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Carlton celebrated a surprise victory over Geelong at Princes Park, with Noel O'Brien kicking 5 goals in what turned out to be his last game....

Round 18, 1955

Carlton 5.2 32 7.3 45 7.6 48 10.6 66
Geelong 0.1 1 4.5 29 6.7 43 8.12 60
Venue: Princes Park Date: Saturday August 20, 1955
Result: Win by 6 points Umpire: Nunn Crowd: 22,482
Goalkickers: N.O'Brien 5, D.Beasy 1, L.Berner 1, G.Donaldson 1, G.Gilchrist 1, F.Munro 1.
Reports: Nil Injuries: Berner (cramp) replaced by Gilchrist final quarter. Zeunert (hip) replaced by Sullivan final quarter.












Game Review

Carlton jumped third-placed Geelong and led by five goals at the first change. Despite kicking only five more majors for the game, we held on for an impressive win and finished the year off on a high. Prior to this, the Cats had won 14 of their 17 games and sat second on the ladder to the all-conquering Melbourne Demons.

With this win, Carlton finished up in seventh place, with a percentage of 98.6, only marginally behind Richmond in 6th place.

Sadly, this would be the last time we saw Noel O'Brien in action. His five goals won the game for the Blues, but a serious ankle injury during the 1956 pre-season ended his short, yet notable career. More than 55 years have passed since his last game. Noel's average of 3.69 goals per game is still the highest at Carlton.
This was also Perc Bentley's last game as coach.

The Blues stunned Geelong in the first quarter. Carlton played brilliantly and took advantage of kicking with the wind. However, after half time they failed with the breeze and added just 3 points while Geelong added 2.2 and looked the winner. Against the wind in the last term the Blues once again rose to the occasion. "With John James magnificent (at) centre-half back, Kerr leading many advances from the centre, and Bruce Comben and Peter Webster, stopping anything that passed James, Geelong faltered."

With just minutes to go in the final quarter the Blues led by 6 points, Geelong forward John O'Connell marked a few yards out from goal. He carefully lined up to level the scores but kicked into the man on the mark. The Blues then held out the desperate Cats until the final siren.

Carlton coach Perc Bentley

"Our victory came from a brilliant first quarter, and tight defence in the last quarter, and the boys did a great job for me in my last game for the club. I was delighted with the way the boys fought back against the wind in the last quarter. It was a fine win."

Best;

James, Kerr, Hands, O'Brien, Chick, Comben, Webster.

Scorers;

O'Brien 5.3, Donaldson 1.1, Beasy 1.0, Berner 1.0, Munro 1.0, Gilchrist 1.0, Chick 0.1, rushed 1

Footnote

Noel "Nobby" O'Brien finished second to Geelong's N. Rayson on the V.F.L. goal kicking list. Nobby's 5 goals took his haul for this year to 73, just 4 goals short of Rayson's tally.

As mentioned previously this was to be Noel O'Brien's final game.
Just how significant his 73 goals was, is the fact that it was the highest tally by a Carlton player since Paul Schmidt booted 77 goals way back in 1941.
Between 1941 and 1955 no Carlton player was to kick more than 49 goals.
Ahead, only one player was kick 50 goals, "Turkey Tom" Carroll with 54 in 1961, and only two Carlton players would score in the 60's, again, Tom Carroll with 62 in 1962 and Alex Jesaulenko with 66 in 1969.
Noel's 73 goals was to be the highest kicked for 28 seasons 1941 - 1969
Jezza would smash all Carlton records and the century barrier with 115 goals in 1970.
Carroll contributed 30% & 26% and Jesaulenko 19% & 32% of their team's goals.
O'Brien's goals had made up 37% of the team's goals, which is the all time highest percentage for any Blue!
Could he have been another Coleman? Of course we will never know, but his percentage of goals contributed are Colemanesque of his early years.
The loss of the 22 year old "Nobby" O'Brien who was just hitting his stride, possibly robbed the Blues of any September success in the mid to late 1950's and early 1960's.

Team


B: 15 Bruce Comben 3 Peter Webster 14 Vin English
HB: 19 Denis Zeunert 10 John James 16 John Brown
C: 21 Barry Beitzel 11 Laurie Kerr 23 John Chick
HF: 20 Leon Berner 34 Bob Crowe 17 Doug Beasy
F: 5 Gerald Burke 26 Noel O'Brien 22 Frank Munro
Ruck: 13 Graham Donaldson 1 Ken Hands (c) 36 Kevin Bergin
Res: 30 Jack Sullivan 28 Graham Gilchrist
Coach: Percy Bentley


Milestones

Last games: John Brown, Barry Beitzel, Noel O'Brien and Percy Bentley as coach.


Round 17 | 1956