Career : 2006 - 2008
Debut : Round 8, 2006 vs St Kilda, aged 19 years, 252 days
Carlton Player No. 1094
Games : 23
Goals : 4
Last Game : Round 20, 2007 vs Essendon, aged 20 years, 341 days
Guernsey No. 13
Height: 178 cm (5 ft. 10 in.)
Weight : 70 kg (11 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : 9 November, 1986
Partly because his dad was 110-game former Blue Wayne Blackwell, Luke Blackwell was recruited with selection 41 (father/son) in the 2004 National Draft from Swan Districts, WA. That draft – in which the Blues also picked up Jordan Russell and Adam Hartlett - was the first since 2001 that Carlton was allowed to fully participate in, having completed the penalties imposed by the AFL for salary cap violations in 2002.
Like his father, Blackwell was a slimly-built, right-footed midfielder who was equally adept on his left side. His form for Carlton’s VFL affiliate the Northern Bullants soon caught the eye in 2005, before a broken jaw brought an abrupt end to his season. He bounced back eagerly the next year, claiming in an interview that he and his team-mates would like to 'stick it up 'em' in 2006, with a positive attitude that was obvious out on the field.
Wearing jumper number 13, Luke eventually made his debut for Carlton against St Kilda on a Sunday afternoon at the MCG in round 8, 2006 – an awful day that ended with a 92-point drubbing at the hands of the Saints. One of the few positives to come out of that depressing experience was Luke's 10 touches - many in close – which demonstrated what our recruiting staff had seen; Blackwell had a fine pair of hands, and moved well in the clinches.
The highlight of 'Blackers' first season (indeed, his career at Carlton) came in his fourth match – against Brisbane at the Gabba on a Saturday night in round 13. While the Blues lost a scrappy encounter by 15 points, Luke’s tenacity and hard running gained him 26 possessions, and Carlton’s best player award. The umpires were impressed too; they awarded him two Brownlow Medal votes, but he was overlooked for a Rising Star Nomination.
Blackwell began 2007 with the Bullants, racking up the stats and making their best players list twice in the first six rounds in the VFL. He was given a brief run in Carlton’s round 6 loss to St Kilda, before losing his spot for a week. Following another 40-plus possession game for the Bullants, he came straight back in, to be one of the Blues’ best in the close round 8 loss to the Kangaroos. By then it was apparent that ‘Blackers’ was a star at VFL level – but he needed to find consistency to maintain his place in the senior side.
Perhaps the defining moment of Luke’s career at Princes Park came in July, 2007 when Carlton’s senior coach Denis Pagan was sacked and replaced by former captain and Premiership player Brett Ratten. In the following weeks, Carlton would also welcome a new President (and saviour) in Richard Pratt, who would overhaul the club administration and pave the way for Carlton to recruit the game’s outstanding player; Chris Judd.
With the arrival of Judd – and eagerly-awaited number one draftee Matthew Kreuzer – competition for places in Carlton suddenly got a whole lot harder. Unfortunately for ‘Blackers,’ he was one of those squeezed out, and 2008 became a year of enduring frustration. Still a good performer in the VFL, Blackwell fought injury intermittently and kept plugging away, but wasn’t given a look-in at senior level before he was released by the club at the end of the year.
In 2009, Luke returned home to WA, and restored a family tradition by joining his father’s original WAFL club, Claremont. Fitting straight into the Tigers’ midfield, he became an instant star of the competition, winning 3 consecutive club Best and Fairest awards in 2009-11 (EB Cook Medal), and the 2011 Sandover Medal as the champion player in the competition.
Blackers was also awarded the Simpson Medal as Best on Ground for the WAFL against the VFL in 2010, after picking up 37 disposals in a 55-point defeat. That same year, he was runner-up to Collingwood-bound Andrew Krakouer in the Sandover Medal. Claremont lost the 2010 WAFL Grand Final to Krakoeur’s Swan Districts by one point, but the Tigers came back hard the very next year, easily defeating Subiaco in the 2011 Grand Final to give Luke a cherished Premiership-Sandover Medal double (he collected 42 votes to win the medal)..
He was named in Claremont's "Greatest Ever Team", which was announced in late 2013. He left Claremont at the end of 2014, returning to Victoria and joining Essendon District Football League club Aberfeldie in 2015.