Main content

The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

15 September 1917 | PF

  • Collingwood
  • vs.
  • Fitzroy

MCG (Home)

Attendance: 22,786

  • 7.10 (52)

    • QT 12.1

    • QT 24.3

    • QT 35.6

    • QT 47.10

  • -

  • 8.10 (58)

    • QT 11.4

    • QT 23.6

    • QT 35.7

    • QT 48.10

Match Report


The League final between Fitzroy and Collingwood at the Melbourne ground on Saturday was the greatest of all the big games for years. Close on 23,000 people witnessed it, and the contest, through its keenness, closeness in scores, and great athletic features, kept the spectators anxious and excited until the finish.

A few minutes before time scores were equal; then a meteoric dash and a brilliant turn by one individual placed Fitzroy a goal ahead. A second or two later a midget of the team broke through a giant brigade of defenders, and, tricking them all, scored again. The cheers following these smart performances in such critical moments were general, for spectators were quite impartial in their applause – they recognised grit and cleverness. Fitzroy then looked all over winners, and they were eventually, but in the succeeding minutes of play Collingwood came again, scored a goal, and were battering down the opposition when the bell rang, but Fitzroy had won by a bare goal. It was a great and exciting ending to a really enjoyable game.

The most attractive features in the early part of the match were Heaney’s high marking for Fitzroy, Dobrigh’s clever scouting and passing for Collingwood, Toohey’s defensive play, and Curtis’s goal kicking. The tall forward secured two major points off two free kicks – the first goals of the day – and he kept on his busy way all through, finishing with five ‘majors’.

It was difficult for forwards to penetrate the defence, for Bamford and Toohey at one end and Brown, Anderson and Mutch at the other were quite at their best. Marking cleanly over the heads of others. Moore brought Fitzroy’s first goal, and their only one for the quarter, the scores being at the first change 2-1, 1-4. Players were hardly at their best, in the ground play, or in their kicking, but the dashes and the attendant excitement in the crushes kept spectators keenly interested.

Players fell in the struggles, but their physiques stood to them, and Laxton was the only man temporarily disabled. Dobrigh and Wraith showed out best for Collingwood in an opening rush in the second quarter, and Wraith got the goal. In the next, scored by Fitzroy. Parratt was the great player. He engineered his way around, and finding Freake, the crack forward obtained the points. Lumsden was Collingwood’s most versatile player at this stage, and Drummond and Pannam on the wings were giving their best. Collingwood were picking their men out well, but were not getting the results. Parratt evened the scoring, only, however, for Curtis to cap off the quarter with the leading goal. Half time the totals were 4.3 to 3.6.

Every inch of the ground was being fought, and hardly a player was failing. Each man seemed to realise what victory or defeat meant, and while there was overkeenness, it seldom resulted in much harm. Rattray played the ball across to Wigraft, and he had the shot. The kick was astray, but Freake was handy, and, marking the ball, scored another goal for Fitzroy.

There were failures from both teams well up. Then Curtis (Collingwood) and Rattray (Fitzroy) obtained goals within three minutes. The scores were again even, and a great test in skill and strength followed without result until Fitzroy had scored a point, which placed them a behind to the good at three-quarter-time: Fitzroy 5.7, Collingwood 5.6.

The teams were now playing right up to championship form, and although the stress and strain of the game were severe, not a player shirked his task. Just before half time Lethbridge, Anderson and Wilson had collided, and spectators anticipated serious results. They got over their shocks and were among the busiest men in the fighting stages. Curtis has a double try for goal through the man overrunning the mark, and the second effort was successful. The strain kept on, fortunes in play favouring one side and then the other. Parratt came with another for Fitzroy, and again goal scores were even.

In the great final tussle Parratt dashed in the pack of players in front and scored, and a minute later Freake, clearing off with the ball, ran to the undefended posts and kicked the eighth goal. Collingwood fought the issue right out. They added a goal, and then the bell rang. Final scores: FITZROY 8 goals 10 behinds, COLLINGWOOD 7 goals, 10 behinds.

Toohey, Heaney, Bamford, Parratt (three goals), Freake (three goals), Atkinson, Wigraft and King were great players for Fitzroy; and Collingwood’s best were Dobrigh, Pannam, Curtis (five goals), Reynolds, Anderson, Lumsden, Drummond and Wilson.

The attendance was 22,786, and the takings ₤577. The total takings for the three matches were ₤1282, compared with ₤736 for the corresponding three games last season. A grand final match will be played next Saturday.

1917 ‘FOOTBALL FINAL.’, The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), 17 September, p. 9, viewed 28 August, 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
Provide feedback Ask the Experts