RICHMOND’S DECISIVE WIN.
CHEERED BY SIXTY THOUSAND.
ANOTHER GAME NECESSARY.
NOTES BY OBSERVER
The Melbourne Cricket-ground was a remarkable sight at 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, when Collingwood and Richmond faced each other for what might have been the final game of the League. Not only was all available sitting and standing space occupied, but the roofs and verandahs of the many buildings about the ground gave in some instances a precarious outlook to hundreds of people who were apparently quite indifferent to the possibilities of accident. The police tried unsuccessfully to persuade them to come down, and a few came down without persuasion through part of a small building collapsing – two of its occupants, one a boy, being carried off injured. Even the iron girders, which at big cricket matches support the awning over the ladies’ reserve, carried an uncomfortable load, and some of the them bent under the strain. The outside ground was a living mosaic of human faces.
There must have been 60,000 people watching the match. A special train was run from Ballarat, bring players and members of the four city teams, while the West Adelaide and West Torrens teams from South Australia, who are on an excursion to this State, were also onlookers. The perfect weather heightened expectations of a great game, and the popularity of football was never more convincingly proved. Before the start, one found popular sympathy all running one way, but in the opposite direction. The hope was for Richmond, the top for Collingwood. If there was any advantage in the breeze, Collingwood had it for a start.
RICHMOND’S STRONG OPENING
Counter rushes came in quick succession as soon as the ball was put in play, Colechin stopping Richmond’s charge well inside the danger zone, while a Collingwood effort to get home by the wing was spoiled when Abbott, of Richmond, coming in behind Lee, marked over him. Richmond’s pace from the outset was a surprise. They attacked with rare vim, and exchanges between Morris, Hall, and Bayliss left the ball finally with James, who marked close to the posts and scored first goal. In a dashing reply, Mutch, Twomey, and Hughes were outstanding figures for Collingwood, but Thorpe, Richmond’s full back, got in their way. Then a bare touch on the shoulder gave Lumsden, of Collingwood, a free kick at easy range, but his shot was not straight. That Richmond should shine in the usual ragged opening of great games caused no surprise, but the more it settled into method the more aggressive they were, and from the first their strong ruck had command over Collingwood.
Herbert and Hall, who often work as a pair, gave Smith a shot, the ball dropping in goal. Then Smith, playing smartly to the front from the wing, gave Bayliss a chance to run right in. He preferred a deliberate shot and scored Richmond’s second goal. Finding his ruck overmatched, McCarthy sent Seddon in to brace it up, but Richmond were playing at a rare pace, and in the main attacking. After Walton’s cool, effective football had more than once checked them, Bayliss, fed by Parkinson and Hall, took a lovely mark and backed it with an equally fine kick, which was not quite true. Herbert, too, failed to score after a high mark close up to goal. Richmond were playing splendidly, yet not profitably, for Hall, too, missed at short range. There was no sign of Collingwood’s familiar concert – Richmond’s dash in the open, weight in the ruck, and fine marking checked every attempt by the Magpies to get their short flights going. Nice play by Drummond and Hughes gave them position, but no points. Abbott checked them for a moment, but Tuomey, Lumsden, and Drummond lodged it with Lee on a difficult angle. His shot failed, and Laxton’s effort to correct it in a sharp angle shot had no better result. But for a time, there was a distinct Collingwood revival, largely due to the fine play of three men in Walton, Tuomey, and McCarthy. Walton seemed to have a roving commission and to bob up unexpectedly in all parts of the field, invariably in the right place, and generally with marked advantage to Collingwood, while Tuomey was much too clever and fast for Morris on the wing. The high marking improved as the game went on, and Richmond at least held their own in this spectacular phase. Next incident that set the crowd thrilling with cheers was a fast dash by Hislop from Richmond’s half-back line. It lodged the ball with Don, who kicked a great third goal.
Collingwood countered with some clever football, and though Thorpe soared over Lee’s head, it was a check only, not a repulse. Laxton slapped the ball to Wraith, who scored a neat first goal for Collingwood. An attack between Walton, Curtis, and Seddon came to nothing, but Walton after a beautiful mark, passed to Wraith, who with an easy running shot scored second goal. Laxton and Tuomey kept up the assault until the bell rang with Richmond leading 3-4 to 2-2.
For the first few minutes of the second quarter it was all Collingwood, and one heard the cry, “Now they’re coming.” From their first dash Wraith, on the boundary, knocked the ball cleverly out to Lee, who scored the goal. Another of Walton’s beautifully cool efforts and support from C. Lee lodged the ball again with the other and only Lee, whose shot hit the goal-post. Hughes, Seddon, and Pannam co-operated in another assault, but Thorpe marked at just the right time and place. Laxton as rover was playing with fine determination, and he chiefly helped Lumsden to a try from which only a point was got. At that stage Collingwood opened out some of their cleverest play of the match, and for a time the short game was seen to perfection. The Richmond fellows seemed quite helpless as the ball was passed in a zigzag line over their heads. It looked like over their heads. It looked like a turning-point in the game as the magpies drew level, but this passing, beautiful while it lasted, was not long sustained, and never again during the game were they able to reproduce it.
RICHMOND GOING AGAIN
It ended with a Richmond break through, a pass from Herbert to Smith, and with a clever twist kick over that player’s shoulder fourth goal to Richmond. Commencing with Hislop, on the half-back line, helped on by Hall and Bayliss, the ball hovered about Collingwood’s posts again, but a mark by McCarthy right in goal stopped the menace. Again the balance swung completely round, and Collingwood shone, this time in the long game. Drummond and Hughes helped R. Lee to a chance a long way out, but he almost covered the distance, and a timely tip off the ground by Lumsden scored fourth goal. The forward play of the black and white was for a time – the least effective part of their football. McCarthy and Pannam worked the ball to long range, but shots in quick succession by Wraith and C. Lee both went across goal, and an effort by R. Lee to score from a screw kick back over his head also failed. It was a long time before Richmond were in scoring position again, but just before the half-time bell James played to Smith, who kicked Richmond’s fifth goal. At half-time Richmond were 5-7 to Collingwood’s 4-4. On the whole it was Collingwood’s quarter – their only quarter – but not their luck.
THE TIME OF TENSION
At the opening of the third term Richmond surprised everyone with an exhibition of Collingwood’s handball around the wing, but the strong, open, long game was their trump card, and Herbert and Moffatt were the power in the their ruck. It was only after Hall and Herbert had the ball snapped out of their hands in trying the passing game that Richmond dropped it. The long, fast, forcing game was more to their taste, and McCarthy and Tuomey had to work hard to clear their goal front. The Richmond fellows kept dropping the ball just to the right of the goal – only a few yards short. When Collingwood in turn got to range Huggard and Parkinson made a much better job of the defence. One of Laxton’s long kicks was marked by Curtis at a difficult angle, and there was no result, but when R. Lee shovelled a pass from Drummond almost off the grass, a very fine result in a goal of Lee’s best sample. Richmond, though the superior side generally, were only three points ahead then. Seddon gave Lee another chance at a sharp angle, and a beautiful shot very nearly found the narrow space open to it. In an instant the ball was at the other end, where Hall missed an easy scoring chance, and Don from a much finer effort only got the point. A shot by Morris was also very close, Walton marking the ball in goal. Richmond had fallen suddenly into the missing habit, but Bayliss – after an exhibition of petulance that brought a sharp reproof from the crowd – improved matters in getting sixth goal. Still Richmond attacked with vigour, and, as though a string were attached to it, the ball always deflected to the right. Several long-range shots had failed before Hall got the chance to run close in and score an easy seventh goal. Just at the end of the quarter Collingwood got an opening. One of Thorpe’s great dashes turned their first goal, and Richmond led at the last change with 7-10 to Collingwood’s 6-6.
THE WINNING EFFORT
At that stage no one felt sure that was expected of them – perhaps a trifle more, but the Collingwood have a way of serving up the unexpected rather suddenly, and it seemed to be on order at the opening of the last quarter. Hughes and Huggard in turn spoiled two dangerous-looking dashes. Then Curtis from a free kick lodged the ball with C. Lee in a scoring position, but his shot brought up one flag only. A neat pass out by L. Hughes to his rover, Laxton had no result. Then Richmond took sudden command, and a winning burst placed the issue beyond all doubt. Hughes (Richmond) passed the ball up to the front, and Smith from a mark scored their eighth goal. As soon as the ball was in play Hislop dashed forward, lodged it in Bayliss’s arms, and a roar of cheers marked the ninth goal, and practically the end of the match, for Richmond has a “three-guinea” lead, and, with their form carrying through, no chance at all of being overtaken. When Collingwood did get to range the Richmond backs inevitably rushed it along their own town wing, and from one of those relieving rushes Hall missed the easiest chance of scoring another goal. Richmond finished like lions. After a great dash by Parkinson, Smith from a running shot got a behind, but Don immediately bettered the effort by scoring their tenth goal, while Hall missed another easy one. In Hall’s misses alone Collingwood were spared a more crushing defeat. Richmond, lasting wonderfully well, easily kept their opponents off, and there was great enthusiasm when they finished meritorious winners, with the scores as follows:- RICHMOND 10 goals 14 behinds (74 points), COLLINGWOOD 6 goals 9 behinds (45 points).
A win by 29 points was not more than Richmond deserved, for they were a strong, even side, backing quite unexpected pace with all that was looked for in strength, determination, and ruck superiority. They were the better side in the air, and Collingwood’s famous system appeared once only as a flash in the pan. They were beaten on the merits – without room for excuse. The match, though very earnest, was very fair – a striking exception being an incident towards the finish in which Pannam, of Collingwood, was the offender, and which drew a perfect howl of indignation from the crowd. Richmond’s backs and followers were the backbone of the team. In defence, it would be difficult to better the constant efforts of men like Huggard, Parkinson, Hislop, and Thorpe – a tremendous barrier for any side to break down. In the ruck their power was mainly with Herbert, Moffatt, and James, while the rovers, Hall and Don, both good in their chief positions, were in the intervals dangerous forwards, Bayliss got four goals, and Smith also was prominent. It was on the centre line alone that Collingwood were the superior side. Tuomey was again in great form, though Hede, as second watcher, did something to keep him a bit in check. Both Drummond and Pannam helped to strengthen that line, while Walton, as often there as elsewhere, and undoubtedly Collingwood’s champion for the match – made it further perfect. Mutch and McCarthy shone in defence, Laxton was a dashing rover, and both Hughes and Seddon did fairly well in the ruck, while R. Lee and Wraith (2 goals apiece) were the prominent forwards. Sheehy was at his best towards the finish. Elder against umpired the game judiciously without too much interference. He knew exactly how much to see, and knew how to not see too much.
1919 ‘RICHMOND’S DECISIVE WIN.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 6 October, p. 5, viewed 14 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4677897