Career : 1932 - 1933
Debut : Round 3, 1932 vs Richmond, aged 22 years, 187 days
Carlton Player No. 491
Games : 33
Goals : 1
Last Game : Round 15, 1933 vs Essendon, aged 23 years, 270 days
Guernsey No. 20
Height : 185 cm ( 6 ft. 1 in.)
Weight : 81.5 kg (12 stone, 12 lb.)
DOB: 8 November, 1909
A tough and honest follower-defender who had been a fringe player with Richmond from 1928 to 1931 in which he played 13 games and kicked two goals. Charlie Street crossed to Carlton in 1932 to give the Blues good service over two seasons. He played his first match for Carlton against his old side, and suffered the agony of a Grand Final defeat by the Tigers later that same year, when Richmond edged out the Blues in a classic encounter.
Growing up in the mean streets of inner-suburban Richmond in the years after World War 1, Street’s life revolved around hard physical labour during the week, playing football for his local church team on the weekend, and of course, barracking for the Tigers. Street started out playing with North Richmond, and later St James, near Yarrawonga. In 1928, just as the Great Depression plunged the world into financial chaos, Charlie found his way to Punt Road Oval and was selected in Richmond’s senior side for the first of his 13 games. The Tigers were a league powerhouse in those years, although they were beaten three times in a row in their Grand Final appearances of 1928, ‘29 and ‘31.
By then, Street had decided (or perhaps been encouraged) to move on and start afresh with the Navy Blues of Carlton. Under the coaching of another ex-Tiger in Dan Minogue, Charlie made his debut for his new club in round three of 1932. It was a torrid baptism of fire for him - against Richmond at Punt Road – but it ended in triumph for the Blues when our champion forward Harry Vallence kicked his sixth goal of the game in the last minute to give Carlton victory by one point. Street played in a back pocket, sharing the second ruck duties with ‘Mocha’ Johnson.
Thereafter, Charlie was a fixture in the Blues senior team and didn’t miss a match all year. Carlton finished on top of the ladder, but the Tigers took over favouritism for the flag when they beat the Blues by 25 points in the second Semi Final. Street was outstanding for Carlton on that occasion, and played well again the following week when the Blues thrashed Collingwood by 75 points in the Preliminary Final. ‘Soapy’ Vallence dominated that match with 11 goals, and almost single-handedly earned the Blues another crack at Richmond in the Grand Final.
The 1932 VFL Grand Final was a thriller, played before almost 70,000 fans on a fine spring day. Richmond forged to a 15-point lead at half time, before the Blues cut it back to seven at the last change. The lead see-sawed in the final stanza, and with five minutes left, Carlton led by four points. Then a fumbled mark in the Blues’ goal-square brought a crucial major for the Tigers, and another right on the bell got them home by nine points. Street’s first and only Grand Final ended in despair, with his former team-mates deliriously celebrating Richmond’s third flag.
Almost a year later - by round 14, 1933 - Carlton was again in finals contention, sitting third on the ladder when the team travelled to Geelong to take on the second-placed Cats in the match of the day. Although the two sides seemed evenly matched on paper, Geelong chopped up Carlton’s defence from the first bounce, and eventually inflicted a record defeat by 73 points. Heads had to roll after that spectacular failure, and Street was one of those called to account.
Charlie was dropped to 19th man for the following week’s game against Essendon. Understandably, he wasn’t happy about it, and after the Blues bounced back to hammer the Dons by seven goals, it seems that he became involved in a vigorous discussion with his coach and/or club officials. No definitive account of the incident has come to light, but it is not hard to deduce that emotion took over and words were said that were probably later regretted.
What is clear is that Charlie left Princes Park shortly afterward, bringing a premature end to a short playing career of 33 consecutive games in Carlton’s number 20 guernsey. Although he was then still only 23 years old, he never played VFL football again.
Almost a decade later, Charlie enlisted for front-line service in the Australian Army during World War II. He was assigned to an anti-aircraft unit, and was eventually promoted through the ranks to Staff Sergeant during his four years in uniform.