Great AFL rivalries: Collingwood vs Carlton

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By The_Wookie, The_Wookie is a Roar Rookie

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    The next few weeks feature quite a few big matches with history behind them in the AFL. This week is of course the Collingwood v Carlton on Friday night, which will feature the unveiling of the premiership flag.

    More than 80,000 people will pack in to the MCG for this clash of the league’s titans. It will be live or slightly delayed all over Australia, including live into regional NSW and Queensland on 7mate.

    It’s quite likely the biggest rivalry in all of Australian sport – at times ferocious, and tribal at its very core. Looking back, Carlton were traditionally portrayed as upper class and arrogant, while Collingwood were more of a working class entity – a feeling which still exists in some quarters today.

    Even in an era where professionalism has largely replaced emotion at the club level, fans and officials alike still maintain a cordial dislike for each other. Any self-respecting football forum this week will be full of insults going one way or the other.

    Carlton, founded in 1864, were one of the pillars of the VFA by the time Collingwood were created in 1891. Both clubs entered the VFL when it was created in 1896.

    Carlton were the first club to win three premierships in a row, but this feat would be equalled and then surpassed by their greatest rivals in the late 1930s. Carlton, however, remain equal top of the premiership table with Essendon, just one premiership clear of the Magpies.

    Some of history’s great VFL Grand Finals featured these clubs, with six meetings in Grand Finals and 22 in finals, and almost any follower of the sport will automatically point to the 1970 Grand Final, regardless of what team they support.

    On that day, 129,000 people crammed into the MCG – still a record for the greatest football attendance in Australia – to see the Blues triumph despite being down by 44 points, in itself the second-biggest comeback in the history of the sport.

    This would be followed up by the 1979 Grand Final where many Collingwood supporters believe they were robbed by the heroics of Wayne Harmes and contend that the ball was out of bounds before being slapped back to the goal square.

    With this in mind, the Blues again triumphed as they did again in the 1981 Grand Final. Since 1981, the two teams have not met in a Grand Final, and have not played a final against each other since 1988.

    The begining of the rivalry is believed to be the 1910 Grand Final, where more than thirty players and officals were involved in an all-in brawl. Four players were suspended for at least a year as a result, although Collingwood had one of its players reprieved.

    These days, this is one of the AFL’s showpiece matches, and along with Essendon, the two clubs form a triumvirate of high-drawing match-ups that few other clubs can match for ferocity.

    On Friday night, we get to see this drama unfold for the 242nd time. On form, one would suggest that the Pies would win, but history shows that when these sides are involved the underdog can rise from nowhere and steal the victory.

    Premierships: 16 – 1 AFL, 15 VFL
    Brownlows: 5 – Bert Deacon (1947), John James (1961), Gordon Collis (1964), Greg Williams (1994), Chris Judd (2010)
    Norm Smiths: 4 – Wayne Harmes (1979), Bruce Doull (1981), David Rhy-Jones (1987), Greg Williams (1995)

    Premierships: 15 – 2 AFL, 13 VFL
    Brownlows: 8 – Syd Coventry (1927), Albert Collier (1929), Harry Collier (1930), Marcus Whelan (1939), Des Fothergill (1940), Len Thompson (1972), Peter Moore (1979), Nathan Buckley (2003)
    Norm Smith: 3 – Tony Shaw (1990), Nathan Buckley (2002), Scott Pendlebury (2010)

    Crowds: (last 3 years)
    2010 – 80,645 and 76,980
    2009 – 84,938 and 82,834
    2008 – 80,310 and 77,873

    This week
    Where and when: 7:50pm, Friday 8th of April, Melbourne Cricket Ground
    Head to head: Carlton 123 wins, Collingwood 114 wins, four draws
    Last time: Collingwood 14.10.94 d Carlton 4.16.40 (round 17, 2009 at the MCG)

    Next week: Carlton vs Essendon

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    The Crowd Says (52)

    • Roar Pro

      April 6th 2011 @ 6:01am
      EvertonAndAustralia said | April 6th 2011 @ 6:01am | ! Report

      Better be shown live or at a decent time into Brisbane

      • Roar Guru

        April 6th 2011 @ 6:05am
        The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 6:05am | ! Report

        unfortunately at this time its not. It will be shown live into regional qld and nsw on Prime 7mate digital, it will be live into Melbourne and Canberra (7mate digital), it will be half hour delay into adelaide, and 2 hour delay into perth. It WILL be live on Foxtel main event in Sydney and Brisbane…but FTA? Not until 11.30pm. yes its a travesty.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 6th 2011 @ 6:20am
      SideShowBob said | April 6th 2011 @ 6:20am | ! Report

      What chance for a draw?

      • Roar Guru

        April 6th 2011 @ 7:03am
        The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 7:03am | ! Report

        Given channel 7s record of broadcasting draws this season, id say its quite possible were i a superstitious man.

    • April 6th 2011 @ 6:35am
      Kasey said | April 6th 2011 @ 6:35am | ! Report

      An interesting article thanks, but I think you go overboard with your Victorian-Centric hyperbolae. You say:

      “It’s quite likely the biggest rivalry in all of Australian sport ”

      I would counter that should have been more accurately written as

      “It’s quite likely the biggest rivalry in all of Australian CLUB sport ”

      to take into account the tremendous rivalry between NSW and QLD in RLSoO and between SA and Victoria in ARF SoO and basically anything really. Or even between Aust and England in Cricket. A little thing you might have heard of called the Ashes;) Finally to finish my many examples…does the Bledisloe Cup ring any bells?

      • Roar Guru

        April 6th 2011 @ 7:01am
        The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 7:01am | ! Report

        given these matches predate State of Origin as we know it by 70 years, and predates Australian Footballs Origin concept byh 60 years – and continued after it. Origin is 3 matches a year, Collingwood and Carlton play 2 – and draw the same size crowd, and a similar domestic tv audience. Likewise the rivalry predates the Bledisloe Cup which originated in 1931-32, and was held sporadically until 1981. While theres no question that these are high profile matches, Collingwood and Carlton predate this as an ongoing rivalry. I didnt write this in the article because I was depsrately trying to avoid another code war thread.

        Yes, the Ashes is a big deal, and I cant dispute that given its longevity and history over the years, i did however say “likely”.

        • April 6th 2011 @ 9:09am
          Kasey said | April 6th 2011 @ 9:09am | ! Report

          I can understand your reticence to start another code bashing thread, by God it gets tiresome on here sometimes, but If I may offer some advice, in your attempt to avoid that fate by neglecting to even mention the other sports I mentioned, you give the impression of ignoring them. IMO THIS is what causes people to get all snooty about their sport being dis-respected. You are writing about Australian Rules Footy, a sport with a proven track record of arrogance when dealing/interacting with other sporting codes[from the administration down to the fans(By God, do you guys teach your kids their first words to be: ” We have more members and we have a bigger TV deal so shut up alright?”] In your article, you could so easily have avoided any chance of offence by quantifying your preface as I mentioned above. In fact in your response to my comment, you demonstrate a wider knowledge of Sport than is generally attributed to ARF fans and I would have liked to see your response to me actually in your original article. It lends weight to your proposition that Coll-Carl is likely the biggest, because it shows the history of the game pre-dates other ‘big’ clashes on the Australian Spotring calendar.

          • Roar Guru

            April 6th 2011 @ 9:18am
            Redb said | April 6th 2011 @ 9:18am | ! Report

            “I can understand your reticence to start another code bashing thread, by God it gets tiresome”

            yet here you are ready to jump on anything you consider worthy of a good lecture and straightening out.

            The article is titled “Great AFL rivalries: Collingwood vs Carlton”

            Maybe you should tune in and watch the game.

            • April 6th 2011 @ 9:42am
              Kasey said | April 6th 2011 @ 9:42am | ! Report

              Code-bashing comes about through lack of respect and innacurate representations. I merely seek to give an alternate view to reduce innacuracies. Wookie has shown him/herself to be very knowledgeable about all the major sporting codes in previous articles and surprisingly for a fan of AFL, seems open to criticism and/or corrections. The roar exists in part not only to read other fans opinions, but to learn and to see from differing points of view. This makes it much more worty of my attention than say bigfooty, which is all about AFL and “how good it is with little to no regard given to alternate points of view. FWIW, I won’t be watching Collingwod-Carlton on Friday night as I will be at the Adelaide Oval to watch the mighty Redlegs take on the Double Blues inthe SANFL Fridaynight blockbuster. SANFL….good old traditional footy, including the exciting things the VFL/AFL have legislated out of the game. It is interesting that in the last 10 years, attendances at AFL games in Adelaid have either plateaued or dropped(depending on which spin you believe) BUT

              SANFL crowds are at record levels for a supposed ‘lesser’ quality of footy. I wonder why that is?

              • Roar Guru

                April 6th 2011 @ 9:47am
                Redb said | April 6th 2011 @ 9:47am | ! Report

                I’ll tell you why Kasey, Adelaide Crows fans are downhill skiers.

                Good on you for supporting SANFL footy but spare me the usual jibes at VFL/AFL we know you Croweaters have never really gotten over the fact that the SANFL (what is the ‘N’ for?) came second in the race to create a national league.

                Carlton v Collingwood will be awesome.

                For the record I hope you sort out that misleading article title on the soccer thread about Fox Sports. We know which are the biggest sports on Foxtel; its NRL, daylight then AFL, daylight the rest. That is largely driven through the base of subscriptions though. One off games with parochial interest will always do well but are misleading in terms of interest in the sport as a spectator.

              • Roar Guru

                April 6th 2011 @ 10:39am
                The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                SANFL has always enjoyed a strong local support, and hopefully always will. Same goes for WA. Good on you for supporting a local team. Ive lived in adelaide for 18 years and ive never adopted one…just cant bring myself to be a south australian.

              • April 6th 2011 @ 10:52am
                Kasey said | April 6th 2011 @ 10:52am | ! Report

                BOTH Port and Crows membrships and attendances are down and it is NOT just due to the poor location of AAMI Stadium or its condition/lack of transport. I feel it is to do with an element of footy fans in Sa feelnig disenfranchised by the way the game is being run with little to no consideration given to SA’s unique needs – witnes the bunfight every year about schedulng and fixturing – the Crows want more Sat night games with less Sunday arvo games as a lot of fans come from the country for games and can’t get back to their propertie in time. Port wants Friday night as much as possible to maximise revenue. If this is howthe AFL treat a’ tradiional footy state, no wonder Tasmanians have buckley’s of getting a team. The result is a turning away from the Vic-centric focus of the AFL (i.e. give Collingwood whatever they want becase it maximises revenue and attendances – bugger the rest of the competitions fans!)
                Only 3 years ago, the AFC had a membership over 50k with a substantial waiting list
                This year alreadysince March I’ve had 3 phone calls from the AFC asking me if I’d like to reconsider my dropping of my ST& Membership. All 3 times I’ve said ” no thank you…I’m more than happy to support local footy by being a Norwood member & STH.”
                AFC member #s:
                2007:50,976(finished 8th)
                2011:unk? (-)
                Port member #s:
                2007:34,073(finished 2nd)
                2011: unk? (-)

                As for the SANFL – the N stands for National – as in ARF was considered the National brand of footy(or was envisioned as going to be) when the renaming from SAFL took effect in 1927. remember the ANFC(the arbiter of the good of the game until the VFL became the AFL in 1990 and assumed the role as the codes governing body.
                recent SANFL total (H&A + finals) attendances:
                2007:322,835(96 games)
                2008:362,209 (96) *record(post AFC) high
                In the same way that the A-League is NOT the sole indicator to te health of Football in Australia. the AFL and its attendances/memberships are not the sole indicator of ARF. The SANFL retains a very strong position in the SA sporting landscape even though the introduction of the Crows gutted the competition in 1991.

              • Roar Guru

                April 6th 2011 @ 11:00am
                The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 11:00am | ! Report

                All state leagues, except the VFL added the N in 1927, but most removed it shortly after. It was part of the National Football Council thing that just didnt quite get enough legs.

                Adelaide memberships are down purely because of where Adelaide finished last year, just as they have affected Brisbane. Lacking the immunity West Coast have to these things, and the second coming of Christ that Essendon got, its no wonder they are down.

                Port crowds are ALWAYs down. Its what happens when you take on the name of the most hated, but best supported state league club when you join the AFL..

                I feel the AFL has let the SANFL and WAFL be neglected a little, but thats also partly their fault, because they havent wanted AFL involvement unless they really have to.

              • April 6th 2011 @ 2:39pm
                Football United said | April 6th 2011 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

                SANFL and WAFL support is fantastic considering the AFL is doing their best to disfranchise all their fans. id love to see these guys and the VFL taking the knockout cup a step further and creating a national second tier league for these guys with P&R up and down to the state leagues. AFL can continue its stuff but there should be more money for building up its base.

          • Roar Guru

            April 6th 2011 @ 10:14am
            The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 10:14am | ! Report

            Ive had this problem before, Kasey, where i write specifically about Australian football matters, and because i dont include other sports when discussing it, its evidently me ignoring them. In this case, I wrote that “its quite likely”, a far from absolute description of the magnitude of the rivalry, and I didnt feel that comparing it to other sports within the article was relevant or necessary. I do see where it does open this debate a little though, so i guess i have to wear it.

            In short, point taken mate.

        • April 6th 2011 @ 9:16am
          db swannie said | April 6th 2011 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          Origin is 3 matches a year, Collingwood and Carlton play 2 – and draw the same size crowd, and a similar domestic tv audience

          If you can point me to the ratings where any AFL club match can match SOO ratings,,,,i would love to see it.

          • Roar Guru

            April 6th 2011 @ 9:48am
            Redb said | April 6th 2011 @ 9:48am | ! Report

            yes he got the ratings comment wrong.

          • Roar Guru

            April 6th 2011 @ 10:08am
            The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            It takes more than rv ratings to make a Great Rivalry. In this case, its taken112 years of constantly sniping at each other, of classic matches that make history in that sport, that leave supporters with indelible memories of these past matches.

            When these two clubs started hating each other rugby league didnt even exist.

            • April 6th 2011 @ 10:18am
              db swannie said | April 6th 2011 @ 10:18am | ! Report

              Nice deflection…
              You posted how a club game has similar ratings to SOO .
              PLEASE show me proof..
              This is excatly why articles turn into code wars……
              Something that is absolute rubbish gets posted ..with no proof,& then when asked to show proof,you get some waffling answer.
              Back it up with facts,or dont post it at all.

              • Roar Guru

                April 6th 2011 @ 10:47am
                The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                as Redb said, I may have got that part wrong.

              • May 8th 2011 @ 9:24pm
                Sam el Perro said | May 8th 2011 @ 9:24pm | ! Report

                May or did?

          • Roar Guru

            April 9th 2011 @ 10:36am
            Richard said | April 9th 2011 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            You’ve got to remember though that the SOO is a match between the two best Rugby League Teams in the world. Even I like to watch it and whenever it’s played in Melbourne I go along (with my NSW scarf). But from when I lived in Sydney, it seemed to me that many people just watch the Origin games (big crowds in the pubs) because it’s the thing to do – everyone’s doing it after all. Not because they really like the game, or really care in the end. Carlton and Collingwood though, well that’s real rivalry. We really hate each other. You guys in Rugby League territory may have your petty jealousies, but you don’t have anything like the intenisty of that rivalry between two clubs built up over more than 100 years of beating each other up. The pleasure for a human being of seeing Carlton go down by a big margin is better than sex and lasts a lot longer. Why I’ll even be at the Blues game with the Bombers next week, just hoping I experience it again. Now that’s rivalry.

            • April 9th 2011 @ 10:47am
              Titus said | April 9th 2011 @ 10:47am | ! Report

              I think a lot of the passion has gone out of the SoO, it peaked somewhere in the 80’s and particularly in NSW, the game has lost a lot of significance, I guess beating Queensland just doesn’t mean as much to us.

              And Rep games outside of national teams are a bit silly, why would you want to support players that you have spent most of the season hating? unless they are wearing the national shirt.

              As for the AFL game, impressive crowd but was a bit weird how the crowd was more important than the game, I didn’t see any amazing passion, in fact I can’t believe that such a big crowd can be so devoid of excitement, passion and atmosphere, seemed like everyone rocked up to be part of the crowd and then didn’t know what to do, and the scrappy nature of AFL prevented any awe and excitement from building.

              • Roar Guru

                April 9th 2011 @ 3:37pm
                Richard said | April 9th 2011 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                There was plenty of passion last night but I agree not as much as there might have been in past years. My take is that, for ‘Pies fans, Carlton this year aren’t the real test. No-one’s unbeatable and we could have lost last night if the guys hadn’t had so much faith in each other and taken some real risks. However, I have a feeling the real test for us this year is going to be Hawthorn. There’s also Essendon, Geelong, St Kilda, Fremantle and Sydney (and maybe Melbourne) who will stretch the ‘Pies. But at this early stage it’s Hawthorn who are the threat. You’ll see plenty of passion at that game, when there’s more fear in the air. Scrappy nature of AFL football? What are you, a basketball fan?

    • Roar Guru

      April 6th 2011 @ 8:45am
      Redb said | April 6th 2011 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      Should be a good game but I’d expect Collingwood to win by 5-6 goals in the end. Carlton are soft (except Judd) they won’t stand up to Collingwood’s pressure. for example: Swan v Murphy? dont make me laugh.

      Carlton beat the young Suns and are starting to beleive their own hype. Reality check this Friday night. Hit ’em hard Pies we have the Blues next week 😉

      • Roar Guru

        April 6th 2011 @ 10:03am
        The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        im really hoping the next three weeks deliver some quality matches and not blowouts. This is where the AFl makes up for a sluggish start to the year.

      • April 8th 2011 @ 10:20am
        the truth hurts said | April 8th 2011 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        No one is softer than Monfries & Davey.

    • Roar Guru

      April 6th 2011 @ 9:37am
      Richard said | April 6th 2011 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      Good article written by an obvious lover of the game. Reminds us that our obsession is factually based and with good cause. Thank God for that. Go ‘Pies!

    • Roar Guru

      April 6th 2011 @ 10:46am
      The_Wookie said | April 6th 2011 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      Im also bemused at the roar editor who thought that a picture of a Collingwood v Geelong match was suitable here lol.

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