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Carlton–Collingwood AFL rivalry

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Title: Carlton–Collingwood AFL rivalry  
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Subject: Carlton Football Club, Collingwood Football Club, AFL Grand Final, Tom Baxter (Australian footballer), Collingwood Football Club (VFL)
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Carlton–Collingwood AFL rivalry

Carlton - Collingwood AFL rivalry
First contested 7 May 1892
Number of meetings 247
Most recent meeting

5 July 2013

Collingwood 17.16.118 d. Carlton 12.5.77
Next meeting TBD
All-time series Carlton 125 wins, Collingwood 118 wins, 4 draws
Largest victory Carlton - 111 points (9 July 2000) Collingwood - 108 points (2 August 2002)

The sporting rivalry between the Carlton Football Club and the Collingwood Football Club is the biggest and longest lasting rivalry in the Australian Football League (AFL).

They have played 247 times in the VFL/AFL, with Carlton slightly ahead with 125 wins to Collingwood's 118, with 4 draws. They have met six times in Grand Finals, with Carlton successful in all bar one of them.[1]

Since 1993, one game each year is designated as the Peter Mac Cup game.[2]

Early matches

In 1864, the Carlton Football Club was established. In 1877, they were one of the founding clubs of the Victorian Football Association. In 1892, the Collingwood Football Club was established and admitted to the Association.

Once the VFA agreed to accept Collingwood's bid to join the league, they realised that Collingwood had only 17 matches scheduled when a minimum of 18 was required. Collingwood looked unlikely to take part in the upcoming VFA season until Carlton's club secretary Jack Melville suggested a solution: Carlton were to cancel a scheduled match with South Ballarat and play an extra game against Collingwood.[3]

On 7 May 1892, at Victoria Park, Collingwood and Carlton faced off for the first time, in Collingwood's first ever VFA match. Carlton won the match by one goal, 3.13 to 2.11.[4]

Billy Strickland

Bill Strickland first played VFA football for Carlton in 1885, and in 1887, Strickland captained the Blues to their second VFA Premiership. In 1893, Collingwood convinced Strickland to leave Carlton and play for Collingwood, in what is now looked back[by whom?] as one of the first major player movements in Australian rules football history. Carlton did not show any bitterness towards Collingwood or Strickland, but this would change the history and upcoming of the Collingwood Football Club. Strickland's arrival at Collingwood turned the club around. They quickly became Premiership contenders and under Strickland's captaincy, Collingwood won their only VFA Premiership, in 1896 against South Melbourne.

First VFL encounter

In 1897, both Collingwood and Carlton were part of the eight teams which broke away from the VFA to form the Victorian Football League. In Round 7 of the 1897 VFL season, the clubs played against each other in their first encounter in the new VFL. This was Carlton's first home game at Princes Park, its new home venue upon entering the VFL, and which would remain its home ground until 2005. Collingwood 6.4 (40) defeated Carlton 5.6 (36).[5]

1910 Grand Final

The hostility in the rivalry between Carlton and Collingwood is considered by some sources[6] to have commenced with the 1910 VFL Grand Final; until that time, the clubs were generally thought to be friendly terms.

Early in the fourth quarter of the match, while Collingwood was leading, a huge brawl broke out involving at least thirty players and officials from both clubs; the fight was described by experienced umpire Jack Elder as he worst he saw in his VFL career. Collingwood held on to win by 14 points, but four players were reported for starting the big fight and as a result were heavily suspended.[6]

Percy Sheehan (Carlton) and Jack Shorten (Collingwood) both were given 18 month suspensions, and Jack Baquie (Carlton) and Tom Baxter (Collingwood) both received 12 month suspensions. However, Collingwood appealed the Baxter suspension and produced a written declaration from another player, Richard Daykin, claiming that it was he and not Baxter who had traded blows with Baquie. The VFL chose to accept Daykin’s confession and cleared Baxter of his 12 month suspension. Soon after Baxter was cleared, Daykin announced his immediate retirement from VFL football.[6] Carlton vowed never to forget this day and they soon had their revenge by winning the Premiership from Collingwood in 1915.

Head to head

Since joining the VFL in 1897, Collingwood and Carlton have faced off 247 times. The most of any other club.

Head to head results
Played 247
Carlton 125
Collingwood 118
Draws 4


In 112 years, the two clubs have played in 22 Finals against each other.

Their first meeting in a final was the 1903 Semi Final. Collingwood won by 4 points before going on to win their second VFL Premiership.

They have not played against each other in a final since the 1988 Qualifying Final which Carlton won by 38 points.

Finals results
Played 22
Carlton 14
Collingwood 8
Draws 0

Grand Finals

Collingwood and Carlton have met in six VFL Grand Finals. Collingwood won the first (1910), and Carlton won the other five (1915, 1938, 1970, 1979 and 1981). The 1970 Grand Final is regarded as one of the league's all-time classic games, played in front of the largest ever crowd of 121,696, featuring a famous specky by Alex Jesaulenko, and won by Carlton after recovering from a 44-point half time deficit.


Main article: 1910 VFL Grand Final
Team 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr Final
Carlton 1.2 2.6 4.9 6.11 (47)
Collingwood 4.3 5.3 8.5 9.7 (61)
Crowd: 42,577 at the MCG.


Main article: 1915 VFL Grand Final
Team 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr Final
Carlton 2.5 6.6 6.8 11.12 (78)
Collingwood 3.0 4.2 5.9 6.9 (45)
Crowd: 39,343 at the MCG.


Main article: 1938 VFL Grand Final
Team 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr Final
Carlton 3.2 7.6 11.9 15.10 (100)
Collingwood 3.1 4.4 8.5 13.7 (85)
Crowd: 96,486 at the MCG.


Main article: 1970 VFL Grand Final
Team 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr Final
Carlton 0.3 4.5 12.5 17.9 (111)
Collingwood 4.8 10.13 13.16 14.17 (101)
Crowd: 121,696 at the MCG.


Main article: 1979 VFL Grand Final
Team 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr Final
Carlton 0.4 5.7 10.12 11.16 (82)
Collingwood 2.2 5.6 7.9 11.11 (77)
Crowd: 113,545 at the MCG.


Main article: 1981 VFL Grand Final
Team 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr Final
Carlton 2.4 5.8 8.13 12.20 (92)
Collingwood 2.6 5.7 10.10 10.12 (72)
Crowd: 112,964 at the MCG.

Peter Mac Cup

For the main article see: Peter Mac Cup

Since 1993, both the Carlton and Collingwood Football Clubs have joined forces in the battle against Cancer. Every year since 1993, an annual blockbuster between the clubs has helped raise money and awareness in cancer research. The inaugural Peter Mac Cup between the rivals took place in Round 6 of the 1993 AFL season.[7]

Richard Pratt Cup

For the main article see: Richard Pratt Cup

After former Carlton President Richard Pratt died in April 2009, it was announced by both clubs that the following match between the rivals would be played for the inaugural Richard Pratt Cup.[8]

CEO of the EJ Whitten Foundation, Ted Whitten, Jr., was delighted the two teams joined forces to support prostate cancer awareness and confirmed their Foundation would provide additional support for the Richard Pratt Cup.

The inaugural Richard Pratt Cup between the rivals took place in Round 17 of the 2009 AFL season.

As of season 2010, the Carlton home game will be played for the Richard Pratt Cup as the Collingwood home game will be played for the Peter Mac Cup.

Memorable moments

Dick Lee flies

In round 1 of the 1914 VFL season, Collingwood hosted Carlton at Victoria Park. It was during this game when Collingwood's full-forward, Dick Lee, took one of the most recognised marks of all time.

As a result, Lee had broken the ankle strap on his boot after taking the mark. He removed his boots and kicked the goal with his bare foot.

This match was the first VFL draw between the clubs. Collingwood 8.8 (56) drew Carlton 6.20 (56)

Diggins' morning shift

Many Carlton and Collingwood players worked in the local brewery, as did Collingwood coach Jock McHale, who was a foreman. It was therefore a suspicious coincidence when, on the morning of the 1938 VFL Grand Final between two sides, Carlton captain-coach Brighton Diggins was rostered to clean barrels in the brewery steam room, while Collingwood acting captain Albert Collier had the day off. Carlton won the match.[9]

Semi final of 1970

In front of 112,838 people at the MCG, the two rivals put on a show in the semi final of 1970. It was the second time since 1945 that the sides had met in a final. And the game would go down to the wire.

Alex Jesaulenko of Carlton kicked 8 goals for the day and Collingwood's Peter McKenna topped the goal kickers list with 9.[10]

The final margin was ten points, with Collingwood 17.16 (118) defeating Carlton 17.6 (108).

Jesaulenko, you beauty

During the 1970 Grand Final, Alex Jesaulenko leapt upon Collingwood ruckman Graeme Jenkin to the commentary of Mike Williamson shouting "Oh Jesaulenko, you beauty!".[11]

The mark was the first to be recognised officially as the Mark of the Year, now awarded annually as the Alex Jesaulenko Medal.

George Harris after the 1979 Grand Final

After Carlton's narrow victory over Collingwood in the 1979 VFL Grand Final, Carlton president George Harris famously stirred up the rivalry when he proclaimed "What's better than beating Collingwood by ten goals? Beating them by five points!"[12]

Warren Ralph after the siren

On Anzac Day 1984, 68,082 people sat on the edge of their seats in the dying seconds at Waverley Park, as Warren Ralph of Carlton was given a controversial free kick against Collingwood's Peter McCormack. With Collingwood six points in front, the final siren had sounded seconds after the umpire had called the free kick; 25 metres out from goal, Ralph needed to kick a goal to force a draw. His shot narrowly missed for a minor score, seeing Collingwood win by five points.

Collingwood 10.16 (76) defeated Carlton 9.17 (71).[13]

Goals of the Year

Each team has once had a player kick a memorable Goal of the Year against the other.

In Round 2, 1994, Collingwood's Michael McGuane received the ball and ran from the centre-square along the wing and half-forward flank, closing to 30 metres and kicking it through the goals. He bounced the ball a total of seven times during the famous run, winning the Goal of the Year award for 1994.

Twelve years later, in Round 21, 2006, Carlton's Eddie Betts smothered a handball in defence from Collingwood's Tarkyn Lockyer, gathered the ball just inside the boundary line, and kicked a goal with banana kick from the tight angle while under pressure from Magpie defender Simon Prestigiacomo, to win the 2006 Goal of the Year award.[14]

The Millennium Match

On New Year's Eve 1999, the AFL celebrated the start of a new millennium with an early pre-season Ansett Cup match between the two rivals at the MCG.[15] The game and event were both disappointments; fewer than 20,000 spectators attended, when a much higher crowd was expected,[16] and Carlton won an uncompetitive match by 88 points. The game is best remembered for a young Brendan Fevola, who at this stage had played only two senior games, kicking twelve goals for Carlton.

Carlton 20.17 (137) defeated Collingwood 7.7 (49).

The Last Suburban Clash

Since 1987, games between the clubs were no longer scheduled at their traditional suburban home grounds of Princes Park and Victoria Park; to suit the larger crowds, all games had been scheduled for the M.C.G. and Waverley Park.

However, in Round 18, 2000, the teams met for one final suburban game, due to a minimum contract of games to be played at Princes Park for season 2000. Carlton fans would not be disappointed, seeing the Blues kick eleven goals to one in the third quarter and ultimately record an 111 point win, the greatest margin in any game between the two rivals.[17]

Carlton 28.12 (180) defeated Collingwood 10.9 (69).

Round 18, 2002

In Round 18 of the 2002 AFL season, Collingwood got their revenge against Carlton not only for the round 3 loss earlier that year, but for the years that Collingwood missed out while Carlton get to play in the finals as well for the 111-point loss in 2000.

In Nathan Buckley's 200th game, Collingwood showed no mercy to the Blues with a massive record-breaking 108-point victory, helping Carlton receive their first VFL wooden spoon.[18]

Collingwood 21.15 (141) defeated Carlton 4.9 (33).

Blues by a point

Both teams were out of finals contention when they met in the last round of the 2004 season. But when Carlton and Collingwood came together at the MCG, the ladder positions became irrelevant,[19] as they would record the largest home-and-away crowd for the 2004 season.

Collingwood started strong in the first half but their poor kicking in front of goal kept the door open for the Blues. After a five goal third quarter, the Blues took the lead before a late Magpie charge fell short. Despite having four more shots at goal, Collingwood would lose to Carlton by a single point.

Carlton 17.6 (108) defeated Collingwood 16.11 (107)[20]

Players/coaches that represented both clubs

Played for both Carlton and Collingwood;
Bill Strickland (Carlton 1885-1896 (VFA), Collingwood 1897).
Les Abbott (Collingwood 1904, Carlton 1905).
Tom Clancy (Carlton 1910-14, Collingwood 1915-16).
Jack Lowe (Collingwood 1912-13, Carlton 1914).
Harry Curtis (Carlton 1913, Collingwood 1914-23).
Wally Raleigh (Collingwood 1913-15, Carlton 1920-21).
Harold Rumney (Carlton 1925-26, Collingwood 1927-37).
Les Hughson (Collingwood 1927, Carlton 1933-34).
Jim Crowe (Carlton 1929-34, Collingwood 1936-37).
Norm Le Brun (Collingwood 1933-34, Carlton 1935).
Harry Sullivan (Carlton 1950-54, Collingwood 1955-60).
Peter McKenna (Collingwood 1965-75, Carlton 1977).
Ray Byrne (Carlton 1973-79, Collingwood 1978-83).
Russell Ohlsen (Carlton 1974-78, Collingwood 1979-81).
Michael McGuane (Collingwood 1987-96, Carlton 1997).
Barry Mitchell (Collingwood 1993, Carlton 1994-1996).
Trent Hotton (Collingwood 1994-96, Carlton 2000-02).
Heath Scotland (Collingwood 1999-03, Carlton 2004- ).
Cameron Cloke (Collingwood 2004-06, Carlton 2007-09).
Chris Bryan (Carlton 2005-06, Collingwood 2007-09).
Mick Malthouse (Collingwood coach 2000–11, Carlton coach 2013– ).
Jordan Russell (Carlton 2005-12, Collingwood 2013).
Dale Thomas (Collingwood 2006-13, Carlton 2014-).


  • Roberts, M. & McFarlane, G., The Official Collingwood Illustrated Encyclopedia, Slattery & Lothian Books, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7344-0716-0

External links

  • Official website of Carlton Football Club
  • Official website of Collingwood Football Club
  • Peter Mac Cup
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