One of the earliest Tassie footy legends to cross the Strait, Viv Valentine was one of the first "professional" football players.
He has the unique distinction of being the only Tasmanian ever selected as first rover in a combined Victorian team in their first season of League football.
A Launcestonian by birth and education, he joined Launceston club in 1906 and proved himself a born champion. In his first season he was selected as second rover to great Coastal player Harry Coventry in a combined NTFA team against Collingwood in Launceston. He was a bank clerk and was transferred to Sheffield and joined Latrobe for the 1907-08 seasons. During those two years Latrobe took out the Coastal premiership in 1907 and were runners up the following year. He was picked to represent the state at the 1908 carnival but did not play. He moved to Devonport in 1909 and joined the famous Mersey club. It was while playing for Mersey that the club agreed to play Cananore,
that years State premiers who were under former Mersey and North Launceston coach Bruce Carter. The game was arranged the Wednesday after the State decider in Devonport. Mersey caused the seasons sensation by outclassing Cananore and Valentine's performance stamped him as a brilliant champion.
News of his greatness reached Victoria and he was enticed to Victoria joining Carlton in 1910.
He ran low to the ground and when he bounced the ball it never raised more than 2 feet from the ground. He was superb on heavy grounds and was described by one writer as " a moving mass of muscularity". After his debut for Carlton in 1911, Valentine also made the first of five appearances for Victoria in the same year.
He benefited from the adoption of Rule 29 of the VFL, which stated that from May 1911, "players shall play as open and undisguised professionals".
His debut match for the Blues was in Round 2 against South Melbourne where the game was drawn 10.6.66 apiece.
He was a classy rover and starred in the 1911 semi-final loss to Essendon. He was the first rover of the Victorian side in the carnival that year.
The 1913 Carlton team, shown at the Carlton versus Collingwood fixture at Victoria Park on 17th May 1913. Carlton 6.8.44 outscored Collingwood 5.8.38 in the presence of the governor-general. The team finished the season in sixth position.
Viv Valentine is second from left in the front row.
In the 1912 Preliminary Final against Essendon, Carlton was four points behind and Valentine was attacking the goals. He took a moment to steady, was tackled and the bell rang.
Viv Valentine was first rover in the 1914 and 1915 Carlton Premiership sides under captain Billy Dick.
In total Valentine played 116 games for Carlton for a return of 116 goals between 1911-18.
He also coached the Carlton side to 4th position in 1919, in the process becoming the first Tasmanian to ever coach a VFL side.
He was later made a life member of Carlton.
Viv Valentine was regarded as one of the greatest rovers ever produced in Tasmania ranking alongside Horrie Gorringe.
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