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Round 2 – Carlton v Sydney: Brighton Diggins Cup

We are off to the battle for the Brighton Diggins Cup.  Well that is what I have named it.  More on that later.  It’s a lovely sunny Autumn’s day in Melbourne, however the twilight game is to be played under the closed roof at Etihad Stadium.  I am with my two older brothers Tony and Martin, and mate Geoff with a combined total of about 230 years of Swans fandom between us.


The rivalry between the Swans and Carlton Blues goes back a long way.  South Melbourne won its first VFL flag in 1909 with a 4.14 to 4.12 win over the Blues. Also of particular interest is the infamous and violent Bloodbath Grand Final of 1945 won by the Blues. In my formative years the enmity between the two Clubs was largely based on the legend of that game. For those keen on their footy history, I can highly recommend “The Bloodbath” authored by Ian W. Shaw for an excellent treatise on the game and the era. In those times both Clubs represented working class areas one north of the river and one to the south.


Through the 1970s and 1980s the Blues were one of the most powerful and successful clubs in the old VFL, well-resourced by the new money of the likes of IXL’s John Elliot. A well run Club they attracted great players from interstate including the likes of Bosustow, Hunter, Bradley and Kernahan.  By contrast South struggled on field and off to make an impact.  A trip to Princes Park invariably resulted in a flogging for us. I have a vivid memory of Bosustow taking one screamer after another on the forward flank in front of us in the early 80s. The Blues played great footy back then.


To further rub salt in to the wounds Carlton had a habit of luring our star players away, including Rhys Jones, Evans, Williams and Mitchell.  All the more reason to loathe the cashed up power house.


How times change.  It seems that the roles of the two Clubs are now interchanged.  The Blues have been a disaster in the new millennium staggering from one crisis to another.  Under new Coach, Brendon Bolton hopes are high that the climb back up the ladder has begun, albeit a slow one based on new young talent.  For the Swans the last 20 years has delivered an unparalleled level of success based on sound administration, coaching and recruiting and the famed Bloods culture. The common view pre-season is that we might slide this year having lost many experienced players. An 80 point thrashing of the Magpies to start our season may have some revising that view.


Despite our relative positions on the ladder in recent years, it is always a good day when we can beat the Blues. So I am settling in for the game with expectations of a good win.


The Blues start well though with the first two goals. Usually I don’t pay too much attention to who is getting the ball for the opposition.  However it’s hard to miss Patrick Cripps with a physique more like an old style centre half forward he attracts the ball and uses it well. In fact all the Blues seem to be handling and using the ball well.  They are also very niggly taking every opportunity to rough up some of our mid field players. However the Swans gradually get on top through the experienced mid field of Kennedy, Parker, Jack and Mitchell and we score via our twin rucks of Sinclair and Tippett. We go to the first break a few goals up.


The second quarter is an arm wrestle until our new boys start hitting the scoreboard with goals to Heeney, Hewett and Robinson. Our super star Buddy Franklin has been lively though does not snag a goal until a fortuitous free and 50 metre penalty. The game has been of a good standard though lacking in highlights until an all in melee erupts on the half time siren as Buddy slings the Irishman Tuohy to the ground. It seems that old enmity has re-emerged.  We have put a gap in the margin with a 6 goal lead.


The Blues to their credit continue to push in the third stanza though miss many opportunities and the Swans keep the margin out around 5 goals or more. The highlight of the quarter and perhaps the game is a courageous mark by Tom Papley running back into the face of the pack. Paps goals and on the evidence of two games we reckon the grandson of Max, the South Best and Fairest of the 60’s, is a beauty.


The final quarter sees the Swans greater depth and maturity tell over the younger Blues, and with junk time goals to Buddy and Tippo they each finish with 4 goals pushing the margin out to 10 goals. Tippet has been dominant in the ruck teaming beautifully with West Coast Eagles recruit Sinclair who also snagged 3 goals. Our mid field has driven the strong result led by Tom Mitchell, son of Barry, supported by the usual suspects plus some emerging ones as well.


So the Brighton Diggins Cup goes to the Swans. Diggins recruited from Western Australia in 1932 to our growing “Foreign Legion” went on to play in the Swans 1933 Premiership as a ruck forward. In 1938 he took over the reigns as Carlton’s captain/coach and immediately led them to the Premiership. As far as I can tell he is the only player to appear in Premierships for both Clubs.  I think that deserves recognition.


My votes: 3. Mitchell 2. Tippett 1. Parker

CARLTON                3.2    4.5     6.10   10.11 (71)

SYDNEY SWANS      4.4   10.7   14.7    20.11 (131)

Carlton: Kerridge 2, Casboult 2, Murphy, Gibbs, Kreuzer, Boekhorst, Curnow, Everitt
Sydney Swans: Franklin 4, Tippett 4, Sinclair 3, Papley 2, Kennedy 2, Heeney, Cunningham, Parker, Robinson, Hewett

Carlton: Simpson, Kerridge, Gibbs, Docherty, Cripps, Thomas
Sydney Swans: Parker, Hannebery, Mitchell, Papley, Tippett, Sinclair, Franklin

Carlton: Boekhorst (corkie)
Sydney Swans: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Findlay, Jeffery, Mollison

Official crowd: 33,146


About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.


  1. Thanks Keiran, I enjoyed listening to the game on the radio while driving down the Hume and I like the Brighton Diggins Cup!
    Diggins I understand was a protestant and South in those days were Catholic and Diggins was overlooked for the captaincy, annoyed by this stance, he was approached by a Carlton member high in the Masonic order and encouraged to join the Blues and the rest is history. Sectarianism at work in the VFL/AFL.

  2. jan courtin says

    Nice one Keiran. Those Bluebaggers are certainly an old time enemy! Great that in recent times we have won well against them. May the good times continue!
    Cheer cheer

  3. Ross Treverton says

    Excellent Kieran! The Brighton Diggins Cup – l like it , although The Vin Cattogio Cup must have been a consideration!
    Cheer, cheer to our mighty Bloods.

  4. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    2 out of 2. Delightfully good.
    Loving the kids, KC.

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