ON GRAND Final day 1979, Greg Kazuro was part of the Bryan Quirk-coached Carlton Under 19 team that landed a Premiership in the curtain-raiser to the seniors’ Grand Final when “Jezza’s Blues” rolled Collingwood on a heavy MCG deck.

Amongst those with whom Kazuro savoured Premiership success was a kid from the same neighbourhood to which he was zoned - Thomastown’s David Glascott - whose 173-game senior career would take in the Premierships of 1981, ’82 and ’87.

Greg Kazuro, Carlton footballer, 1982

From 1980 to mid-1983, Kazuro turned out in 49 games for the Carlton reserves, mainly as a key defender - and in getting a call-up for a couple of AFC night series appearances came as close as anyone could possibly get to earning a senior call-up for the home and aways.

“Yes, I was close,” said Kazuro of is prospects of breaking through to the ones. “But I remember reading something in the paper along the lines of ‘Greg Kazuro is finding it hard to get a game ahead of Bruce Doull and Geoff Southby’, which is probably the reason why the club decided to move me on.”

Regrettably, Dame Fortune didn’t deal Kazuro the hand he’d hoped - but the son of a Belarusian-born father and English-born mother was a pivotal figure in this club’s relentless and ultimately successful cross-state pursuit of a scrawny 19 year-old key forward whose Carlton CV would one day read two Premierships, longest-serving captain and highest career goalkicker, the great Stephen Kernahan.

Kazuro’s part in the Kernahan play happened a tick over 40 years ago, after the then Carlton Chairman of Selectors the late Wes Lofts issued Shane O’Sullivan with the now famous edict, “Find me another Royce Hart”.

Kernahan was promptly identified, but the player had no real interest in traversing the South Australian border until the Bays landed the SANFL Premiership – mercifully in 1985 to end a 12-year drought.

Which was why the Blues were hell-bent in helping get Glenelg over the line, and offered the outgoing Kazuro a football lifeline to realise the objective.

“It happened in 1983 mid-season, Kazuro recalled on a visit to IKON Park this week. “Wes Lofts came up to me and said, ‘Look, there’s an opportunity to go across to Glenelg and gain some senior experience.

“At the time Graham Campbell, who had actually coached me to an Under 11 Premiership with the Lalor/Thomastown Community Youth team whilst coaching Fitzroy reserves and later seniors all in the one year, was coach of Glenelg . . . so the move worked out very well for me.

“Disappointingly I didn’t stay on after that ’83 year, but I played with Stephen and David Kernahan over there and it was nice to be connected with Stephen Kernahan coming to Carlton.”

Greg Kazuro by Stephen Kernahan’s Hall of Fame Legends locker at IKON Park this week

Beyond his brief tenure at Glenelg, Kazuro chased the leather for VAFA outfit Bulleen-Templestowe, and then turned out in the Diamond Valley League. Years later he watched his son Nathan represent the Northern Blues and be part of a Premiership with St Bernard’s Old Collegians, “and ironically the A-Grade Premiership  they won happened here at the old Princes Park ground”.

More than forty years after the event, Kazuro bears no malice to Carlton for moving him on.

As he said: “Things have to fall your way, it’s often about the timing – you know, right time, right place – and I was blessed to be at Carlton, in esteemed company with some of the legends of the game”.

Thesedays you’ll find Kazuro in the outer at Carlton games - either at the MCG or Marvel - cheering on his beloved Blueboys as he’s done for most of his 63 years.

Why Carlton? Kazuro puts it  down to the seismic influence of one man, the late great Ronald Dale Barassi, whom he saw in action for the Redlegs in the 16th round match of August 1964.

“The first game I ever saw was Melbourne versus Essendon at the MCG when my grandfather took me,” Kazuro said.

“I saw this bull running around named Ron Barassi and I thought to myself ‘I really like this player’ – so much so that when I started playing junior football I wore a pair of Ron Barassi plastic footy boots and when Ron crossed to Carlton I followed him.”