10 October 1945 (age 77)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 192d
Last game: 34y 325d
Height and weight
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 91 kg
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|St. Kilda||V/AFL||1963-1972, 1976-1978||203||156||0.77||57%||12.48||3.38||4.59||49|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
AFL: 7,433rd player to appear, 126th most games played, 407th most goals kickedSt. Kilda: 1,094th player to appear, 29th most games played, 26th most goals kickedMelbourne: 916th player to appear, 206th most games played, 174th most goals kicked
When Carl Ditterich burst onto the VFL scene against Melbourne in the opening round of the 1963 season he became, literally, an overnight sensation. Aged just seventeen, "he bounded around the field like a young stallion with a flowing blond mane"¹, bowling over opponents, soaring high for marks, and displaying a verve, a passion and an energy that set him apart from every other player on the ground. That St Kilda duly won that first-round match by 18 points was attributable in no small part to the impact, both visceral and tangible, of the youngster swiftly, if predictably, dubbed 'the blond bombshell'.
Over ensuing seasons, Ditterich rapidly developed into a St Kilda legend, with even the fact of his missing the club's historic 1966 premiership win through suspension only serving to augment the aura. Winner of the Saints' best and fairest award in 1968 - no mean feat when you consider the quality of some of his team mates - he represented the VFL in 1964-5 and 1968, but it was probably his regular appearances before the league Tribunal which saw him capture the headlines on most occasions.
'Big Carl' finally got to play in a Grand Final in 1971, but he was unable to prevent the Saints from succumbing to a more relentless Hawthorn by 7 points. Two years later he was on the move, joining Melbourne under a short-lived league rule whereby players who had given their clubs ten years of service could be granted an automatic clearance. Ditterich won a best and fairest award in his debut season with the Demons, but after just three years he returned 'home' to St Kilda after being offered the captaincy. The 1979 season saw him back at Melbourne as captain-coach for the final two-season phase of his VFL career. He later moved north to Queensland and spent some time coaching QAFL side Coorparoo.
In total, Carl Ditterich played 285 VFL games, 203 with St Kilda and 82 for the Demons. However, for those who were alive during the 1960s, the statistics fade into insignificance when compared to the memory of the hyper-active "young stallion" bounding out of nowhere onto the back pages of Melbourne's newspapers in April 1963.
Author - John Devaney