"Any resemblance between pre-war football and today's game," football historian and Truth sports reporter Jim Main wrote in 1969, "is purely coincidental."
Main continued: "The old game died bloodily in 1945, when Carlton throttled life out of South Melbourne and gave birth to a professionalism that has matured into today's cold, calculated ruthlessness ... ."
Carlton was reigning premier when Main wrote those words; having achieved success by poaching the star player of the League's then most successful club, prompting one of the Sun News-Pictorial's better back page headlines: Carlton Draft: Melbourne Bitter. The act of unsporting bastardry so shocked Melbourne it never won another flag; Carlton blithely piled up another seven during the reign of nine coaches following Barassi, some of whom were summarily sacked - and two of which were reappointed, attesting to the board's erratic vacillations.
The word professional is no longer associated with ruthlessness. The Swans found professionalism, via its famous spin-free 'no-dickheads' mantra. On the other hand, Carlton just stayed ruthless and have not won a flag for twenty years. They would do well to apply the Swans' policy. To the board, of course.
Seventy years after the game known as the 'Bloodbath', Carlton and the Swans meet again - tonight. It could be another bloodbath; metaphorically this time, of course.