|Full name||Blake Caracella|
|Date of birth||15 March 1977|
|Place of birth||Melbourne, Victoria|
|Original team(s)||St Marys JFC/Northern Knights|
|Draft||10th overall, 1995
2nd overall, 2004 Pre-Season Draft
|Height / weight||186 cm / 85 kg|
|1997 – 2002||Essendon||126 (151)|
|2003 – 2004||Brisbane Lions||34 (33)|
|2005 – 2006||Collingwood||27 (34)|
|International team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2006.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2001.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Blake Caracella (born 15 March 1977) is a former Australian rules footballer who played in the Australian Football League (AFL). He is currently serving as an assistant coach with the Richmond Football Club.
Selected by Essendon in the 1994 National Draft at pick 10, Caracella finally debuted with the Bombers in 1997. What had held him back was his lack of bulk – he came to the club weighing only 74 kg – however he rectified this by pushing his playing weight up to 83 kg prior to his AFL debut. Caracella quickly established himself in the side as a skilful small forward/goalsneak, who had patience and poise. He earned himself an AFL Rising Star nomination for his work.
Caracella's stay in Brisbane only lasted two years, during which he played 34 games, including the Lions' 2003 premiership winning team and also their unsuccessful 2004 AFL Grand Final side. Reasons cited for his trade from both Essendon and Brisbane was to ease the strain of salary cap restrictions at both clubs.
In 2005 Caracella had a solid year at Collingwood (apart from a lean patch in the final seven rounds where he only managed three goals, as well as missing Round 20), booting 34 goals in total and finished tenth in the Copeland Trophy.
Injury and retirement
In 2006, Caracella suffered a career-ending neck injury. Whilst contesting a loose ball against the Lions, Caracella slipped and former teammate Tim Notting's hip accidentally collected his head, fracturing several vertebrae and bruising his spinal cord. At the time field umpire Brett Allen did not consider the contact sufficient enough to award a free kick for high contact. The injury horrified the football community, drawing comparisons to the quadriplegia suffered by Footscray's Neil Sachse in the 1970s.
On Wednesday, 2 August, Caracella announced his retirement. At the press conference, Caracella revealed that scans had shown his spinal column was naturally narrower than average. This condition would have ruled out a career in any professional contact sport had it been diagnosed earlier.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
Caracella began working as an assistant coach at Collingwood in 2007. In 2010 he moved to Geelong where he was responsible for the development of forward line players. In September 2016 he accepted a position as an assistant coach at Richmond under former teammate Damien Hardwick.
- Greenberg, Tony (26 September 2016). "Caracella joins Tigers". Richmond FC. Bigpond. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- Lyon, Karen & Ahmed, Nabila (31 October 2002) Bombers on defensive over departures
- AAP (12 November 2004) Lions de-list Caracella
- Balancing footy injuries with the response The Age (5 June 2006)
- Caracella to hang up the boots; ABC (2 Aug 2006)
- Caracella forced to retire from AFL; The Age (2 Aug 2006)
- Blake Caracella's player profile at AFL Tables
- "Coaches presented by Momentum Energy". geelongcats.com.au. Geelong Football Club. Retrieved 16 August 2015.