Stephen Kernahan

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Stephen Kernahan
Personal information
Full name Stephen Scott Kernahan
Nickname(s) Sticks
Date of birth (1963-09-01) 1 September 1963 (age 51)
Place of birth Adelaide, South Australia
Original team Glenelg (SANFL)
Height/Weight 196 cm (6 ft 5 in) / 102 kg (16 st 1 lb)
Position(s) Centre half-forward, Ruckman
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)



136 (290)

251 (738)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1997 season.
Career highlights

Stephen Scott Kernahan (born 1 September 1963 in Adelaide, South Australia) is a former Australian rules football player and administrator best known for his playing careers with the Carlton Football Club of the Australian Football League and the Glenelg Football Club of the SANFL from 1981 until 1997. He also played 13 State of Origin games for South Australia and gained selection as an All-Australian five times (1983, 1986, 1988, 1992 and 1994). He later served for six years as president of the Carlton Football Club.

Nicknamed Sticks,[1] Kernahan was the captain of Carlton's Team of the Century and holds the club goal kicking record of 738 and the AFL record for the most games as club captain.


Stephen Kernahan is the son of Glenelg footballer and general manager Harry Kernahan, and the older brother of former Glenelg and Carlton player David Kernahan. He began his senior career with Glenelg in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) in 1981 and played 136 games, kicking 290 goals, winning 3 straight best and fairest awards. Under the coaching of 1961 Magarey Medallist John Halbert, Kernahan was a member of Glenelg's losing Grand Final teams to Port Adelaide in 1981 and Norwood in 1982.

In 1983 he topped the voting in the Magarey Medal with a then record 44 votes, made all the more remarkable as Glenelg only won 9 of 22 games for the season (after losing their first 8 games), half the number won by premiers West Adelaide. Unfortunately he was ineligible due to being reported for an incident with Norwood's Garry McIntosh in Round 4 and was suspended for Round 5. Due to the rules of the SANFL, any player who receives a suspension during a season is ineligible to win the Medal and the award was won by North Adelaide's Tony Antrobus who polled 35 votes. Kernahan was also twice leading goal kicker for The Bays, in 1983 and 1984 and in 1985 he was awarded the Jack Oatey Medal as best on ground in the club's premiership win over North Adelaide.[2]

In his days with Glenelg, Kernahan was mostly used as a ruckman / forward due to his 6'5" (196 cm) height and his strong marking and leading ability. He played mostly at Full-forward and was the Tigers second ruckman behind Bays legend Peter Carey. This would lead him to being Glenelg's leading goal kicker in both 1983 and 1984. His height and his slight build led to the nickname "Sticks".

Kernahan was signed by Carlton in the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1981, but he didn't move to the club until 1986, largely due to his commitment to playing in a premiership with his best mates at Glenelg. The anticipation of Kernahan's arrival was heightened when he played State of Origin games for South Australia and his outstanding play saw those in Victoria take notice. Often playing at full forward for the Croweaters, his height and strong marking saw him kick 10 goals in a losing side against Victoria at Football Park in Adelaide in 1984. His stand out effort saw Kernahan win the Fos Williams Medal in 1984 as SA's player of the match.

In 1983 Stephen Kernahan was a member of the South Australian side which defeated Victoria in Adelaide for the first time in 18 years. After the Croweaters 26.16 (172) to 17.14 (116) win, Kernahan commented that it was nice to play in a winning side. This was in reference to his club side Glenelg who, despite being little changed from the grand finalists of the previous two seasons other than new coach Graham Campbell (John Halbert had returned to Sturt) and Graham Cornes who had moved to play with South Adelaide, were yet to win a game one-third of the way into the 1983 season.


After winning the 1985 premiership with Glenelg, Kernahan finally moved to Melbourne to join Carlton in 1986, the same year as two other quality South Australian players, Craig Bradley from Port Adelaide and Peter Motley from Sturt joined The Blues and the three were immediately influential for the Blues. In only his second season at the club, Kernahan was made club captain and held the position until his retirement in 1997. He was premiership captain in 1987 and 1995, won the best and fairest in 1987, 1989 and 1992, under the coaching of Robert Walls, Alex Jesaulenko and David Parkin. He captained Carlton in 226 league matches, making him the longest serving club captain in VFL/AFL history.[3]

Playing primarily at centre half-forward and later full forward, he was famous for his ability to kick the vital goal. He played thirteen games for South Australia and was selected as an All-Australian five times (four for Carlton in 1986, 1988, 1992, 1994, one for Glenelg in 1983). He is a Carlton and AFL life member, and played a total of 403 senior games and kicked a total of 1133 goals for Glenelg, Carlton and South Australia.

After retiring as a player Kernahan joined the club's Board of Directors and in 2006 became a Vice-President of the Club. Following Graham Smorgon's failure to be re-elected at the 2007 Board Elections, Kernahan was made interim President, acquiring the services of and reliquishing the position to Richard Pratt within days. On 20 June 2008 he again took the role of President, this time permanently, after Pratt stood aside to fight charges of giving false and misleading evidence to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.[4] Kernahan served as president for six years before stepping aside in June 2014.[5]


  1. ^ Robinson, Mark (29 April 2009). "The day Dick Pratt said he'd be Carlton president". Herald Sun (News Corporation). Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Board". Carlton Football Club. Retrieved 12 Nov 2011. 
  4. ^ Sydney Morning Herald: Pratt stands aside as Carlton chief
  5. ^ Jon Pierik (26 April 2014). "New Blues president Mark LoGiudice wants a grand era of success". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). Retrieved 26 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Richard Pratt
Carlton Football Club president
Succeeded by
Mark LoGiudice