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.
If you missed Wednesday's instalment, here's who featured at 10th and ninth.
If you missed Friday's instalment, here's who featured at eighth and seventh.
If you missed Monday's instalment, here's who featured at sixth and fifth.
4. Syd Jackson
136 matches, 165 goals (1969-’76)
Premiership player (1970 & ’72)
Carlton Hall of Fame (2006)
Best first-year player (1969)
4th best & fairest (1970 & ’75)
Best clubman (1975)
AFLPA Indigenous Team of the Century player (2005)
Carlton Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)
First there was Alf Egan . . . then Cyril Mann . . . and on the cusp of the Carlton renaissance under captain-coach Ron Barassi, the one and only Syd Jackson.
Whereas Egan and Mann hailed from the Victorian rural locales of Myamin and Silvan respectively, Jackson was a boy out of Roelands Mission who made good at East Perth when he crossed the Nullarbor in pursuit of his football dream.
Jackson’s much-anticipated arrival was put on hold at Princes Park, after the WAFL refused his transfer. That move cost Jackson his placed in the drought-breaking ’68 Grand Final victory, and he ran messages for the coach through the course of that season.
By the time his clearance came through, Jackson, at 24 was a man in a hurry. Starting in the centre against St Kilda in the opening round of ’69, Syd went about his business, booting two in a best afield performance.
From that day forward it wasn’t a matter of if but when for Carlton Premiership player Syd Jackson – and he was part of two of the most famous of all.
3. Mike Fitzpatrick
150 matches, 150 goals (1975-’83)
Premiership player (1979, ’81 & ’82)
Premiership captain (1981 & ’82)
Best & fairest (1979)
3rd best & fairest (1980 & ’81)
Equal 5th best & fairest (1975)
WA state representative (1979, ’80, ’81 & ’82)
Carlton Hall of Fame (inducted 1992)
Carlton Team of the Century
If ever a footballer embodied the time-honoured phrase Mens Sana in Corpore Sano (a Sound Mind in a Sound Body), it was surely Michael Clifford Fitzpatrick: Rhodes Scholar, sporting administrator, businessman, three-time Premiership player.
Joining Carlton as a 22 year-old after a 97-game tenure with WAFL club Subiaco, ‘Fitzy’s' prowess as an athletic, competitive ruckman of renown was obvious – and as with Nicholls before him and Kernahan afterwards, he led.
Formally taking the baton from ‘Percy’ Jones in the aftermath of the 1979 Grand Final, Fitzpatrick fronted an exceptional corps of Carlton players whom he would so ably lead to the triumphs of 1981 and ’82 under David Parkin’s watch as coach.
One hundred and fifty games for as many goals would round out Fitzpatrick’s magnificent career after nine seasons at Princes Park – and football would be but part of the story for the future AFL Commission Chairman who still holds Carlton close to his beating blue heart.