Monday 22 September, 1902
THE FINAL MATCH – A RECORD ATTENDANCE.
By OLD BOY.
The detractors of the scheme under which the premiership has been decided this year cannot say that public interest has been in any way lessened in our great winter game after the enormous assemblage which thronged the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday; 24,880 people paid for admission, and with members of the cricket club, of the opposing teams, and others who had complimentary tickets, the estimated total attendance was barely short of 35,000. The takings amounted to £901, and thus all previous records were beaten.
The highest takings previously were £860, at the match between South Melbourne and Carlton on the M.C.C. ground in August, 1890, when the estimated attendance was 32,000.
Collingwood at the last moment decided to leave out their brilliant back man Monohan, the injury to his leg making it doubtful whether he could stand a hard tussle, and Incoll went in in his stead.
Baxter was away from Essendon, and O’Loghlen took the vacant place. Mr. T. Sherrin had manufactured two balls specially for the game, and if the long kicking which was shown during the day was any criterion no fault could be found with the ball used. As soon as the teams came out the crowd, which was excited began to shout and yell, and they kept it up until the end. Collingwood kicking towards the grandstand, had first use of the wind, and they attacked at once. It was an eager, rushing game, with the players all crowding into the centre. The first item of note beside the eagerness of the players was a beautiful pass from Pears to E. Lockwood, which the latter failed to take. Pannam and Hailwood were forcing Essendon back, but Gavin relieved grandly, and 10 minutes had gone before A. Leach punted the first point—a behind.
Then M’Kenzie from a free kick failed to raise the ball, and it hit the man facing him, and as it bounced away Rowell dashed in, and a mighty roar told that he had scored a goal with a running shot. So far Collingwood has been doing everything, but Essendon charged forward from the bounce, and M’Kenzie, working like a tiger to retrieve his error, got a behind. Proudfoot’s kick-in was a mighty one, but Thurgood skirting round the crowd shot for goal, but his kick went wide. Before Collingwood could relieve the pressure Griffiths had a shot, which Proudfoot stopped one hand lying down.
It was a dramatic incident the first of many in the day. Thurgood kicked another behind and then some fine concerted work between Robinson, Hastings, Vollugi, Hiskens, and Kinnear brought another point. Hailwood was working like a Trojan, and as he forced the ball up two Woodsmen went for the mark. They spoilt each other, and Anderson chipped in and passed to Hutchens, from whom Thurgood got it. The big man was playing finely, but shooting wildly. Hiskens, however, from a free kick made amends with a beautiful place kick. Proudfoot was minding his goal grandly, and turned many a rush. In the closing moments of the quarter Tulloch passed to E. Lockwood, and as the bell rang he hit the post, and they crossed over.
Essendon, 1-3; Collingwood, 1-2.
It was a grand struggle, in which both sides spared neither themselves nor their opponents, and the man standing back had the best of it, for in their eagerness the men often overran the ball.As soon as they began again a clever run by Fell got the ball to Condon to E. Lockwood to Pears, who, with a nice shot, scored the goal.
This was an instance of that clever passing with which the Magpies have been so dangerous. Essendon were passing well, too, but with long kicks Robinson and Hutchens gave Thurgood a chance, but again he kicked badly. Though Monohan was not playing, his advice was valuable, and it was at his suggestion that F. Leach and M’Cormack changed places, the former taking up the burden of Thurgood’s watcher. Anderson saved Essendon in a hot scrimmage, and Mann, Martin, Vollugi, and Hiskens carried it on, and Thurgood, marking in the crowd, with a mighty punt made the scores even; but Collingwood got the lead at once again, lncoll and Condon sending the ball in front of goal, where Allan easily scored. The game was being played at a tremendous pace, and when Dummett slipped down as he kicked he had not time to get off his knees before the ball was back to him, and he marked it kneeling. The Essendon wing men had beaten their Fitzroy opponents badly the previous week, but the Magpies wings were too good, and Pannam and Allan were invincible. Dummett was marking grandly in defence, and the Essendon forwards, shooting wildly, could not get the goal for which Robinson, M’Kenzie, Hutchens, Hastings, and Martin were working so hard, and at half-time the scores were:
Collingwood, 3 goals 2 behinds (20 points), Essendon, 2 goals 7 behinds (19 points).
Up to this it had been a grand struggle, not the best football perhaps, but still forceful and exciting, and there did not seem to be a point between the teams. They began again at the same tremendous pace, and a peanut man was glad to scamper for the boundary. He had been crossing the ground, but there was no room for anyone but the players and the umpire in that oval when such rushing and tearing was going on.
For a while the game hung in the balance, and after Pears had hit the post, Rowell ran in and scored, Geggie dashing into the goal post in his endeavour to stop the goal. Essendon looked like faltering, so overwhelming was the Magpies’ rush, and though Gavin marked grandly in defence, Essendon could not get the ball away, Anderson and Hastings broke through once, and when, Hiskens marked splendidly and passed to Thurgood right in front, Essendon seemed to have a chance. He missed an easy mark, however, and Essendon’s hopes were shattered as A. Leach relieved, and Rowell, after a grand mark, passed to Angus, who ran on and scored. Essendon were fighting for their lives, and in the closing moments of the quarter they managed to score their only point, a goal, O’Loghlen punting it.
The bell rang with the scores: Collingwood, 5 goals 5 behinds (35 points), Essendon, 3 goals 7 behinds (25 points).
Essendon had the wind in the final quarter, and there were many who still hoped for victory. Ten points was the difference in the scores, and they dashed on to get them. They attacked strongly, but seven minutes’ play brought only a behind by Robinson, and then came the turning point.
Kennedy, who had been having the worst of his bout with Allan on the wing, beat his man badly by very clever play. He turned and ran like a hare but, alas for Essendon’s hopes, he kicked straight into Fell, who passed to Hailwood to A. Leach in front. He quickly passed to E. Lock- wood, and Collingwood’s sixth goal came easily.
It was another of the dramatic incidents. Essendon were failing slowly, but still dying hard, and Rush, defending grandly, beat them back, and Rowell was awarded a free kick. He placed the ball, and as it soared in mid air, it looked as though it would just fail to bridge the distance against the wind. It was a moment of suspense, and as the ball flew toward the goal the Collingwood supporter in the press-box yelled “It’s there! It’s there! By Heavens it’s there!” and as the Collingwood team rushed to Rowell to grasp his hand, the excited barracker sank back into his seat. “That settles it,” he gasped, “They can’t catch us now.” It did settle it, for with victory and the premiership in view, the Magpies kept up the attack, and though Essendon, struggling bravely and with defeat staring them in the face, threw themselves into it; it was no use, and twice again the Collingwood system having full play resulted in goals, E. Lockwood, standing out by himself, getting the ball, first from Angus and then from Condon, and though Thurgood made a splendid try the game ended: Collingwood, 9 goals 6 behinds (60 points), Essendon, 3 goals 9 behinds (27 points).
The Collingwood men rushed to one another and to their dressing room, and were met at the gate by their hon. secretary (Mr. E. Copeland) with open arms. There was an excited scene in the dressing room, and in the midst of it appeared the Essendon captain, H. Gavin, dripping with perspiration. He had fought for his colours like a hero, and had been beaten. With the uniform he had worn so gallantly and all the evidence of the fray still on him, he jumped on a form and congratulated his victors, giving them sincere praise. The better side had won, he said, and that was all. They cheered him, and away he went to his own room, to be cheered by his own men as well.
Crapp umpired the game magnificently. He did not use his whistle too much, but never failed to notice breaches of the rules. There was no doubt about the superiority of the winners after half-time, and no one was more ready to acknowledge it than the Essendon men themselves. The winners take the medals presented by Mr. Alex M’Cracken (president of the league) to the premier team. In addition the team get the league caps, and from the Victoria Park flagpole next winter will fly the pennant bearing the inscription—
“COLLINGWOOD, PREMIERS 1902.”
It was a game in which individuality had to give way to combination, and it is safe to say that every man on the winning side did his share. But there are some who must be singled out.
Pannam, by reason of his wonderful dashing wing play; Hailwood, for his untiring following and his high-marking; F. Leach, for his splendid work up to Thurgood; Allan, for his brilliance and pertinacity on the wing; M’Cormack, for his brilliant work; Rush for his fine defence; Proudfoot, for his mighty kicking and goal-keeping; Rowell, for his pace and dash, and the others for their splendid play all round.
Essendon, though beaten, were not disgraced, and every man did well. Gavin was marvellous back, where Mann, Anderson and Hastings worked brilliantly. Wright was clever in the centre, and Kennedy and Vollugi, though beaten on the wings, never gave in. Hutchens, Thurgood, Larkin, and Hiskens worked hard forward, and in the ruck M’Kenzie, Martin, Griffith, O’Loghlen, Robinson, and Kinnear all did well at various times.
The premiership competition has been carried on since 1870, so that this is the thirty-third season. Geelong has won 7 times, Carlton 6, Essendon 6, South Melbourne 5, Melbourne 4, Fitzroy 3, and Collingwood twice. Neither Geelong, Carlton nor South Melbourne has won since.
1902 ‘FOOTBALL.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 22 September, p. 9, viewed 16 August, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9080754
Collingwood 1.2 3.2 5.5 9.6 (60)
Essendon 1.3 2.7 3.7 3.9 (27)
Collingwood: E. Lockwood, Rowell 3, Allan, Angus, Pears.
Essendon: Hiskins, O’Loughlin, Thurgood.
Collingwood: Hailwood, Pannam, Allan, Rush, Fell, Rowell.
Essendon: McKenzie, Gavin, Mann, Wright, Larkin, Hutchens.
Crowd: 35,502 at the MCG.