One hundred and eight years to the day and it truly holds its place in football’s pantheon – the 1906 VFL Grand Final, Carlton versus the now-defunct Fitzroy, when “The Brewers” landed the first of sixteen premierships for the mighty club.
It was Saturday, September 22, and a then record audience for an Australian sporting match of 44,437 crammed into the Melbourne Cricket Ground to be part of that unique moment in time.
Notwithstanding the historic final scoreline of 15.4 (94) – 6.9 (45), which included a then-record sequence of 11 consecutive goals, this was a game in which Mick Grace booted his 50th major, becoming the first player to achieve the feat.
In truth, Carlton controlled the match from siren to siren, in what was an unmitigated triumph for the game’s first mentor Jack Worrall. Little wonder Melbourne Punch’s correspondent “Centre” was moved to pen such loving prose.
‘Carlton.. ain’ they blithrers’, ‘Would have won if it had snowed’, ‘On Saturday’s dewy eve such scraps of dialogue were heard all over this great, great city.
No matter where you turned even in the pub, your eardrums were tickled with ‘Grace’, Great game’, Should ’ave ’ad his shot’, ‘Jack Worrall’, ‘Bongo’ and other classic sounds that pattered like a rain of Grand Italian Opera.
‘Everybody was decorated with blue and white ribbons. Their talk was blue. Everybody wanted to get into the blue tram and have a ride. At the finish they were drinking blue beer... it tasted blue anyhow. The pubs dispensed free beer. Free beer. Think of it, free beer in Carlton.
‘After a grand Fitzroy fight-back in the third quarter they had little left in the last. Carlton put on six sixers accompanied by wild warcries and chants of triumph, and waving of hats, scarves, brollies, other people's tall hats, bits of fence, husks of grandstand and anything else lying handy.
‘After 19 dormant years the Old Blues were sailing gaily up the happy harbour, for home and beauty. The globule had been sent through the sticks so often that it seemed to know the way.
‘By the end they were actually handballing, handing the orb round like it was a cheese sandwich, passing like passengers through turnstiles, all in turn, and shoving it right through the gaudy uprights without frightening the children.
‘Carlton broke all the records, attendance, goalkicking, artistic finish, Maroon superiority, most of the fence and heaps of other things. 'The Blues put up one of the finest exhibitions this wondering world has ever seen. It was a greater and finer exhibition than the Pyramids, or the Crystal Palace or the Taj Mahal or the Melbourne Waxworks. The Brewers played team ball like a well-oiled clock, shining in clusters rather than as bright particular stars.
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