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Inception Blue No. 18

Tom Sweetman

Career : 1897 - 1899
Debut : Inception Blue - Round 1, 1897 vs Fitzroy, aged 24 years, 123 days
Carlton Player No. 18
Games : 30
Goals : 3
Last Game : Round 4, 1899 vs Essendon, aged 25 years, 112 days.
Height :
Weight :
DOB : January 5, 1873

Born in West Melbourne and recruited by Carlton from Ascot Vale, Thomas Edward Sweetman had already established himself at Princes Park before the VFL commenced its elite 8-team competition in 1897. Tom was assigned to a back pocket for Carlton's historic first match against Fitzroy that afternoon, but like almost all his team-mates, found the Maroons just too big and too accomplished.

As that first tough year unfolded, and Carlton suffered defeat after defeat, Sweetman played a variety of roles at half-back and half-forward, from where he managed to kick all three of his career goals. Carlton ended the year one rung from the bottom of the ladder, above only the winless St Kilda. Early in the following season, when Blues’ captain Ernie Walton asked Sweetman to take over at full-back, Tom accepted the challenge and had a fine year. He and Bill Sharkey quickly formed a reliable combination on the last line of defence, and although Carlton celebrated only three wins, the team overall was rarely short of spirit or enthusiasm.

Therefore, after recruiting heavily and farewelling a number of players, Carlton looked forward to 1899 with considerable optimism. But successive losses in the first four rounds of the new season sent the Blueboys into a tail-spin from which they never recovered.

Although he was just 25, and at the peak of his career, Carlton’s 39-point loss to Essendon at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground in late May was apparently the last straw for Sweetman. He retired from VFL football following that game, and faded into memory until he passed away on 5 May, 1945, aged 72.

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Tom Sweetman | Sweetman's Blueseum Image Gallery