Snap Shot: The Carlton CEO’s forgotten year at the Magpies

Snap Shot is a weekly column taking a look at the lighter side of football.

Carlton CEO Cain Liddle tends to view his AFL career as a wasted opportunity that steeled him to never let such a big chance in life slip away again.

He avoids the topic most of the time, although he is inevitably asked about his four games as a speedster with Geelong under Malcolm Blight in 1994 while on the Cats’ list in 1994-95.

Carlton CEO Cain Liddle had brief playing stints at both Geelong and the Blues’ arch-enemy, Collingwood.Credit:Getty Images

But he rarely, if ever, expands on that period by mentioning his year on Collingwood’s supplementary list during 1996.

Very few ask Liddle about that season either because the names of players who were on supplementary lists before the rookie list was introduced in 1996 are only to be found in old AFL records, rather than modern media guides detailing a club’s draft history.

So, on Sunday when he was being interviewed pre-game on 3AW, Liddle thought he was being set up when the Magpies’ senior coach in 1996, Tony Shaw, began to enquire about his football career.

Shaw: I just want to ask you about your own journey, you played four games with Geelong in 1994, how did it occur that that was it for Cain Liddle as a player and then you made this journey to get to Carlton CEO?

Liddle: It wasn’t quite the end, my two years at Geelong, I actually went somewhere for a year after, do you recall where that was?

Shaw: Was that us? Did I coach you?

Liddle: (laughing) I must have made a huge impression on you.

On Tuesday, the Magpies’ premiership captain and former coach could chuckle about the mis-step that caused great hilarity in the AW box with his explanation to Snap Shot being pretty reasonable.

“In those days the rookie list didn’t really train a lot with the senior list,” Shaw said.

“When I saw [Liddle’s] face, even though he is bald, I thought ‘geez I can recognise him now’. It was good fun.”

To be fair to Shaw, from the six players on the supplementary list that season only Mal Michael became a household name while Chad Liddell was a Magpie that season too.

Former Collingwood captain Tony Shaw holds up the 1990 premiership cup. He later coached now Carlton CEO Cain Liddle for a short period at the Magpies.Credit:Fairfax Media

Liddle said his response to Shaw only came about because he suspected the former

coach was leading him in to some gag about his time at Collingwood rather than being in any way affronted at not being remembered.

“There is no way I would have expected him to remember someone on the rookie [supplementary] list from 25 years ago. It was just the way the question was asked that absolutely threw me,” Liddle said.

Both men were able to have a good laugh about it on Tuesday, with Liddle playing 18 reserves games wearing No.46 for the Blues’ arch-enemy that season under the late Danny Frawley, who had just moved into coaching, having retired in 1995 after his legendary playing career with the Saints.

It now seems pretty clear the Blues’ CEO was not close to senior selection that season, despite rising at 5am three days a week to be at Collingwood training by 3pm and then kicking off the dew on Saturday.

He’s made every post a winner since as he returned to local football and began to build his career off the field.

Just bounce the bloody ball!

Spare a thought for the umpires this season who, like many people in football, are being asked to fit more and more into their working day.

Nowadays, keeping the game running on time is also part of their remit, but it can lead to some unusual occurrences, like what happened at the beginning of the second quarter between Essendon and St Kilda on Saturday.

Harry McKay had a dominant day with a seven-goal haul against Fremantle.Credit:Getty Images

Normally at the start of each quarter the umpires hold the ball up and blow the whistle when the siren sounds before immediately moving in to bounce.

But on Saturday the field umpire held the ball up, blew the whistle, then waited 44 seconds before bouncing the ball.

He was caught in between trying to hurry teams up as the siren sounded but not wanting to bounce the ball before they were in position leading to a weird start to the quarter.

Fine the clubs, Snap Shot says. It’s a tough enough gig being an umpire without trying to stick to a timetable.

McKay or McKay

Spare a thought for the McKay family on the weekend, given it must be hard enough following twins at different clubs at the best of times.

But when the AFL brings in new rules that seem to favour forwards and one of your sons, Ben, is a key defender spending part of his Easter trying to stop a rampaging Bulldog Josh Bruce from kicking 10 goals and the other, Harry, has 12 scoring shots for the Blues on Sunday, it must be hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

The good news: North Melbourne is the only team Harry is yet to kick a goal against in his 51-game career with the brothers yet to play against each other.

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