Monday 13 October, 1919
THE FOOTBALL FINAL.
An Amazing Recovery.
NOTES BY OBSERVER.
Again an immense crowd assembled on the spacious Melbourne Cricket-ground to see the last struggle for the football championship of this year.
Estimating the number is, after all, the roughest of guesswork. The whole ground seemed to be again packed with onlookers, but the density of a crowd, not easily judged, is a deceptive quality.
In every part excepting the grandstand there seemed to be slightly more room than on the previous Saturday, but the roof of the stand, giving a bird’s-eye view of the game, held even a greater number, and no one seemed to be troubled with speculation as to whether the standards were stressed to carry much more than the roof, it was not possible to obtain the figures either of people present or money taken, but there was no doubt that the receipts were far short of the previous week.
Amongst the onlookers were the Sturt team, winners of the South Australian championship. There was a keen desire by both teams to get the use of the gymnasium as a dressing-room.
Richmond had it a week ago; Collingwood won the toss for it on Saturday, and if Fate had anything to do with football that settled it.
As so often happens in these great finals, where excitement burns up steadily into a blaze, the football was not quite as good as the crowd expected, nor was the result just what the majority desired. Method may lose a match occasionally, but it wins in a season.
Fighting for a lead (FIRST QUARTER)
With the best end for a start, Collingwood were attacking in an instant, and within a minute or so Lee had two shots at goal, the first a long, well-studied place-kick; the second a hurried snap, but neither fully effective.
From the first the ruck was a hustling melee, McCarthy’s mission for Collingwood being evidently to block Moffatt and give Hughes a chance. In a hard, slamming game Bettles stopped another Collingwood threat, and just then the rapidity with which Richmond swooped and spoiled the other side before they could get the line of communication working was a feature of the match.
The first clear break through by the Yellow and Black was managed chiefly by Hede and Harley when Baylis, with a fine long shot, got the goal, and some rousing cheers. Both rucks were constantly changed, McCarthy and Herbert coming out after a few hard-striving minutes’ play, while James and Walton went in.
Then Richmond, hard on the defence, made the fatal mistake of getting Lee by the shoulders, and with only ten yards to cover in his free shot, he easily got first goal for Collingwood.
A reply by Richmond, Hughes brought Saunders out in an equally fine dash, and Richmond, trying to force it on the grandstand wing, could never get their left foot kicks quite around to goal.
Both sides were missing a lot. Curtis and Laxton-the last named playing with fine dash and certainty-helped Lee to a well-judged mark, but no other material result, and at the other end Hurley gave Don a hurried snap and a miss.
In a game which had more pace and energy than actual skill, Twomey and Laxton again got the ball in range, and it was forced through goal in a wild struggle, with three Collingwood legs in the air, trying for the last necessary touch.
A fine mark by L. Hughes led up to an effective try by McCarthy.
Next Laxton, Hughes, and Seddon carried an assault home, but again Lee was only equal to hoisting one flag, and in a negative way things seemed to be going well with Richmond, who, finishing the quarter only three points to the bad, had theoretically the better of the first bout, the scores being Collingwood, 1—5; Richmond, 1—2.
Neither side had made sufficient use of its scoring chances.
In Suspense (SECOND QUARTER)
Goals come quickly at the opening of the second term, and Bayliss should have got one in less than a minute from a bad kick off by Saunders. A surprise Collingwood rush, in which Lumsden, Pannam, and Curtis shone, found the Richmond goal quite open, and Seddon coolly kicked the ball through. In an instant the struggle was at Collingwood’s end, where Bayliss scored the goal with a left-foot shot.
Attacking again, Herbert marked for them, and after vainly trying to place it, took a lofty punt, which easily covered the distance, but was not straight.
The score was then 2-5 all, and for a time each desperate dash from one side brought immediate reply from the other.
Thorpe, with one of his forcing charges, got Richmond momentarily out of danger, but Collingwood, improving in greater ratio than Richmond, as the game went on, were soon attacking again, and a pass from Lumsden to Lee gave them once again an open goal, and an easy third.
Collingwood Coming On
With both sides going hard, Collingwood made fewer mistakes than Richmond-their ruck, well beaten in the previous match, was at least holding its own, and their backs, led by Mutch, were splendidly sure. In spite of fine efforts by Walton and Colechin, Richmond, mainly through the smart play of Hislop and Hughes, got position, but Smith lost a rare opportunity just when goals were urgently needed.
With little advantage in the scores, Collingwood were distinctly playing the better game, and their organisation stood all the tension that their determined rivals could bring to bear. Curtis, marking, well on the half-forward mark, dropped it close in to Richmond’s goal, where Hughes’s long arms shot up out of the pack and marked it for a rather easy fourth goal.
Richmond’s palpable anxiety was eased a moment when Hede played to Don, who, from a smart pick up, scored their third goal. But for every point that Richmond won, their clever rivals, playing with unusual energy, had immediate and effective answer, and, after Mutch, Luxton, and Reynolds had all done their share for the colours, Curtis marked right on the boundary, and, though there was little of the goal open to him at the angle, he scored their fifth.
In the last few minutes of the quarter Richmond rallied in desperate earnest. Hede, Bayliss, and Hughes worked it to the front, Herbert dropped it well in, and a timely tip by Don brought fourth goal.
At half-time Collingwood led by a few points, with a score of 5—5 to 4—7, and it was their game. Richmond were playing hard – very hard—but if one side was to crack up before the finish there was no difficulty in seeing or saying which side. Collingwood, “mixing it” when necessary, were conspicuously clever and sure.
They rarely, if ever, fumbled, while Richmond did it frequently. They were quick and sure just outside the pack, and followers of yellow-and- black were anything but happy on the results of the first half.
Collingwood forwards, usually a strong post, were, with Wraith absent, the weakest part of their organisation, but Richmond’s were not any better, though it was their want of any striking success in the ruck that most discouraged
The Abbotsford Touch (THIRD QUARTER)
Lee, the Collingwood forward, was limping when the teams braced up for another round, which, in its first few minutes, might have given Richmond the winning turn, instead of merely a fluttering hope.
Hede and Smith gave Hurley a chance-and a miss-and, when James placed it in front, the goal seemed a certainty, but Don, only a few yards off, missed badly.
For a few minutes there was some very wild striving, with no definite result. One determined rush by Collingwood seemed certain to score.
Laxton, McCarthy, and Curtis were the chief forwarding agents, and the ball passed through off everything but a boot, with Seddon desperately dipping for it. Thorpe steadied their next systematised rush, and a Richmond assault, with James and Moffatt working hard, brought up only one flag. Lumsden, in a hurried shot, got very close for Collingwood, and Twomey after a soaring high mark, brought the ball back to range, where a quick pass out from Lumsden to Lee scored sixth goal.
Then, for quite a while the game raged without advantage to either, and another gleam of hope came to Richmond when Bettles and Harley pushed the charge home, and James kicked an easy sixth goal. But they could never get two in succession.
After Reynolds had given Lee a shot which went very wide, Walton picked it up on the boundary, then snapped it through the goal. Immediately a great dash of Twomey’s ended with a trip and a free kick, from which he scored the eighth goal.
Collingwood kept on the pressure without for a moment sacrificing their superior system, and at the last change led by 8—8 to Richmond’s 5—10 .
In that bout they had scored 21 points to their opponent’s 5. Short of complete collapse or a Richmond miracle, they were already champions of the year.
The Crowning Effort (FOURTH QUARTER)
With fine dash and method Black and White went to the attack for the last term, and the finishing of Richmond.
Twice in quick succession they got so close to goal that the crowd had to wait for the flag before they were sure of the result. Some clever football by Pannam, Seddon, and Curtis made their ascendancy marked, and Richmond, beginning to fumble a good deal, were in a hopeless way, quite clearly a beaten side.
When Lumsden helped Seddon to their ninth goal it was all over save for the formality of playing out time. James scored Richmond’s sixth goal, but almost immediately Lumsden had Collingwood’s tenth, and the superbly cool Walton, passing to Laxton, gave them the eleventh.
That, in brief, had been the story of the match, a gleam of light for Richmond, followed by a blaze of it for Collingwood.
The crowd saw the end early, and the drift towards the gates set in. Further detail would be tiresome, for the match was over.
Harley scored a goal for Richmond before the end, but the “Tigers” of the Saturday before were all caged, the magpies flying high and fast, and staying right out to the finish, while Richmond tired sadly.
Collingwood won handsomely.
1919 ‘THE FOOTBALL FINAL.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 13 October, p. 7, viewed 16 August, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4673241
Collingwood 1.5 5.5 8.8 11.12 (78)
Richmond 1.2 4.7 10.7 7.11 (53)
Collingwood: Lee 3, Seddon 2, Curtis, Hughes, Laxton, Lumsden, Twomey, Walton.
Richmond: Bayliss, Don, James 2, Harley.
Collingwood: McCarthy, Hughes, Pannam, Curtis, Colechin, Lee.
Richmond: Hislop, Smith, Harley, Herbert, James, Parkinson. Crowd: 45,413 at the MCG. Umpire: Elder.