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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

2 May 1903 | Round 1

  • Carlton
  • vs.
  • Collingwood

Princes Park (Away)

  • 9.4 (58)

    • QT 13.0

    • QT 25.1

    • QT 38.4

    • QT 49.4

  • -

  • 5.7 (37)

    • QT 12.1

    • QT 23.3

    • QT 34.5

    • QT 45.7

Match Report


Since the founding of the league one thing alone was required to complete public interest in the championship-the uplifting of Carlton and St. Kilda – and last season there was sufficient glow up Carlton way to tell that its sun would soon rise again.

Ever since that consummate judge of the game John Worrall took the team in hand it has been improving, and on Saturday Carlton opened the season brilliantly by beating last year’s champions, Collingwood, in a way that left no room for excuses, and induced the losing captain, Tulloch, to go into the Carlton dressing room afterwards to congratulate them on their victory, and to tell them, like a true sportsman, that in his opinion the best team had won the match.

Collingwood lost something in having Fred Leach, M ‘Cormack, and Angus all down with colds above all, in the loss of that grand player Hailwood, who was such a power of strength to their ruck. Yet in face of this there were only two new men in the team. Carlton, on the other hand, had many recruits, and most of them good ones -notably Trim, the South Melbourne back; Flynn, of Geelong; Ford, a big, amiable-looking boy from Essendon Town, who promises to be a fine footballer; Elliott, who comes back to them from West Australia; Leeds, of Brunswick; and others.

On the play Carlton were distinctly the better team. They took command in the ruck at the outset, and never lost it, though Collingwood were at times remarkably clever in passing and picking their men. From the style in which Carlton dashed in from the half-line towards goal at the outset it was feared they could not maintain such energy, but this was not borne out in the results.

In the second half they played with a great deal more judgment and hardly less pace, and at times their passing was almost equal to Collingwood‘s. The accuracy of their half-distance kicks led frequently to goals, of which Sullivan got three in first-rate style, though Collingwood had bad luck in several times hitting the  post. Carlton had a peculiar experience in the same way, for a towering kick of Sullivan’s pitched fairly on the cap of the goal-post.

There are possibilities ahead for Carlton, and the crowd knew it, for there were about 8,000 people on the embankment, which gives so fine a view of the play.

Three men – Joe, M ‘Shane, Flynn, and Elliott were largely responsible for Carlton’s victory, while their clever little rover, Snell, was also seen to much advantage. It was in this combination that their ruck strength lay. Trim and E. Walton were both reliable in defence, H. M ‘Shane was spasmodic, though occasionally brilliant, and Ross through preparing for his University examinations, an admirable player. Ford, in addition to his generally promising play, made one fine dash down the centre that secured a goal. Sullivan  shone in attack, and in the duel between Rowlands and Pannam the Carlton men was a bit faster and as superior in the ground play as Pannam undoubtedly was with the ball in the air.

Three old battlers for Collingwood stood first in precedence- Condon, Pannam, and Monahan, Dumett and Fell half-back were a very reliable pair. Rowell half-forward was, as usual, one of the best men in the match, and topped off his general play with a couple of goals; while Tulloch, Peers, and Arthur Leach were all prominent.

1903 ‘FOOTBALL.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 4 May, p. 7, viewed 31 July, 2015,

Team Stats

  • # Guernsey
  • GL Goals
  • B Behinds
  • K Kicks
  • H Handballs
  • D Disposals
  • M Marks
  • HO Hit Outs
  • FF Frees For
  • FA Frees Against
  • T Tackles
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