Some Carlton moments are already etched in our mind, and no moment is greater than Jezza's supreme leap on Jenkin's shoulders. But other moments of greatness abound, and when the Blueseum caught up with ex-Blue Dennis Munari recently, a moment that stuck in his mind related more to the beginning of the Jesaulenko phenomenon...

"By way of background Jezza, who was aged 22 when he signed with Carlton, was courted by a number of clubs, and in particular North Melbourne who were keen on him but after seeing him in a few practice matches decided not to sign him. Carlton subsequently signed him in 1967 the same year as Robert Walls and Brian Kekovich.

Carlton obviously thought he was worthy enough to sign but he took a while to crank up and show his real potential. During our four or five intra club practice matches and the first few home and home games Alex did not stand out greatly as a player, and there may have been some concerns amongst officials including the coach Ronald Dale Barassi that North Melbourne's judgement not to sign Alex may have been vindicated.

It was not until Round 4 - Carlton v Melbourne that Alex from a half forward flank played an absolute blinder of a game kicking a number of goals, taking marks that you had to see to believe, and playing "cat like" as we now know of him. The crowd was in absolute awe of his achievements on the day as were the coach, his teammates and officials.

It would be accurate to say that the nickname "JEZZA" which bellowed from the crowd all day was borne that day as was the now acclaimed AFL Legend !

A further story behind this day was the way that Carlton under Ron Barassi used to approach match days and prepare the players. Unlike today where players have a full dossier and tapes on opposition player, in 1967 the Senior Squad would go down to Channel 7 after training on Tuesday or Thursday evening and view a recorded match of our last game, and Ron would use this film as a teaching aid illustrating individual performances, opposition weakness's and strategy. As you would appreciate tapes were not available as they are today ,and Ron in his pursuit of professionalism and excellence, requested that Carlton start building its own library of player and team performances using the tapes that it could obtain from Channel 7.

We all know what is available today with video etc but the early beginnings for using this technology was in 1967.

The catalyst at Carlton for this decision was Jezzas match against Melbourne in 1967 - it was so magnificent that Ron Barassi insisted it needed to be archived for posterity."

And now, some 40 odd years later, Jezza's place in Carlton and AFL History is settled with his accession to Legend Status. As we can see from the above write-up, it isn't just the fans and media that were dazzled by Jezza's awesome skills - his fellow players were equally impressed.


Blueseum: Links to all other 'Memorable Games' articles | Munari's Blueseum Biography