ONE hundred years ago this week - on the afternoon of Saturday, July 23, 1921 - the returned serviceman turned Carlton footballer Horrace Ray (‘Horrie’) Clover set an individual club goalkicking that still stands.
It happened against St Kilda in the 12th round contest at the Junction Oval, when Clover, considered this club’s greatest player between the wars, booted a lazy 13.2 (including a poster) from centre half-forward – most of them presumably by the long-gone drop kick.
Clover’s 13-goal haul was and remains the most gameday goals kicked by any centre half-forward in League history, and a matchday tally not bettered by any Carlton player (Vallence, Jesaulenko, Kernahan and Fevola included) in the ten decades since.
According to an unnamed reporter’s account in The Argus on the Monday after the match, a total of 17,000 spectators, amongst them the Victorian Governor Lord Stradbroke and Lady Stradbroke, bore witness to Clover’s goalkicking genius – three goals in the first quarter, three in the second, four in the third and three in the last – as the visitors inflicted a 98-point hiding.
“The only interest in the second half was as to whether Clover would equal Robertson’s tally of 14 goals for South Melbourne against St Kilda a few years ago,” the correspondent noted.
“On that occasion Robertson was fed from all directions, many times receiving the shot from men better placed than himself. Clover, however, battled for himself all day, his magnificent marking and beautiful kicking earning great applause from supporters of both sides.”
Another correspondent noted of Clover’s greatness at the Junction: “St Kilda defenders … have the consolation of knowing that other backmen have had the same uncomfortable experience against this Carlton super forward”.
At the Carlton AGM of 1922, Clover was presented with the mounted matchday football which had been generously handed over by St Kilda officials, who saw the man take on all comers, including the great Saints defender Wells Eicke.
Fast forward to 1929, and Clover’s on-field excellence was again rewarded, only this time with a cheque for £2/2/ and a trophy as his club’s best and fairest – the first such award to be presented at Princes Park some five years before the introduction of the Robert Reynolds Trophy (now the John Nicholls Medal).
That same year, Clover’s greatness was seen by all across the Nullarbor, when he captained Victoria to its first-ever victory over a powerful Western Australia outfit in Perth.
100 years on, and Horrie still tops a list of 16 Carlton players to have booted ten or more goals at senior League level. One would like think that Harry McKay, on a very, very good day, might give Horrie’s 13 a nudge.
10 OR MORE MATCHDAY GOALS, CARLTON 1897-2021
Goals Player Opponent Round/Venue
13.2 Horrie Clover St Kilda Round 12, 1921, Junction Oval
12.3 Greg Kennedy Hawthorn Round 21, 1972, Princes Park
12.2 Ross Ditchburn St Kilda Round 16, 1982, Waverley Park
11 Paul Schmidt St Kilda Round 16, 1941, Princes Park
11 Harry Vallence Fitzroy Round 15, 1938, Brunswick Street
11 Harry Vallence Collingwood Preliminary Final, 1932, MCG
11 Harry Vallence Collingwood Semi Final, 1931, MCG
11 Harry Vallence South Melbourne Round 15, 1929, Princes Park
10.11 Vin Gardiner St Kilda Round 15, 1911, Princes Park
10.7 Stephen Kernahan Footscray Round 3, 1995, MCG
10.6 Stephen Silvagni Fitzroy Round 16, 1993, Princes Park
10.3 Stephen Kernahan St Kilda Round 20, 1989, Princes Park
10.1 Alex Jesaulenko Fitzroy Round 6, 1970, Princes Park
10.0 Robert Walls Richmond Round 7, 1976, Princes Park
10 Noel O’Brien Fitzroy Round 17, 1954, Princes Park
10 Jim Baird Richmond Round 1, 1943, Princes Park