1980 SummaryTurmoil and infighting at Carlton in the preseason resulted in two warring factions, and the end result of this was the departure of 1979 premiership coach Alex Jesaulenko to St Kilda. Peter Jones took over the job of coach for the season, leading our strife torn club into the finals.
The infighting at the club didn't appear to harm the teams performance in the early stages of the season, and with 5 consecutive wins to open the season it looked like the club was continuing on its 1979 premiership form. This bright start gave the Blues top spot on the ladder, and a comfortable game and a half lead over second place Richmond.
Three straight losses between Rounds 6 and 8 hurt the teams ladder position, but Carlton should never have lost the Round 7 clash against Hawthorn. After trailing by 6 goals at half-time, the Blues stormed back into contention in the third quarter, kicking 8 goals to 2 to trial by only 2 points at the last break. Carlton had 15 scoring shots to 5 in the final term, but only managed 1.14 to the Hawks 3.2 to narrowly lose the match by 2 points. The club had slipped to fifth on the ladder on the back of the three consecutive losses.
Carlton found its form again after that, and won 12 of its last 14 games to finish the home and away season strongly. One of these two losses would come back to haunt the club though. The club would finish the season in second place on the ladder equal on points with Geelong (both clubs had a 17 win, 5 loss record), but behind on percentage. A 5 point Round 13, 1980 loss to Geelong had cost the Blues top spot on the ladder, and hence a weeks break and a double chance in the second week of the finals.
The failure to sew up top spot on the ladder would prove costly, as the Blues were uncompetitive against Richmond in the Qualifying Final and went on to lose by an even 7 goals - 18.8 (116) to 10.14 (74). This would place the team into the first Semi Final against Collingwood the following week. After a tight and competitive first half, Collingwood pulled away in the second half to easily win by 50 points and knock the Blues out of the finals after consecutive finals losses.
Unfortunately this era represents the second time that infighting at the club may have cost us the chance of equalling Collingwood's record of 4 consecutive flags. After the premiership in 1979, the Blues would also manage to capture the flag in 1981 and 1982. The first of these chances, in 1909, happened after the club had won the 1906, 1907 and 1908 premierships, the Blues went on to lose 1910 Grand Final by only 2 points after heavy infighting during the season and the mid season resignation of coach Jack Worrall.
People of 1980Captain: Mike Fitzpatrick
Coach: Peter Jones
Leading Goal-kicker: Wayne Johnston - 51 goals
Best & Fairest: Bruce Doull
MilestonesDebuts: Scott Howell, Des English, Stephen Buckley, Phil Maylin
Debuts (Carlton): Val Perovic, Greg Wells