Collingwood Juniors Football Club
Soon after Collingwood started its own senior football club in 1892, attention turned to finding another club that could act as the Magpies’ ‘feeder’ organisation.
Clifton was the strongest surviving junior club (junior referring to the standard of competition, not the age of players) in 1892, and it disbanded and became the Collingwood Junior Football Club (Collingwood Juniors) under the club’s sponsorship in 1893.
Collingwood president William Beazley also became the first president of the Juniors, and the new club was allowed to use Victoria Park. The Magpies couldn’t provide much more assistance until the mid-1890s, due to their own financial battles, but thereafter provided old jumpers and some financial aid.
The club was a hit almost from day one – especially in terms of developing senior players. The mighty Jack Monohan played with the Juniors in 1893 and made his senior debut the same year. Three more Juniors’ graduates made their debuts in 1894, and they all turned out to be absolute stars – Dick Condon, Charlie Pannam Snr and Frank Hailwood. Those four players alone made the Juniors experiment a raging success.
Premiership wins proved more elusive, although the club did manage to finish as runners-up on new fewer than four occasions – in 1900, 1901, 1903 and 1904. Two of those were extremely controversial.
In 1900 the team was on top of the ladder nearing the end of the season but was penalised two points for playing unregistered senior players. That meant a tie for top spot and a play-off to decide the winner, in which the Magpies went down to Preston.
Three years later there was more controversy. The Juniors needed to win the last game of the season against South Melbourne to capture the flag but went down by a point, leaving the two teams locked together and needing a play-off. But the Juniors protested the result, accusing one of the goal umpires of cheating. The protest was refused, however, and the play-off game went ahead, with South winning a spiteful game by 10 points.
Less than two years later, it was all over. Two players were suspended for the season in the middle of the year, and another for three weeks. Discipline all but disappeared, the team struggled for numbers and even forfeited a number of games. The club eventually disbanded in August of that year, to be replaced by the Collingwood District Football Club.
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