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In the beginning, there was Jack..

Jack Worrall

Coach


Senior Coach : 1902 - 1909
Games : 144 ( 100 wins, 43 losses, 1 draw )
Playing Career : Fitzroy 1884 (until at least 1893 – records not kept)
Height : 173 cm (5 ft. 8 in.)
Weight : 79.5 kg (12 stone, 7 lbs.)
DOB : June 6, 1860 (Chinaman’s Flat, Maryborough Vic.)
DOD : November 17, 1937 (Fairfield Park, Vic.)
Premierships : 1906, 1907, 1908


The enormous contribution by Jack Worrall to both the Carlton Football Club and the VFL/AFL dates back to 1884, when he made his playing debut with Fitzroy to begin a much-vaunted on-field career that continued until 1893. During that time, he also played test cricket for Australia.

In 1902 he was appointed Carlton Secretary, but in fact was the first-ever coach of a VFL club. He was a brilliant leader, coaching the Old Dark Navy Blues in 144 games for 100 wins, 1 draw and 43 losses, including the 1906, 1907 and 1908 Premierships.

From his appointment in 1902, Worrall immediately lifted the team's performance, winning seven games for the season. Beforehand, the Blues had won only two games for the whole of 1901. He demanded strict discipline, teamwork and insisted that football and alcohol were a bad mix. His tough methods alienated some within the club, but further improvement was made in 1903 when Carlton won 11 of its 17 games.

By 1904, Carlton was the favourite to take out the flag, until the club sensationally sacked Worrall due to irregularities in his accounting methods - even though there was no accusation of dishonesty on his part. Despite finishing second, the club would lose the Grand Final to Fitzroy. However, the players backed Worrall, and after a winning a vote against the club's old guard, he was reinstated for 1905. The bickering affected the club's performance, and the Blues finished third after losing to eventual premiers Fitzroy in the Preliminary Final.

Worrall would taste great success, leading the Blues to become the first club to win three consecutive flags between 1906 and 1908. Sadly, in 1909, the same men who had backed Worrall in 1905 now turned on him. While the club's turnover had increased by half after the three consecutive premierships, players wages had barely changed. Three players refused to take the field for the opening round of 1909, and over the next weeks the situation worsened as others refused to train as a protest against player payments and the rigours of Worrall's training methods. Eventually, a group of players wrote to the club's committee to demand his sacking. Realising that his days at Carlton were numbered, Worrall tendered his resignation as coach on July 29th "for the sake of the club". However, he maintained his position as Carlton Secretary until the end of 1909, when he was asked to resign from that position as well.

The Blues subsequently lost the 1909 Grand Final to South Melbourne by only 2 points, ending our chance to become the first team to win four consecutive flags.

Jack Worrall's 144 games as coach of the Carlton Football Club is the 4th highest in our history, behind David Parkin (355), Percy Bentley (281) and Ron Barassi (147).

After leaving Carlton, Worrall moved to Essendon in 1911 and coached the Bombers in 135 games between 1911 – 1915 and 1918 – 1920 for 65 victories, 67 losses and 3 draws. During his time at Essendon he led the Bombers to flag success in 1911 and 1912 making him a five-time Premiership coach.

Even back when Worrall was playing football for Fitzroy his coaching ambitions were coming to the fore.
In 1891 he suffered an injury during the cricket season, which kept him out of the 'Roys side for most of the winter.
The Australasian's 1891 end of season review of Fitzroy said of him;
"He has, however, done the next best thing to playing with them; for he has watched their matches with an eye of a master, and his experience and thorough knowledge of the game have enabled him to point out weakness and suggest remedies which the team has invariably adopted with beneficial results."

Notable Personals In The Sport In Victoria

"Worrall was a lovely mark, an untiring rover, and a deadly shot with either foot. Of this I had evidence, since we induced him to come back for a game against Carlton one day that our forward lines were weak. It was a wet day, and Worrall, after kicking two or three goals right foot, finding the angle more suited for a left shot, deliberately shifted and potted one or two from about fifty yards out.
Worrall is a wonderful judge of football and a great manager of teams. It was my pleasure to make my first representative trip as a footballer under his control.
As a coach he stands alone, as witness the phenomenal success of Carlton when re-organised by him. The Dark Blues carried off the Premiership in 1906, 1907, and 1908."
("Onlooker," Referee January 04 1918 p5)

1902 Appointment

"There has been a considerable amount of rejoicing in Carlton owing to the fact that such a great improvement has been effected in their cricket team, and I am sure it would please everybody to see the football teams well up in the list. They have had a long experience of a bottom place, but have been struggling away gamely. Their cricketers have been brought along splendidly by Jack Worrall, their captain, and seeing his capacity for working improvement in the Carltonians' system of play when the men settle down to the serious work. His experience as an active player will serve him excellently in his new office." (Herald April 25)

1910 Carlton Meeting- Blues Turn On Worrall

A Reform Party was voted in at the Carlton AGM and Jack Worrall who had done so much for raising Carlton from mediocre status to a power in the VFL was gone.
To read to the article from the Referee (NSW), click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120142022

Worral Stand At M.C.G. - Proposal

With the redevelopment of the MCG in 1937 a proposal was put forward for part of the new grandstand to be named after the late John Worrall.
To read this article, click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11126259

1923 Forty Years Of Football - By J. W.

J. W. (Jack Worrall) writing in the Australasian October 20 (p28) the first of three articles about his time in football.
To read the Trove articles which talks about George Coulthard, goal posts, bouncing of the ball, little marks, best players, etc. click here>
Part 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140828174
Part 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140828512
Part 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140828915

1932 Past and Present Football Champions

Jack Worrall writing in the Australasian September 03 p7
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141363661

1937 Jack Worrall Dead At 74

The Daily News (Perth) ran a Jack Worrall obituary.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83223931

For a more complete version of the Jack Worrall story, please click here.

Sports Writer

Worrall wrote for The Argus and The Sydney sports newspaper the Referee as it's Melbourne correspondant.

Cricket Captains

The Arrow newspaper (Sydney) January 20 1901 wrote about Victoria's captain Jack Worrall.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103183403

Milestones

Last Game (as coach): Round 13, 1909

Articles: In the beginning...there was Jack Worrall | Carlton's Hat Trick Heroes

Blueseum: Worrall's Blueseum Image Gallery