Victoria Park (Home)
MELBOURNE’S WEAK TEAM.
COLLINGWOOD WINS EASILY.
Fresh from their first taste of victory, Melbourne promised great things against Collingwood at Victoria-park. Whether under the best circumstances they would have fulfilled the promise is doubtful, but weakened as they were by the absence of eight men (including their captain and crack goal-kicker, Coutie, and their vice-captain, Monk) from whom they expected a considerable acquisition of strength they could not hope to make even a decent showing against the rapidly improving Collingwood.
From the first quarter it was evident that there could be but one result. Collingwood, early in the game gave an exposition of what they were capable of in the direction of marking and short-kicking, for which Melbourne had no counterstroke. They were weak forward, if Brereton be excepted, though even he did not play up to standard, and their weakness always failed to stem the Collingwood wing rushes which meant so much against a badly organised team. They made little or no pretence at short-range passing, relying mainly on running and long, objectless punts, which as often as not, landed in an opponent’s hands. This last mistake was particularly noticeable in the second quarter with the wind against them and again in the third when at intervals, they went to work with vigour and temporarily rattled Collingwood’s defence without gaining any material advantage.
A sustained effort occasionally supplemented by brisk, wide-awake forward work, would have reduced the difference in theMelbourne played Henderson (from Richmond) and Allen (from South Yarra), and Strong, who was one of their main stays last year, played his first game for the season. He did not strike last year’s form.
Collingwood were without Daykin and Rowell and in their stead they had Jones (who played forward) and Jackson (half-forward on the wing). None of the new men showed any exceptional ability. Prior to entering the field each team was shortly lectured by the umpire (Bremner), particularly with reference to rough play,and as a result the game was fair, clean and open right through. With scarcely an incident of roughness, Bremner had an easy afternoon, and he gave every satisfaction.
The wind blew bleak across the ground towards the river corner, Melbourne reaping all the benefit it offered in the first quarter. They needed it, Collingwood begin with a great rush, and before he had time to consider how cold it might possibly become with nothing to do. Pearce, Melbourne’s back was well warmed in a tough struggle with McHale, Vernon, and Jones to defend his post. He had little time to get cool again. Jones registered Collingwood’s first point from a good kick. Lee, who may usually be rolled upon to do the best thing with the least delay, shortly after blundered in thing to run when a kick would have been far easier and more serviceable. He lost the ball to Park who raised Melbourne’s hopes with a good run. Melbourne had a chance, but lack of judgement in finding their men, left a clear passage for Ryan to effect a relief. Ryan shone in some brilliant work, and from a mark at an acute angle, hit the post. A moment later Hughes kicked right over the same post. From the kick-off Melbourne forced the play into the centre where Baxter relieved with a fine run, but a hasty kick resulted in only one point. Ryan was marking against all difficulties with certainty and Melbourne found him a barrier to pass.
After some tough struggling in the centre, Tomkins flushed out from the scramble and snapped Melbourne’s first goal. Gaining heart with success, Melbourne showed pretty passing the brightest period in the whole of their play and sent the ball down with a swing. Theirforwards failed to grasp their opportunity, and Shorten turned the tide. Melbourne began to leave their places. A good effort by Rodd was spoilt by Fitzpatrick who mulled an easy chance in front of goal. Fitzpatrick, however, retrieved himself immediately by bringing off a fine high mark, from which he raised the two flags.
Collingwood had bad luck in kicking for goals. Lee hit the post twice and out of seven shots they found the spot only once. They had much the better of the quarter against the wind, though the board showed 12 points each.
Melbourne did not score in the second quarter. The wind blew stronger and it was difficult to judge the flight of the ball in the air. Heatley kicked it goal for Collingwood immediately after the bounce. Collingwood forced the pace with organised passing and well-judged short kicks, and a long chain of mark gave Hughes a difficult shot. He kicked short. Melbourne replied with hard bullocking. They took the play up, and Brereton marked from a scrimmage. There was no one between him and the goal, but, though only 10 yards off, he foolishly ran, and kicked out of bounds. Both teams crowded on the ball and a few minutes’ strenuous and exciting play ensued around Collingwood’s goal, where Sykes, Fitzpatrick, and Park did solid work for Melbourne. Ryan, Lee and Wilson added more goals before half-time, when Collingwood had a substantial lead of 25 points.
In the second half Melbourne literally fell to pieces. They played with less system than in the opening stages, and Collingwood took full advantage of their weakness. Baxter kicked Collingwood’s sixth goal. Strong and McKenzie were working hard for Melbourne, and, from a free-kick, Strong raised the two flags. Vernon missed an easy chance sending the ball out; but from the throw-in Lee obtained possession, and kicked the seventh goal for Collingwood. Strong played strenuously and after some brisk up-and-down play mostly on the grandstand wing, Melbourne forced the pace, and Sykes, who was showing up well, covered a lot of ground and raised the two flags from a running shot.
With a substantial lead, Collingwood contented themselves with occasional rallies, in which they gave the impression that they held a reserve of strength. When given an apparent opening Melbourne failed from want of continuity of attack and then best work was repelled without trouble. Pearce expended a tremendous amount of energy to relieve the sieges.
In the last quarter, when the rain fell and the dusk blurred the players, Melbourne could get only one point. Collingwood kicked 2 goals 7 behinds – the eighth by Hughes the ninth by Lee, and the tenth by Rvan. The one incident, repeated many times, was, Collingwood a point-kicking and Pearce’s kicking-off. Melbourne were outpointed at every stage, and the game closed with the stores standing: – Collingwood, 10 goals 16 behinds (76 points); Melbourne 4 goals 4 behinds (28).
During the first half played shoulders above the field. His ruck work was sure, cool and quick, his marking was clean and his kicking a lesson in utility. McHale probably did more in the aggregate. He played his usual persistent game and never slowed down until the last bell. Lee was in his best form both in the air and kicking for goals. The best of the others were Shorten, Hughes, Gibb, Heatly, Wilson, and Scadden.
Melbourne’s best may be divided between Pearce (back), McKenzie (on the wing), and Sykes (centre). Pearce played almost a lone hand against Collingwood’s continual attacks, and he held his own in every instance. The character of the play made work for the centre men, and in the centre struggles Sykes phone as Melbourne’s star. Strong played well and made use of every chance while roving in the second and last quarter, but at no stage did he come up to last year’s form. Tomkins, Fitzpatrick, Rodd, and Park were occasionally brilliant.
1910 ‘MELBOURNE’S WEAK TEAM.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 6 June, p. 5, viewed 7 August, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10861959