When he runs out on to the ground in the opening game of Round 1, Kade Simpson will play his 287th match for Carlton – equalling the record of Justin Madden. The mark will tie Madden’s place for fifth-most games played in the club’s history.
Madden – the younger brother of Essendon champion Simon – followed Simon from Airport West to the Bombers, playing his first three years of AFL in 1980-82.
He played in the Victorian side in 1982 but, starved of ruck opportunities at Essendon, requested a clearance to Carlton where his career continued for another 14 years. At 206cm, Justin was one of the first beanpole ruckmen but proved his ability by finishing one vote behind Brad Hardie, the winner of the 1985 Brownlow Medal.
At Carlton, he played in two winning (1987 and 1995) grand finals and two losing ones (1986 and 1993). His two club Best and Fairests came in 1985 and 1991. Along with Corey Enright (Geelong), Madden holds the record for the most number of games played in the famous #44 jumper.
He retired as a player in July 1997 and later became a Sports Minister in the Victorian Labour Government.
Eventually, Marc Murphy will move to 18th-place on the Blues’ all-time list when he passes two other former champions: Rod McGregor and Rod Ashman.
McGregor, born in Numurkah, was suspended for a year in 1913 (for disobeying the Captain in the 1912 preliminary final) but still managed to play in four winning and two losing grand finals for the club, missing the 1907 premiership because of a broken nose.
Ashman, originally recruited from Eaglehawk, was part of the club’s famous mosquito fleet, playing for the Blues from 1973 until 1986 including the two premiership years of 1981 and 1982.
Well known for his courage, he copped many hits to the head and started wearing a helmet in 1982. After his retirement, he became a Board Member at the club and coached the reserves, eventually serving served on the match committee.