1990 Summary1990 was a turbulent year in the history of the Carlton Football Club. Despite the sacking of Robert Walls in 1989, rumours of player dissatisfaction with the coaching staff began as early as the pre-season training camp at Bond University in Queensland. One of the Club's earliest stoushes with the AFL Commission occurred as Ian Herman was forced to sit out the early part of the season due to a contract impasse over the Commission's insistence that players must waive rights to legal redress against the competition for any injuries sustained.
The pre-season draft yielded two handy players from VFA team Coburg - Adrian Bassett (31 games) and Tim Rienets (24 games). The other selections from the pre-season and mid-season draft were never seen in a senior Carlton jumper - Craig Hucker, Ben Robertson, Craig Cross and Darren Read.
The players rumblings continued throughout the year as the team's performance ebbed and flowed alarmingly. Disappointing second half efforts saw the team uncharacteristically surrender early advantages and it was widely acknowledged that coach Jesaulenko was fighting for his survival as the season came to a premature end. Losses in the final two rounds against Hawthorn and Fitzroy sealed his fate.
Many club stalwarts such as Madden, Naley, Glascott and Murphy found themselves in the Reserves at times throughout the year due to poor form and the onset of age. Four players debuted, and two of them were destined to serve Carlton with distinction for the rest of the decade - Brett Ratten and Michael Sexton.
Despite the senior team's inconsistency, the reserves maintained their remarkable level of success throughout the 1980s and early 1990s by winning the reserves premiership. Talented young rover Andrew Phillips, whose career was cruelly ended by a serious back injury, won the reserves best and fairest. He was joined in the reserves premiership team by Chris Bond, Jon Dorotich, Jamie Dunlop, Stephen Edgar, Andrew Glascott, Ashley Matthews, Andrew McKinnon, Warren McKenzie, Simon Minton-Connell, Mark Naley, Fraser Murphy, Tim Rienets, Shane Robertson, Brett Ratten, Michael Sexton and Simon Verbeek.
The board eventually decided it could not tolerate another season of mid-table mediocrity (with the membership having dropped from 15,279 in 1986 to 10,459 in 1990) and at season's end dismissed Alex Jesaulenko in favour of David Parkin. Parkin was lured to Princes Park on the understanding he had time to reconstruct the list and he would be judged, not on results, but player development over the next 12-24 months.
A wealth of experience departed the club in the form of Mark Naley (returned home to the SANFL as a premiership winner), Warren McKenzie (traded to Sydney for pick 2 in the national draft which eventually secured the exciting but misguided talent of Tasmanian full-forward James Cook), Wayne Johnston (209 games, 283 goals), Jimmy Buckley (164 games, 146 goals) Andrew McKinnon, Jamie Dunlop, Chris Bond and a player described by some as the best Carlton player to never play in a premiership, Wayne Blackwell.
At the draft table at season's end, the club added James Cook (pick 2 - 25 games), Damian Hampson (pick 7 - 0 games), Nick Faull (pick 31 - 0 games), Cameron James (0 games), Anthony McDonald (0 games) and Danny Morgan (0 games). Mark Arceri was acquired from North Melbourne in exchange for pick 45 and was serviceable in his 17 games. The wisdom of these choices is probably best judged by the total games played for the club by the 1990 draft crop.
In the 1990 annual report Parkin made this new approach clear:
"There has been a conscious acceptance by those who administer this great club, that we are no longer in the business of buying success...young men with ability, steel in their make-up and commitment to excellence shall be given every chance to carve out a career at Princes Park."
Of course, not long after, Elliott and Parkin engineered the recruiting coup of the decade by luring Greg Williams from the Sydney Swans into a navy blue jumper.
People of 1990President: JD Elliott
Treasurer: J Perriam
General Manager: IS Collins
Coach: Alex Jesaulenko
Captain: Stephen Kernahan
Vice-captain: Craig Bradley
Deputy Vice-captain: David Rhys-Jones
Best & Fairest: Stephen Silvagni
Brownlow highest: Stephen Silvagni - (16 votes)
Leading Goalkicker: Stephen Kernahan (69 goals)
State of Origin representatives: S Silvagni, A Gleeson (Vic) S Da Rui (WA)
MilestonesDebuts: Adrian Bassett, Stephen Edgar, Chris Bond, Michael Sexton, Tim Rieniets, Brett Ratten
100 Games: Wayne Blackwell, Stephen Kernahan, Craig Bradley, Peter Dean
Retirements: Wayne Blackwell, Jim Buckley, Wayne Johnston
Lower LevelsThe Blues would win their eighth, and final, Reserves Premiership in 1990.