Blake Caracella

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 Essendon Football Club.

Blake Caracella
Caracella with Richmond in December 2016
Personal information
Full name Blake Caracella
Date of birth (1977-03-15) 15 March 1977
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria
Original team(s) Northern Knights (TAC Cup)
Draft No. 10, 1994 national draft
No. 2, 2004 pre-season draft
Height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 85 kg (187 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder / Forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
19972002 Essendon 126 (151)
20032004 Brisbane Lions 034 0(33)
20052006 Collingwood 027 0(34)
Total 187 (218)
International team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
20002001 Australia 4 (8)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2006.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2001.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

AFL career


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.

He was a vital part of Essendon's premiership win in 2000, contributing 35 goals for the season. At the end of 2002 he was controversially traded to the Brisbane Lions.[1]


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.[2]


Caracella was selected by Collingwood in the 2005 Pre-season draft, the team that he supported as a child.

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 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.[3]

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.[4] This condition would have ruled out a career in any professional contact sport had it been diagnosed earlier.[5]


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1997 Essendon 3317251818710329084151.
1998 Essendon 33161371499724678240.
1999 Essendon 3324312621012233277261.
2000 Essendon 33243517270219489138431.50.711.
2001 Essendon 33212511256177433120291.20.512.28.420.65.71.4
2002 Essendon 33242214287151438111430.90.612.06.318.34.61.8
2003 Brisbane Lions 11817161779527286330.
2004 Brisbane Lions 11616111398622561251.
2005 Collingwood 1021341915510125688221.
2006 Collingwood 1060265441093380.00.310.87.318.25.51.3
Career 187 218 141 1895 1195 3090 876 268 1.2 0.8 10.1 6.4 16.5 4.7 1.4

Coaching career

Caracella began working as an assistant coach at Collingwood in 2007, after a neck injury forced him into early retirement.

In 2010 he moved to Geelong where he was responsible for the development of forward line players.[7]

In September 2016 he accepted a position as an assistant coach at Richmond under former teammate Damien Hardwick.[8]

On 6 August 2019, the Essendon Football Club announced Caracella would be joining their coaching department for the 2020 season.[9]


  1. Lyon, Karen & Ahmed, Nabila (31 October 2002) Bombers on defensive over departures
  2. AAP (12 November 2004) Lions de-list Caracella
  3. Balancing footy injuries with the response The Age (5 June 2006)
  4. Caracella to hang up the boots; ABC (2 Aug 2006)
  5. Caracella forced to retire from AFL; The Age (2 Aug 2006)
  6. Blake Caracella's player profile at AFL Tables
  7. "Coaches presented by Momentum Energy". Geelong Football Club. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  8. Greenberg, Tony (26 September 2016). "Caracella joins Tigers". Richmond FC. Bigpond. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  9. "Caracella returns to the Bombers". Essendon Football Club. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
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