AFL 1997 – Twenty Years On: Carlton Blues (11th)

Two years on from their triumphs of 1995, Carlton had already bottomed out in preparation for their inevitable resurrection and perpetual domination of the AFL, as was their birthright.

Well, not quite, but they did wear quite a fetching confectionery-based outfit during their early season home victory over the eventual premiers. Their 1997 record was a middling 10-12.

Some hard calls were made at season’s end (sorry Wallsy), so this was the Swan Blues song for some of Carlton’s true legends.

Sam Smart ended up at Hawthorn – Hawthorn SA that is, where he remains a well-respected GP. Smart move indeed.

And doesn’t that #8 look like an angel. A very hungry angel.

But what of the rest of this list (courtesy of the Football Record)? What did they get up to? How was your 1997, Blues fans? Let us know down below.


List Management

AFL Debuts 1997: Jacob Anstey, Andrew Balkwill, Anthony Franchina, Darren Hulme, Ben Nelson, Mark Porter, Sam Smart

Players Kept Under Wraps 1997: Tony Bourke, Chris Jackson, Damien Lock, David Walls

Never Heard of Him: Jacob Anstey

Delistings/Retirements end 1997: Stephen Kernahan (ret), Greg Williams (ret), Earl Spalding (ret), Luke O’Sullivan, Mil Hanna (ret), Rohan Welsh, David Walls.


You can review all of the AFL 1997 lists here

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Heart you Ang…

  2. Mick Jeffrey says

    Has anyone else emulated Andrew Balkwill, whose only game at senior level was in the M&Ms jumper?

  3. Dave Brown says

    Good Melrose / Norwood boy is Sam. His folks own Bartagunyah Estate winery up that way. Last time I visited they still had a block mounted Redlegs team poster from the ’90s with him in it. Can’t remember if they had similar from Doug’s two years at the club (they were both active league players at the club in July-August 1992).

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thought you’d say that Litza

    Mick – that would be an interesting question. We’d need a cross between, afltables and Gigs to answer (remember the yellow Saints jumper?)

    Dave, more on Sam and Doug here:

  5. Now this is the Carlton team that I grew up with. Loved watching Sos, Christou, Kouta and Whitnall play back then. Sos was always my inspiration as a defender. But very glad my Kangas got the flag over them in ’99.

  6. I reckon Anstey may have gone to St Kilda?
    Not sure what happened to him from there.

  7. Adrian Hickmott coached my nephew at Swan Districts Colts a couple of years back. Now an assistant coach at the West Coast Eagles. “Top bloke” as Luke Darcy would say.

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    So sad Micky McGuane had to end up there.

  9. Malby Dangles says

    A few things to note was that Kernahan was injured for much of the year and Greg Diesel Williams was suspended for 9 games for pushing an umpire in an incident after the Round 1 loss to Essendon. Diesel was trying to have a pleasant chat to his Bomber nemesis Sean Denham. when an umpire tried to get in between the players and Williams shoved the ump aside so that he could get closer to Denham. After much tooing and froing through the tribunal and courts Diesel ended up with a 9 game suspension that was enacted near season’s end. His last game was against Essendon where the Baggers won, he played well, and rookie ruckman Mark Porter starred on debut. Perhaps we would’ve made the finals if he didn’t get rubbed out for the same action that a certain fellow Brownlow medalist did in the pre-season but was not suspended.

    I remember that SOS played some big games down forward for us and helped us win against the Eagles in Perth when we were given no chance. That was unreal!

    I went to a bunch of games that year and remember most vividly the Round 22 clash against the Tigers. A win would put us into the finals, whilst the Tigers were out of the race but they had been fired up by the temporary appointment of Jeff Gieschen as coach (replacing Robert Walls?). We recalled an injured Kernahan (who wasn’t close to cherry ripe and sat most of the game on the bench) but still dominated the first half to get a very large lead (I’m pretty sure we were up by about 40 points at one stage). Slowly but surely our injuries piled up and the Tigers started to roar back. We definitely had a few guys on the guornd by the end of the match who were lame. Did the Giesch give his 3qtr time speech near the Tigers cheer squad? Anyway (and of course) the Tigers ended up winning and their fans went bezerk! I was unfortunately in the ‘Legends stand for the game and it was chocca block full of angry yellow and black disciples looking to spoil Carlton’s late push for the finals. They celebrated like they’d won a flag. Oh well…The Tigers hired Giesch and he did what all haters of Richmond wanted and led them to a few crappy seasons.
    Sad to see Sticks, Diesel, Earl, Mil Hanna and the others retire. Poor Adrian Whitehead and Rohan Welsh were very promising players who had bad injuries.
    I would have never thought after 1997 we’d be in a Grand Final only 2 years later…wait I think back then it WAS possible (though unlikely) cause the Blues were a powerhouse and flush with success. No way would I have those flights of fancy about the Baggers nowadays.

  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Magnificent memories there Malby – thanks.

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