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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

28 June 1919 | Round 9

  • Collingwood
  • vs.
  • Fitzroy

Victoria Park (Home)

  • 9.14 (68)

    • QT 12.5

    • QT 23.9

    • QT 39.12

    • QT 49.14

  • -

  • 10.11 (71)

    • QT 10.4

    • QT 24.6

    • QT 35.6

    • QT 410.11

Match Report


Again the chief match of the day drew an enormous attendance, the crowd at Victoria Park for the game between Fitzroy and Collingwood being estimated at very little under 30,000, while the money taken from the gates was ₤330. All the expected excitement of the match, and the best football, were crowded into its finishing phases.

A strong wind favoured the river end, and Collingwood, kicking that way in the opening quarter, had much the better of the conditions, and when Curtis, after a beautiful mark, and Seddon, with one of the old style of long drop-kicks, scored goals in the first few minutes, it looked as if the Magpies were in for heavy scoring. Fitzroy however, put up a good defence, and no more goals were got for that quarter, which ended with Collingwood 2 goals 5 behinds to Fitzroy’s 4 behinds.

The Maroons were handicapped in the fact that each quarter giving them the wind as an advantage opened with a sharp rain-squall, which made the ball slippery and uncertain. They no sooner started with the wind than Wigeralt, from a long, low kick, got their first goal, but there was a lot of hard fighting before the next was scored, and in that quarter, as from the start of the game, it was noticeable that Collingwood, and especially Hughes, of their ruck, were holding high marks with greater certainty than Fitzroy, who made many mistakes in handling the ball.

It was a hard, plunging, very earnest match, with no great amount of skill, and for the first half the ball constantly beat the players. After Merrick, the Fitzroy forward, had missed a couple of easy shots, he got one on what seemed to be an impossible angle, and steered it through. Rattray, who with the wind was kicking long punts, got third goal for Fitzroy and immediately afterwards, McCarthy, Collingwood’s captain, having both a long range and a difficult angle for his shot, rose superior to both, and got a good goal. Merrick ended the quarter by kicking another for Fitzroy off the ground, and the Maroons led at half time with 4 goals 6 behinds to Collingwood’s 3 goals 9 behinds, though up to that stage Collingwood had generally the better of the play. As half-time was approached the character of the play vastly improved.

The third quarter was almost wholly in favour of Collingwood, whose forwards did really good work. Fitzroy got one goal, and that was their only score for the quarter, while Collingwood increased their tally by 5 goals,  6 behinds. Some of them were exceedingly well won. Early in the quarter Lee, who one of the longest kicks I have ever seen him make, got fourth goal for them. The fifth and sixth were scored by Curtis, the first of them after a fine mark and a long angle shot, while the second also came from a great kick. Then Curtis played it right in goal to Lee, who marked close up to the posts, cunningly squirmed out of Jenkins’s arms, and tipped it through. Curtis took his turn again, another fine mark, and a long, low shot just beating Jenkins, the Fitzroy goalkeeper. At that stage, with eight goals in hand, Collingwood seemed to be racing away.

Fitzroy got their turn when Freake scored their fifth goal, but immediately afterwards Lee played to Laxton, and Collingwood got their ninth. At three-quarter time the scores were Collingwood 9 goals 12 behinds, Fitzroy 5 goals 6 behinds.

The first five minutes of the last quarter seemed to make the game hopeless for Fitzroy. Then, with a paralysing rally, that drove their followers wild with delight, Fitzroy got three goals within three minutes. Lethbridge punting the first, while Wigcraft got the other two. The dash seemed to end as suddenly as it began, but in another rally Rattray punted ninth goal over his head, and Collingwood were only four points ahead. It became a tremendous fight then against time.

Collingwood playing for the wings, and doing everything possible to stave off misfortune. Time had actually expired and “time off” was being counted, when, from a desperate struggle in front of Collingwood’s goal, the ball went through off Heaney’s shin, and for a moment there was great confusion. Elder, who was well up the field, ran down to give the all-clear signal, but the goal umpire was apparently rattled by the excitement and the players crowding about him, for on his decision the result rested. In the excitement the goal umpire had apparently forgotten a rule, and kept repeating to Elder “it was below the knee”, while the field umpire, who kept his head, was crying “give your decision”. Finally he took the goal umpire to one side, advising him to be cool, and again said, “You must give your decision.” The umpire finally remarked, “Well I must give it a goal,” and hoisted the two flags. At that stage, in such a game, the fact that the goal umpire lost his presence of mind might have led to something unpleasant, but Elder’s coolness saved the situation. The decision of a goal was unquestionably correct, and Fitzroy, although not on general play the superior side, won a great battle by three points, the finals being – FITZROY, 10 goals 11 behinds (71 points). COLLINGWOOD, 9 goals 14 behinds (68 points).

For the winners there was some in-and-out football. Millen, who did very little in the opening half, was at his finest afterwards, helping his forwards brilliantly from the centre line. Rattray would have been one of the greatest players on the side if he could have kept his feet, but he tumbled about a good deal. Wigeraft (three goals) played a hard game all through. Merrice, who was rather inclined to hang on to the ball, and try to force through crushes, was again a useful forward, Taylor gave promise in the ruck, and King and Atkinson were the best of their defenders.

Hughes was the only man in either ruck who managed to hit out consistently to his rover, and in that capacity Laxton played a first-rate game for Collingwood. Drummond was always prominent on the wing, and both McCarthy and Walton played fine football, the last named showing his best form in the second half. Wilson and Brown also did their share. Though Curtis (four goals) and Lee (three goals) were both valuable forwards, they really lost the game for Collingwood by an incident in the last quarter. They were alone in goal, when the ball came to them, an easy mark for either, and a certain goal, with no Fitzroy man within 25 yards. Both went for the ball, spoiled each other, and lost the winning chance. Apart from this single mistake each distinguished himself. The value of experience in the control of an exciting game was shown by Elder’s coolness in the final incident mentioned, and it must be said that Collingwood, learning the facts, took their defeat like sportsmen.

1919 ‘EXCITEMENT AT COLLINGWOOD.’, The Argus(Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 30 June, p. 3, viewed 22 September, 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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