DOB: 10 October 1945
From: East Brighton/St. Kilda
Number: 10 1973-1975, 1979-1980
Games: 82 (285 total)
Goals: 43 (156 total)
Ditterich was an enigmatic St. Kilda superstar who won Brownlow Votes in his first game (against Melbourne) but often found himself on the wrong side of club officials and the tribunal. It was said that on that day he had told the great Ron Barassi to "get out of the way old man".
Having revolutionised ruck play and proved himself as a great aerialist, Ditterich's raw aggression would often see him in trouble with the umpires. Reported for striking in the second last round of the 1966 premiership season he was suspended for six weeks and missed the Saints premiership triumph.
Having battled knock knees as a child, Ditterich was afflicted with chronic ankle injuries as a footballer and was forced to have surgical boots made. He had also lost 20 percent of the vision in his right eye after having a stone thrown at him aged 14. Nevertheless he was a champion of the game and won the Saints Best and Fairest in 1968.
After initially stating that he'd cross to North Melbourne when his 10 years of service came up in April 1973, Ditterich angered North management with excessive demands and they pulled out of negotiations.
Instead he crossed to Melbourne for $82,000 and was feted by coach Ian Ridley as the gamebreaker the Demons needed to fire them into the five. However after off-season knee surgery but turned up to pre-season training unfit and Ridley was forced to put him on an intensive training program. He recovered to play every game for the year and win that year's Best and Fairest.
He finished runner-up in the 1974 B&F, but was on the way back to Moorabbin at the end of 1975. He was on a six year contract with significantly higher money than anybody else on the list and the club simply couldn't afford to pay him.
Desperate to lure him back, and recognising that Melbourne needed to take him off their payroll, the Saints made a cash payment to the Demons and swapped both Shane Grambeau and premiership player Allan Davis. Ditterich rejoined as captain, but had a dramatic mid-season walkout during 1978
Ditterich returned to Melbourne as playing coach in 1979. His first training run set the tone for his style, a 2.5 hour torture session after which he fronted a press conference and declared that the wooden spooners would play finals that year.
Asked if he would change his style which had seen him suspended 16 times to that point he said "I have to. In some situations I can be easily riled. I have to have more self control. There's nothing worse than a coach being reported and suspended". In Round 7 he defied his own prediction by earning a two match suspension which would bar him from playing or coaching - he watched the Round 8 loss to Hawthorn from an upstairs box at Princes Park while Frank Davis officially coached the side. The club then appealed to the league and he was allowed to coach the second week.
Ultimately he presided over two unsuccessful seasons before retiring from the game. He went full-time in 1980 but during a torrid season which included a brawl in the locker rooms with rover Henry Coles and a $500 fine for the club after comments about umpires, Ditterich announced in July that he was leaving the game at the end of the year to take up a role as recreation director of a holiday resort in Noosa. Ron Barassi returned as coach of the Demons.
True to form he was reported in his last game - the 18th time he'd been booked in 18 seasons. Ditterich is one of only two players in VFL/AFL history to rejoin a club after leaving to rejoin his original side.
"Big Carl" was suspended for a total of 30 games during his career. In his last season he was severely reprimanded and fined by the league for complaining about umpiring decisions.
Ditterich is the oldest post-war MFC Player. His last game took place at 34 years 325 days of age. In 1986 Ditterich was interviewed for the Melbourne coaching job, but a third return to the Demons was thwarted when John Northey won the job.
Ditterich stood as an independant candidate for the seat of Swan Hill in the 1999 Victorian state election. He failed by 1500 votes to unseat the sitting Nationals member. In 2002 he returned to the coaching ranks to take over at Boort in the North Central League
In 2009 he was forced to fight $600,000 in costs from Goulburn-Murray Water stemming from a pipeline constructed near his property. Former St Kilda and Melbourne players lent their assistance to his case.
|Round 3, 1975||Striking||4 matches|
|Round 7, 1979||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 22, 1980||Striking||Not Guilty|
Some sources show his initial contract as $62,000.
"Ditterich - It's North for me" - The Age 26/01/1973
"Now it's Ditterich the Demon" - The Age 08/02/1973
"Carl will lift us into five" - The Age 12/02/1973
"Carl no Demon in debut" - The Age 14/02/1973
"Best years to come says Demon Davis" - The Age 19/12/1975
"Carl takes Demons to hell and back" - The Age 01/02/1979
"Hawks win a match of the dazed" - The Age 28/05/1979
"Ditterich full-time" - The Age 16/11/1979
"Ditterich opens way for Demon Barassi" - The Age 21/07/1980
"Melbourne Football Club fined $500" - Canberra Times 14/08/1980
The Age - 03/10/1985
"Ditterich raises Boort hopes despite loss" - The Sunday Age 07/04/2002
"I'll help you mate" - Herald Sun 12/09/2009