32. Eric Huxtable

Player Inductee

New Town/Carlton/South Melbourne, Defender, 1924-47

135 games, 4 goals for Carlton, 1930-38
22 games, 1 goal for South Melbourne, 1941-42
Around 100 games for New Town, 1924-29
New Town Best and Fairest, 1928
Tasmanian state representative, 1929
VFL representative, 1932, 1934, 1935 (7 matches)
Life member of Carlton Football Club, 1938

Very few players have been so highly lauded at such a young age as the man who would become known as ‘Untouchable Huxtable’. A defender of unparalleled prowess, Eric Huxtable made a huge impact on both Tasmanian and VFL football over a playing career that spanned 24 years.

Born in 1908, Huxtable made his senior debut for New Town in 1924 aged just 15. He was soon being heralded as a star of the future and in 1928 – still aged only 19 – he was the winner of New Town’s inaugural Best and Fairest award. Now an established star at centre half back for New Town and with some interstate representative experience under his belt, Huxtable became the target of persistent approaches from VFL recruiters. After 100 games for New Town he finally relented, crossing to Victoria to play with Carlton at the end of 1929.

Having made his debut for the Blues in Round 6 of 1930, Huxtable was soon entrenched as a core member of the Blues’ defence, playing mostly off half back. In 1932 he first stood legendary Fitzroy rover Haydn Bunton Snr, and Huxtable established a reputation as possibly the only defender who ever managed to consistently trouble the brilliant Bunton. That same year, after less than 40 games for the Blues, Huxtable was awarded the first of seven VFL representative jumpers, while at season’s end he was named as his side’s best player in Carlton’s grand final loss to Richmond.

Between 1933 and 1939 Huxtable continued to ply his trade magnificently for the Blues. His excellent marking, tenacity and great anticipation all made him a crowd favourite, but it was his kicking that was his main weapon; he possessed a superb drop kick whether stationary or on the run. Huxtable was a consistently prolific vote-winner in Brownlow Medal counts, and had Carlton awarded a Best and Fairest pennant at the time he would surely have received at least one such accolade. During the 1930s the Blues were a consistently strong team without ever getting to the biggest game of the year. However, that changed in 1938 when the Blues triumphed over Collingwood by 15 points to win their first flag since 1915. Sadly, Huxtable was unable to take part in the match after aggravating a thumb injury during the Blues’ semi final win over Geelong.

At the conclusion of the 1939 season Huxtable accepted a position as captain-coach of the Yarram Football Club in country Victoria. Only a year later WWII meant that the majority of young men in the country entered military service; Huxtable was one of them, enlisting in the RAAF. While waiting to be posted he was approached by former Carlton teammate and now South Melbourne captain-coach Joe Kelly, who convinced him to pull on the boots for South Melbourne, who were struggling to field a competitive team. So from the age of 33, between 1941-42, Huxtable played two final seasons of VFL football with the Bloods, adding a further 22 games to finish with a career total of 157 VFL games.

After the war Huxtable enjoyed one final playing stint with the Sunshine Football Club in their pre-VFA days, steering the club to a Footscray District Football League B-Grade premiership in 1946 as captain-coach. He retired at the end of 1947 and in 1953 coached the club’s Under 18 side. He remained in Victoria into later life and died in 1990 at the age of 81.