2004 SummaryDespite never shaping as a finals contender, 2004 was one of the more fascinating years at Carlton during a turbulent decade. In the two prior seasons the Blues had managed 16th and 15th respectively, and in 2005, we would finish last again - but somehow, in 2004, we managed 10 wins and 11th place. Did we over-perform? Were we lucky? Was everyone else having off years?
In contrast to the 2003 pre-season, where changes were minimal as incoming coach Denis Pagan appeared to trust the match committee and accept minimal changes to the playing list, a very wide broom went through the Blues in the 2004 pre-season. In a stunning series of trades and late draft picks, careers were ended and the following players found a new home at Princes Park:
- Cory McGrath, for Justin Murphy (Essendon)
- David Clarke jnr for Simon Beaumont in a 3-way trade (Geelong / Hawthorn)
- Heath Scotland for a mid range draft pick (Collingwood)
- Brett Johnson and Daniel Harford for a late draft pick (Hawthorn)
- Draft pick received for Matthew Allan (Essendon)
- David Teague and Digby Morrell for Corey McKernan (Kangaroos)
- Late draft picks used for Deluca, Mott, Kenna, Bannister and Glen Bowyer
Despite our low finishes in recent years, Carlton was still not allowed full access to the draft, although we were able to utilise our priority pick on young Andrew Walker. The questions remained as to whether this influx of mature-aged players would pay off, or whether we should have invested in youth and accepted a continuing lack of success with an eye to the club's long-term future. Right through 2005, this period in our trading history would be keenly debated in the sports pages, given that the Blues had been already been burnt by many trades in prior years.
Throughout the season, thorough thrashings from top teams would be followed up with some really spirited efforts in an odd trend that would give us some memorable wins. Huge losses to St Kilda, Melbourne, Port Adelaide and West Coast really hurt to watch, but our follow-up match efforts were astonishing, and the Blues finished off the year on a positive note by stealing three late victories to seal 11th spot.
Key players for the year included midfielder Scott Camporeale who arguably had his best season, big forward Brendan Fevola with 66 goals, Matthew Lappin who made All-Australian - and newcomer David Teague, who would win the club's Best & Fairest award in his debut season.
People of 2004Captain: Anthony Koutoufides
Coach: Denis Pagan - second year as Coach of the Blues
Leading Goal-kicker: Brendan Fevola - 66 goals
Best & Fairest: David Teague
MilestonesDebut: Stephen Kenna, Adrian Deluca, Andrew Walker, Adam Bentick, Andrew Carrazzo
Debut (Carlton): Jordan Bannister, Heath Scotland, David Teague, Digby Morrell, Brett Johnson, Daniel Harford, David Clarke, Nick Stevens, Glen Bowyer, Ricky Mott, Cory McGrath