The debut of Zach Tuohy for Carlton in Round 11 of 2011 marked the unique occasion of Carlton playing two Irishmen in the one team. For those who managed to see the game, it also provided a bit of mirth on the field, when young Tuohy took off after gaining his first possession in AFL football, and took a bounce - only for the ball to hit something on the turf (perhaps a sprinkler head) and rebound backwards, well over his head! That moment marked a low - albeit a humorous one - on debut for the young Blue.

At the Blueseum, that incident got us thinking about other Triumphs & Tribulations on debut for Carlton. So here, we have highlighted some that have come to mind, for your reading interest.

Matthew Kreuzer in his new jumper

TRIUMPH - Goals with First Kicks
Imagine not only being picked to play your first game for Carlton - the buzz of the crowd, the open spaces of say the MCG - and then following it up with your first kick that would go through the big sticks! Carlton's history is full of some prominent players who would achieve just this, from our earliest recorded such player in Creswell 'Mickey' Crisp, through to Brett Ratten and Matthew Allan in the 1990's and more recently to Matthew Kreuzer, Jeffery Garlett and Dylan Buckley. What a way to start your career!

Some Blues would unfortunately kick goals in their first games and not kick on for more games. In fact, two Blues, Daryl Gilmore and Bill Flynn, kicked 3, yet never played another game in Navy Blue!

But perhaps the most famous of all such players is Clen Denning, who would kick 6 goals with his first 6 kicks in AFL football, in what would rank as one of the most astonishing stats in the history of our great game.
1995 Rd 18 - Mil Hanna takes a safe mark.

TRIBULATION - Horrific Injuries
A young Mil Hanna would take the field for his debut game at the start of Season 1986 alongside some other very very large CFC names. Unfortunately for Hanna, the game would end with a season-ending and career threatening knee injury. Some 18 months later, Hanna would return to the fore in the second of 190 games in Navy Blue, including a key role off the wing in the 1995 Premiership.

Over a decade later, new recruit Sean Charles was seeking to restart his career with the Blues after falling out with the Demons. After a promising pre-season, Charles would break his leg in his first match for Carlton when a burly Mark Porter fell over his leg in a contest, ending his Carlton career.

And then there is Dean Rice. The 100 gamer with St Kilda had fallen out of favour with the Saints after a serious knee injury, and was picked up by the Blues for the 1994 season and debuted in Navy Blue in Round 8. Rice lined up in the forward pocket and made strong lead after strong lead - this guy was revolutionising our forward line! What a pick-up!

Disastrously in the second quarter, Rice's knee crumpled once again and the dream debut was over. As those lucky enough to remember will attest, Blues fans climbed on board as Rice's recovery took hold and in 1995, Rice returned to become a Carlton Premiership Player amongst 118 games in Navy Blue.

Pic: Inside Football.
Some debut games stick in the memory for decades to come. Whilst Denning's debut stands out with 6 goals, others have performed just as memorably. What about the debut of Keith Warburton in Season 1951 with 7 goals in a stirring 5 goal victory over Hawthorn? Or the debut of sandgroper Warren Ralph, who would kick a measly 9 goals on debut in 1984!

A young Lance Whitnall would announce a likely (and eventual) 200 game career when on on debut he kicked 4 goals and won a Rising Star Nomination. A few years earlier, Matt Clape would earn 3 Brownlow Votes on debut for Carlton on his way to the 1995 Premiership.

Walker flies for a screamer (which he dropped) on debut in Round 5, 2004
One other highlight comes to mind. A young Andrew Walker has had his fair share of unfair expectations placed on his sometimes injured shoulders over the years given his recruitment at the time of Carlton's great collapse through 2003 - 2008. And perhaps it was his debut game that fed those expectations. Walker would debut at Princes Park against West Coast and star on the wing, earning possessions, running hard and then almost taking a spectactular screamer!

TRIBULATION - Three Games without a touch
Only a few years ago, one Blue debuted without touching the ball, and then followed up with two identical games! A young Kade Simpson carried a fair burden of expectation as well, being our first pick in the Salary-Cap deprived 2002 National Draft. And in those first few games, the slender Victorian struggled to make an impact. In fact, it would only be in his fourth game when Simpson would earn his first stat - and in his second season. Pretty soon however, Simpson's ball winning ability and sheer desire to run would not only see him become a Carlton favourite but elevated into a leadership role. From small things...

The debut games of Carlton players are filled with excitement as another Blue is added to the annuls of history (and earn for themselves a Blueseum Biography!). Some move onwards and upwards from that game irrespective of what happens, and some careers are cut short. They will, at the end of the day, always have that debut game to recall and talk about...

Blueseum: Hanna's Blueseum Biography