Carlton home to Blues and country


THE Bacchus Marsh Football Club, at which AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan launched the AFL’s $18million joint-funded investment into country football, brought welcome focus to a place in which the Carlton Football Club has greatly benefited in an historic on-field sense.

Bacchus Marsh was in fact the area from which former club greats Harry ‘Soapy’ Vallence, Keith Shea and Ollie Grieve all hailed.

Vallence represented Carlton in 204 games between 1926 and 1938 – the last of them the ’38 Grand Final victory over Collingwood. He topped the club’s goalkicking 1929, 1931–1933 and 1935–1938, and in the ’31 season earned VFL honours for most goals kicked.

Shea turned out in 91 matches for the Blues between 1932 and ’37 – the first of them before he turned 18 – and was a four-time Victorian representative.

And Grieve’s war-interrupted career through seasons 1942, 1944 and 1946-’52 took in 137 matches including the ’47 Premiership, and ended with him earning B & F honours in his final year.

The League’s country Victoria investment, in conjunction with the State Government, has also brought focus to the contributions rural footballers have made to the great Australian game at the highest level, Carlton included.

As such, the following is a Carlton team comprising some of the greatest Victorian country recruits ever to lace a boot. The team comprises players recruited from clubs 40 kilometres or more from the Melbourne CBD, under the watch of Carlton’s three-time Premiership secretary/coach Jack Worrall.

Amongst the starting 18 are no fewer than 12 Carlton Team of the Century Members (including emergencies) – Rod Ashman, Bob Chitty, Horrie Clover, Garry Crane, Adrian Gallagher, Ken Hands, John James, Rod McGregor, John Nicholls, Geoff Southby, Harry Vallence and Greg Williams.

Also in their number is:

  • the most capped state representative John Nicholls, the club’s record five-time Best & Fairest winner (1959, ’63, ’65, ’66 and ’67);
  • three Carlton Premiership captains – Jim Flynn (1906 and ’07), Chitty (1945) and Nicholls (1968, ’70 and ’72 (the latter also as coach));
  • three Brownlow Medallists – John James (1961) Gordon Collis (1964) and Greg Williams (1994); and
  • three club Best & Fairests in a Premiership year – Southby (1972), Jim Buckley (1982) and Brett Ratten (1995).

Maryborough’s Horrie Clover, considered Carlton’s greatest player between the First and Second World Wars.

David McKay, Carlton’s four-time Premiership player through 277 matches in 13 seasons, was recruited to the club from Newlyn.

“Zoning must have been introduced in ’68, the year I as recruited, because I was the first player from the Bendigo zone to play at Carlton. I remember I played a game in the seconds against Collingwood at Princes Park. I played on Vaughan Ellis who looked like a man mountain and I was just a skinny kid from the sticks,” McKay said

“I was lucky as Newlyn was in the Clunes League which only just fell into the Bendigo zone.

“The Bendigo League contributed the greatest number of country footballers to Carlton in my time – so many good players like Brian Walsh, Paul Hurst, Geoff Southby, Trevor Keogh and Rod Ashman.”

Carlton’s greatest Victorian Country team is as follows;

Backs: Jim Flynn (Benalla), Geoff Southby (Sandhurst), David McKay (Newlyn)

Half-backs: John James (Ballarat), Gordon Collis (Healesville), Bob Chitty (Cudgewa)

Centres: Garry Crane (Yallourn North), Greg Williams (Golden Square), Rod McGregor (Katamatite)

Half-forwards: Brett Ratten (Yarra Glen), Horrie Clover (Maryborough), Keith Shea (Bacchus Marsh)

Forwards: Ken Hands (Geelong Scouts), Harry Vallence (Bacchus Marsh), Rod Ashman (Eaglehawk)

Rucks: John Nicholls (Maryborough), Jim Buckley (Kyneton), Adrian Gallagher (Yarram)

Interchange: Bryan Quirk (Morwell), Ollie Grieve (Bacchus Marsh), Graham Donaldson (Clunes)

Emergencies: Jim Clark (Enmore), Peter Dean (South Bendigo), Ian Robertson (Wonthaggi)

Coach: Jack Worrall (Chinaman’s Flat)

Motley inducted into SA Football Hall of Fame

IN SEPTEMBER 1987, amid euphoric scenes in the winner’s circle following the Grand Final triumph over Hawthorn at the MCG, Craig Bradley handed his Premiership medallion to Peter Motley, whose career as a Carlton footballer had been cruelly cut short in a road accident that almost claimed his life.

Fast forward 32 years to September 2019, Adelaide Oval – and Bradley, Carlton’s dual Premiership player and club games record holder, was there again for his old mate ‘Mots’, who tonight (Monday) followed him into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame.

“To be there in the inner sanctum with the Motley family for Peter’s induction into the Hall of Fame has been a real privilege for me,” Bradley said. “Unfortunately Peter’s mother is no longer about but she would be just as proud of Peter as his sister and his Dad.

“I know Peter is just as proud of his induction as I was . . . to be inducted into the Hall is a massive honour.”

Bradley, Port Adelaide’s Premiership player in 1981, three-time club best and fairest in 1982, ’84 and ’85 and member of its coveted Team of the Century, said that whilst it might be difficult for children of the current era to appreciate how it was , “growing up in South Australia all that kids like ‘Mots’ and me knew was SANFL footy, the game and its heroes”.

“Peter was and is very much Sturt, and while Carlton was robbed of a superstar he’s also a fanatical Carlton tragic. He’s Blue through and through – as passionate as any Carlton supporter,” Bradley said.

“As a player he was also fanatical. Yes, he was exciting, high-leaping and brought a lot of charisma to his play, but he was also fiercely-driven – a competitor who would fight to the end.

“As a person he’s a very humble guy – ‘the people’s person’ you might say.”

Motley’s time at Princes Park encompassed just 13 senior matches through 1986 and the opening six games of the following season, and a stellar playing career was assured until fate intervened. But by the time he’d completed his much-heralded arrival with Bradley and Stephen Kernahan, Motley’s handsome reputation in his home state had already been forged.

A member of the Sturt Football Club’s Team of the Century, Motley represented the Double Blues in 92 league games between 1982 and ’85, during which time he earned the club’s best and fairest awards in 1984 and ’85. He also represented South Australia on six occasions, winning the Fos Williams Medal in 1985 and All-Australian status in the same year.

Such was his status at Sturt that in 2015 the club saw fit to rename its home ground – once Unley Oval, now Peter Motley Oval.

The South Australian Football Hall of Fame of which Motley is now an esteemed member was established in 2002 when 114 individuals were declared inaugural inductees. In the years since, administrators, media representatives, umpires and players like him have been included, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to football in that state.

Those who currently make up the Hall of Fame selection committee are Leigh Whicker AM (Chairman), John Halbert AM MBE, Neil Kerley AM, Chris McDermott, David Shipway AM, Michelangelo Rucci, Bill Sanders AM, Julian Burton OAM and Tim Pfeiffer.

Motley now joins Carlton’s four other inductees to the South Australian Football Hall of Fame – Stephen Kernahan and Mark Naley (both inducted in 2002), Craig Bradley (2006) and Andrew McKay (2007).

Tony Thiessen passes away

Tony Thiessen, Carlton senior player, 1964. - Carlton,Carlton Blues,AFL,Ikon Park

Tony Thiessen, Carlton senior player, 1964.

FORMER Carlton forward Tony Thiessen, who turned out in 13 senior matches through the Blues’ Centenary year of 1964, has died at the age of 77.

Originally hailing from the Huon Valley and an on-field rep for the now-defunct Sandy Bay Football Club, Thiessen crossed town to Princes Park on the eve of the ’64 season after a brief seven-game stint with Melbourne.

Thiessen’s cousin and Carlton Member Jeremy Thiessenrecalled that his lifelong friend was recruited to the Redlegson the recommendation of the three-time Premiership player Peter Marquis (then acting as the club’s Tasmanian scout) – and that he earned two Brownlow votes on debut at the MCG (Round 4, 1963) when he took the honours on Fitzroy’s Kevin Murray.

Jeremy added that on the Demons’ ’63 end-of-season trip to Honolulu, Tony was advised by the resident coach Norm Smith that he had been earmarked for centre half-back the following season – which didn’t sit well with the player who considered himself a forward. However hewas eventually delisted.

Jeremy said. “He then met up with the Carlton coach Ken Hands, a deal was struck and he was recruited to the club as a centre half-forward.”

As fate would have it, Thiessen earned his first senior call-up for Carlton for the Round 3 match against the Redlegs on the MCG. Wearing the No. 24 now featured on Nic Newman’s back, he was named on a flank in a front six comprising Kevin Hall, the Gill brothers Barry and John, Jim ‘Frosty’ Miller and the late Maurie Sankey.

Tony Thiessen and John Gill thwart Mike Delanty’s marking attempt, in the 12th round match of 1964 between North Melbourne and Carlton at Arden Street. The Blues went down by a point.

Regrettably, the visitors managed just four goals for the afternoon in what was a 46-point hiding inflicted by Smith’s men.

Thiessen would get to belt out the Carlton song just three times through the course of the ’64 season, until his last hurrah in the 17th round against St Kilda – the same game in which the future club best & fairest and three-time Premiership wingman Garry Cane completed his senior debut in dark navy.

The Saints got up by 16 points in that one, in what would be their last triumph over the Blues for the next 29 years.

Gordon Collis, Carlton’s Best & Fairest and Brownlow Medallist in the ’64 season, remembered Thiessen as a physically robust footballer.

“He wasn’t overly quick, but he was a fit and strong young bloke. He stood around six one in the old measurement and he was pretty well-built. I got the impression that he was as hard as nails,” Collis recalled.

“He was also a great toiler. You couldn’t say he was one of those blokes who didn’t get the best out of himself. He was pretty honest and a good team player.

“I suppose ‘Barass’ came in with his standards. He was always looking at the big picture and considering which players, Tony included, would be part of a future Premiership side. On that basis, perhaps Tony found it a bit hard to go on.”

The Carlton team, 1964. Thiessen is in the second back row on the far left. 

When 1965 rolled around and Barassi took the helm as Carlton captain-coach, Thiessen’s papers were effectively stamped. 

Thiessen then relocated to Arden Street, where he managed four more senior appearances for North Melbourne to round out his League career.

In 1966, Thiessen furthered his football with the VFA’s 1st Division reigning Premier Waverley, then coached by the three-time Melbourne Premiership half-back and (later) Carlton coach the late Ian Thorogood. On returning to Tasmania, he played on, memorably representing his state in a match against ‘Polly’ Farmer’s Western Australia. Ironically playing at centre half-back, Thiessen took six towering marks over the West’s Mal Brown in the last quarter and, according to Jeremy, was the chief reason the Taswegians got up.

“ . . . and if he’d listened to Norm Smith and Barassi in the first place he probably would have been a great centre half-back,” Jeremy added.

More than 30 years later, Thiessen watched on with pride as his son James, the seven-game former Richmond wingman, played his part in Adelaide’s comfortable Grand Final victory of 1998 over the Kangaroos.

Tony Thiessen was the 761st player to represent the Carlton Football Club at senior level since the VFL’s inception in 1897.

He died on Tuesday (September 3) after a short illness. He is survived by his wife Virginia, sons Peter (a regular VAFA representative player through his years at Old Haileybury) and James, and daughter Hermione (who represented Victoria in softball). He is also survived by his daughters-in-law, son-in-law and grandchildren; as well as his sister Megan and brother Roger. Older brother Brian pre-deceased him.  

A service to celebrate the life of Anthony (Tony) Thiessen will be held at the Boyd Chapel Springvale Cemetery, 600 Princes Hwy, Springvale on Tuesday, 10 September 2019 at 2pm.

Parkin pays tribute to Ken Kleiman

The late Ken Kleiman on the verandah of the Kukerin Hotel, on a visit to the property of former Carlton Premiership full-forward Ross Ditchburn - Carlton,Carlton Blues,AFL,Ikon Park

The late Ken Kleiman on the verandah of the Kukerin Hotel, on a visit to the property of former Carlton Premiership full-forward Ross Ditchburn

FORMER Carlton Premiership coach David Parkin has paid heartfelt tribute to the club’s property steward of 30 years, the late Ken Kleiman.

Parkin acknowledged Kleiman’s lifelong love for the club, following a magnificent eulogy delivered by Ken’s son Mark and deeply personal reflections from grandchildren Samantha and Joel, at a funeral service at Tobin Brothers Reflections of Life Chapel in Doncaster on Monday (August 12).

Amongst those in attendance to bid farewell to Ken were former players Rod Austin, Craig Bradley, Jim Buckley, Ian Collins, Des English, Kevin Heath, Ken Hunter, Phil Pinnell, David Rhys-Jones, Warren Jones (who jetted in from Sydney), Ken Sheldon, Dennis Munari, Sergio Silvagni, Stephen Silvagni and Geoff Southby.

Also present were members of the club’s board, administration and coteries past and present, including Paul Brody, Alan Espie, Wayne ‘Bulldog’ Gilbert, Laurie Hayden, Col Kinnear, Bob Lowrie, Dick Merton, Bob Moore, Shane O’Sullivan, George Varlamos and Lionel Watts.

Neil Balme and David Buttifant, who formed associations with Ken’s son Mark when he was football operations manager at rival club Collingwood, were also there to pay their respects. Balme and Geoff Southby were on-field adversaries through those heady days of the early 1970s, but they too came together for Ken.

The Carlton players wore black armbands into last Sunday’s match with Richmond, in tribute to Kleiman, who died at the age of 93 after a short illness.

Less than 24 hours later, ‘Parko’ delivered the following tribute.

I’d like to thank the family, Mark in particular, for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of so many people obviously part of the Carlton family. I’m very honoured to speak on behalf of so many people here today who are so intimately associated with the life of Kenny Kleiman and the Carlton Football Club.

I’ve been around VFL/AFL clubs for the past 60 years and I can’t think of another man more loved than Kenny Kleiman. In my mind’s eye now and whenever I was in his company, even of late in the clubrooms at our regular morning teas, his amazing and genuine smile was unforgettable.

Ken had time for everyone. In conjunction with Ken Monk, he formed a special partnership as the club’s property stewards for just on 30 years. That’s an unbelievable record when you think it through. It was ‘Hard Monky’ and ‘Soft Climax’ – a duo that seemed to work beautifully. When you add Wayne Gilbert, Peter Newbold and Frank Finn in later years, it was a very special team within the team. As Col Kinnear reminded me, when it was a training session or matchday they were always there first . . . and certainly always last to leave well after we’d gone.

Together they were genuine contributors to the most successful period in Carlton’s great history, with the Premierships of 1968, 1970, 1972, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1987 and 1995.

The players worked Ken over unmercifully with their unreasonable demands and practical jokes. But his demeanour never ever varied – it was all just in good fun.

Ken’s ongoing support for the Navy Blues never diminished. He and Pam attended the staff functions religiously over the past 30-plus years. The newspaper eulogy summed Kenny up perfectly. “It was a privilege to be his friend. One of the more endearing and enduring characters. A magnificent man who was Carlton to the core” . . . rest in peace dear friend.