In his first year as captain-coach of Carlton, veteran ruckman John Nicholls acheived a minor miracle. While Carlton were one of the top sides in the competition, it was widely believed that with the departure of Ron Barassi as coach, they would struggle to keep form. Nicholls proved them all wrong. Carlton topped the ladder at the end of the regular season and defeated Richmond in the Grand Final by 27 points.
In the match itself, Nicholls, who was widely believed to be slowing down with age, kicked six goals, having taken himself off the ruck and instead played from the forward pocket. Nicholls would remain coach for three more seasons, though he retired as player and captain at the end of the 1974 season, but Carlton did not add to its Premiership tally any further, losing to the same team they had defeated in 1973 and failing to reach the Grand Final in 1974 and 1975.
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