Sergio Silvagni (28 June 1938 – 15 July 2021) was an Australian rules footballer who played for the Carlton Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL), mostly as a ruck-rover. He was the first of three generations to represent Carlton at VFL/AFL level, followed by his son Stephen and grandson Jack.
|Date of birth||28 June 1938|
|Place of birth||Carlton, Victoria|
|Date of death||15 July 2021(aged 83)|
|Place of death||Melbourne|
|Original team(s)||Parade College|
Round 7, 1958, Carlton|
vs. South Melbourne, at Lake Oval
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||95 kg (209 lb)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1971.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Early life and familyEdit
The son of Italian immigrants Giacomo Silvagni and his wife Antonia, Sergio lived with his parents and sister Milena in a single fronted dwelling in Canning Street, Carlton, very close to the famous Lygon Street precinct, the epicenter of Melbourne’s Italian community. Giacomo (also known as "Jack") emigrated to Australia in 1924 from the town of Asiago in the northern Italian province of Vicenza. He was also a first cousin of fellow Carlton footballer John Benetti.
Shortly after Sergio was born, World War II broke out and Italians were considered enemies in Australia. According to the law at the time, Giacomo Silvagni was considered an enemy alien since he had not taken up Australian citizenship, and was sent away to an alien camp in Broadford for several months, living in a tent and cutting timber. Silvagni remembered his father's departure vividly, even though he was only four years old at the time.
Silvagni was educated at St Thomas' Christian Brothers College in Clifton Hill and later at Parade College, and was an outstanding schoolboy athlete. In 1948, competing for St Thomas', he won the Under-11 75-yard sprint at the Victorian Christian Brothers' Combined Athletic Meeting. In 1949, he was the Under-12 handball champion of C.B.C. Clifton Hill. In 1953, running on a rain soaked track, he broke the 440 yard record by half second, clocking 54.4 seconds; he also won the shot put at the combined Christian Brothers Secondary School sports at North Melbourne.
Career in footballEdit
Silvagni made his senior VFL debut for Carlton on 24 May 1958 in the Round 7 match against South Melbourne) at the Lake Oval. Although Carlton lost by 22 points, Silvagni, along with his cousin Benetti, was one of the best Carlton players on the ground.
In his career, Silvagni played mainly as a ruck-rover, forming one of the game's most celebrated on-ball divisions with ruckman John Nicholls and rover Adrian Gallagher. He was a member of the 1968 and 1970 premiership teams, and was listed among the best players afield. He also played in the runner-up teams for the 1962 and 1969 premierships. After coming out of retirement in 1970 at the behest of Barassi, Silvagni retired permanently at the end of 1971.
After retiring from playing in the field, Silvagni held various positions at Carlton, serving as a committeeman before becoming Carlton's reserves coach, and served as the club's caretaker senior coach for a few weeks in 1978 between the departure of Ian Stewart as coach and the appointment of Alex Jesaulenko as captain-coach.
In 1989, Silvagni was inducted into the Carlton Hall of Fame, and his membership was elevated to Legend status in 2016. Both he and son Stephen were named in Carlton's Team of the Century as well as the Italian Team of the Century in 2007.
Death and tributeEdit
Upon news of his death, Carlton club president Mark LoGiudice released a statement in tribute:
Sergio was and always will be a legendary Carlton person. He was such an important figure to many Carlton supporters growing up during the 1960s, particularly those who had migrated to Australia and could instantly identify with one of their heroes. He would go on to become one of our greatest ever players and his impact on the club will forever hold a significant place in our history books. On and off the field he embodied what it means to be a Carlton person and we offer our heartfelt condolences to his family.
- De Bolfo, Tony (15 July 2021). "Addio e grazie: A tribute to Sergio Silvagni". Carlton Football Club.
- Group of men and women on an outing in the Carlton Gardens, Italian Historical Society.
- De Bolfo, Tony (11 December 2014). "Latte's raised with Silvagni's return". carltonfc.com.au.
- De Bolfo, Tony (31 October 2013). "Blues' atom bomb John Benetti dies". carltonfc.com.au. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
- "AFL community mourn the loss of Carlton legend". wwos.nine.com.au. 15 July 2021. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
- "Combined Brothers' Secondary Schools' Athletic Meeting: Clifton Hill Wins Aggregate". The Advocate. 28 October 1948. p. 22.
- Special Sports Prizes, The Advocate, (Thursday, 29 December 1949), p.8.
- Record 440 Run on Heavy Track, The Age, (Friday, 30 October 1953), p.15.
- "Convincing Win to South". The Age. 26 May 1958. p. 18.
- Reed, Ron (29 April 2016). "Sergio Silvagni follows son Stephen Silvagni as a Carlton legend". Herald Sun.
- Atkinson & Atkinson (2009), p. 284
- Atkinson & Atkinson (2009), p. 294
- Carter, Ron (20 April 1978). "Silvagni to take over". The Age. p. 30.
- Ron Carter (21 April 1978). "Pull up your socks Blues, says Serge". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 28.
- Niall, Jake; Ryan, Peter (15 July 2021). "'He's just Carlton': Tributes flow after Serge Silvagni's death". The Age.
- Italian Team of the Century Archived 23 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Italian Team of the Century named". AFL.com. BigPond. 1 June 2007. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011.
- "Carlton mourns death of AFL club legend Sergio Silvagni, aged 83". ABC News. 15 July 2021.