Career : 2003 - 2006
Debut : Round 1, 2003 vs Sydney, aged 27 years, 124 days
Carlton Player No. 1060
Games : 71
Goals : 20
Last Game: Round 22, 2006 vs Sydney, aged 30 years, 282 days
Guernsey No. 11
Height : 200 cm (6 ft. 7 in.)
Weight : 100 kg (15 stone, 10 lbs.)
DOB : 25 November, 1975
Barnaby French was a 200 cm ruckman from Sturt via Ironbark in the Adelaide Hills, who came over to Carlton from Port Power at the end of the 2002 season. French played 62 games and booted 20 goals during his time with Power. His recruitment in itself was not complicated - a simple trade for our national draft selection 18 in return for French and pick 31 - but it became much more significant after the infamous 'Black Friday' draft sanctions were imposed on the Blues for salary cap breaches in prior years.
As a result of those penalties, Carlton actually lost pick 31, but more importantly, our selections 1 and 2 in 2002. This was a devastating blow to the Blues, and sent the club into a steep decline that lasted more than five years. One small consolation was that "Bananaby" French provided some glimmer of hope. He was big, and surprisingly agile for a ruckman, with a nice turn of pace. Not a Stawell Gift winner by any means, but not your archetypal beanpole or dinosaur either. At 200cm and 100 kilos, he was the right build for the modern game. From a rowing background, his key strengths were his ruck skills and the endurance to run all day.
While 2003 was a tough year for all concerned at Princes Park, French was somewhat starved of opportunity. He made 19 appearances, but was generally relegated to the interchange bench as a back-up for first-choice ruckmen Corey McKernan and Matthew Allan. Late in the season he was dropped to the Northern Bullants, raising doubts that he was up to the standard required for AFL football.
However, all that changed in 2004. Suddenly, McKernan and Allan were gone (to the Roos and Bombers respectively) and French found himself as virtually the sole ruckman on Carlton's list. His transformation is described in the article below:
French by the stats - 2005
French became a key player for the Blues over 2004 and 2005, and in fact his early-season '05 form had him as one of the better ruckmen in the competition. But Carlton suffered badly when he was absent - especially when he went down with a back complaint in 2004, and again after a hard clash with Bulldog Will Minson, compounded by a knee injury in 2005. Despite those injuries, French played 17 and 15 games respectively, with average possessions of 8.6 and 9.9, plus 18.7 hitouts a game in 2005.
French remained the cornerstone of Carlton's ruck division until his last year of footy in 2006. He was particularly good early in that season, and with his usual tireless efforts managed 346 hit-outs and 59 tackles in 20 games, making it his best season at Carlton. In fact, later in the year he gained his only Brownlow vote for the Blues. Then, somewhat surprisingly, Barnaby announced his retirement to his teammates at the three-quarter time huddle in the Round 22 clash against Sydney. He kicked the last goal of the match, but Carlton were still thrashed by 92 points.
Milestones100 AFL Games: Round 2, 2005 Vs Essendon
50 Carlton Games: Round 21, 2005 Vs Essendon
Career Highlights2005 - Pre-Season Premiership Player
2005 - 8th Best & Fairest