The arrival of David Ellard in the Carlton seniors in Season 2008 marked the return of the elusive Guernsey #46 to the Navy Blue. In just the 21st match that Guernsey #46 has been seen in the Carlton seniors, Ellard kicked a goal on debut in our riveting victory over the West Coast Eagles. But who else has worn this Guernsey number, and what other BIG numbers have been seen in Navy Blue?1977- David McKay (Scanlens Footy Card).

“That’s Easy!” I hear you think. Guernsey #43 has been a big one for the Blues - everything was BIG about Anthony Koutoufides; his ability, his list of career achievements, his hands – and also his Guernsey number. Kouta followed in the footsteps of Carlton Great David McKay in Guernsey #43, amongst a group of only 5 Blues in history to wear it in a senior match.

Guernsey #44 not only had Big Harry Madden for eons (1983 – 1997). Andrew Carrazzo has become the third 50-gamer in Guernsey #44, behind Ron Stone and Big Harry, and is well on his way to seeing his name emblazoned in history on the rattling lockers at Princes Park. Interestingly, 7 Blues have worn the #44, with Maurie Sankey, Peter Fyffe, Eric Pascoe and Damian Lang also donning the jumper.

But after #44 it gets a bit harder. How many wearers of the #45 can you name off the top of your head? Sure, there was Anthony Franchina who became the first Blue to play 100 games in the jumper. But here are some other names for you – Darren Tarczon in 1991-1992, Warren McKenzie for a number of games including the successful 1987 Grand Final team, and Gil Lockhart and John Leatham in the 1960’s. Tarczon is a favourite of many who followed the Blues in the early 1990’s, famously splitting Guy McKenna in two with a shirtfront in Round 14, 1991 (in just Tarczon’s third game), only to be bettered by Earl Spalding some 4 years later who actually split McKenna in three with a similar bump.

The 2 remaining #45’s may surprise you, for they wore this jumper on their way to bigger and better things. Firstly, Trevor Keogh wore this jumper before moving on to Guernsey #8 and 2 Premierships, and secondly, Rod Austin who would wear #21 in the 1979 Premiership.

After Guernsey #45, it gets much harder. Recent devotees of the Club may remember Laurence Angwin in #47, Jordan Doering in #48 and Heath Culpitt for a season in #52. But who else have worn these jumpers?

Below we have listed the Games Record holders for Guernseys 46 and above, with the added information of how many Carlton players have worn that jumper at senior level. Perhaps, before moving on through this article, you can see how many of the wearers of each Guernsey number you can remember, if any?

Guernseys 46 to 56
Guernsey No.Carlton Games Record HolderNumber of Games in that GuernseyNumber of wearers in Senior Games
46 Matthew Wright 65 9
47 Peter Francis 47 9
48 Jordan Doering 18 5
49 Andy Lukimitis 11 4
50 John O'Connell 11 3
51 Dean Strauch 2 2
52 Heath Culpitt 6 2
53 Simon Minton-Connell 1 1
54 Wayne Harmes 1 1
55 Mark Buckley 4 3
56 Ang Christou 1 1

As with Keogh and Austin, some of the above list wore the BIG numbers on their way to lower numbers and longer careers, whilst others only managed a few games overall at the Club. The only wearer of the #56 guernsey in Carlton history, Ang Christou, is oddly enough the only Carlton player to possess Games Records for 2 jumpers, the #56 and the #39 he was famous for.

Mark Buckley began in #55, before moving to number 10 for a couple of years, and then becoming the answer to that perennial Carlton trivia question – ‘Who wore #4 in between Bosustow and Kernahan?’ – by wearing #4 for 1 game in 1985, incidentally his last.

Wayne Harmes would be the only wearer of #54 in Carlton’s history, wearing it for his debut match before moving to his customary #37 shortly after, whilst Simon Minton-Connell was also the only #53 before moving to #29 on his way to 3 other Clubs.

Heath Culpitt and Neil Gaghan have shared the number #52, perhaps made famous by Crows Legend Shaun Rehn, whilst Gerard Butts and Dean Strauch played the only 3 games ever played in #51. John O'Connell heads the list of #50’s from Peter Gilbert in 1966 and Ben Robertson in 1992 (each with 3 games), whilst Lukimitis (and subsequently Lukas), Kourkoumelis, Ogier and Poursanidis have worn #49, in what from a distance would appear to be a number reserved for those with Greek heritage.

5 Blues have worn #48, including Geoff Hocking, Ricky Nixon, Mark Majerczak, Ashley Matthews and Carlton #48 Games record holder Doering with just under half of the 37 games played in total.

Guernsey #47 is a special high number, with premiership success aplenty, both through the Guernsey itself and as a stepping stone for other Carlton favourites. Neil Chandler wore it in the 1968 premiership before moving on to 22 and playing in 2 more premierships, while Peter Francis played all 47 of his Carlton games in the jumper, including the 1979 Premiership, providing a nice little mystical twist to the Guernsey. #47 has also proven to be a great springboard to some careers, with Lofts, Hulme and Hanna all moving to lower numbers and longer careers.

Guernsey #46 was the springboard for Mark Porter only, with Bob Lane, John Warden, Andrew Graham, Peter White and Andrew Pickering also wearing the Guernsey. Although Pickering would be successful in picking up a lower number – the number 6 – he would only be able to wear it for an additional year in 2002 before leaving Carlton for Richmond. David Ellard makes it 7 to wear this Guernsey over 21 games.

There’s no doubting the historical link between high numbers and short careers, although as we have seen a good number of players in the BIG numbers just used those numbers as a stepping stone down to a more ‘normal’ number, such as Lofts, Austin, Hanna, Harmes and Christou. Others, such as Madden, McKay and Carrazzo, remained happy in becoming trailblazers for their Club in the high Guernseys.