Dorra announced that Swan is the only Blues player to have played in 3 winning grand finals against Collingwood! 

While we all went off after the event hoping for a win that night, alas it was not to be. But the signs are very promising….. If the current crop of players have a bond as strong as the past players share, one thing is a definite – the Spirit of Carlton is alive and well.

Thanks to the boys for flying across for the event, and Bob Lowrie for arranging it.

Thanks to all the supporters for coming along. Also a huge thanks to caterer Jo and her team for the great food, and the local committee (Paul, Ian, Garry, Warren) for your help on the day.

Carna Blues!

Click here to check out photos from the day!

The Spirit of Carlton would like to thank Wes King and everyone from the WA Blues for helping out with such a great day and for their continued support of the Spirit of Carlton. If you are in WA check out the WA Blues, one of the best supporter groups in the AFL.

The Spirit of Carlton Business Directory

The Spirit of Carlton is proud to announce the introduction of our new Business Directory.

Expose your business to passionate blues supporters. Being part of our premium online business directory will ensure your business is associated with a strong network of past players, supporters and fellow businesses. Become a member of the Spirit of Carlton Business Directory today.

 Just $250 for non past players or $100 for past players for one year on the directory.


Blues big man Sorrell dies

By Tony De Bolfo

Sorrell represented the old dark Navy Blues in 23 senior matches between the opening round of the premiership year of 1947 and the ’49 second semi-final, his last on-field appearance. He then turned out for Fitzroy for one senior game in 1950.

The second of three sons of Ralph & Marie Sorrell, Alan was born in Ivanhoe in 1923, and spent his formative years in Gardenvale. Following his marriage to Laurel in 1941, the newlyweds relocated to East Brighton, and it was there in February that they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

A dux of Melbourne University’s commerce faculty, Sorrell pursued a career as a public accountant. But with the outbreak of World War II he answered the King and Country’s call, ably representing the Royal Australian Medical Corps in its militia field ambulance unit.

Sorrell served in that unit for five years, and while he emerged without any physical scars, there was the mental anguish. As his son Ashley explained: “He had to help wounded soldiers and pick up dead bodies . . . he didn’t talk about it much, and although he used to catch up with his old cobbers at yearly reunions, he never went to the marches”.

Ashley termed his father’s playing career “quite unique”.         

“Dad came back from the war at the age of 23 in August of 1946, and he’d never played football before. He played three or four games for Melbourne High School Old Boys to get a bit of fitness and by ’47 was playing in the first round with the Carlton seniors. Not a bad achievement,” Ashley said.

“Dad wasn’t a superstar but he was very tall for that era (6’2″) – in fact he always thought of himself as a journeyman and he never boasted about his career.  But he loved his club.

“He was 90 per cent sight impaired at the end because of glaucoma, but in the old days we used to go to Carlton’s bigger games together. He always followed the Blues and knew all the current players because he was a terrific newspaper reader . . . and he was at the Spirit of Carlton’s last AGM.”

A contemporary of Sorrell’s the dual Carlton premiership centre half-forward Ken Hands, said that while he had only crossed paths with Sorrell twice in the years since, “I can remember him quite clearly”.

“Alan played as a follower, but he didn’t play for long. He was a quiet sort of player, rather gentle, and while he wasn’t a quick mover he moved smoothly,” Hands said.

“He was a very nice fellow.”

Sorrell is survived by his daughters Sharon and André, and son Ashley.