Career : 1954 - 1960
Debut : Round 1, 1954 vs South Melbourne, aged 22 years, 279 days
Carlton Player No. 677
Games : 110
Goals : 11
Last Game : Round 18, 1960 vs South Melbourne, aged 29 years, 46 days
Guernsey No. 19
Height : 180 cm (5 ft. 11 in.)
Weight : 80.5 kg (12 stone, 9 lbs.)
DOB : July 12, 1931
In the long history of VFL/AFL football, there have been only 18 players with a surname beginning with the last letter of the alphabet, and Denis Zeunert is the only one of this small group to have worn the Old Dark Navy Blue.
A strong, determined and often ruthless half-back flanker, Zeunert spent seven seasons at Carlton from 1954 to 1960. At 19, he was recruited from Heywood in Victoria’s western district, and soon claimed a regular place in the Blues defence. He was quick for his size, a brilliant long kick on the run, and, at 180 cm and 81 kg, big enough to hold his own with most opponents. At one time he and fellow half-back 'Johnny' James were regarded as the best pair of defensive flankers in the competition.
Zeunert wore the number 19 throughout his 110 game career, which included three losing Semi Finals. In his rare forays forward, he kicked 11 goals. After retiring from top level football at Carlton, he headed back west as coach of Hamilton Imperials.
ZEUNERT DENIS (CARL.) – 1954-60, 110 games, 11 goals. A quality defender from Heywood who played a strong, fair style of game that twice resulted in him running second in Carlton’s best and fairest. A long strider on the half back flank, he was part of one of the League’s best halfback lines along with Peter Webster and John James. Zeunert was a brilliant kick on the run and was strong and ruthless. John Nicholls wrote that Zeunert would always do his circle on the boundary line and this gave him the capacity to cover plenty of ground in actual games. He later coached Hamilton Imperials in the Western District League.
from The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers – Every AFL/VFL Player since 1897 by Russell Holmesby & Jim Main - 3rd Edition 1998. page 649.
The first few years I (John Nicholls) played, we had the worrying problem of having the best backline in the league and the worst forward line. Two seasons in succession we had the least number of points scored against us. I was playing mainly in the back pocket and it was a tremendous experience playing in a defence line-up which consised of Comben, Ferry, Zeunert, Webster and James.
Denis Zeunert was a magnificent half back flanker. He took great big long strides, was a brilliant kick on the run, and into the bargain was strong and ruthless. At training, Denis was one player who, when doing circle work believed in doing all of his circle training right on the white line. He covered more territory at practice than any other player and it certainly paid dividends because he would still be running at top pace towards the end of the match. Peter Webster at centre half back was also a very good player – the trio of James, Webster and Zeunert, formed one of the best half back lines of their era in the league. Webster didn’t dash around as much as the other two, for a very good reason. He had a heart weakness and several times during a game you would see him squatting on his haunches having a rest for a minute or so until his heart palpitations stopped. This backline set a standard for the years to come, and Carlton have had a consistently strong defence lineup throughout the years I was there. (Page 152)
- From “Big Nick” by John Nicholls (with Ian McDonald) 1977.
Picture courtesy of FullPointsFooty.
GOES BETTER WITH HIS SOCKS DOWNSporting Globe August 11 1954 (p4), article on Denis with image.
Milestones50 Games: Round 2, 1957 Vs South Melbourne
100 Games: Round 8, 1960 Vs Collingwood
LinksArticles: Carlton's 'dasher' Denis Zeunert dies
Blueseum: Stat Shot for Denis Zeunert | Career Breakdown for Denis Zeunert | Zeunert's Blueseum Image Gallery