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'Splinters'

Allan Greenshields

show_image.php?id=30289Career : 1947 - 1949
Debut : Round 1, 1947 vs Melbourne, aged 21 years, 86 days
Carlton Player No. 614
Games : 74 (16 at Carlton)
Goals : 5 (2 at Carlton)
Last Game : Round 6, 1949 vs Geelong, aged 23 years, 119 days
Guernsey Nos. 29 (1947-48) and 19 (1949)
Height : 178 cm (5 ft. 10 in.)
Weight : 74 kgs (11 stone, 9 lbs.)
DOB : January 22, 1926
Premiership Player 1947


A capable utility who played 74 senior games for Carlton and St Kilda in the decade after World War II, Allan Greenshields is remembered as the unfortunate player who didn’t get a run in Carlton’s dramatic 1947 Grand Final victory over Essendon.

Recruited from Pascoe Vale by Carlton’s indefatigable talent scout Newton Chandler, Greenshields earned the wry nickname of ‘Splinters’ in his debut year, when he was named on the bench in ten of his thirteen senior games. Two of those matches were memorable finals victories over Essendon - the 1947 second Semi Final, and two weeks later, the Grand Final. Greenshields was selected as Carlton’s 20th man for the flag decider, but in those far-off days before interchange players were allowed, reserves were permanent replacements and not always used.

As most are, the ‘47 Grand Final was hard-fought from the opening bounce. For much of the game, Essendon were the better side, but their kicking for goal was atrocious. At three-quarter time they led 10.15 to 10.4 before the Blues came charging home. With 44 seconds left on the clock, Carlton trailed by 5 points as they surged forward one last desperate time, and rover ((Fred Stafford
– who had hardly been sighted all match - pounced on the ball from a throw-in 25 metres out, and snapped the winning goal.

Stafford was an instant Carlton hero, but one can only imagine the maelstrom of emotion experienced by Greenshields, still watching on in his dressing gown. Many years later, Allan could still vividly recall that moment. “I didn’t get a run, and that was tough, because we were struggling all day long. We were behind Essendon all day and they should have won it because of all those behinds. We’d kicked something like eight straight to half-time, and they’d kicked 8.11,” he said. “We finished up winning it by one point, and on the fence, where the coach (Percy Bentley) sat with the selection committee, they were imploring Percy to put me on, because we weren’t getting the result we were looking for - and Freddy Stafford hadn’t had a touch for the whole game. Have I thought that it might have been me in that position? Oh absolutely…absolutely… it would have been nice.”

Despite that promising start to his career, Greenshields played only three more times for the Blues over the next two seasons, and in 1949 decided that perhaps there were more opportunities elsewhere. His last match in navy blue came against Melbourne at Princes Park in round 6, 1949, and he went out on a high note when he slotted both of his Carlton career goals in a solid 39-point win over the Demons. Later that same year, he turned out for St Kilda, in the first of 57 appearances he would make as a defender for the Saints in a six-year stay at the Junction Oval.

In the years after his retirement, Allan was a regular at Princes Park and never missed the regular team reunions. Although grateful for his second chance at St Kilda, his heart remained with Carlton until his passing at the age of 90 on June 28, 2016. The following Saturday night at the MCG, all Carlton players wore black armbands in his honour for their match against Collingwood.

Footnote

Greenshields wore guernsey number 29 in 1947 and ’48, then swapped to 19 for his last two games. At St Kilda, he wore numbers 26 and 5.

Articles: Vale Allan Greenshields

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Allan Greenshields | Greenshields' Blueseum Image Gallery

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