CHECKMATING A SYSTEM.
By: OLD BOY
Collingwood have this year played with such admirable system that they seemed invincible.
With a blackboard and a pine of chalk in the dressing room at Victoria-park they sketch out imaginary moves, as if in a game of chess, and so the men have been working together like machinery.
Fitzroy set themselves to break down that system, and 12,000 people can testify to the fact that on the M. C. C. ground on Saturday they succeeded, and won their way into the finals.
Beecham’s injury on Thursday seemed to have filled Fitzroy’s cup of misfortune to overflowing, but the maroons never falter in the face of adversity, and went out on Saturday each man to do his best, each man to mark a magpie for his own, and they did it. They stuck to the men like leeches, and Collingwood, unable to bring off their quick interchanges, were beaten so well that the magpies, with 37 points to wipe off in the last quarter, went down, and Mr. Copeland had to acknowledge his disappointment. Fitzroy, with a lead of six goals at three-quarter time, could afford to rest on their oars a bit, and they did so, and ran out winners by 9-10 to 6-12.
Fitzroy had whatever advantage the wind gave, but Collingwood got the first two behinds; but Brosnan, after a grand high mark, scored first goal of the day for Fitzroy. Clever handball by Collingwood put them in attack only to be driven back by Best, and M’Sperrin in a dense crush kicked second goal over his shoulder. Smith made some fine dashes then, and all through was most prominent, and Monohan, on the other side, was roaring for high marks, and holding them, too.
Early in the second quarter a free kick to E.Lockwood brought the magpies a goal, and then a shot by Brosnan falling short Proudfoot rushed out, missed the ball, and M’Sperrin dashing in behind him scored easily. Fitzroy were playing grandly, and sticking to their men beat them in pace to the ball, and prevented them getting deliberate shots at goal. Trotter scored a beautiful goal, and Naesmith with a screw kick got another, so that at half-time Fitzroy led by 5-5 to 1-7.
Monohan was hurt just before half-time, and was almost useless for the rest of the day. In the third quarter some lightning exchanges between Brosnan, Wilkinson, and Naesmith gave the last named a goal, and Smith again came under notice with a fine dash. G. Lockwood answered those dashes, but Milne scored for Fitzroy. F. Leach’s marking was most noticeable, and the magpies were contesting every inch of ground, but still Fitzroy prevailed, and M’Sperrin scored easily.
Clever passing from Rowell to Angus and back again gave Rowell a chance and Collingwood a goal, and at the final change the scores were Fitzroy 8-9, Collingwood 2-8.
E. Lockwood got a goal as soon as they began again, and before a Fitzroy man had touched the ball, and Rowell getting the ball from E. Lockwood also scored with a long place kick. Brosnan answered that goal with another. Collingwood were striving hard, and before the end Monohan got their fifth, and E. Lockwood their sixth goal, but they could not get up, and were beaten easily. Gibson umpired very well indeed, and was most strict.
If one man can be said to have won the game R. Smith must be named, for his ruck and defensive work were superb, and his dashes electrifying. B Sharpe, following and forward, played a great game; and M’Sperrin showed Fitzroy what they have waited for so long, his very best form, that meant much to the side. Of the others, where all played so well, J. Sharp, M’Carthy, Jenkins, Best, Moriarty (back), Bartlett, Clarke, Shea (a sturdy, fist, busy centre line), Brosnan (in his best form), and Wilkinson (forward), Barker, Naesmith, and Trotter (forward and following), must be given special credit.
Monohan till hurt was the best man on the Collingwood side. He is not seriously injured, and will be all right in a few days, but his loss to the side was great. Rush gave him great assistance back, and Dummett, Proudfoot, and M’Cormack did good work. G. Lockwood’s dashes were very fine and telling from the half-back line, and he was one of the best men on the side.
E. Lockwood and Rowell played well, and exchanged splendidly forward, though the latter was well watched by Jenkins. Tulloch was good everywhere; Angus roved well, A. Leach played a hard game; F. Leach, Allan, and Pannam across the centre did excellently. Hailwood followed his hardest all day, even when his captain wanted him to take a spell. Fell was always busy, and Condon clever and effective as ever.