Carji Club is a not-for-profit entity which commenced in 2002 from humble but poignant beginnings. The history and development of our Club is described below. Essentially, the Carji Club now operates to provide like-minded AFL footy loving Members with a collegiate competition designed around the votes of each year's Brownlow medal.
The culmination each year is the Carji Club lunch usually held in October, when the final selection results are formalised and the coveted Carji Club jacket and medal are awarded. Special guest speakers, including Brownlow Medallists, provide footy insight and frivolity. The Carji Lunch is memorable for good quality food and beverages, with inclusions such as the exciting vote countdown, special awards, auction items, the infamous Carji jacket presentation and the more recently anointed concept of the 'team of the year'.
In addition, the Carji Club aims to provide charitable donations to a charity of choice each year. In recent years the Club and Members have donated in excess of $140,000 to selected charities such as Reach Foundation, The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Captain Courageous Foundation, SecondBite, Kids Plus Foundation, EJ Whitten Foundation, The Royal Children's Hospital, Australian Prostate Cancer Research, Water Saving Vietnam, Full Life Foundation, Hopscotch Heroes, FareShare, Fight for Bella, The Alfred Hospital, Make A Wish Foundation and Women at The Alfred.
The Carji Club presently has a membership base in excess of 300 Members, including many from regional Victoria and interstate and a couple from overseas. Attendance at the Carji lunch is usually well above 95% of paid up Members.
In 2002 three friends (Tim McNeil, Dean Martinelli and Chris Reardon) started a 'competition' (on the back of a paper serviette) to see who could select the highest Brownlow Medal vote getters from each AFL team. The person with the highest total Brownlow votes received a free lunch courtesy of the other two participants.
Having enjoyed the format, the three friends deemed it appropriate to each invite one friend to participate in the next year's 'competition' but with two key stipulations: the first, that invitees must follow a football club and be passionate about football; and invitees must not be from the same company/organisation which the founding members represented.
It was the second stipulation, which is now more a guideline than a rule, that helped to quickly produce a membership base covering a diverse range of organisation types, sizes and locations.
Soon after its formation, the competition became affectionately known as "The Big Brownlow Comp" and thanks to the 'invite a friend' rule membership progressively grew to 24.
Each year as the number of competition participants grew, so too did the 'creative' ideas for improving the concept, often brainstormed by vocal and imbibed attendees at the Lunch.
At the 2005 Lunch it was suggested and agreed that the competition should be named after the very first Brownlow Medal winner "Carji" Greeves – hence the current name of The Carji Club was adopted. The not-for-profit organisation was incorporated, the inaugural Carji Committee was formed and the necessary structures and foundation put in place to allow The Carji Club to more effectively grow exponentially in the future.
The values of the Carji Club and the Carji Lunch are now a recognised part of the AFL footy calendar. The Members of Carji Club are proud to be associated with a truly unique organisation, founded on simple principles of footy fellowship, frivolity and charitable outcomes.
Tribute to 'Carji' Greeves
Edward "Carji" Greeves, Jr. (1 November 1903 - 15 April 1963) was the winner of the inaugural Brownlow Medal in 1924. Greeves played with the Geelong Football Club from 1923-31 and wore jumper number 20.
He was given the nickname as a baby by a friend of the family, the New South Wales golfer Michael Scott, after he had seen Carjillo, the Rajah of Bong, a popular play at the time.
Greeves was honoured with having the Geelong Football Club's Best and Fairest award named after him, the Carji Greeves Medal. In 1996 'Carji' Greeves was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Greeves represented Victoria seven times.
We are honoured to have the "Carji" name for our esteemed Club and grateful to the Greeves family for their permission and support. We also acknowledge the Geelong Football Club via their historian Russell Stephens for their ongoing interest and support on the historical significance of the great 'Carji' Greeves.