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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

Ron Carruthers

Ron Carruthers


8 CFC Games Played

1 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
3 May 1943
Recruited From
Preston Wanderers
Collingwood Debut
Round 3, 1961


As the son of a former Magpie and nephew of another, Ron Carruthers Jnr was never going to be anything other than a Collingwood supporter.

He was born and raised in Collingwood, and even when his family moved when he was 13, he remained in Magpie territory in Reservoir. By that time he was at University high School, playing footy with Preston Wanderers. And the Magpies were already paying attention.

Partly that was because he carried the same name as his father, Ron Carruthers Snr, who had played 48 games for the club during the 1940s. His uncle, Harry Mears, had played 62 games in the same era.

But mainly it was because he showed, even at an early age, signs of being a very good footballer.

He was taken on as a 15-year-old in 1959 and spent most of the season with the Under-19s, although he did manage to play two reserves games just after he’d turned 16. The next year it was reserves-only, despite his still tender years, and he performed so well throughout the year that he was actually named as an emergency for the senior 1960 Grand Final team – despite never having played a senior game before.

Ron was clearly being earmarked for bigger things. And in the 1961 practice matches he again showed why, with a series of eye-catching performances that secured him a spot on the senior list.

He was a fleet-footed wingman who was a lovely kick – newspapers reported that he was regarded as one of the best kicks at the club at the time – and he had a good pair of hands in marking contests.

He didn’t have to wait long for his first game, either. After two defeats in the first two games, selectors swung the axe for the third round – and Ron was one of the newcomers brought in to make his debut against North Melbourne just days before his 18th birthday. He did well enough to hold his place for six games straight. In his fifth he kicked what would be his only goal, and gained three Brownlow votes, against Essendon. The next week he was playing before 78,000 in the Queens Birthday clash with Melbourne.

But Ron injured his thigh in that game, and by the time he returned to fitness he had lost his spot to another newcomer, Peter Marshall. He played another couple of games late in the season.

By the end of the 1961 season, Ron had played eight senior games, to go with 32 in the reserves and 17 with the under-19s. He’d shown he was capable of turning in a BOG performance at senior level. And he was still just 18.

So it was quite a shock when the Magpies delisted him during the 1962 practice match series. He was picked up by Carlton and played some reserves football, but his heart wasn’t really in it (he never liked to own up to the Carlton connection) and after one year he went to the country and played football with Loch. That adventure ended after he broke his collarbone and suffered recurring knee injuries, at which point he took up umpiring and focused on his career as a bank manager.

Any way you look at it, it was a sudden and perplexing turn of events. Ron Carruthers Jnr was good to enough to have starred in a VFL game at age 18, yet his elite-level career was over before he’d even turned 19. These were wild times at Collingwood, and the post-season purge after the 1961 season has gone into the history books as one of the most ruthless in the club’s history. It looks as if Ron might have been an innocent victim of history.

– Michael Roberts


CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1961 8 1 0 37%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1961 8 1 0 36

1961 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 3 North Melbourne W 0 36 View match >
Round 4 Western Bulldogs L 0 36 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy L 0 36 View match >
Round 6 Carlton L 0 36 View match >
Round 7 Essendon W 1 0 36 View match >
Round 8 Melbourne L 0 36 View match >
Round 13 Richmond W 0 36 View match >
Round 14 North Melbourne L 0 36 View match >
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 8 1
Avg/Game   0.13
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number


Total AFL Games
Total AFL Goals
CFC Debut
Round 3, 1961
CFC Last Game
Round 14, 1961
Recruited From
Preston Wanderers
Full Name
Ron E Carruthers
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