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To the memory of Don Hall

DON Hall, a 10-game Carlton senior player in three seasons from 1958, has died after a short illness at the age of 80.

Born in Trafalgar, but recruited to Carlton from the late Vin Waite’s Morwell Football Club, Hall was nine days shy of his 21st birthday when he donned the dark Navy Blue guernsey for the first time at senior level. That was when he followed his captain Bruce Comben down the race and onto Princes Park for the Round 8 match of ’58 against Hawthorn.

In so doing, Hall, wearing the No.34 now sported by Andrew Phillips, became the 719th player since the VFL foundation season of 1897 to represent his club.

Named 20th man for that contest, and taking his place on the pine with Vic Garra, Hall savoured the moment, as the Jim Francis-coached Carlton accounted for the visitors by eight points.

His final appearance came in the fifth round of 1960, against Essendon at Windy Hill, on a day in which Leo Brereton (named alongside the former in a forward pocket) booted six goals in a losing team.

Hall’s son Peter said that while his father rarely reflected on his League career in the presence of others, he did open up to me “and I was pretty proud of him”.

“Dad told me that at Carlton he played in every position known to man and he did boast that he once kicked three goals on Verdun Howell,” Peter said.

“He was also a very good drop kick. He could hit the centre of Princes Park with a drop from full-back, but he also played forward and though he only stood six foot he played ruck. He had a good jump and a bit of speed.”

Carlton's team of 1958. Don Hall is pictured in the back row, second from the left. (Photo: Carlton Football Club)

Asked the reason for his father’s all too brief time with the old dark Navy Blues, Peter explained that his father’s trade was the priority at the time. 

“I think he was very proud and quite content with what went on,” Peter said. “He would have liked to play a few more, but circumstances dictated that. He was a builder by profession and in truth building came first and foremost and sport second.

“I know his time at Carlton was short and I think at one point he even asked for a clearance to Collingwood but thank God he didn’t get it. I just couldn’t have handled that.”

Beyond the Blues, Hall represented VFA club Oakleigh before heading across the border to Lockhart in the New South Wales Riverina.

“Footy got him up there and being a builder meant that he could also find work pretty easily – and he ended up coaching five teams there, from juniors through to seniors,” Peter said.

But Hall always kept an active interest in the fortunes of the Carlton team. A cherished moment was returning to a past players function some 15 years ago, and being reunited with Comben and also Sergio Silvagni, who completed his Carlton debut in that same season of 1958.

As Peter said of his father’s time at Carlton: “He loved it”.

“We lived in Geelong when Gary Ablett senior started playing and he fell in love with him, so much so that he used to say he barracked for Geelong. But don’t worry, he was a Carlton supporter through and through, and so am I . . . ”  

Don Hall died peacefully in an aged care facility in Warrnambool on Monday. A private funeral was subsequently held at his request.

He is survived by his wife Helen, son Peter, daughter Natalie, daughter-in-law Kathy three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

The Carlton Football Club also wishes to acknowledge the recent passing of lifelong supporter Keith Brown, aged 100.

In late January, Keith celebrated the significant milestone at the Mentone RSL by donning the famous dark Navy Blue guernsey presented to him as a birthday gift by Jed Lamb. On that occasion, Keith spoke of his fond memories of home matches at Princes Park and of his favourite all-time player the legendary Harry ‘Soapy’ Vallence.