INTRODUCING THE AUSTRALIAN GAME.
SUCCESSFUL EXHIBITION MATCH.
The New South Wales Football League has every reason to be proud of the result of the match between Collingwood and Fitzroy, played on the Sydney Cricket-ground yesterday. The weather was splendid, and the crowd numbered about 20,000 and included the Governor-General, the State Governor, and Mr. G.H. Reid, M.H.R.
On leaving the pavilion the players had a magnificent reception. Collingwood won the toss, and kicked towards the northern goal, and from the moment the ball was set in motion much enthusiasm prevailed. The pace and dash infused into the play, and the brilliancy and the accuracy of the kicking were a revelation, quickly convincing many sceptics that there is “something in the game,” and that it has many advantages over Rugby.
There is no doubt that Saturday’s exhibition gave the necessary fillip to arouse local interest in the game.
The buzz of excitement on the ground was such as is heard only when New South Wales and New Zealand are meeting at football or England and Australian at Cricket, and this was all the more gratifying because the great majority of the spectators had no personal interest in the players. It is questionable, however, if the Australian game will make great headway this season, more especially as the New Zealanders come to Australia to contest Rugby, but the general impression among those who witnessed the match was now that the good points of the Australian game have been brought under notice in so marked a way by visiting teams that the Australian game of football should make at least a steady advance in this state.
Collingwood made play, and Fitzroy being penalised at half-forward, Rowell with a splendid effort, kicked first goal for Collingwood amid great cheering. Fine marking was done by A. Leach and Pears, and the latter made a good shot for goal without result. Excellent passing soon brought the ball back to Fitzroy’s goal, and Condon, securing from a throw-in, kicked the second goal for his side. Fitzroy there upon became aggressive. Trotter kicked for goal without sufficient force, but a try by Milne resulted in a behind, another being secured almost immediately by M ‘Speerin. Trotter then showed an excellent bit of play by securing the ball, running a few yards, and, from a difficult angle, kicking a goal. The next goal was kicked by Lockwood for Collingwood. Angus then marked to Lockwood to Rowell, and the last-mentioned tried for goal without success. Fontaine shone in high-marking, but the ball was quickly returned to Fitzroy’s quarters, and Lockwood kicked a behind. Some exciting play in Collingwood‘s ground followed, and a good shot for goal by Trotter failed. Fitzroy were now playing a dashing game, and Colling-wood had to call forth all their resources in defence. At the end of the first quarter the scores were: – Collingwood, 3 goals 2 behinds, Fitzroy, 1 goal 3 behinds.
On resuming the ball was made to travel quickly, and Fitzroy put in better work than their opponents. Trotter tried for goal without success and M’Speerin and Willis were just as fortunate. Brilliant marking was shown by Fontaine to Barker to Kiernan. The last-named placed for goal unsuccessfully. Nothing resulted also from Brophy’s place kick. Leach, Condon, and Pears called forth cheers for fine judgment in giving and accepting marks. At length Fitzroy’s efforts were rewarded. M’Speerin took a snapshot out of the ruck, and put the ball between the posts, Wilkinson following up with another goal, Fitzroy was now leading, but presently Collingwood was awarded a free kick, and Angus kicked to Incoll, who placed for goal and scored.
At half-time the game stood: – Fitzroy 3 goals 11 behinds, Collingwood, 4 goals 1 behind.
From this out the advantage lay with Fitzroy. In the third quarter the maroons attacked, and Wilkinson kicked a behind. Collingwood then began a rush, but M’Speerin put in good play, and sent the ball to Kiernan, who kicked a goal. Collingwood fought gamely, and Pannam put in a nice run. From a free kick A. Leach missed an easy chance to score. Trotter running across from the wing kicked at goal, but the ball hit the post. A big effort on the part of Collingwood was frustrated by Moriarty, and Trotter by a splendid kick placed one more goal to Fitzroy’s credit. This substantial lead was reduced by Tulloch placing a goal to the credit of Collingwood. A good run by Pannam was relieved by Moriarty, Condon then put in a strong run, and forwarded to Incoll in front of Fitzroy goal, but a behind only resulted. Fitzroy responded with an attack, M’Speerin getting hold in a good position. He secured another goal. Incoll was again unfortunate in a kick for goal after a good run by Pannam, for another behind resulted. Play was then transferred to Collingwood’s ground, where some fine play was witnessed. The third quarter ended with the scores- Fitzroy, 6 goals 14 behinds, Collingwood, 5 goals 7 behinds.
Fitzroy, elated with their success, made a rush, and a behind was added by Barker. Proudfoot, Pannam, and F. Leach got Collingwood out of the difficulty. Milne then, by a magnificent kick, gave Fitzroy their seventh goal. A great rush by Collingwood was saved by Moriarty going round the right wing and, by a fine kick, sending the ball into the centre. Rowell obtained from Pannam and, with a long, accurate kick, scored a fine goal. The Fitzroy captain was given a similar opportunity, but was not equal to the task. From this out the game was extremely fast, but in favour of Fitzroy, and at the call of time the scores were: – Fitzroy, 7 goals 20 behinds, Collingwood, 6 goals 9 behinds.
The teams were entertained at the Trocadero last night. As the result of a conference subsequently held, it was decided to call a special meeting of the New South Wales League, with a view to submitting a definite proposal to the Victorian League with reference to a visit from the Geelong and Carlton clubs to play at Sydney the premiership match which was postponed on account of the railway strike. Today the teams were taken on a trip to Sandringham.
As the result of Saturday’s match the New South Wales League will have over £600 to further the game in this state.
1903 ‘FOOTBALL IN SYDNEY.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 25 May, p. 6, viewed 31 July, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9805380