Victoria Park (Home)
MAGNIFICENT GAME AT COLLINGWOOD.
By OLD BOY.
Never in the history of Victoria Park has such an attendance been seen as there was at the match between the two unbeaten teams- Fitzroy and Collingwood- on Saturday, when there must have been close to 20,000 people on the high mounds which have been erected round the ground.
The Victoria Park committee has effected so many improvements that the reserve is now one of the best in the metropolis, and everyone saw splendidly. Both teams were the strongest the clubs could select, and those people who stood out in the beautiful, bright May sunshine saw a magnificent contest for three quarters. In the earlier stages the Fitzroy men were rather wild, and Collingwood, playing well and defending grandly, held a lead at the first change. It was a hard game, full of force and dash, never stopping for a moment. All over the ground they raced, Collingwood gaining ground by sheer weight; while the little Fitzroy fellows, picking their man and kicking to him, answered strength by skill. All through that first quarter there was a weak spot in the Collingwood establishment, and as the game proceeded it became more and more marked.
Rowell, the Collingwood centre man, had in the previous game proved so brilliant and reliable that the team played to him consistently. In those other games he did his work so well that he was a hero, and Collingwood to a man-and a woman, too-swore by him. On Saturday he failed-just as he did in the final game last year and Collingwood to a man (and woman?) swore at him.
In that game last year Gavin beat Rowell badly, and on Saturday little Beecham never left him, and the uncrowned king of the magpies was out of it. To Beecham, of course, must be given much of the credit of the downfall of Rowell, but the form of the latter was too bad to be true; even making allowance for a heavy fall he sustained in the first quarter. Collingwood are to be sympathised with that just when they want Rowell most he fails them worst. Later in the day they put him on the ball, and here, too, he was useless.
After the first quarter Fitzroy settled down and played magnificently-so did Collingwood- but there were just that cohesion and smartness in the maroon play which cannot fail to tell, and before half-time, having obtained a lead, the Fitzroy men were determined to keep it, and when they retired the scores were Fitzroy 2-7, Collingwood 2-1.
The third quarter was a repetition of the second, and the game was still carried on at a tremendous pace, rushing, dashing, sensational football, rousing the great crowd to a pitch of enthusiasm. The strain, however, was too great, and Collingwood looked jaded when they crossed over for the last time, with Fitzroy 8 points in the lead.
The final quarter saw the utter rout of Collingwood, and Fitzroy put on 4 goals and 3 behinds. Collingwood struggled bravely on, but they were meeting a team in the peak of condition, and long before the end they were done with. The better team undoubtedly won, and none were more ready to admit it than the Collingwood men themselves.
Crapp umpired the game admirably, and though the pace all through was tremendous he was going to the last. The takings were $360.
To pick the best man on the Fitzroy side would be hard; in fact, I do not think I can separate J. Sharp, who did magnificent work back; Fontaine, whose marking and general play on the half-back line was first class; Brosnan, who played a beautiful game forward; and Beecham, whose cleverness and persistency were so marked. This little fellow did all that was asked of him, and he contributed to a great extent towards the victory. He has now met Rowell four times, and has beaten him every time. B. Sharpe came back into the team, and showed his value by kicking 2 goals, and playing splendidly. Hince, half- back, was sure and solid; Hutchinson, Moriarty, and Naesmith, back, did all that was asked of them; Wilkinson, Smith, and Barker were busy forward, and Brophy worked hard in the ruck. Jenkins and Trotter I might almost have added to that quartet above, for both did splendidly. The latter was as clever and quick as ever, and Jenkins worked grandly all day, although he was knocked out by a collision in the first quarter.
On the Collingwood side Hailwood worked like a tiger in the ruck all day, putting in a power of work. Monohan, too, ran till sheer exhaustion topped him at the finish and Pannam, on the wing, beat Drohan badly. Proudfoot, Dummett, and M’Cormack were very good back, and Allan, on the wing, had the best of Barlett. Pears and A. Leach both played well forward, and G. Lockwood kicked a clever goal. M’Culloch, Tulloch, and Fell, on and about the ball and forward, were also very useful and busy, but the whole side was beaten on the day, except the two wing men, who more than held their own.