The surprise moves of Bret Thornton to the forward line in our Round 9 loss to the Crows and Michael Jamison in our Round 15 win over the Tigers brought to bear the obvious question - how can we be reliant on these guys to kick goals for us when they've hardly managed to score in their entire careers to this point?!! With this question in mind, the Blueseum sought to understand the rare goal-kicking feats of defenders past, and to see where Thornton and Jamison compare with some of our other greats.

Firstly, the big question had to be asked - could Jamison break the record for games played without snagging a major? Surely after 40 or so games - with which Jamison would break a different record - he'd be getting close.

Well, we are happy to advise that Jamison, has a good 80 games or so of being barren before cracking the record, unfortunately held by Blues Legend and triple Premiership Player (1906-1908), Billy Payne. Payne, as you can see from Table 1, heads our list of barren players with no goals from 127 matches. He may have 3 Premiership Medallions, but Payne just could not score a goal. In second place, with an impressive Nelson of no goals is John O'Connell, who just could not quite manage to score a goal in his long and successful career with the Blues.

Table 1

Player Games Goals
Billy Payne 127 Nil
John O'Connell 111 Nil
Jim Watson 91 Nil
Doug Gillespie 90 Nil
John Brown 90 Nil
Graeme Anderson 90 Nil
Kevin Heath 78 (Carlton) Nil
Fred Johnson 77 Nil
Jack Morrissey 56 Nil
Paul Hurst 53 Nil
Arthur Sanger 117 1
Jim Clark 161 2
Don McIntyre 100 2
Norman Clark 126 3

Overall, 10 Blues have played 50 games or more without scoring a goal for Carlton (NB Kevin Heath also played at Hawthorn, and snagged 43 majors!). That's a minimum of 2 full seasons without the glory! Also added to this list for noting are some Carlton legends with 1, 2 or 3 majors only despite illustrious careers. Don McIntyre kicked 2 in his 100 games, whilst the great Hackenschmidt only managed 3 in his 126 impressive games.

Which brings us to another record - when did these champs actually kick their first goals - did they finish their careers as part time forwards, and perhaps play 100 games - like Payne and O'Connell - without kicking a major? We set out to review the history books by games played before the first majors, and given the players who kicked 1 or less goals in their first 100, the results were equally as fascinating:

Table 2

Player Total Games Total Goals Premierships First Goal kicked (Game No.) Goals Kicked
Billy Payne 127 Nil 3 N/A Nil
John O'Connell 111 Nil 1 N/A Nil
Jim Francis 162 52 (1 in his first 100!) 1 2 Round 10, 1934 v Collingwood
Arthur Sanger 117 1 1 3 Round 4, 1939 v Footscray
Bret Thornton 128 (End of 2008) 2 Nil 20 Round 10, 2003 v Fremantle
Jim Clark 161 2 2 30th Round 2, 1945 v Hawthorn
Phil Pinnell 173 5 1 51st Round 17, 1971 v South Melbourne
Eric Huxtable 135 4 Nil 58th Round 9, 1933 v North
Geoff Southby 268 31 2 64th Round 21, 1973 v Footscray
Norman Clark 126 3 3 93rd Round 16, 1910 v Essendon

Putting Payne and O'Connell to the side, the first cab off the rank on this point is Jim Francis who only kicked one goal in his first 100 for Carlton. If you follow his career along, you can see that he actually finishes up with over 50 goals from his 160 games, as Francis spent more & more time up forward as his career progressed. Also of interest is Geoff Southby who in his brilliant career also only kicked one major in his first 100 games. Southby's 31 goals is worth looking into as well - 23 came in a single year, 1976. Bret Thornton indeed makes the list with 2 goals out of 128 games, but only 1 in his first 100. Thornton rounds out the list of 10 Blues to crack 100 games but to have only kicked a maximum of 1 goal!

To round out the story, only 2 of our 'Barren Blues' did not play, or are yet to play in a Premiership. The old adage of Premiership teams being based on great defences - including those who never kicked a goal (or the solitary major) indeed rings true.

Oh...and yes...Thornton was quite close to being our most 'capped' player with 2 goals, being only a season or so behind Jim Clark (with no one else at 100+ and 2 goals other than McIntyre), but his 2 goals in Round 18, 2009 changed all that....

Blueseum Footnote: Jamison would kick his first AFL goal in Round 22, 2011, being his 68th match.

Blueseum: Our biggest goalkickers - on average