IT’S ARGUABLY the greatest Grand Final of them all . . . and quite probably the Club’s most famous victory . . . and more than 50 years after the event the Carlton men who spectacularly wrested the 1970 Premiership from Collingwood’s grasp recently gathered to reminisce for what may well be the last time.
Though the COVID-19 lockdowns put paid to the 50-year reunion last year, 14 of the 19 surviving members of that feted 1970 team (Vin Waite died in July 2003) came together over dinner at East Melbourne’s famed Italian restaurant Il Duca – before taking in the Round 2 match involving today’s Carlton and Collingwood footballers over the road at the MCG.
For the record, team members at the reunion dinner convened by the club were Neil Chandler, Garry Crane, 1970 club Best and Fairest Adrian Gallagher, Barry Gill, John Goold, Kevin Hall, Ted Hopkins, Syd Jackson, Peter Jones, David McKay, Barry Mulcair, Phil Pinnell, Ian Robertson and Robert Walls.
Also present was the Premiership coach Ron Barassi (and his runner Rod Wilkinson who jetted in from Adelaide) along with Premiership captain John Nicholls – while ‘Big Nick’s’ Premiership teammates Brent Crosswell, Alex Jesaulenko, Sergio Silvagni and Bert Thornley forwarded their apologies.
Vin Waite’s widow Christine was also present, as was Jo Stuckey (nee McLean) – the daughter of the late 1968 Premiership player Peter McLean who supported Barassi as a Carlton Committeemen through the ’70 Premiership season. Gordon Newton, the last surviving member of the George Harris-led Board of Management in that year, was also on hand – as was the 1968 Premiership player Bryan Quirk and current Carlton President Mark LoGiudice, who welcomed guests to the Luncheon before they boarded a coach to the MCG, courtesy Firefly Director Joe Bono, a fervent Blues man.
Spirit of Carlton Manager Shane O’Sullivan, who organised the historic get-together, said he was overwhelmed to see so many former players and their wives/partners in the room.
“The Club was really keen to do something for its Premiership players of 1970 even after COVID restrictions meant we couldn’t,” O’Sullivan said.
“‘Barass’ and the players really seemed to enjoy themselves – particularly players like Barry Mulcair who came down from Bendigo and hadn’t been back in a while.”