WITH Perth now the epicentre for all things Carlton, it’s timely to reflect on the seismic on-field contributions of Western Australians to the club – from the Boulder-born ‘Clarrie’ Uren back in 1924 through to Broome’s Jack Martin, in this his maiden season in Dark Navy.
So who are the Blues’ best of the west? Well, with the grim realisation I’m on a hiding to nothing, this correspondent has seen fit to identify Carlton’s top 10 Western Australians.
For the purposes of this exercise, players eligible for selection had to meet two key criteria, in that they:
- played most of their junior and senior football in Western Australia; and
- represented Carlton in a minimum 50 senior games.
Based on the first criteria, Western Australian-born players ineligible for selection include the three-time Premiership player Mark Maclure, whose junior pathway predominantly played out in Queensland and New South Wales. Based on the second, Brighton Diggins (the 1938 Premiership captain-coach whose on-field appearances were confined to just 31) and Premiership players Ross Ditchburn (28) and Bert Thornley (24), could not be considered.
So here are Carlton’s western stars, in reverse order. Today, we continue with Nos.6 and 5.
6. Peter Bosustow
65 matches, 146 goals (1981- ’83)
Premiership player (1981 & ’82)
Leading goalkicker 1981 (59 goals)
6th best & fairest (1981)
Mark of the year (1981)
Goal of the year (1981)
Night premiership player (1983)
Peter Robert Bosustow’s time lasted just 65 senior games through three seasons, and yet Betts aside few at Carlton could command a highlights reel like his. Recruited from Perth to the Club for whom his father once played, ‘The Buzz’ blazed a trail at Bluesville as a freakish, flamboyant aerialist/on-baller who thrilled audiences through a golden era at Princes Park.
Under David Parkin’s watch, Carlton teams featured in big games more often than not - and the bigger the game, the better the ‘Buzz’.
Remembered fondly as a freakish match-winner who could do it all, Bosustow’s commitment to Carlton was instantly rewarded with a Premiership medal in year one – a year in which he bagged mark and goal of the year – and another medal in year two.
Wearing the No.4 later donned by the great Stephen Kernahan, Bosustow booted 146 career goals at better than two per game, and his 65 appearances took in just 15 defeats.
“I was that excited that I was going to wear the Navy Blue jumper,” Bosustow said in a later interview.
“It wasn’t a fluke that I chose Carlton. I had two players that I really wanted to play football with – one was Wayne Johnston, and the other was Mark Maclure”.
Through those special two seasons, that trio formed one of the greatest half-forward lines in Carlton history.
5. Patrick Cripps
110 matches, 52 goals (2014- R. , 2020*)
Club best & fairest (2015, 2018, 2019)
3rd best & fairest (2016)
All-Australian (2018 & 2019)
Runner-up AFLCA Champion Player of the Year (2018)
Runner-up AFLPA MVP (2018)
AFLPA Most Valuable Player (2019)
Carlton co-captain (2019 - )
By the time the draft camp rolled around a week after the 2013 AFL Grand Final, Carlton’s then Head of Recruiting Shane Rogers knew he’d be calling Patrick Cripps’s name at the next draft.
For Rogers, the lightbulb moment came eight weeks earlier, in an Under 18 NAB AFL Championships contest involving Western Australia-South Australia.
“I remember ‘Crippa’ picked up the ball at a stoppage at centre half-back and went ‘bang’ with this handball. The ball travelled 30 metres onto the wing and hit a teammate full bore... and I hadn’t seen anything like that since Greg Williams,” Rogers said.
For Rogers, Cripps’ vision, footy smarts and intelligence far outweighed his lack of leg speed... and oh, how the boy from Northampton has vindicated the recruiter’s faith.
A big-bodied brute of a midfielder not surprisingly dubbed 'The Extractor' for his ball-winning ability through the under-18 champs, Cripps overcame the substantial early setback of a broken leg to emerge as his club’s pre-eminent on-baller.
With Judd and Murphy sidelined through injury, Cripps’ leadership qualities were also called upon early – but he welcomed the responsibility of office and in his break-out season set an AFL record for most possessions ever recorded and was shaded by Jesse Hogan as the competition’s Rising Star.
The second-youngest player in Carlton history (after John Nicholls) to win the club’s Best and Fairest award, Cripps’s lofty standing in the game was rapidly forged both internally and externally.
By season’s end 2018, the boy from Northampton earned another B & F - having finished first in League rankings for total contested possessions, first in total centre clearances, second in total clearances, third in total disposals and sixth in total tackles. The following year, the newly-named Carlton co-captain bettered his already lofty standards, earning the AFLPA’s MVP in a landslide, on top of All-Australian selection for the second consecutive year and his third John Nicholls Medal.
Having now turned out in 100 games for the Carlton Football Club, Patrick Cripps’ name is forever consigned to the No.9 locker... and the best is yet to come.