Coleman Medallists Tom and Harry cross paths at Carlton

A meeting between Carlton’s inaugural and reigning Coleman Medallists.

PICTURED here for posterity are Carlton’s inaugural and reigning John Coleman Medallists – Tom Carroll (to the right of the photograph) and Harry McKay – after meeting for the first time at IKON Park in the lead-up to the team’s Round 10 match with Sydney.

Sixty years separates their achievements – Carroll having earned the medal retrospectively for his 54-goal return from 18 home-and-away matches from full-forward in his inaugural season of 1961, and Harry having won the medal for the competition’s leading goalkicker with 58 from 19 last year – both at the healthy average of three goals a game.

“Harry made me look like a rover,” Carroll dryly suggested afterwards. “It was lovely to meet him at the Club, and I also got to talk to ‘Diesel’ (Greg Williams) and Sam Walsh.

“I also got to say g’day to ‘Vossy’ (Michael Voss) and Matthew Kennedy, who came from Collingullie, not far from Ganmain.”

Recruited to Carlton from Ganmain in the Riverina and now living quietly in Albury, the 82 year-old Carroll, a guest of the Carlton President for the Swans match, is like most former players buoyed by the current group’s recent performances – “and having used 36 players the depth is obviously good”.

Charles Boyles’ glass negative of Tom Carroll, pictured in front of the Ald. Gardiner Stand at Princes Park, circa 1961.

At Carlton, Carroll opted for the flat punt throughout his 55 senior matches over three seasons, during which time he took the Club’s goalkicking honours with the Coleman Medal-winning 54 in 1961, 62 in 1962 and 27 in 1963.

So named after John Coleman, the Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend who booted 537 goals in 98 senior appearances for Essendon, the Coleman Medal was first presented to former Richmond full-forward Michael Roach in 1981.

In September 2001, the League recognised all leading goalkickers prior to Roach’s victory – from 1955 (the year after Coleman’s last match) to 1980 – and all including Carroll were named retrospective Coleman Medallists.

Winners prior to 1955 – at Carlton Mick Grace (45 goals, 1906), Ern Cowley (35 goals, 1918), ‘Horrie’ Clover (54 goals, 1922) and Harry Vallence (72 goals, 1931) – were also named Leading Goalkicker Medallists, and in July 2004 medals were presented to their surviving families in a ceremony at the Melbourne Town Hall.

Coleman Medallists Brendan Fevola and Tom Carroll at Lavington in 2012. (Photo: Stephen Hicks)

Aside from Carroll and McKay, former Carlton full-forward Brendan Fevola is a two-time winner with 84 goals in 2006 and 86 in 2009.

Ten years ago, Carroll and Fevola were photographed together at Lavington.

Tom with fellow Carlton greats John Nicholls and Syd Jackson. (Photo: Supplied)

In the aftermath of the stirring Carlton-Sydney contest, Tom’s son Dean Carroll said the following:

“Thanks to Shane O’Sullivan and the club, Mum and Dad have had a special couple of days at Carlton and at last night’s President’s Dinner.

“Dad hadn’t been back inside the club for a lot of years – the ‘70s was the last time he reckons! It was pretty surreal for Dad to walk in the door last night and meet ‘Big Nick’ and Syd Jackson straight up! They had a great 15-20mins or so together.

“The dinner was great, Dad was able to mingle pre-game and he loved the Blues’ win!”


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