95. Brent Crosswell

95. Brent Crosswell - ICONICON – Player Inductee

Carlton/North Melbourne/Melbourne
Ruck Rover / Half Forward – 1965-1982

98 games, 92 goals, Carlton, 1968-75
76 games, 108 goals, North Melbourne, 1975-79
48 games, 57 goals, Melbourne, 1980-82
Best First Year Player, Carlton, 1968
Premierships at Carlton, 1968 and 1970 and North Melbourne, 1975 and 1977
Leading goalkicker, North Melbourne, 1977
Tasmanian and North Melbourne Teams of the Century

The record of Brent ‘Tiger’ Crosswell reads big game player. It includes eight grand finals (all with Ron Barassi as coach) for four premierships, one draw (1977) and three losses (1969, 1973 and 1976). In the 1970 and 1975 premierships he was listed as best on ground by many scribes.

Recruited from Campbell Town in Tasmania where he had never played for the senior side, Brent Crosswell made his Carlton debut in the opening round of the 1968 season against Geelong. He performed reasonably well without making the best players list, improving steadily as the season went on to eventually be rewarded with the club’s best first year player award. He capped off the season by starring in Carlton’s three-point grand final defeat of Essendon.

Two years later he reconfirmed his reputation as a big game player with a best on ground display in the Blues’ sensational come-from-behind grand final victory over Collingwood.

Crosswell was a highly skilled, intelligent and often flamboyant player, sufficiently versatile to play equally well in a variety of positions. If he had a weakness it was that he all too often failed to perform at levels commensurate with his ability when there did not appear to be much at stake. However, give him a dry ball and the wide-open spaces of the MCG in September and he was indomitable.

Forced by illness to miss Carlton’s 1972 premiership victory, Crosswell rekindled his career and reputation when he moved to North Melbourne in 1975 and starred in the ‘Roos’ historic grand final demolition of Hawthorn. If his performances in the 1977 grand final and replay were less auspicious they nevertheless saw him join the exclusive

group of players who have participated in four senior premierships at the elite level.

In 1980, after 76 games with North Melbourne adding to the 98 he had played with Carlton, Crosswell moved to Melbourne where he played a further 48 games in his final three seasons of league football, taking his overall tally to 222 games in 15 seasons. He also booted 257 goals and was a VFL representative.

Somewhat incredibly, Brent Crosswell followed super-coach Ron Barassi to North Melbourne and then Melbourne after starting with him at Carlton. Their relationship has been described as a surrogate father/son arrangement characterised by funny and endearing moments. Often driving one another to distraction, they ultimately played a key role in each other’s careers.

In 2004 Crosswell was selected as a half back flank in the official Tasmanian Team of the Century. As well, he achieved a position on the bench in North Melbourne’s Team of the Century.

Crosswell became an inaugural inductee in the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and in 2007 was elevated to Legend.