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Member profile: Matthew Gericke

Danielle Balales, Carlton Media  April 22, 2016 11:27 AM

Matthew Gericke with daughter Lily. (Photo: Supplied)

Matthew Gericke with daughter Lily. (Photo: Supplied)

Name: Matthew Gericke

Carlton member years: 6

Favourite players: Anthony Koutoufides, Chris Judd, Patrick Cripps

Memorable match: Round 21 v Essendon in 2012

Tucked away in the southeast corner of the South Australian countryside sits a little town called Naracoorte.

With a population of only 5,000, you’d be mistaken to think all members of the local community barrack for the Crows or Port Adelaide – it’s definitely not the case.

Six-year Carlton member Matthew Gericke lives in Naracoorte, proving you can find a Bluebagger nearly everywhere you go.

“There is a few (Carlton supporters) out here, a mate of mine barracks for Carlton and all her family goes for the Blues – so I’m not flying the flag alone,” Matthew laughed.

“It doesn’t really matter who you are or where you come from, if you say you’re a Carlton supporter there’s always one other Carlton supporter in the room – so there’s an instant connection.”

Matthew’s love of Carlton began when he was a young boy, noting it was Carlton’s iconic navy blue guernsey that lured him in.

“I started supporting the Blues when I was about 10 years old.

“I think it was just because I liked the colour blue,” Matthew joked.

Living in Naracoorte provides plenty of challenges for Matthew, not only in getting to games, but also deterring grandparents who relentlessly persuade his children to support the local team.

With three little Bluebaggers at home, Matthew exclaimed his son was signed up as a Carlton member “basically on the day he was born” – so he’s hopeful they’ll be no swapping colours.

“My two daughters and my little boy also follow Carlton, but their granddad is trying to brainwash them into supporting the Crows.

Mitchell Gericke at his first Carlton game. (Photo: Supplied)

“My children are six, four and two-years old, so they get told if they start barracking for the Crows they’ll have to go and live with nanna,” he laughed.

It was Saturday 2 September in 1995 when Matthew attended his first AFL game, which just so happened to be a Carlton game – a match he remembers clearly.

“I went to my first AFL match, which was Cartlon v Essendon in 1995, it was actually the last home and away game of the season and we won by 41 points.”

In that game, during Carlton’s premiership year, Earl Spalding and Brad Pearce kicked three goals each, while Craig Bradley topped the stats sheet with 25 disposals.

It’s the battles against traditional rivals Essendon that keeps Matthew returning to the MCG each season.

“I probably get to two or three games a year,” he said.

“I generally get to the Carlton-Essendon games because a good mate of mine is an Essendon supporter, so we try to make it to those games – I’m going to the last match in Round 23.”

Matthew’s love of football stems from the friends he’s made and the “mateship” involved around footy clubs.

“I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends through football and I’m still playing footy myself – I play reserves footy for the Kyby Tigers,” he said.

“The boys that played in a few of the premierships together still keep in contact and we’re still friends even though some of them have moved away.”

Matthew, who plays “anywhere” the coach puts him, says there’s been plenty of football talent to sprout from the local area.

“Over the last five or six years we’ve had some pretty good players come out of Clydy: Lachie Neale, Alex Forster and Jack Trengove,” he said.

Alongside his two premiership medallions, the die-hard Carlton fan has a collection of Blues goodies, including a picture of the 1979 grand final with Wayne Harms (The ‘is it in, or is it out?’), as well as Chris Judd’s Brownlow guernsey and a painting – memorabilia his children will no doubt inherit, assuming they don’t start cheering for the Crows!