Three Blues earn NSW HoF inductions

Tom Carroll, Craig Davis and Mark Maclure inducted into the NSW Australian Football Hall of Fame.

By Tony De Bolfo,

FORMER Carlton forwards Tom Carroll, Craig Davis and Mark Maclure are amongst the 100 players, coaches, administrators, umpires and media personalities recently inducted into the NSW Australian Football Hall of Fame.

The Inductees and Legends were formally inducted at a function attended by more than 350 people at the SCG last Friday night.

Carlton full-forward Tom Carroll by the pickets at Princes Park, circa 1963.

Tom Carroll was a leading goalkicker in both the Riverina and the VFL. In 1956, and at the tender age of 17, Carroll lined up at full-forward for Ganmain and was part of its ’56 and ’57 back-to-back Premiership teams. He booted 103 goals for the club in 1960 and was recruited to Carlton on the cusp of the ’61 season.

Carroll represented the old dark Navy Blues in 55 senior matches from 1961-63, and earned Carlton’s first Coleman Medal (awarded retrospectively) in his maiden season with 54 goals. He was the Club’s leading goalkicker in each of his three seasons – 54 goals in 1961, 62 in 1962 and 27 in 1963 – before returning to the family farm in Ganmain.

Carroll accepted the role of Ganmain Captain-Coach and led the Maroons to premierships in 1964 and 1965, topping the goalkicking in both seasons. He took on the Grong Grong Grong Matong coaching role from 1968 to 1970, and then returned to Ganmain as non-playing coach in 1980.

Eighty-four year-old Carroll was unable to attend Friday night’s ceremony, but in reflecting on his induction declared: “You play your footy, you finish your career and they give you a tick”.

Hailing from Ross and recruited from Launceston in 1972, Craig Davis followed his cousin Brent Crosswell to Carlton – and there he inherited the No.23 worn by Bert Deacon, the club’s inaugural Brownlow Medallist and then Secretary. Davis represented the team in 42 senior matches through three seasons, was a member of the 1973 Grand final team and took out the club’s goalkicking honours with 45 in his final season. 

A head-knock sustained in the pre-season period of 1976 put Davis’ playing career on hold, and he ultimately resolved to pursue his playing career with North Melbourne for what was a ten-game cameo through 1977 and ’78. He then represented Collingwood in 102 matches and booted 251 goals through five seasons for the Magpies, and rounded out his League career with nine appearances for the Swans.

Round 11, 1974, v St Kilda at Princes Park – Carlton from full-forward Craig Davis uses ‘Big Nick’ as a stepladder, on his way to a seven-goal haul in his team’s 45-point win.

Davis spent the better part of two decades putting his heart and soul into New South Wales football. Following an Assistant Coaching role with the Swans, he assumed the role of NSW AFL development manager from 1988-90 before stepping up as its General Manager from 1991-2000. More recently, he coached and mentored young players at the Maroubra Saints Junior Football Club, amongst them the Swans’ Errol Gulden.

“What a great night it was,” said Davis of the induction ceremony at the SCG. “Forty-eight of the 60 living Inductees fronted up, including ‘Plugger’ (Tony Lockett), and I got a photo with him. I told Plugger that between him and I we kicked 1400 and if we’d kicked straighter it would have been 2000.

“Mark Maclure was also there, which took me back 50 years. I remember in ’74 when Maclure came to Carlton and I was his mentor. I was 19, he was 18 and it seems like only yesterday.”

Mark Maclure was first identified by East Sydney after taking out the Sydney competition reserve grade best and fairest award as a 17-year-old. Recruited to Carlton, Maclure completed his senior debut in Round 13, 1974 – the first of 243 through 13 seasons – amongst them the Grand Final triumphs of 1979, 1981 and ’82.

Maclure earned the Best Clubman Award in 1981, and again in 1986, the year he captained Carlton. Following his retirement, he gave back as an assistant coach at Brisbane and Sydney, and maintained his involvement with the game through his radio and television work. In 2019, Maclure was named on interchange in the New South Wales AFL’s greatest team.

Mark Maclure finds the big sticks for the Blues again, circa 1986.

In his appreciation of the Induction accolade, Maclure reflected on his years with East Sydney and the local League.

“I there as a junior, played Under 19s at 13 then Reserves at 15 and the main games at 16. East Sydney was a terrific football club and the president Jack Dean was a legend,” Maclure said.

“In those days, work took players there from WA, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, so there was a good cross section of players. Does it seem like yesterday? No, it seems like 50 years.”

Nine of the 100 inductees were elevated to Legend status in the Hall – Haydn Bunton Snr., Richard Colless, Terry Daniher, Jack Dean, Harry J. Hedger OBE, Tony Lockett, Paul Kelly, Jim Phelan and Ralph Robertson.

In 2020, AFL NSW/ACT established the New South Wales Australian Football Hall of Fame to commemorate the 140-year anniversary of the NSW Australian Football Association.

According to its charter, the Hall of Fame recognises and enshrines players, coaches, umpires, administrators, volunteers and media representatives “who have made a most significant contribution to the game of Australian Football in NSW since its inception in 1880”.

Inductees of the NSW Australian Football Hall of Fame cover all levels of football in New South Wales, from the elite to the community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *