Andrew Carrazzo knows all about what it’s like when the Blues meet the Bombers. He’s well and truly been on both sides of the fence for it. As a supporter, as a player, and now as a supporter again.

The adage rang true for Carlton’s No.44 about rising to the occasion when the Blues came up against the teams you simply had to play better against. There was Collingwood, there was Richmond, and - particularly in Carrazzo’s case - there was Essendon.

While he won’t be at the MCG on Sunday night, the Carrazzo family will be watching the game intently during their long weekend away in what is the biggest clash between the Blues and Bombers since Carrazzo’s playing days.

“Considering where both teams are currently on the ladder and the significance of the game, it’s probably the biggest one since that elimination final in . . . was it 2011 or 2012?

“It was 2011. I’ve still got the scar to show for [2012]!”

Over 90,000 people were at the MCG for the 2011 elimination final between Carlton and Essendon.

Over 90,000 packed into the MCG in September 2011 for what was the Blues’ first final in Melbourne for 10 years, the Bombers’ first final under coach James Hird and what also turned out to be Carlton’s first finals win in a decade. With a 62-point triumph, what a sweet day it was.

Carrazzo remembers it fondly. He kicked the Blues’ final goal that day, beating the monogram on his chest — a celebration which he sees modern-day Blues love to implement in the present day.

“They’ve always got significance, they’re always big games no matter where the teams are on the ladder. Obviously finals and big games like the teams being up the top of the ladder make it a little bit more special,” Carrazzo said.

“There seems to be big crowds no matter where we play.

“I liked playing against the Bombers. I played on Brent Stanton a few times, Jobe Watson a few times. I had some big challenges with some good players on the other team, I used to love it.”

A common sight whenever Andrew Carrazzo came up against Essendon.

The 2007 John Nicholls Medallist highlights Brendan Fevola - of course - and Marc Murphy as two of his former teammates who relished when the Navy Blue met the red and black. But he may have been selling himself a little bit short.

The boyhood Bluebagger had some kind of record against the arch rival, with over 20 per cent of his career goals coming against Essendon (10 of 48). And what accompanied that were a few demonstrations of passion that he’d soon choose to forget.

“I definitely cringe. I didn’t premeditate anything, it was always in the moment. I was a pretty emotional player — it was always in good spirit!

“I do see some of those celebrations roll out from time to time and cringe a little bit. It makes it a little harder for me to tell my kids to not carry on after they kick a goal when they see vision of their old man carrying on like a two-bob watch. It was all in good fun.”

That’s not to say there isn’t a fair amount of carrying on in the present day.

Watching the Blues under Michael Voss, Carrazzo has well and truly gone back to where it all started — that is, very much as a supporter of the Old Dark Navy Blues. As he put it, “I am as much of a tragic fan as anyone at the moment”.

That sense is only heightened when the Blues - plus their old rivals - are tracking well.

“I love watching the boys, I think ‘Vossy’ is doing an amazing job. You can see the energy and teamwork and cohesion they’re playing with, it’s awesome. The Club is in a great spot and whatever success is in front of them is in their hands.

The celebration in question.

“It goes without saying. It feels like it’s been such a long time since Carlton, Collingwood and Essendon have all been up and about at the same time.”

He says he’s tipping with both his heart and his head with a Carlton win “by three or four goals . . . if the Blues play well”, and he’s hoping to see some of that aforementioned carry-on by the current day Carlton No.44.

“Because of where Matty plays, he always seems to be bobbing up with a goal, so he gets far more opportunity [to celebrate] than I did. I love the energy, you can see he gets the boys going.

“Thankfully I only did that [celebration] once in my career . . . and it was against the Bombers in that final!”