The VFL / AFL has produced many champion footballers including those of indigenous origin, whilst the number initially was small in the uptake due to many reasons such as the unfortunate stigma to being associated as of being indigenous descent through to player profiles and records being of a very limited nature. Fortunately this has changed in the last quarter of a century with a very large intake of players of aboriginal and Torres Straits background through to improved recognition, celebration and most importantly the significant contribution that they have played in this truly indigenous game to Australia. The indigenous community in Victoria played a crude ball game which was known as Marn Grook, it is believed by some historians that this had played a signifciant role in the formation of Australian rules football, which originated in Melbourne in 1858.

Whilst records weren’t as well kept in days gone by as they are in these days there has been around 200 players to have played and represented VFL/AFL clubs at the highest level at the writing of this article in 2019. The first recognised Indigenous player to play VFL/AFL match was Joe Johnson who played 55 games for Fitzroy from 1904 to 1906, and was a member of their 1904 and 1905 premiership teams. It wasn't until 1931 that Carlton’s first indigenous player Alf Egan played for Carlton, he would play for the Blues from 1931 to 1933 that included him playing at Centre-Half Forward in the losing 1932 Grand Final.

From 1969 arguably Carlton’s greatest indigenous player in Syd Jackson would play for the Blues as an elusive goal-kicking half-forward for the Blues whereby he played 136 games and booted 165 goals that included playing in the 1970 and 1972 premiership teams. Jackson would be a trail blazer in the late 1960's until the mid 1970's when there were very few indigenous players in the VFL. Jackson would also be honored by being named in the VFL/AFL’s Indigenous Team of the Century.

Since Jackson Carlton have had many players of indigenous origin proudly represent the Blues such as Eddie Betts, Andrew Walker, Chris Yarran, Jeffery Garlett etc. It wasn't until of late that former premiership Blue Mark Naley actually discovered that he was of aboriginal descent, who knows we may have more former players that can be included within this team that have proudly represented the Carlton Football Club at various levels and stages throughout its history.

The representation doesn’t just stop with the men’s team, AFLW player's Madison Prespakis, Natalie Plane and Kirby Bentley are also of aboriginal descent, with the AFLW in its infant stages it will obviously take some time before an Indigenous women’s team can be compiled.

Former Carlton triple premiership champion rover Ken Sheldon son Sam Sheldon is also of indigenous background, this is from his mother’s side of the family hence why Ken isn’t listed within this team.


B: Chris Yarran Liam Jones Troy Bond
HB: Joe Anderson Cory McGrath Zac Williams
C: Jack Martin Sam Petrevski-Seton Jarrod Garlett
HF: Syd Jackson (c) Andrew Walker (dvc) Jeffery Garlett
F: Eddie Betts (vc) Cyril Mann Jesse Motlop
Ruck: Alf Egan Justin Murphy Mark Naley
Interchange: Jarrod Pickett Rod Waddell Clem Smith
Sean Charles
Emergencies: Alan Thorpe (pre-season games) Ezra Bray (pre-season game) Kym LeBois (pre-season game)
Clinton Benjamin (reserves) Andrew Lovett (supplementary player) Lionel Proctor (supplementary player)
Corey Ah Chee (supplementary player) Willie Pepper (U/19’s)

This team’s line-up is open for debate on positions and structure but the important part is that it shows that Carlton has had some terrific contributions made by the traditional owners of this great land we live in. There is no doubt that this team's structure and playing list will change over time as more players are drafted or previous players that have indigenous background becomes known. If you are aware of any such facts please contact the team at Blueseum so we can recognise and include them within this truly magnificent team.

Celebration Teams!