Under the guidance of Australian Football’s first professional coach; Jack Worrall, the Carlton Football Club reached the pinnacle of the game for the first time in 1906, when the Old Dark Navy Blues won the club’s first-ever Victorian Football League Premiership. Having reached the Preliminary Final or Grand Final each year from 1903 to 1905, Worrall’s men would not be denied at their fourth attempt, and emphatically defeated their former nemesis, Fitzroy, by 49 points.
This historic victory wasn’t just a glorious one-off achievement however. In one of the most famous purple patches in the history of the game, the Blues would go on to triple Premiership glory, winning three flags in a row in 1906-07-08, and getting to within 2 points of four straight in 1909. Those facts alone entitle this team to be ranked among the greatest of all time.
On the way to their first Premiership, the Blues claimed the minor premiership by topping the ladder with 14 wins and 3 losses, finishing one game ahead of Fitzroy in second. Carlton’s only defeats came against Essendon in round 7, South Melbourne in round 12 and Fitzroy the following week in round 13. When the finals got underway, Carlton and Collingwood engaged in a torrid Semi Final that the Blues eventually won by 10 points, before accounting for Fitzroy in surprisingly comfortable circumstances in the Grand Final.
An indication of Carlton's dominance during the season was the achievement of key forward Mick Grace, who led the league's goalscoring with 50 goals. ‘Silver’ Caine finished second on the table with 37 majors, while George Topping also made the top 10 with 25 goals.
The full story of the day, the game and the implications of our first Premiership are explored here in a Blueseum article, The First of Many, including extracts from the club's Annual Report and the press of the day.
People of 1906Coach: Jack Worrall
Captain: Jim Flynn
Vice Captain: George Bruce
Leading Goal-kicker: Mick Grace - 50 Goals
MilestonesGoal-kicking: In 1906 Carlton’s Mick Grace became first VFL player to kick 50 goals in a season.
Debuts: Charlie Meadway, William Harry, Ike Little, Harvey Gibson, Albert Bickford, Les Beck, Fred Jinks, Andy Kennedy, Jack Hammond, Jack Grant, Dick Harris, Doug Gillespie, Alex Johnston, Martin Gotz, Bill Grant and Alex Lang
Princes Park GrandstandThe Referee (Sydney) October 03 1906 writing about the Carlton Cricket Club's annual report in which the proposed Gardiner grandstand is mentioned;
"The club has decided to erect a grandstand, at a cost of £3000, as soon as guarantors for the amount are obtained. That financial problem would scare to death any club in Sydney.
The Melburnians, like the Yankees, are good in dealing with dollars."
vsCarlton Juniors, April 07 at Princes Park
vs Preston, April 14 at Princes Park
vs Rose of Northcote, April 16 at Princes Park
vs Combined Catholic Young Men's F.C. (C.Y.M.S.) April 21 at Princes Park
vs West Melbourne, April 23 (Eight Hours Day Holiday) at Princes Park
vs North Melbourne, April 28 at Princes ParkUmpires; O'Loughlin / Tulloch second half
Carlton won by 169 points!!
Carl; 7.7 11.11 20.17 26.22.178
N.M; 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.3.9
As one supporter said "When Carlton were not kicking goals they were missing them!"
Sydney TripOctober 13
Carlton played a NSW representative team on Sydney's Royal Agricultural Show Ground.
The weather was too hot and windy for good football.
The Sydney Morning Herald in its Monday report named both teams with NSW having 18 players and Carlton with 15
"New South Wales had a mixed team of good general quality. The Victorians were not represented by their strongest team.
They played Barry, captain of the Fort Street S. P. S. Club." (SMH Oct 15 p10)
Fort Street S.P.S. is a Sydney secondary school in Petersham est. 1849 which played Australian Football.
Carlton team; (15 players named, although some reports do say Carlton 18. Reports mentiont several prominent Carlton players were absent)
Barry, Beck, Clark, Cook, Flynn, Gillespie, C. Hammond, J. Hammond, Ingleburn, Jinks, Johnson, Lang, Payne, Scammill, Topping.
Carl; 2.3 4.4 7.8 9.11.65
NSW; 2.4 2.5 4.7 5.8.38
There is a team photo taken in Sydney with 18 players plus officials in Brian Hansen's The Blue Boys p49