It has been 25 years since Carlton last celebrated premiership success. Ten years old at the time, it is a year I remember well as a first-year member with Dad no longer able to sneak me in for free by claiming to the ground officials that I was only five. Some of my favourite memories of the year were the “Blues Brothers” dance duo during home games and the “Peanut man” walking the boundary of Princes Park throwing bags of peanuts into the crowd.
The fondest memory though, was the feeling of going to a game knowing we would win. The Carlton arrogance died not long after 95 with the salary cap breaches and the club has never fully recovered. Having supreme confidence of a win is sadly something foreign to Blues supporters under the age of 30.
One of the most dominant teams in football history, the 1995 Carlton squad was a team of champions. The club earned five All Australian selections with Stephen Silvagni, Ang Christou (WOOF!), Justin Madden, Craig Bradley and Anthony Koutoufides named in the team along with coach David Parkin. Somehow the selectors couldn’t find room for Stephen Kernahan, Greg Williams, Andrew McKay, Fraser Brown, Mil Hanna, Scott Camporeale, Brett Ratten and Peter Dean. Their efforts were rewarded with something a little more valuable on Grand Final day though.
Rarely challenged during the Home and Away season, this veteran list of Blues stars dropped just two games all season. Strangely both losses came against struggling sides St Kilda and Sydney who pumped the Blues by 60 and 72 respectively. The former coming when the Saints were sitting last on the ladder.
After finishing the regular season with 20 wins and two losses the Blues suffered a scare in the qualifying final against the Brisbane Bears on a Sunday afternoon at the MCG, limping over the line by just 13 points after leading by only six at quarter time. Stephen Kernahan led from the front with five goals. Fraser Brown assisted the skipper with 30 touches and Anthony Koutoufides chipped in with three goals.
1995 Fourth Qualifying Final
Carlton 5.5 6.8 9.10 13.12 (90)
Brisbane 2.1 6.3 9.4 12.5 (77)
Carlton — Brown, Dean, McKay, Silvagni, Ratten, Kernahan, Koutoufides.
Brisbane — Lambert, Mclvor, McRae, Fletcher, Hart, McAdam, Bews.
Carlton — Kernahan 5, Koutoufides 3, Spalding, Camporeale, Pearce, Brown, Whitehead.
Brisbane — McAdam 3, McRae, Merrett 2, Voss, Lambert, Hart, Bartlett, Lappin.
Umpires: Coates, Dore, Nash.
Crowd: 52, 092. At MCG.
Carlton then faced North Melbourne in the Preliminary Final on a Saturday night at the MCG. Despite the Footy Record declaring Carlton a club under pressure, they accounted for the Roos with ease winning by 62 points. Brad Pearce led the goal kicking four and Brett Ratten was at the bottom of every pack collecting 29 disposals and laying five tackles. The best team all year now stood just one game away from the ultimate prize.
1995 First Preliminary Final
Carlton 4.3 11.5 11.7 18.10 (118)
North Melbourne 2.1 5.4 8.6 8.8 (56)
Carlton — Silvagni, Ratten, Koutoufides, Williams, Kernahan, Bradley, Madden, McKay.
Nth Melbourne — Schwass, Rock, McKernan, Anderson, Laidley, Archer.
Carlton — Pearce 4, Kernahan, Spalding 3, Williams 2, Clape, Hanna, Manton, Rice, Christou, Koutoufides.
North Melbourne — Archer 3, Rock, Martyn, Carey, Allison, Longmire.
Umpires: Coates, Goldspink, Sheehan.
Crowd: 72,552. At MCG.
That One Day in September
Then the Grand Final, both clubs knew the feeling of heartache on the last Saturday in September. Geelong going down to West Coast in 1992 and 1994 and Carlton losing the 1993 grandinal to Essendon, a game in which they were expected to win. I was lucky enough to get a ticket with my uncle and sat in the Olympic Stand. For the first time all year I went to a game worried that we might not win terrified of what Garry Ablett might be able to do to us.
Carlton supporter Tina Arena sang the anthem and the ball was bounced. A frantic three minutes ensued ending with Craig Bradley gathering on the forward flank and slotting the first goal from 45m. As he ran back to the center square he looked at Greg Williams and they winked at each other, it was at the moment I knew we would win the game.
Carlton kicked the next three goals with Geelong pegging them back with two late ones, however they had been clearly outplayed.
Carlton took full control in the second quarter kicking six goals to one. The half ended with an all-in brawl after a late hit from Billy Brownless on Ang Christou. However at the stage Carlton was 40 points up and given the state of play it was clear Geelong would not be up the task. The second half followed suit and the Blues proved victorious to the tune of 61 points.
1995 Grand Final
Carlton 4.5 10.6 16.11 21.15 (141)
Geelong 2.4 3.10 6.12 11.14 (80)
Carlton: Williams, Koutoufides, Silvagni, Christou, Dean, Ratten.
Geelong: Mansfield, Pickering, Riccardi, Hickmott, Graham, Barnes.
Carlton: Williams 5, Kernahan 5, Pearce 4, Bradley 2, Spalding, Camporeale, Rice, Whitehead, Madden.
Geelong: Handley 3, Brownless 3, Couch, Breuer, Riccardi, Pickering, Mensch.
Umpires: Kennedy, Goldspink, Carey.
Crowd: 93,670 at the MCG
Greg Williams was awarded the Norm Smith Medal with a five-goal, 31 disposal performance and full-back Stephen Silvagni held Gary Ablett senior goalless for the first time since 1992.
Carlton’s 1995 Premiership Team