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Peter White


Career : 1989 - 1991
Debut : Round 8, 1989 vs Collingwood, aged 18 years, 313 days
Carlton Player No. 961
Games : 3
Goals : 1
Guernsey Nos. 46 (1989-90) and 39 (1991)
Last Game : Round 17, 1991 vs Adelaide, aged 21 years, 2 days
Height : 178 cm (5 ft. 10 in.)
Weight : 76 kg (12 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : 11 July, 1970

A clever rover or centreman who won Carlton’s Under-19 Best and Fairest award in 1988, Peter White played three senior matches for the Blues over three seasons. In 1996, after a highly-successful five years playing and coaching in country football, he was tragically drowned in a boating accident that also claimed the life of his father and his best friend.

One of three sons of Cliff White, a widely respected former player, coach and administrator in the Heathcote District Football League, Peter grew up playing football for the Mt Pleasant Blues, alongside his twin Wesley and their older brother Dean. Peter was just 16 when he won Mt Pleasant’s senior Best and Fairest in 1986, and barely 12 months later he had followed Dean’s lead and was playing Under-19 football at Carlton.

Dean White had finished runner-up in Carlton’s Under 19 Best and Fairest in 1987, before Peter went one step further and won the award the following year. In 1989, Peter was promoted from the Under-19s to the Reserves team early on, before being called into the seniors as a late replacement for the game against Collingwood at Waverley Park in round 8. Rover Mark Naley had been ruled out by a calf injury on the morning of the match, so White took his place and shared the interchange bench with Paul Payne. Carlton went down by five goals in their seventh loss of the season, as Peter collected 12 possessions in a promising start.

With the same two players on the bench, Carlton hosted Fitzroy at Princes Park in round 9 and scored a much needed win by 37 points. White was sparingly used this time, but seized an opportunity to kick his first career goal. Omitted after that, he waited more than two years to play his third senior match, which turned out to be his last. On Saturday, July 13, 1991 at Princes Park, Carlton met Adelaide in atrocious conditions. Constant rain and a swirling wind kept the crowd to a record low of 13,509 on the day when utility Adrian Gleeson played game number 100. Two days after his 21st birthday, White began the match alongside his captain Stephen Kernahan at half-forward, but was hardly sighted as the Crows came out on top by 7 points.

Omitted again, White played out the year with the Reserves, before deciding that he had finished with VFL football. He headed back home to Mt Pleasant, where he was soon appointed captain-coach and made himself a club legend by taking the Blues to successive Heathcote District Football League Premierships in 1993 and ’94.

Two years later, in December 1996, Peter and his closest friend Mark Bell accompanied Cliff White on a fishing trip from Port Campbell, on Victoria’s rugged south-west coast. It was a perfect, calm summer day when the trio headed off in their 4-metre half-cabin cruiser for Cliff’s favourite spot beneath the sandstone escarpment, but they never returned. Authorities believe that a huge wave rolled up out of the Southern Ocean and smashed the boat onto nearby rocks, where extensive searches over following weeks and months produced only two life jackets, a sandshoe, a sandal, a fuel tank and a key ring bearing Cliff White's name.

Every year since that tragedy, the first HDFL game of each season between Mount Pleasant and Heathcote has been played for the Cliff and Peter White Memorial Shield.

Career Highlights

1988 - George Armstrong Medal – Under-19 Best & Fairest Award

Footnote

Peter White wore three different guernsey numbers during his time at Carlton – number 46 (2 senior games) in 1989-90, number 39 (1 senior game) in 1991, and number 50 when he was listed as an emergency for the Reserves team on a couple of occasions in 1987-88.

Articles: Tragedies in Blue

Blueseum: Summary of White's playing career | White's Blueseum Image Gallery