Career : 1931 - 1933
Debut : Round 3, 1931 vs Essendon, aged 21 years, 43 days
Carlton Player No. 478
Games : 51 (36 at Carlton)
Goals : 27 (20 at Carlton)
Guernsey No. 27
Last Game : Semi Final, 1933 vs Geelong, aged 23 years, 159 days
Height : 191 cm (6 ft. 3 in.)
Weight : 81.5 kg (12 stone, 12 lbs.)
DOB : 3 April, 1910
Now recognised as the first aboriginal to play senior football at both Carlton and North Melbourne, Alf Egan was a versatile ruckman/forward who is remembered for his whole-hearted effort in the Blues’ 1932 Grand Final loss to Richmond.
A country boy from the tiny Western District town of Myamyn, Alf grew up in poverty on the Lake Condah aboriginal station. His father, Alf (Senior) was a renowned stockman and horse-breaker, who raised a family of seven children. It is recorded that Alf (Junior) played football with a local team; Wanderers, before he was recruited by Carlton in 1931.
Obviously, it didn’t take long for Alf to impress Blues’ coach Dan Minogue, because the tall, wiry recruit was included in Carlton’s senior side for the first time in round 3, 1931 when the Blues hosted Essendon at Princes Park. One can only imagine Egan’s emotions that afternoon. Until then, he had been playing football on rough bush paddocks in front of family and an odd few locals. Now here he was, running out onto the manicured turf of Princes Park, to the tumult of 20,000 baying fans!
Stationed on a half-forward flank, Alf enjoyed a dream debut and kicked his first career goal as Carlton demolished the Bombers by a whopping 82 points. He went on to play another 15 matches for the year as Carlton finished third on the ladder behind Geelong and Richmond, before losing the Preliminary Final to Geelong by six points. It was a game Carlton should have won, and a loss that spurred the team to go one step further the following year.
That they did, marching into the 1932 Grand Final with a record-breaking 75-point demolition of Collingwood in the Preliminary Final. Champion full-forward ‘Soapy’ Vallence kicked 11 goals on that magic day, and centre-half forward Jack Green booted four - leaving the Blues to look forward with confidence to another clash with their arch-rivals Richmond in the Grand Final. However only days before the decider, Green was ruled out by injury, and Egan was named as his replacement in the key forward post.
The game itself turned out another thriller. In a tough and skilful contest all match, the lead see-sawed in the second half and with five minutes left, Carlton led by four points. But two quick goals to Richmond right on the bell got them home. Although he must have been gutted by the outcome, Egan was one of the many on both sides who stood up when it counted that day, and he was widely appreciated for his grit on the biggest of all stages for a VFL footballer.
For reasons that are unclear, Alf spent only one more season at Carlton, despite the Blues having made the finals in each of his three years at the club. Just days after the Blues’1933 Semi Final loss to Geelong, he crossed to North Melbourne, and played another 15 games for the Shinboners before his career ended at the age of 25 in 1935.
Sadly, heart disease claimed Alf Egan’s life just 27 years later, at the age of 51. He left behind a wife, May, a son, John - and a small but significant entry in the history of Australian Football.
We have since learnt from the Lovett family that Alf (of the Gunditjmara Nation) also had five children with Gertrude Lovett. They were Victor Lovett (deceased - a professional boxer) Dorothy Lovett (deceased), Thomas Lovett (deceased - former Essendon player Andrew Lovett's grandfather) as well as Edward (Ted) Lovett (who played for Fitzroy 1963-64) and Georgina Lovett. Therefore, Essendon's Andrew Lovett is Alf's great-grandson. Another cousin, Norm McDonald, also played for the Bombers.