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The Don reaches 98

Tony De Bolfo  March 5, 2013 1:27 PM

Don McIntyre - Best & Fairest winner in 1937.

Don McIntyre - Best & Fairest winner in 1937.

Don McIntyre, Carlton’s oldest surviving club best and fairest, the last existing member of its victorious 1938 Grand Final team over Collingwood, and, as such, the Blues’ only surviving pre-World War II premiership player and club champion, is today celebrating his 98th birthday.

McIntyre, who still follows the fortunes of his team from afar, lives a quieter existence thesedays. His last foray into the old Carlton ground came three years ago when he generously donated four precious personal items of memorabilia for future display at the club – the Terry Ogden Memorial Medal for Most improved Player in 1936; the Angus Travill Medal and Robert Reynolds Trophy for best and fairest in 1937; and the 1938 VFL Premiership Medal.

Born in Geelong on March 5, 1915, Daniel Gordon McIntyre, as a young boy, followed the local football outfit with unbridled enthusiasm.

“I used to go with my grandfather and hardly missed a game down there through the early teen years,” McIntyre remembered in an interview back in 2008.

“Being a very enthusiastic young supporter I thought it was the best thing that could happen to you, to get down to Corio Oval and see them play on a Saturday afternoon. I can still remember the first Brownlow Medallist, “Carji” Greeves, number 20, playing in the centre, Jocka Todd, Cliff Rankin and so on.

Ultimately recruited to Carlton from Packenham, McIntyre represented Carlton in 100 matches between 1935 and ’42. A quick flick through Carlton’s annual reports of the day go some way to telling the tale of his personal achievements. In the 1936 report, the then secretary Newton Chandler declared McIntyre a worthy recipient of the memorial medal struck the previous year to mark the untimely death on March 2 “of that manly and brilliant little player, Terry Ogden”.

“The Terry Ogden Memorial Medal for the ‘Most improved’ player, was awarded to Mr. Don McIntyre. Don, in his first season, proved one of the best ‘Back Pocket’ players in the League. His success proved very popular,” Chandler wrote.

Then in late 1937, Chandler wrote in glowing terms of McIntyre’s taking of the Robert Reynolds Trophy (a forerunner to the John Nicholls Medal) for club best and fairest.

“As predicted in the previous Season, Don developed into the finest Back Pocket Player in the League. He was most consistent and the honor was richly deserved,” Chandler wrote.

The Carlton Football Club extends its best wishes to its oldest living player, Don McIntyre, on the occasion of his 98th birthday.

Follow Tony De Bolfo on Twitter: @CFC_DeBolfo