Victoria Park (Home)
A HARD, ROUGH GAME.
COLLINGWOOD FINISH STRONGLY.
There was a large attendance at Victoria-park for the match between Fitzroy and Collingwood, and, although only one of the teams could have a close interest in the issue of this season’s battle, they played as though the championship depended on this particular match.
It was a desperately hard game, and pretty rough all through, not because the teams showed any particular spite or ill-feeling towards each other, but because both sides were determined to win. Collingwood seemed to have changed their tactics. Instead of depending so much on open play and fast passing, they put more strength and dash into it, conceiving no doubt that these are the methods most likely to prevail against the possible opponents in the finals.
It was not altogether a pleasant game. There were, no blows struck, but elbows were pretty freely used, and the match was the first evidence of the recurrence of that bitter play which the league has very properly attempted to stamp out. I don’t know that Collingwood have given a better demonstration of their pace in any game they have played this season, for while they still retained a good deal of their old accuracy in passing, and the judgment which has won many matches for them, it was noticeable that in pure pace they were as a side always a bit ahead of Fitzroy.
Another marked difference between the sides was that when a Collingwood man got into difficulties his mate was always in a position to help him. This did not happen nearly so frequently on the other side. The heavy ground seemed to hamper Fitzroy more than the home team, though one could see no reason why it should have done so. There was no mistaking the fact that Fitzroy did not show up to anything like the same advantage as against Carlton on the previous Saturday.
At first it seemed as if Collingwood were likely to be beaten by their bad luck and Fitzroy’s accuracy forward. The maroons got first goal, which was punted by Milne. Collingwood then had along innings, but got nothing like the reward expected. Norris snapped a goal for them, but Lee missed two possible tries, and his kicking in the early stages of the game was not nearly up to his best performances and reputation, though later on he improved. Wilson also had a shot that missed. Fitzroy were helped to their second goal in a free-kick to Briggs, for Elder, realising that the game was to be a strenuous one, was at that time strict in his decisions. He was particularly severe upon players for holding the ball too long, and if he had kept just a strict an eye upon unnecessarily rough charging, it might have improved the character of the match.
Fitzroy opened the second quarter in great style, and scored three goals before Collingwood got going. The first went to Holden from u drop-kick, a clever snap by Briggs scored the next, and Naismith finished up the burst of success. At that stage each had had the same number of tries, but their figures were just reversed – Fitzroy, 5 goals 1 behind, to Collingwood‘s 1 goal 5 behind.
The position looked awkward for Collingwood, but they began to improve it almost immediately. A free kick to Ryan scored their second goal. Lee snapped the third from a rather difficult angle, and then Fitzroy broke in again with a goal to Briggs. Lee again came into prominence, and, after missing one shot, he took a splendid mark right on the goal-line. Indeed, it was just a tossup whether it was a goal or not before Lee marked it. Anyhow, he had no difficulty in scoring Collingwood were at that stage playing for all they were worth, and they got their reward.
They started the third quarter only a goal to the bad, and very soon corrected that for Vernon and Ryan both scored for them, the last-named just at the finish of the quarter. The best that Fitzroy could do in that term was a shot by Perratt, which hit the goal-post. Collingwood were still the better side, but the play was getting rather rougher every instant, and at one stage Wilson (Collingwood) and Newbound (Fitzroy) were being carried off the ground together. Both came back again, but neither was any good afterwards. The pace slowed down a bit in the last quarter, but it was at times unpleasantly vigorous – to say the least or it. Several cautions were given. There was not much between the team sat that stage. Fitzroy had three scoring shots, one by Walker hitting the goal-post, while Ryan scored a goal for Collingwood from a free-kick.
Collingwood were so even a side that picking men for distinction is rather difficult. You have to take nearly the whole team. For example, Oliver was very fine on the wing, running away from everybody. Scaddan, Shorten, and Rowell were all excellent defenders. Rowell at times worked, quickly up the field, and the side played to him with advantage. The three white-haired boys of Collingwood – Vernon, Wilson, and Norriss – all played well, and one or two of them showed that they could give a trifle more in roughness than they got. McHaile was again in really good form in the centre – perhaps the best man on the side. They again worked Lee usefully between back and forward positions, Baxter played his usual fine game, and shared with McHaile the honours of the side. Ryan also did a great amount of sound valuable work.
Dick was, all things considered, the champion of the maroons, though Johnson did some first-class work, and Milne was as prominent as usual, and maintained the highly honourable record he has always had of playing the game under all circumstances, in a fair and manly spirit, going always for the ball and never for the man. Lenne was a very good defender for Fitzroy, but Marchbank hardly came up to his Carlton performance, his chief mistake being in allowing the Collingwood forwards too much room. Pattison, right in goal, was many times useful to them. Perratt did good work in their back lines, Holden was in very fine form, and Rahilly worked hard in the ruck. It was not a game in which Umpire Elder can claim anything like a record for good work.
1910 ‘A HARD, ROUGH GAME.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 8 August, p. 5, viewed 7 August, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10450694