Three coffees at breakfast couldn’t ease Carlton recruit Jack Martin’s nerves before he finally got the news that had been almost a year in the making.
The Carlton and United brewery is next door to Victoria Park. Traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood have more in common than they think.
The both begin with ‘c’, they’re VFL founding members, Collingwood played their first ever (VFA) game against the Blues, and the former coach of one is now coach of the other.
Contrary to popular, and their own, opinion there is not much of a class difference either.
Yes, the suburb of the so-called aristocratic Blues was apparently named after a royal English mansion – Carlton House – but Collingwood’s impoverished masses, instead of adopting the name of an unemployed shoemaker for their home, chose to bask in the reflected glory of Lord Collingwood, a vice admiral of the Royal Navy.
The suburbs share a Greens politician – the first to be elected to the federal lower house in a general election – as their federal member, as well.
Carlton may have billionaire powerbrokers, wealthy benefactors and presidents – Anglo-patrician types (Anglo yobbo in John Elliot’s case) – and once had a Rhodes Scholar (Mike Fitzpatrick) for a captain and another academic type (David Parkin) as coach, but they’ve also had plenty of players from working class, immigrant backgrounds with names like Jesaulenko, Silvagni, Christou and Catoggio.
Collingwood’s current president is from Broadmeadows, but its driven chief executive and former player Gary Pert makes Marius Kloppers look like the local newsagent.
At one stage Collingwood probably had more players with a bent for physical violence, but then Carlton recruited David Rhys-Jones who not only returned Denis Bank’s sniping punches but initiated some of his own.
The Blues were careful to choose a thug who was good enough to win a Norm Smith Medal though.
At the Peter MacCallum charity breakfast on Thursday, the two teams – each represented by their coach and captain – were trying hard to appear to be on different planets.
The Blues were in navy suits and ties next to the Magpies in polo shirts that represent some of the most expensive advertising space in the country.
Mick Malthouse, whose recruitment by Carlton was conceived in the toilets of Metricon Stadium, spent time at St Kilda, Richmond, the Western Bulldogs, and of course Collingwood, but you got the impression that if he had been looking at his former assistant and captain (he wasn’t) in their billboard shirts he would have leaned over to Marc Murphy and whispered: “So tasteless!”
It wasn’t that long ago when Malthouse – now a walking advertisement for Mars bars – had McDonalds’ golden (yellow) arches emblazoned on his collar.