Festival Hall is fondly remembered as “The House of Stoush”, where some of the greatest names in boxing once traded the leather.
But in the summer of 1980, the only bout known to involve two protagonists from the same corner – the blue - played itself out, when Carlton President George Harris (and by association captain-coach Alex Jesaulenko) were voted out by the members.
And yet, within two years of the mayhem, Carlton would be returned to its rightful place at the top of the table, with David Parkin – “the Hawthorn bloke”- making his indelible mark as Carlton coach.
Former Carlton President Ian Rice, who said he used his casting vote to secure Parkin as the club’s coach, said that the Premiership teams of 1981 and ’82 rank with the best of them.
Asked recently what message he would like to convey to those players who represented Carlton in those famous back-to-back years, Rice replied;
“It was an honour to be their President. We had such fun together - the team, committee, backroom staff (who were all honorary then) and the members - they loved their club and showed it . Those four years were some of the happiest, most eventful of my life”.
The Parkin-coached “back-to-back” Grand Final triumphs of 1981 and ’82, aided and abetted by “The Mosquito Fleet” of Ashman, Buckley, Harmes, Johnston, Marcou, Sheldon and co., preceded the Robert Walls-coached ’87 victory, in what was David Rhys-Jones’ finest hour through the “Electrifying 80s”.
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