The Pies’ most memorable wins against the Blues in the past 50 years

Ahead of the Pies 125th Anniversary clash with the Blues, I continue my occasional series about the most memorable wins the Pies have had over each other club in my footy-watching lifetime, which started in the late 1960s.  Today we look at our most memorable wins against Carlton.  Of course every win against the arch-enemy is sweet, but some are sweeter than others.


As with the Brisbane article in this series, obviously the biggest clashes against the Blues have all gone the wrong way.  Notwithstanding that, there have been some very memorable wins against the Blues.  While we beat them in finals in 1970, 1978, 1980 and 1984, all of the wins detailed below came in home and away games.  I will deal with them in historical order.


In Round 19, 1970 the old foes faced off as the top two sides in front of nearly 40,000 at Vic Park and I was cheering loudly at age seven.  The Pies became raging favourites to break their twelve year premiership drought as they destroyed the Blues 13.23.101 to 2.12.24. The cream on the cake for the ecstatic Pies’ faithful came late in the game when The Sharpshooter (Peter McKenna) dribbled one off the ground to score his ninth, and his 100th for the season.  Sadly, the glory of this day faded into obscurity some weeks later as a season which promised so much again ended in tears.  Click here for match details.


In Round 6, 1977, the Pies met the Blues at what was then called VFL Park with both teams on four wins and only North Melbourne ahead of them on the ladder.  The match was also notable for McKenna lining up for the Blues against the Pies for the first and only time, as well as the debut of the fleet of foot Ricky Barham as 19th man.  The match was a triumph for the Pies.  After a tight first quarter, we broke the game apart in the second and went on with it to win by an astonishing 102 points.  Twenty year old blond bombshell Peter Moore, in his 45th game, announced himself as a star, kicking seven and standing on several heads to pull down screamers.  The Pies went home that day on top of the ladder and daring to dream that a premiership was possible after being wooden spooners for the first time in the club’s history the previous year.    Click here for match details.


In Round 6, 1981 the two foes met as undefeated sides and early flag favourites at Princes Park in front of more than 36,000.  The attendants in the tiny pie stand in the outer were so busy this day that one guy was taking the pies out of the cardboard box and into the pie-warmer metal trays and the other guy was selling them straight out of the trays, completely unheated!  My lifetime best mate Stork and I weren’t worried about the stone-cold pies off the field, as on the field, the Pies were red-hot, powering away in the second quarter and stretching the margin in the second half to record a comfortable 57 point win.  With gun South Australian recruit Mark Williams running amok in the centre, Moore matching his 25 possessions with 25 hit-outs and Daicos magnificent with seven goals, the Pies were super-impressive and became outright flag favourites.  Click here for match details


Round 14, 1988 was another epic and in my view, the Pies’ best win in my lifetime against the Blues.  The Blues were the reigning premiers while we had come out of the wilderness after missing the finals for three years in a row and were second, a game ahead of the Blues.   While the Pies led at each of the changes, with Brown, Daicos and McGuane leading the way, the Blues got their noses in front in a tense last quarter and led with less than seven minutes to go.  It seemed like it might be another case of what might have been and another forlorn trip home from a clash against the Blues at the G.


The Pies however unleashed a powerful burst of four goals to take the prize and I boldly declared that we could win the premiership.  I might have been two years early, but some of the seeds of the 1990 premiership were sown this day. The crowd noise in the last few minutes was (and still is, on the replay) absolutely phenomenal.  Click here for brief highlights and here for match details (note Jimmy Buckley’s gesture to the Collingwood crowd behind the goals as Starcevich kicked his fourth at the 5.05 minute mark of the clip).  This match also contained the famous hanger that SOS took over Starcevich, which you can look at elsewhere!


The final match in this collection of most memorable wins comes from the largely forgettable year of 2000, Mighty Mick’s first year with the Pies.  After being wooden spooners and winning only four games in 1999, we had won our first two and in Round 3 faced the Blues, who had been runners-up the year before and had also won their first two games.  They had also annihilated us in the ill-conceived Millennium Eve game.  For a change, we had entered this season with very modest expectations, and the first two rounds were therefore as pleasantly surprising as they were highly enjoyable.


Nearly 83,000 packed the G to see a very young Pies’ team featuring 11 players with 25 AFL games or less (Adkins, Betheras, Nick Davis, Fraser, Johnson, Kinnear, Licuria, Lockyer, O’Bree, Tarrant and Ukovic) take on a seasoned Carlton team.   With Bucks leading the way with34 possessions and Sav Rocca kicking six, we pulverised them, leading all day and increasing the margin at very change to a final margin of 73 points. Other than remembering feeling both ecstatic and quite stunned, my only other memory from this day came from a conversation at the Baden Powell Hotel in the post-match celebration.  My brother Kevin, who worked in the stats team for the Pies for a decade, reported that Mick had congratulated the players after the game, told them that it was a magnificent performance, and then told them that their challenge was that it wouldn’t be their best win of the season.  This was a prescient observation, as, after winning our first five, we won only two more for the season.  Click here for the only video highlight I can find from that game, a great goal to Burnsy, and here for match details.


  1. DBalassone says

    Some fine memories Steve. How sweet was that win ’88. The Blues hit the front late and then lo and behold Starcevich (who earlier had the mark of the year taken on his head) kicks 3 goals in time-on. Re the ’77 game I was staggered to find the Footy Record for that game in my collection a few months back, fully marked with scores – not sure how that one crept into my collection as I was only 4 at the time and didn’t start going to games until ’80.

    I know it’s impossible to keep the list to five, but I’ll throw a few more your way:

    1981 Round 16. Victoria Park. A one point win in the wet after trailing by 20 points at half-time. Bizarrely, the final score 11.11.77 to 10.16.76 is what the score in the ’79 Grand Final would have been if the Harmes-to-Sheldon goal was disallowed.

    1984 Anzac Day. VFL Park. Warren Ralph misses goal after the siren from close range and we win by 5 points. Re ’84, I know you didn’t include finals but the ’84 first semi (Daicos clinic) at VFL Park was also grand, which leads me to 1988 Round 5. VFL Park. Our first win over the Blues since that ’84 final.

    1990 Round 2. VFL Park. After struggling for 3 quarters it all comes together in the last – and so the great season begins.

  2. Tony robb says

    1979 . oh that’s right The Pies lost another GF

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Some special memories here Steve.
    Agree with you and Damo about 1988 (incredible atmosphere when Starcy kicked those late goals)
    Anzac Day 1984 was a beauty as was the Semi Final – Daics 7 goals
    2000 after the Millenium Massacre was sweet
    1994 – McGuane’s run and goal had the crowd noise at decibels I’d never heard before. Here tis, a majestic 23 seconds. Enjoy and Go Pies:

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Steve.
    Far too often when the rivalry is discussed it’s only the Carlton GF wins that are mentioned. Fantastic to read an article where only the wins by the good guys are listed!

  5. Peter Fuller says

    I’m sure that you will forgive me Steve, if I don’t “click here”. Enough already.
    Phillip, I was waiting for the reference to the McGuane run match.
    I also have rather painful memories of a recent match – can’t guess the date, and uninterested in investigating – when Jamie Elliott kicked about five goals and took several screamers. I was waiting for him to unleash today, which happily for me didn’t happen.
    The 1980 final match is a discomfiting memory, which eliminated the Blues in straight sets, after the debacle against Richmond in the qualifying final.
    The rivalry is important; I definitely subscribe to the proposition, without Collingwood there is no Carlton (and vice versa).

  6. John Butler says

    Happy to give you those Steve.

    I was bemused when Tim Watson added to his recent commentating purple patch by suggesting the rivalry had lost relevance. Let him say that in a room filled with Blues/Pies supporters and see how far it flies.

    Stick to the singing career, Tim.

  7. Steve Fahey says

    Thanks everyone above.

    Damian and Phil, thank you for the welcome reminder that there were other possibilities, that is much needed this morning ! Memory is entirely subjective, and I did particularly enjoy Round 5, 1988 when both sides were unbeaten, similarly to 1981. I can remember that it was a very warm April day at VFL Park.

    Peter and John, I whole-heartedly agree that the rivalry is important. I don’t think it has lost relevance to Pies and Blues supporters but think that its importance to the rest of the footballing world has markedly declined due to the lack of a final between the clubs since 1988 and the lack of quality/memorable games in recent years. The last two games in particular have been of very ordinary quality.

    And congrats (through gritted teeth, I think they have been that way since just before half-time yesterday) !

  8. G’day Steve. Another game fitting into the 50 year context was your victory over them back in the first half of the 1969 season.

    It was a game where John Greening, in his second season, really asserted himself. A fairly tight first half, then a big third term, you blew them away.

    After you lost the unlosable Grand final in 1970 you gave the Blues a damn good shellacking the first time youse met in1971.


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