Career : 1969 - 1986
Debut : Round 5, 1969 vs South Melbourne, aged 18 years, 234 days
Carlton Player No. 811
Games : 356
Goals : 22
Last Game : Grand Final, 1986 vs Hawthorn, aged 36 years, 16 days
Guernsey Nos. 4 (1969-71) and 11 (1972-86)
Height : 185 cm (6 ft. 1 in.)
Weight : 89 kg (14 stone)
DOB : 11 September, 1950
Premiership Player: 1972, 1979, 1981, 1982
Best and Fairest: 1974, 1977, 1980, 1984
Norm Smith Medal: 1981
Carlton Hall of Fame (1987)
Team of the Century: Half Back Flank
AFL Team of the Century: Half Back Flank
Bruce Doull was a champion. One the greatest defenders of all time, he was an outstanding competitor, a four-time Premiership player and Carlton Games Record holder until Craig Bradley came along - however we know less about him than dozens of others who managed just a handful of appearances. He was a fixture in Carlton teams for 15 years, and played in six Grand Finals, yet Bruce shunned publicity and rarely gave interviews. Instead, he let his football do the talking - and what a joy it was to watch him play!
He first came to Princes Park to play with the Under 19's in 1966; a raw 15 year-old from Jacana with a conservative haircut, sideburns and a burning ambition to be a league footballer. But it took him until 1972 to claim a regular place in the senior side. Although no giant at 185 cm and 87 kg, he quickly showed a remarkable ability to "play tall" in the key post at centre half-back. Deceptively quick, beautifully balanced and a strong, reliable mark, he was equally as sound at full-back, in a pocket or on a flank.
In the '72 Grand Final he announced his arrival on the top shelf of league football with an inspiring game on the taller, heavier Richmond champion Royce Hart. It was the highest-scoring decider ever. Richmond kicked 22 goals - but Carlton booted 28 to claim our eleventh flag. Doull was superb in keeping Hart to a handful of possessions and two goals. His concentration, cat-like reflexes and ice-cool response under pressure marked him as something special. Not surprisingly, the media clamoured for information about him. But his uneasy relationship with them soured completely after he was apparently misquoted in one of his first interviews. From then until his retirement, Bruce was off limits. No quotes, no more comments - thanks.
Afterward, and throughout his long career, Doull was a folk hero at Princes Park. Supporters loved his no-nonsense, honest approach, his courage and his consistency. In keeping with his shy nature is the story of his playing numbers. In his first three seasons, he wore number 4, but was never comfortable in the locker room with the attention lavished upon some of the club’s biggest stars, like Sergio Silvagni (number 1), John Nicholls (2), Kevin Hall (3), Syd Jackson (5) and Garry Crane (6). Before the ’72 season, he asked for and was given guernsey number 11, which had become available with the retirement of another great Carlton defender in John “Ragsy” Goold.
With his new number, sporting even longer sideburns and hair to his shoulders, he took on and beat the best in the business, week after week. He won Carlton's Best and Fairest award in 1974, then followed up in '77, '80 and '84. In 1979 he picked up his second Premiership medal when the Blues knocked over Collingwood, and two years later he was on the dias again on Grand Final day, 1981. Carlton came from 21 points down in the third quarter to vanquish the Magpies yet again - by 20 points - in Doull's finest hour. Impassable at half-back all day, he beat four opponents and was a worthy winner of the Norm Smith medal.
Twelve months later, he collected his fourth Premiership medal when The Blues beat warm favourites Richmond for the '82 flag. Nicknamed "The Flying Doormat" by TV commentator Lou Richards - in deference to his by then shaggy haircut and beard, held in place by a navy blue or white headband - Doull led a Carlton defence that was heroic in the Blues' 18 point win. Many felt he was unlucky not to win his second Norm Smith medal, the honour instead going to Richmond's Maurice Rioli.
From 1976 to 1981 Bruce was a fixture in the Victorian State team, and earned a recall in 1984 at the age of 33. He was a remarkably durable and rarely suffered injury. At Princes Park in April 1985, he set a new Club games record (since broken by Craig Bradley) and went on to make 356 appearances for Carlton. His final match was a poignant defeat by Hawthorn in the 1986 Grand Final.
He may have been a shy, reserved individual in public, but when Bruce Doull pulled on the famous Old Dark Navy Blue he became one of the true legends of VFL/AFL football. Just one year after his retirement, Bruce was elected to the Carlton Hall of Fame. In September 1996 he was named on one half-back flank in the AFL Team of the 20th Century, and in May, 2000 filled the same spot in Carlton's Team of the Century.
Milestones50 Games: Semi Final, 1972 Vs Richmond
100 Games: Round 22, 1974 Vs St Kilda
150 Games: Round 3, 1977 Vs St Kilda
200 Games: Round 14, 1979 Vs Fitzroy
250 Games: Round 18, 1981 Vs Geelong
300 Games: Round 19, 1983 Vs Geelong
350 Games: Round 19, 1986 Vs Collingwood
Career Highlights1972 - 5th Best & Fairest
1972 - Premiership Player
1973 - 8th Best & Fairest
1974 - Robert Reynolds Memorial Trophy - Best & Fairest Award
1975 - Arthur Reyment Memorial Trophy - 2nd Best & Fairest
1976 - Arthur Reyment Memorial Trophy - 2nd Best & Fairest
1977 - Robert Reynolds Memorial Trophy - Best & Fairest Award
1979 - 7th Best & Fairest
1979 - Premiership Player
1980 - Robert Reynolds Memorial Trophy - Best & Fairest Award
1981 - 4th Best & Fairest
1981 - Norm Smith Medal
1981 - Premiership Player
1982 - 5th Best & Fairest
1982 - Premiership Player
1983 - 2nd Best & Fairest
1984 - Robert Reynolds Memorial Trophy - Best & Fairest Award
1984 - Best Clubman Award
LinksArticles: Bruce Doull Speaks | Yesowooloonko - You Beauty! | Moving Guernsey Numbers - UP! | Carlton's Magnificent Seven
Blueseum: Playing Career of Bruce Doull | Carlton Legends | Career Breakdown | Doull's Blueseum Image Gallery
98 online users