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Key Facts

Full name
Blake Caracella

Known as
Blake Caracella

Born
15 March 1977 (age 45)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 29d
Last game: 29y 80d

Height and weight
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 85 kg

Senior clubs
Essendon; Australia; Brisbane; Collingwood

Jumper numbers
Essendon: 33
Brisbane: 1
Collingwood: 10

Recruited from
Essendon (2003); Brisbane (2005)

Blake Caracella

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
EssendonAFL1997-20021261511.2068%10.796.894.8322
AustraliaIR2000-2001410.25
BrisbaneAFL2003-200434330.9768%9.295.324.321
CollingwoodAFL2005-200627341.2637%8.155.414.485
AFL1997-20061872181.1764%10.136.394.6828
IR2000-2001410.25
Total1997-20061912191.15

AFL: 10,775th player to appear, 763rd most games played, 349th most goals kickedEssendon: 1,003rd player to appear, 116th most games played, 41st most goals kickedBrisbane: 184th player to appear, 146th most games played, 84th most goals kickedCollingwood: 1,045th player to appear, 484th most games played, 215th most goals kicked

Blake Caracella played 187 games for Essendon, Brisbane and Collingwood between 1997 and 2006.

Selected by Essendon in the 1995 National Draft at pick 10, Caracella finally debuted with the Bombers in 1997. What had held him back was his lack of bulk – he came to the club weighing only 74 kg – however he rectified this by pushing his playing weight up to 83 kg prior to his AFL debut. Caracella quickly established himself in the side as a skilful small forward/goalsneak, who had patience and poise. He earned himself an AFL Rising Star nomination for his work.

He was a vital part of Essendon's premiership win in 2000, contributing 35 goals for the season. At the end of 2002 he was controversially traded to the Brisbane Lions.

Caracella's stay in Brisbane only lasted two years, during which he played 34 games, including the Lions' 2003 premiership winning team and also their unsuccessful 2004 AFL Grand Final side. Reasons cited for his trade from both Essendon and Brisbane was to ease the strain of salary cap restrictions at both clubs.

He selected by Collingwood in the 2005 pre-season draft, the team that he supported as a child.

In 2005 Caracella had a solid year at Collingwood (apart from a lean patch in the final seven rounds where he only managed three goals, as well as missing Round 20), booting 34 goals in total and finished tenth in the Copeland Trophy.

In 2006, Caracella suffered a career-ending neck injury. Whilst contesting a loose ball against the Lions, Caracella slipped and former teammate Tim Notting's hip accidentally collected his head, fracturing several vertebrae and bruising his spinal cord. At the time field umpire Brett Allen did not consider the contact sufficient enough to award a free kick for high contact. The injury horrified the football community, drawing comparisons to the quadriplegia suffered by Footscray's Neil Sachse in the 1970s.

On Wednesday, 2 August, Caracella announced his retirement. At the press conference, Caracella revealed that scans had shown his spinal column was naturally narrower than average. This condition would have ruled out a career in any professional contact sport had it been diagnosed earlier.

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blake_Caracella

Footnotes

* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.