Story of the Collingwood/Carlton Rivalry
Rivalries are one of the more powerful concepts in sport.
They can provide us with some of the best, and some of the worst moments. Some of the greatest moments on the field stem from the passion that two sides have when wanting to beat their rival, however, off the field, there has been numerous cases of violence and death related to sporting rivalries.
Thankfully, we aren't so bad in Australia. Whilst I have a passionate hatred for Carlton, I generally don't want to kill or harm somebody for being a Carlton supporter. I have many friends, unfortunately, that support Carlton, and over the years I would even attend the Collingwood vs Carlton game with them. Granted, we would split our group by team, but there generally aren't fists thrown or projectiles launched between our split group. This is something I hope, and expect, wouldn't ever change.
Onto the actual rivalry itself. It stems from the fact that Collingwood and Carlton are two of the oldest teams in the competition, both based in inner city suburbs. Carlton was historically a suburb of affluent Protestant population, whereas Collingwood was the Irish Catholic working class, industrial area. So you can see how a dislike for one another would have began in the early days. Nowadays both suburbs are pretty much populated with hipster vegetarian barista's that don't give a stuff about football.
Carlton was Collingwood's first ever opponent - in 1892, when Carlton defeated Collingwood, and when the two sides broke away as part of the new VFL in 1897, Collingwood was the opponent for Carlton's first home game, when Collingwood defeated Carlton. As you can see, the two sides have always enjoyed ruining eachother's parties.
The main hostility truly began in the 1910 Grand Final, which Collingwood won. The game was married with on field violence as a number of fights broke out, and a number of players received long suspensions.
The two sides have since played in 22 finals, though they have not met in a final since 1988.
They have also met in 6 grand finals - with Carlton every grand final since the 1910 blood bath.
Of all the traditional VFL sides, Carlton is the only side that Collingwood does not have a winning record of greater than 50% against. Out of 254 games, the ledger currently stands at 127-123 (with 4 draws). The only other sides that Collingwood has an inferior record against are the Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide, both relative recent additions to the AFL.
Carlton is only one of two sides to have won more premierships than Collingwood - and Collingwood led the league in this stat for the majority of the 20th Century.
There are other factors in the rivalry - and that is the some of the significant names that have crossed between the two clubs. The most recent example's of this were Dale Thomas and Mick Malthouse.
Mick Malthouse was coach of Collingwood from 2000 until 2011. in 2009, an agreement was struck in which Malthouse would transition the coaching to Nathan Buckley over a 5 year period. The first two years of this period Malthouse would coach, and the following 3 years, Malthouse would step down and mentor Buckley as coach. At the end of 2011, after a Grand Final loss following a Premiership in the previous year, Malthouse reneged on that agreement and resigned from his position. After spending one year working in the Media, Malthouse then became coach of Carlton, where he spent 3 unsuccessful seasons.
Dale Thomas was a highly prized draft pick in the mid 2000s, and at his peak, in 2010-11, was one of the best handful of players in the competition. After a couple of disappointing, injury marred seasons in 2012-2013, Thomas crossed over to Carlton to join Malthouse. His first few seasons were disappointing as his injuries carried over, and whilst his football has since improved, he never reached the heights he reached at Collingwood.
Other notable names to cross between the two clubs were Mick McGuane in 1997, Peter McKenna in 1977.
The outside perception of this rivalry is that it has probably subsided somewhat, with Carlton not having experienced any on field success this century - however, supporters of both of these clubs will testify that the lack of success on field does not equate to a softening of ill feelings towards one another. This season, both clubs are yet to register a win, so the meeting between these two clubs on Friday Night is as important as ever, as it would likely spell an early end of the season hopes for one of these two clubs, whilst the other will find a flicker of hope of being able to revive their season.