Dennis Armfield carries a reminder of his time with the Bullants every day. (PHOTO CREDIT: AFL Media)
THERE’S no denying that a white Bullant on a red guernsey means so much to so many people.
Dennis Armfield is one of them.
The cult hero of Carlton played 145 games in Navy Blue, but he doesn’t discount the 44 he played for the Northern Bullants and Blues.
And he summed up his love for the Club in only the way Dennis can.
“I don’t know too many people with a Bullant tattooed on their foot like myself,” Armfield said.
“It means a lot to me.”
Starting out in the VFL, Armfield ultimately became a consistent member of the AFL line-up, missing just one game between 2012 and 2013.
However, the speedster never forgot where he began — and his reaction when he heard about the Bullant returning this Sunday was one of “excitement and reflection”.
“When I first saw it, I Googled the Northern Bullants straight away. It was a blast from the past,” he said.
“You always wanted to play for Carlton, don’t get me wrong. But as soon as I got to represent the Northern Bullants or Blues… to be able to buy into what the Club was creating was a massive honour.”
Armfield came through the ranks with the likes of Brent Bransgrove, Andre Gianfagna, Adam Iacobucci, Kane Lambert and Adam Marcon by his side.
It was there where he became familiar with the ‘Ants’ Spirit’ — something he became completely invested in when returning to the VFL.
Citing grunt and determination, it sums up Armfield to a t.
“Every club has their way of saying it. The Ants’ Spirit, in my opinion, comes from the Preston days,” he said.
“It was a roll-up-the-sleeves, let’s-get-to-work mentality. No matter what’s going on, we fight to the very end.
"It's fair dinkum. It's part of our DNA."
For Shane Watson, one thing that has always remained a constant at this club is the #AntsSpirit.
Bring on Sunday! ????
— Northern Blues FC (@NBluesFC) June 4, 2019
“It was about the team being bigger than yourself. That was something I always loved: no matter what, the team or the Club is bigger than you and always will be.”
Ready for the 156th instalment of the “Bell Street Cup”, Armfield said he couldn’t wait to see how the return of the Bullant panned out on Sunday.
As he put it — after eight years, this feels like a reunion.
“You don’t see much recognition of the Ant so there’s a lot of excitement, paying tribute to the history,” he said.
“I’m hoping that the boys who have put on the Ant from any era go down and support the launch of it.
“The more we can get there, the bigger push we can have to keep the mighty red in.”
This week’s game at Preston City Oval begins at 1pm, with entry free for all Northern Blues members. Carlton Football Club members are only entitled to free entry for games at Ikon Park.