Carl Ditterich

Image DOB: 10 October 1945

MFC Debut: Round 1, 1973 against St. Kilda at MCG
Last Game: Round 22, 1980 against Collingwood at MCG

From: Brighton High School/East Brighton/St. Kilda

Number: 10 (1973-1975), (1979-1980)

Australian Football Hall of Fame member
Best and Fairest - 1973

Games: 82 (285 total)
Goals: 43 (156 total)
Career Statistics

WinsDrawsLossesWinning %

Ditterich debuted for St Kilda against Melbourne in the opening round of 1963, and was amongst his side's best players. Full of confidence, it was said that the first gamer told Ron Barassi to "get out of the way old man". After battling knock knees as a child, Ditterich was afflicted with chronic ankle injuries as a footballer and had to wear specially made boots. He also played without 20 percent of the vision in his right eye after having a stone thrown at him as a teenager.

The ruckman became one of the Saints' superstar players, but regularly found himself on the wrong side of club officials. His aggressive play cost him at the end of 1966, when a suspension for striking late in the season cost him a place in the St Kilda premiership side.

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. He'd also been linked to Hawthorn and the vacant coaching job at South Melbourne. He instead joined Melbourne, for a reported $82,000 and a $20,000 transfer fee on top of his salary, a portion of which was paid by influential supporters including Billy Snedden. The Demons swapped the rights of Robert Elliott and Bruce Elliott to St Kilda as part of the deal, though both eventually returned to Melbourne.

Ditterich was feted by coach Ian Ridley as the key man to fire the Demons back into the five, but off-season knee surgery left the recruit unfit in pre-season and Ridley had to put him on an intensive training program. Ditterich recovered to play every game for the year and won the Best and Fairest. He was runner-up the next year, but returned to Moorabbin at the end of 1975. His six year contract saw him on significantly more money than anyone on the list, and despite a mid-season vow that he would play at Melbourne or nowhere the club simply couldn't afford to pay him.

He'd flirted with retirement due to persistent knee injuries, and was linked with a move to Richmond before returning to St Kilda in exchange for Shane Grambeau, Allan Davis and cash.


First game as coach: Round 1, 1979 vs Footscray at MCG
Last game as coach: Round 22, 1980 vs Collingwood at MCG


Ditterich rejoined St Kilda as captain, but had a dramatic mid-season walkout during 1978. With Dennis Jones struggling as coach that year, ultimately finishing last before being sacked, Melbourne saw Ditterich as a potential successor. Even before Jones had been dismissed, the Saints expressed annoyance at rumours that Melbourne had approached their player. When he was appointed coach, they initially refused a clearance application and tried to convince him to stay. He became one of only two players in VFL/AFL history to rejoin a club after leaving to rejoin his original side.

The new coach's first training run was a 2.5 hour torture session that set the tone for his style. He declared the wooden spooners would play finals that year, but admitted he'd need to change a style that had seen him suspended 16 times. "I have to have more self-control. There's nothing worse than a coach being reported and suspended". he said. Ditterich largely behaved himself, but a two match suspension in Round 7 left him unable to play or coach. He watched the next game from an upstairs box at Princes Park while Frank Davis took control of the side.

Midway through 1979, as the Demons struggled near the bottom of the ladder, Ditterich admitted that he believed he was only filling as coach until Ron Barassi returned. He admitted to making mistakes, saying he'd been too hard on some players and too easy on others, and that "incorrect" sides had been picked for some games. He floated the prospect of leaving at the end of his first season but ultimately decided to stay, becoming full time coach in 1980. It was a torrid season that 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. He was reported in his last game, an 18th booking in 18 seasons. At 34 years, 325 days of age he was Melbourne's oldest post-war player.

Ditterich considered a third comeback to St Kilda for 1981 but remained retired. He was also linked to Sandringham in 1982 before coaching Woorinen from 1983 to 1984. He was spoken about as a potential coach for the Saints in 1985, and interviewed unsuccessfully for Melbourne's job in 1986. There was more speculation about him coaching St Kilda in 1987 and 1989 but he remained in the country. In 1989 he coached Tooleybuc, and was later in charge of Robinvale.

Ditterich coached Murrabit in 1996, and stood as an independent candidate for the seat of Swan Hill in the 1999, failing to unseat the sitting Nationals member by 1500 votes. In 2002 and 2003 he returned to the coaching ranks with 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.

1973 2250
1974 19122
1975 12186
1979 1767
1980 1220
Tribunal Record
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 $82,000. May have also coached in Queensland (Age 15/07/1989)

Age - 26/01/1973
Age - 08/02/1973
Age - 12/02/1973
Post-Courier - 14/02/1973
Age - 14/02/1973
Age - 21/03/1973
Age - 09/07/1975
Age - 10/12/1975
Age - 18/12/1975
Age - 19/12/1975
Age - 06/01/1979, 01/08/1979
Age - 18/01/1979
Age - 01/02/1979
Age - 28/05/1979
Age - 31/07/1979
Age - 16/11/1979
Age - 21/07/1980
Canberra Times - 14/08/1980
Inside Football - 07/10/1972, 21/04/1973, 19/03/1981, 11/03/1982, 05/07/1989
Age - 19/04/1984, 08/08/1984, 16/08/1984, 01/10/1985, 03/10/1985, 03/07/1986, 15/07/1989, 16/09/1996, 07/04/2002
Herald Sun - 12/09/2009

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Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Wednesday 28 February 2024 12:42:22 AEDT by Supermercado. (Version 73)

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