Helping the Blues to a 17th flag?


by Damien Little

I do not consider myself a superstitious person. It wouldn’t phase me to cross a black cat under a ladder on Friday the 13th.

However, in 1994, as Carlton was regaining its powerhouse status, I began to become superstitious about football and my contribution to the team’s performance.

Should I be wearing my Carlton socks on game day? If I missed the game, would it have a bearing on the result? Was my Carlton mini-football a lucky charm I needed to kick and toss around while listening to the game?

In 1995, when the Blues stepped it up a notch to win the flag, I took my following of the game to new heights. I listened to every game, collected every Monday Herald Sun sports section and one of the weekly sports magazines (they are still stored somewhere in my Dad’s shed).  I also judiciously marked down every Carlton goal kicked during each game.

Funnily enough I can remember 1995’s two losses clearly.  I watched Sydney v Carlton on a wet and cold Friday night from my lounge room in Geelong. My good mate Pete came round with his new car ( a big old Ford station wagon painted missionary brown that we aptly named “The Rocket”) at around three-quarter-time and I decided to take up his offer of a drive down to the Bellarine Peninsula and a few beers to commiserate our first loss.

The next week against St Kilda I headed to Melbourne to catch up with a friend. In the CBD just before game time I purchased a walkman and preceded to walk around town with him for the afternoon unable to communicate as I intently (and miserably) followed the game.

However, the most memorable game of the year for me is the West Coast v Carlton game in about round 20 when many in the media were speculating that it would be a good time for Carlton to drop a game so that they could get it over with before the finals.

I was in Cobden for the weekend helping out my father (who was the caterer at the local golf club) and headed back to Geelong at speed in my 1972 Toyota Corolla Mark II.  My timing was tight and just as I was entering Belmont I was envisaging myself unlocking the front door in time to catch the opening of the game when all of a sudden it dawned on me that I had left my front door key all the way back in Cobden.

Needless to say my trip back was taken at great haste and I remember being hunched over the wheel, ear bent towards the radio, intently following the game. I managed to watch the second half of that magnificent game on the edge of my seat, visibly shaking and with my left eye nervously twitching as we nutted out a great win. Earl Spalding’s shirtfront on Guy McKenna will always be remembered as will Greg Williams’ exploits in the last quarter.

In the lead up to the preliminary final against North I stuck a pathetic “Go Blues” sign on the back window of my car made from scrap cardboard and written in blue pen.

Clearly my dedication paid off as I had helped us secure our 16th flag.

Is it a coincidence that when I moved overseas part way through the 2001 season, that Carlton’s fortunes began to decline? In my ten years since leaving Australia my approaches to game day have alternated based on what I think will work best for the team.  Some days we might be in front but as soon as I tune into the radio we get run over. On other days I feel my lack of attention to the game has been the problem.

Most recently, last Thursday as I rode the Hong Kong airport express into Central I was playing the Herald Sun SuperKick app and was trying to align my goal kicking abilities to that of the team’s fortunes for the following night’s game against the Hawks. To say the least my form was disappointing. Clearly I had an impact on our first half. I am now using the opportunity of the bye to brush up my skills and map out my game day approach for finals.  For as Ratts said, each game is now a rehearsal for the finals.

I have my flights booked back to Melbourne for Grand Final weekend. Am I being too cock-sure? Will this jinx the team? Or will my strong support help see them through.

On Mondays I no longer believe any of this superstitious nonsense, but as game day draws near I fail to live up to our motto – mens sana in corpore sano.


  1. Enjoy the week off… but for the love of God, get that mini-footy back out in time for the finals!

  2. Any chance of changing flights to 1st week of finals to watch the mighty Bombers?

  3. Litza – Don’t worry – the mini-footy is close to hand

    Pick – I’m afraid if I was to return to watch Blues v Bombers – blood might be spilt.

  4. 97 Premiers says

    From one expat Carlton tragic to another – the 17th will come, sooner rather than later, even if we are overseas!

    Go Blues!

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