As we've just seen, the Blues can not only celebrate a treasure trove of players who represented Carlton in our 16 Premierships, but can also celebrate the brilliance of a large number of players who could not achieve "the ultimate'' despite their best efforts.

So by what metrics can we decide? Surely if we are judging 'the Greatest' we need to embody some element of personal brilliance. For example, a Brownlow (or equivalent) surely puts you in good stead. Being selected as Captain - the best leader of the time - or by the Club as a member of the Team of the Century should also be included. Perhaps points for Best & Fairests - but we would need to compensate for players (Clover, Wells) who played before 1934...

Potentially we should look at finals games or win / loss ratios as a player to highlight the relative team success. This particular writer - and this is not the Blueseum consensus! - considers that the title 'Greatest Flagless Great' presupposes that the players played in a dark time, and potentially weren't able to achieve such success. We could also look at goal kicking feats, and include the Coleman efforts of Carroll and Fevola, but clearly, this would over-compensate to the goal kickers and disadvantage our key defenders such as Collis and James.

Below we summarise the careers of the nominated players:

Great Flagless Greats
Player Games Goals Best & Fairests Brownlow MedalsColeman MedalClub Leading Goal-kicker Captaincy
Bruce Comben 188 36 2 (1957, 1958) Nil Nil NilYes
John James 195 31 3 (1955, 1960, 1961) Yes - 1961 Nil NilNo
Laurie Kerr 149 48 Nil – 2nd in 1958 Nil Nil NilNo
Horrie Clover 147 396 Nil # Champion of the Colony1921 League Leading Goalkicker - 1922 6 timesYes
Gordon Collis 95 40 1 (1964) Yes – 1964 Nil NilNo
Lance Whitnall 216 348 1 (2006) Nil Nil 3 timesYes
Tom Carroll 55 143 Nil Nil Yes - 1961 3 timesNo
Brendan Fevola 187* 575 Nil Nil Yes – 2006, 2009 7 timesNo
Wayne Blackwell 110 80 Nil Nil Nil Nil No
Jack Wells 66 51 Nil # Nil Nil Nil Yes
Charlie Davey 143 121 Nil Nil Nil Nil Yes
Ansell Clarke 145 242 1 (1936) Nil Nil Nil Yes
Keith Warburton 74 91 Nil Nil Nil 1 time (1951) No
Adrian Hickmott 134* 107 Nil Nil Nil Nil No
Matthew Lappin 196* 221 Nil Nil Nil 1 time (2001) No

NB * denotes Carlton games only; # players played before a Best & Fairest award

The drumroll beats.....

Horrie Clover!

We provided points for seasons played (so as to not disadvantage players who only played 18 games or so per year), with bonus marks (5) for Brownlow wins (including Horrie's Champion of the Colony), Best & Fairest wins (5 for multiple, 4 for the one), and also for Captaincy roles (5 marks).

Horrie Clover finished marginally ahead of the greats, Bruce Comben and John James, as our Greatest Flagless Blue. Ansell Clarke came in 4th, just ahead of Lance Whitnall, owing to their long-service, B&F wins, and Captaincy roles.

Of course, all of this ignores our current crop of players, but we'll leave that to history to decide.....

So who do you think is the Greatest? And why?
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