Blues, Magpies and Tigers Saturday Night Threesome

Saturday night saw the Blues take on the Magpies and the Tigers in an experimental first week of the NAB cup. While the one win and one loss most likely means that the Blues will be following the country town ciruit for the rest of the preseason the young team performed well and many of the youngest players showed great promise for the future. This is the best of what the net had to offer for the coverage of these games.

The Herald Sun reviewed game one,

Senior players Marc Murphy, Kade Simpson, Heath Scotland and Andrew Walker lifted after half-time and the form of younger players was encouraging. Little known second year player Rohan Kerr booted two goals and provided a strong option inside 50. Also showing potential for Carlton was Kane Lucas in the midfield and Levi Casboult who moved well in the ruck alongside Robbie Warnock, but clearly needs to work on his kicking. Jeremy Laidler and Nick Duigan will be handy finds for the defence.It wasn’t a high standard game but just a small appetiser ahead of Round 1.

… and also the game against Collingwood.

The Blues got off to an ideal start through Andrew Walker who also kicked a classy goal to start the second half.
Chris Yarran on Andrew Krakouer was a match up highlight, with Krakouer’s genius right foot snap goal earning him the points. Kirk Ugle was also putting forward his case to oust Leon Davis with a nice snap of his own from the boundary. Carlton rested some senior players for game three and brought in one, Michael Jamison, who played forward and didn’t seem to mind the change from defence.  Midfielder Jaryd Cachia, who tackled hard in the first game, put in another eye-catching effort. The only hiccup was an ankle injury to Setanta O’hAilpin who was substituted.

See an interview with Rohan Kerr (and his prawn tattoo) here:

Carlton Football Club provided some great behind the scenes photos of the changing rooms via their facebook page,

Over at BigFooty  OldBlueFan had this to say –

Laidler was the most impressive IMHO, the poise that he showed and his disposal were really impressive. If he can keep that up when the real stuff starts, I can see him being best 22 easily. Lucas seems to have improved on what was a really good start last year. I think it was him that weighted that hand pass beautifully in the Richmond game for a certain goal to Kerr. To do that in traffic when the heat was coming from everywhere showed impressive instinctive smarts.

Watson impressed me with his kicking (naturally) but also his strength when the ball was on the ground. This guy has great strength in his legs and hips already, so when his upper body grows to match, look out! Curnow looked to be at home in and under, but we were on the wing in the second tier stand so it was hard to see properly. He didn’t seem to be on the ground much, did he get injured?

Kerr’s performance in the Richmond game was excellent too. Kicked the goals he should have, missed everything once from a difficult angle, but what footy player hasn’t done that? I agree with Zee, will definitely be one to watch as time goes on.

Happy Birthday to Wayne Harmes

The Spirit of Carlton would like to wish Wayne Harmes a big happy birthday and many happy returns today. Wayne is a great supporter of the SOC and always willing to get involved in SOC functions. He is much loved by Carlton supporters around the country.

Wayne Harmes will be one of the guests at the upcoming SOC function in Perth on the 8th of April. CLICK HERE for more details and to secure your seat to what will be a super event.

For your entertainment here are some of Harmesy’s greatest moments.


Please use the comments section to tell us your favourite memories of Wayne Harmes!

Carlton Family Day: Feb 13th

Just a reminder to Spirit of Carlton readers and members that the Carlton Football Club family day is now only one week away.

On Sunday, February 13, all the Carlton players will be at Visy Park for the Hyundai Blues Family Day. The Family Day will commence at 11.00am and conclude at 2.00pm with activities for all the family including interactive activities with the Carlton players and involvement with many of Carlton’s key sponsorship partners.

Entry to the Hyundai Blues Family Day is free for 2011 members with membership on sale outside the ground. The Carlton Shop will be open from 10.00am.

Non-members are also welcome; entry is Adults – $10, Children Under 16 – $5 and Children Under 6 – Free. A family ticket, 2 Adults and 2 Children will also be available – $25.00

Carlton Family Day

We encourage those who have not already done so to get your memberships for the 2011 season. Don’t forget to tick the Spirit of Carlton option on your Carlton membership form.

Carlton Towns: Castlemaine

About 120 clicks northwest of Melbourne, the town of Castlemaine boasts nearly 7000 residents, but back in the gold rush days of the 1850s it could boast that it had a bigger population than Melbourne. Those days are long gone, as is the majority of the gold. However, over the years the Carlton Football club has found more than a few of their own golden nuggets in the form of fine players.

Warren Jones

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.’Wow’+Jones

Adrian Bassett

Adrian Bassett was a lightly-built and pacey left-footed defender who was one of two players drafted by Carlton from VFA club Coburg in the 1990 VFL Pre-Season Draft. The other was Tim Rieniets, who like Bassett, had been a dominant force in Coburg’s 1988-89 Premiership double triumph over Williamstown. Bassett was taken at selection 13, and Rieniets at number 27.

When Bassett was drafted by the Carlton, it was his second stint at the Blues. He had previously played with the U/19’s and Reserves but had been delisted, the Blues had drafted him from Castlemaine (he had previously played with Campbell’s Creek). His move to Southport (QLD), and then to the Phil Cleary led Coburg gave him the experience and confidence for another crack with Carlton.

Stephen Oliver

The highlight of his brief career was surely the Round 14 game in 1993 away to West Coast. An early injury in the game to ‘Sticks’ Kernahan provided Oliver with a rare chance to start out of the goalsquare, and he showed Carlton fans what the hype was all about. He dismantled the premier backman of the competition at the time, Glenn Jakovich, with a display which highlighted his aerial prowess and eye for goal. Two of his nine marks for the day were out and out ‘screamers,’ whilst he kicked two goals and provided assists for another two.

The game is also remembered for another vintage display from Greg Williams (30 possessions, 3 goals) and the last-minute, boundary line set shot from Eagle wingman Chris Mainwaring which struck the post. The one-point victory to Carlton over the reigning premiers would go a long way to establishing the team as genuine finals contender.

Alas for the Blues, Oliver had had enough of city life and the grind of commuting to Melbourne for each training session, and so decided to stay home in the bush for good. In 1995 he took up the role as playing coach for his beloved Castlemaine.

Peter Hall

Peter rounded off his career at Carlton in 1974, playing another 11 games before he and fellow fringe dweller Lance Styles were cleared to West Australian club Subiaco, as part of the wheeling and dealing to get champion ruckman Mike Fitzpatrick to Princes Park. But after only a brief stay in the west, Hall returned to Victoria and graduated from Monash with majors in Mathematics and Psychology. He then accepted an offer to captain-coach prominent LaTrobe Valley club Traralgon for the 1976 season, while also beginning a new working life in the provincial centre as a secondary school teacher. His new adventure in the bush was to prove spectacularly successful.

At Traralgon, he twice won the league’s Best and Fairest player award, while coaching his team to the 1978 and 1980 Premierships. He then switched clubs to Morwell, and took the Latrobe Valley Tigers to another flag in 1985.

In 1988 – on the back of his high profile and sporting success – he stood for election to Parliament as a National Party candidate and won his seat with a comfortable majority. Since then, he has risen to hold a number of senior positions with the Nationals – in particular, as Party Leader in the Legislative Council, holding the shadow portfolios of Education and Resources and Environment. On election to Government in November 2010, Peter was appointed Minister for Higher Education and Skills and Minister responsible for the Teaching Profession

Arthur Cummins

Arthur Cummins’ short playing career was remarkable on two counts. First, because he was a member of Carlton’s original VFL team, and second because his seven consecutive games were played against seven different opponents at seven separate venues.

Born in Castlemaine in central Victoria in 1876, Arthur Edward Cummins was already established at Princes Park by 1897, when the Blues defected from the Victorian Football Association to become one of eight foundation clubs in the Victorian Football League.

The VFL played its opening round of matches on Saturday, May 8, 1897. Carlton met Fitzroy at the Brunswick Street Oval, with Cummins in a forward pocket – apparently as an optional marking target alongside our fast-leading full-forward Wally O’Cock. However, that strategy wasn’t successful. Fitzroy were too good all over the ground and won by five goals. In succeeding weeks, as the Carlton Football Club took its first faltering steps on the long road to eventual glory, defeat followed defeat. In round four against Geelong at Corio Oval, Cummins had a rare moment of joy when he slotted his only career goal, and a fortnight later celebrated his one victory as a Blue when Carlton beat St Kilda by 11 points in a torrid encounter at the Junction Oval.

His seventh and last game provided another first for Cummins when he took part in Carlton’s debut match on the hallowed turf of Princes Park on June 22, 1897. Inspired by the occasion, the Blues put up one of their best performances of the season, before falling to Collingwood by four points in a high-quality encounter.

Matchday Function in Perth: April 8th

In exciting news for WA blues supporters the Spirit of Carlton will be holding a matchday function in Perth on the day of the big Carlton vs Collingwood clash on the 8th of April. Perth Blues supporters are some of the most passionate and dedicated in the land and this event is sure to be very popular. So get in quick and secure your seat to enjoy another quality Spirit of Carlton event.

Your Host: Jon Dorotich

1987 Premiership Player for Carlton

1986-1993, 132 games, 103 goals

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.


Guests: Wayne Harmes

Premiership Player: 1979, 1981, 1982
Norm Smith Medal: 1979
Victorian Representative : 1979, 1986
Carlton Hall of Fame (2000)

Like his predecessors Fred Stafford and Ted Hopkins, Wayne Harmes will forever be remembered for one inspirational passage of play in Carlton’s 1979 Grand Final victory over Collingwood. On that wet, cold day before 112,000 fans at the MCG, Carlton started warm favourites. But in a tough, slogging match, the Magpies simply refused to be shaken off. With only minutes remaining, the Blues were in front by just four points, with the black & whites finishing hard and looking a big chance to snatch victory. Enter Wayne Harmes. After playing superbly all day, he gathered the ball at half-forward, only to see his kick slew off his boot and skid toward the boundary in Carlton’s forward pocket. Instantly, he turned and chased, dived, and with a desperate round-arm swipe at the ball, knocked it into the goal square. Waiting there, clear of any opponent, was rover Ken Sheldon – who gleefully goaled to win another flag for the Navy Blues.

Alex Marcou

Premiership Player: 1979, 1981, 1982
Carlton Hall of Fame (2006)

Alex Marcou was a member of Carlton’s fabled mosquito fleet of brilliant small men of the 1970’s and ‘80’s, and a three-time Premiership rover for the Blues. Recruited within the Blues recruiting zone, from northern suburban VAFA club Thomastown, he was among four first-gamers for Carlton in the opening round of the 1979 season. The others were Wayne Johnston, Robbert Klomp and Peter Francis; all of whom were destined for Premiership glory. Marcou was a lightning-quick rover with sure ball-handling skills and excellent goal sense. Aged 20 on debut, by mid-season in ‘79 he was a regular in a powerful Blues combination that topped the ladder, then went on to beat Collingwood by 5 points in a see-sawing Grand Final on a boggy MCG. It was the perfect culmination to a great first year for the 178 cm, 76 kg speedster wearing number 34, and he was widely regarded as Recruit of the Year.


Des English

Career : 19801987
Games : 104
Goals : 6
Premiership Player : 1981 & 1982

Another in a long line of courageous, reliable and tough back-pockets for the Blues, Des English was a valuable contributor in three Carlton Grand Final teams, including the 1981 and ’82 Premiership sides. One of the most respected players of his era, he was, sadly, forced into premature retirement when he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

English came to Carlton from Bendigo League club Eaglehawk in 1980, following in the footsteps of champion rover Rod Ashman. Like “Ashy”, Des had also won the Two Blues’ Best & Fairest award, and was a regular Bendigo League representative, usually at half-back. At Carlton he found a niche in the back pocket, and began consolidating his place in one of the league’s power teams.


Date :    8th of April 2011.

Time :    12.30pm – 3.30pm

Venue:   South Perth Bowling Club – Mends St, Sth Perth

Cost:      $100.00 per person, Includes meal, beer, wine and soft drink.

Hosted by Jon Dorotich, join Alex Marcou, Des English, & Wayne Harmes for this very special event and 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.



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Intraclub Game: News From Around the Traps

The Blues had their first intraclub practise game for 2011 at Visy Park today. It attracted a crowd of 2000 people and also created a flurry of activity across all the Carlton related websites. This is a summary of the best.

From the club itself,

Brett Ratten post match interview.

Nick Duigan post match interview.

The Season Begins.

The Herald Sun ran a positive piece,

CARLTON’S mature-aged draftee Nick Duigan was one of the standout performers in the Blues’ first competitive hit-out of 2011 at Visy Park today.

As the mercury started rising early yesterday, so too did Blues fans’ hopes that the 26-year-old draft smoky plucked out of the SANFL last November will lock in a spot in the backline in Round 1.

Duigan’s polished display and his fine foot skills were one of the highlights of a spirited and competitive hit-out that pleased coach Brett Ratten.

The Blues took the opportunity yesterday to try some players in new positions, use some new faces and experiment a little ahead of their opening NAB Cup round of matches against Collingwood and Richmond at Etihad Stadium on February 12.

Herald Sun photo gallery.

Getty Images photo gallery.

The following album of photos was taken by regular training photographer and photobook user yonniboy,


Meanwhile at TalkingCarlton some of the comments on the game were,

From Hotcox:

Walker very good up forward, kicked 4 and looks set for a big year. Waite was also good, presented well and with a full pre season under his belt i expect he will be pushing for AA honours this year.  Ellard was excellent by foot today and looks to have improved from last year. Expect him to play round 1.

Marcus Davies has put on the most size out of any player this pre season. He is massive and no doubt has been ear marked to play on the Colin Sylvia, Mark LeCras big bodied medium forwards this year. Yarran played across HB and was impressive with run and carry and his delivery by foot was terrific. Bower and Jamison were good in defence

Nick Duigan was also impressive across HB. I like the look of him, tough uncomprising type who will be a fan favorite this year.


From Cazzesman:

Duigan looks the goods simply because he makes few mistakes and makes good decisions. Bower very good run. We need 20-22 games from him to take the extra steps this year. He frees up Waite.

Laidler good for a half. 1 kick off a step over 50 to a running man made me smile. Yaz at half back showed alot of promise. You just know we will still have the ball in a good position once he disposes of it. Walker looks an X prospect for us. 20+ games is a must for us to take another step. JR looks huge and will be hard to pass this year. Very calm and composed when under the pump.

Robo looked calmer and used it well most of the time. When he did kick long I thought it was the right choice.
Houls onball looked sharp and moved very, very well. Hammo never missed a tap out and was jumping well. Not much to beat but he did it convincingly. White calm and collected. Lucas moving well and getting involved due to his hard running. Took a while to spot Kerr but he did some nice things in the 2nd half and has slimmed down this year.

Over at the Carlton Supporters Club the opinion was,

From RiverRat:

Lots of half-field press, defensive flooding and sideways kicking but the players showed good patience and considerable skill in piercing the zones – either that or the defensive zones were crap. Players who looked in very good form were, on the blue team, Bower (37), Ellard (35), Scotland (31) and Waite (33). Also impressed with bursts by Duigan (18) and Tuohy (14).

Players who looked in very good form were, on the white team, Carrazzo (10), Houlihan (16), Robinson (6), Russell (14) and Walker (24). Laidler also looked the part. Walker, without his shoulders obviously strapped, looks to be every inch a key forward – I have been hoping for him to play there since he played a couple of games there for the Ants a few years ago – about time the club coaches caught on.

Regular senior players Gibbs, Murphy, Simpson, Armfield and Lucas all looked to be travelling well. McLean looks in better shape than last year, which is not saying much, but positive nonetheless.


At Bigfooty the assessment was,

From wavefall21:

Houlihan and Scotland were the major ball winners and very clean as usual. Duigan was clearly the best of the recruits and is ready made for a debut in rd 1, he seems to know what spaces to run into and I noticed him directing a bit of traffic down back as well, which is the sign of good leadership. Robbo was good in close an his attack at the contest was very good, don’t expect much less.

Watson looked much more comfortable down back in the second half after been moved up and down the ground. Walker was a real live-wire up forward and seems to have found his niche up there, backing up what we saw in the qualifying final last year with a few goals and some good marks. Carrots racked up the touches and played to his role like he usually does, but his disposal still lets him down, as does Armfield’s, can’t question Army’s endeavour but he really needs to do something about his kicking

Lucas ran out the game really strong after a quiet first half but it’s obvious he’s trying to get his fitness back, Yazza showed some glimpses of class but often went missing, I think he’s worth persisting with at half back, cos we def need some good ball users coming out of defence.

Not only that but a supporter was taking a little video on the day and it can be seen here as well (check out the Spirit of Carlton donated vehicle towards the end of the video),

As you can see it may have just been an intraclub game but it created a lot of interest. The next intraclub game is on the 5th of February, get down to the club and check it out, and while you are there get your Blues membership if you haven’t already.

Father Son Development Academy

Today was the turn of the older boys to participate in the Father Son Development Academy which is an initiative of the Carlton Football Club and supported financially by the Spirit of Carlton Past and Present. Geoff Southby represented the Spirit of Carlton at this morning’s session as a show of further support for the club, the parents and boys participating in this exciting project.

The parents and potential father son prospects, along with President Stephen Kernahan and other Carlton officials all gathered in the Don Chipp Theatrette to begin proceedings. Assistant coach Alan Richardson began by giving an introduction which explained that the number one objective of the camp was to make the boys feel like they belong, each boy had to make their own decisions about where they wanted to take their football. The most important thing is that they know the club is there for them if they need them. He highlighted that Soccer had been dealing with the issues surrounding the development of young athletes from boys to men for 30 years and that Carlton had used some of the knowledge gained by Soccer over the years to develop the program for this week.

Stephen Kernahan then spoke and referred individually to each boy, welcoming them to the club and commenting on the contributions each of their fathers had made to the club and to football in general. He spoke about the club and its culture and expectations of its players.

Each boy was presented with Carlton gear including personalised shirts, most of them towered over Rod Ashman who was handing over the Guernseys. They all had a sparkle in their eyes and seemed genuinely excited to be there, some had come from as far away as Perth to attend.

Then it was the turn of Jarrad Waite to give a talk on what it was like to be a father son prospect and the process of being picked for the Blues and becoming a player. After that some video was played which included some highlights of the careers of the fathers of each of the boys. It was great seeing a few little reactions to the video from some of the boys sitting next to their dads.

Finally it was time for parents and children to part ways and the Club took the boys into the training facilities to begin the next stage of the program.

The Spirit of Carlton would like to wish every boy the best of luck in whatever they wish to do, if they did not know before, they certainly know now that they are part of this great club.

Update: The Club has released a story this afternoon as well click on the following link to read – Back to the Future for Academy Kids

Carlton Towns: Maryborough

Nestled on the Pyrenees Highway a couple of hours North West of Melbourne is the idyllic city of Maryborough. The 8000 inhabitants these days enjoy a life surrounded by wonderful gold rush era architecture, it is indeed a town of good taste. In fact such good taste that they have their very own Princes Park. Do yourself a favour and visit  this beautiful ground next time you are in town.

This town has been more than generous in terms of supplying football talent to the Blues. Only one name needs mentioning, Nicholls. Many say he is the best Carlton player of all time. This would be doing a disservice to many other fine players including Horrie Clover who have had the rare honour of being a Maryborough Blue.

John Nicholls

One of the truly great players in the history of VFL/AFL football, and the man widely regarded as the finest ruckman ever to play the game, John Nicholls led the Carlton Football Club to two Premierships as captain, and a third as captain-coach, in a celebrated playing career spanning 18 seasons.

‘Big Nick’ was a skilful and inspirational on-field leader, as well as a fierce protector of his team-mates. He played his first senior match before his eighteenth birthday, and was retired – against his will – by the Carlton committee just 17 days before he turned thirty-five. In between, his career was packed with glory, controversy, heart-break, and just about every individual and team honour the game could provide.

It all began for John Nicholls in 1956, when Carlton won a tussle with Geelong to recruit his older brother; Don. The Nicholls boys hailed from Maryborough in central Victoria, where Don was a star centreman, and his bigger, barrel-chested brother was already playing senior football at the age of fifteen.

Don Nicholls adapted quickly to life in Melbourne, and to VFL football. Fifteen solid games in his debut season won him Carlton’s Best First-Year Player Award, and focussed attention from a number of other clubs on his 17-year old sibling. In the summer of that year, John joined Don in Melbourne, where he eventually gave in to the urgings Carlton coach Ken Hands, and agreed to play for the Old Dark Navy Blues

By any criteria, his career record is simply outstanding. In his then VFL-record 331^ games, he was a proud member of three Carlton Premiership teams; in 1968, 1970 and 1972. Captain of the club in 1963, 1969, 1970 and 1971, he was captain-coach in 1972, 1973 and 1974. He won our Best & Fairest award a club record five times (in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966 and 1967) and was a Victorian state representative on no fewer than 31 occasions. No other player in the history of the game has worn the big white vee so consistently, and with such distinction.

In September 1996, Big Nick was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame as one of the inaugural Legends of the Game. At the same time, was one of six Carlton greats selected in the AFL’s Team of the 20th Century. When Carlton Football Club announced our Team of the Century in May, 2000 he was the obvious and unanimous choice to lead the ruck, and from 2004, the Blues’ Best & Fairest player of each year has been awarded the John Nicholls Medal.

Gary Higgins

Gary Higgins was recruited from Maryborough / Maryborough Rovers and wore guernsey #29, he played 7 games for Carlton after debuting in Navy Blue in Season 1975.

Les Johnson


Johnson played 29 games for Carlton commencing in Season 1927. He kicked 13 goals for the Blues. Johnson wore guernsey #5.

Johnson was both born, and recruited from Maryborough.

Horrie Clover

Horace “Horrie” Clover was Carlton’s star centre half-forward of the 1920’s; a high flying, long-kicking champion who enjoyed a stellar career with the Old Dark Navy Blues, then went on to be one of our longest-serving administrators. But even before he took the field for Carlton, Clover had to conquer the odds on the battlefields of France in World War 1.

From Maryborough in central Victoria, Horrie enlisted in the 1st AIF in September 1915. After basic training, he embarked for France with reinforcements for the 7th Battalion in January of 1916. Soon pitched into the horrors of trench warfare, he fought and survived until September of that year, when he was transferred to a machine gun company and promoted to the rank of Corporal.

On Christmas day, 1916, Horrie was struck down with acute appendicitis. He was evacuated to a field hospital for emergency surgery, where the doctors discovered that his appendix was gangrenous and that his life was in danger. He was immediately transferred to London for specialist treatment, and months of recuperation. Pronounced unfit for further front-line service, he was repatriated back to Australia in August 1917, and honourably discharged in May of the following year – six months before the Armistice.

Having recovered, and keen to have a crack at senior football, Clover trained with Richmond and Melbourne before Carlton gave him an opportunity at VFL level. And how he delivered! In his first match in 1920 – ironically, against Richmond – he kicked four goals from centre half-forward, and hit the post three times! By the end of his first season at Princes Park, Clover was one of Carlton’s drawcards. Former Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies was just one of the many Carlton fans who were captivated; “he was the most artistic of high marks, unforgettable at half-forward,” said Menzies.

Horrie could kick a football, too. A balanced, deceptively quick mover, he was a glorious running drop-kick for goal. Playing against Richmond again at Princes Park in July, 1921, he let fly with a monster kick that was later measured at 86.26 metres – that’s 94 yards, 2 feet in imperial terms! And there are numerous other instances where he roosted the ball more than 70 metres. In round 12 of 1921, he slotted 13 goals in a game against St Kilda; a club record which still stands today

Don Nicholls

Although his career was largely overshadowed by the exploits of his champion brother John Nicholls, Don Nicholls was himself a stylish centreman who played a creditable 77 games for the Blues in six seasons at Princes Park.

Nicholls first attracted interest from VFL clubs when he starred for his home side Maryborough in 1955. Eventually, he was faced with the choice of joining either Geelong or Carlton, and to the everlasting gratitude of every Blues’ supporter, Don chose Carlton. He arrived at Princes Park in early 1956, and wore guernsey number 12 in his senior debut (as nineteenth man) in a heavy defeat by Melbourne in round 2 of that year.

The following week, against St Kilda at the Junction Oval, Nicholls started the match in the middle of the ground and did well, as the Blues beat the Saints by 22 points. From then on he was a regular in a Carlton side that was in finals contention mid-season, but stumbled through the last few games and missed the finals by just two points. Nevertheless, one of the real positives to come out of that disappointing year was the steady emergence of Nicholls, who played 15 solid games, kicked five goals and collected Carlton’s Best First Year Player award.

Don’s bright start to his VFL career soon focussed the recruiting spotlight on his younger, taller and heavier brother, John – who had moved to Melbourne to live with Don, but was still travelling home to play senior football with Maryborough each weekend. After inviting the youngster to training, Blues’ captain Ken Hands was convinced that the ‘other’ Nicholls had a bright future in VFL football – all he needed was confidence in his own ability.

History has since proven that Hands’ assessment was spot-on. The Nicholls boys teamed up in Carlton’s senior team for the first time against Hawthorn at Princes Park in round one of 1957, and, although the Hawks handed out a football lesson, John Nicholls began a magnificent career that would ultimately include 331 games, three Premierships, and just about every team and individual honour that the game could bestow

Bob Jacobson

Bob Jacobson’s father was born in Finland, but his son was given a typically Anglo-Saxon name and grew up to embrace the national game of his family’s adopted land. In 1903, at just 18 years of age, Jacobson travelled from his home in Maryborough in central Victoria to play eight games of VFL football for the Carlton Football Club, under the autocratic coaching of Jack Worrall.

Jacobson made his debut for the Blues on a half-forward flank against Collingwood at Princes Park in round 1, 1903. While Carlton ran out comfortable winners, Bob didn’t make it onto the score sheet that afternoon, or in the following weeks when the Blues destroyed Essendon and St Kilda by 21 and 78 points respectively. Worrall banished Jacobson to the back pocket after that, and he managed only six more appearances before he was given his marching orders after another big victory over Essendon in round 10.

At least Jacobson went out on a high – that defeat of the Same Old was built on a superb defensive effort that kept Essendon scoreless for the first half, and eventually restricted them to 2.2 (14) for the whole match. More than 105 years later, that miserable return still stands as Essendon’s lowest-ever score against the Blues.

In the years after departing from Princes Park, Jacobson married and took up work as a clerk. When World War 1 began in 1914, it appears that he was deemed to be in a reserved occupation – one that was vital to keeping civil order – and so was prevented from enlisting for active service. But as casualties mounted and more and more men were needed, regulations steadily relaxed, and in December 1917, Bob was finally accepted into uniform.

He marched into Broadmeadows army camp a week or so before Christmas, only to almost immediately fall seriously ill. Sent to hospital, he was assessed as unfit for further duty, and discharged in January, 1918.

Russell Ohlsen

Originally from Maryborough / Royal Park, Russell “Autumn Leaves” Ohlsen played 47 games and booted 25 goals for the Blues in four seasons (1975 to 1978). He played his best football as a ruck-rover, but was unable to cement a regular place in the side. Perhaps best remembered for his extensive tattoos, he was later cleared to Collingwood, where he was part of their losing teams in 1979 (suffering a broken jaw at the hands of Trevor Keogh) & 1980.

Bert Boromeo

An imposing, yet controversial figure in his all-too-brief career at Carlton, Albert ‘Bert’ Boromeo was only eight days short of his 27th birthday when he played his first match for the Blues in 1919. For reasons unexplained, he took to the field that day at Princes Park in a pair of street boots, but; “he gave decided promise, and looked every inch the footballer”, according to former Carlton coach Jack Worrall, who was reporting on the match for The Argus newspaper.

A powerfully-built, natural athlete who stood 184 cm and tipped the scales at 89 kg, Boromeo had been a star follower-forward at Maryborough in central Victoria before finally agreeing to have a belated crack at VFL football with the Blues. He was a vice-like mark and a thumping kick, and his bulk and strength made him near-impossible to dislodge in any contest.

Boromeo played finals football in four of his five seasons at Princes Park, first as a follower, and later as a dangerous partner to Carlton’s champion centre half-forward Horrie Clover in attack. He quickly became a reliable big-occasion player and was chosen to represent the VFL in interstate matches each year from 1920 to 1922. But his finest moment came in the 1921 Grand Final against Richmond, when he was a unanimous choice as Best on Ground for the vanquished Blues.

Continuing a disappointing sequence of finals losses, Carlton fell to Essendon by five points in the 1922 Semi-Final, then went into decline the following year and dropped right out of contention. In August 1923, Carlton played Essendon again in round nine at Windy Hill. The Blues turned in a shocker to be thrashed by 11 goals, and that result triggered a sensational series of incidents that ended Boromeo’s career at Carlton.

Father and Son Academy Training

Today marks the beginning of another exciting initiative of the Carlton Football Club and the Spirit of Carlton with the inaugural Father and Son Academy Training program. This program is a chance for possible future father and son prospects to become better acquainted with the club, to see how the players train, how team meetings are conducted, listen to some Carlton greats speak, and do some skills sessions with Carlton football staff.

The children are split into a younger group and an older group who each participate for two days at the club  during the week. The program for the younger children is aimed more at familiarisation and fun. The older group get advice on diet, training, goal setting and presentation from previous father son players on what they might expect.

Each group will get the opportunity to mix with the current players and hear the stories of how current players such as Chris Judd made the transition from junior footy to senior footy.

This is a wonderful initiative from the club that strengthens the bonds of community and family within the club which are so important. Not all these boys will get the opportunity to play for Blues but they will always be part of the Blues family.

Stay tuned later in the week for more news from the Academy.