Monday 01 October, 1928
COLLINGWOOD PREMIERS. STRONG, VIGOROUS FINAL.
WON BY THE BETTER SIDE.
Gordon Coventry’s Success.
By OLD BOY.
The Victorian football season closed on Saturday in a blaze of triumph for the Collingwood club. The form displayed, the dash, determination, skill, resource, and the unfailing team work of the winners were outstanding, and stamped them as the best combination of the season.
It was a strong, vigorous game, full of thrilling passages, and at times bitter in its intensity, but at no stage did Richmond look like a winning side. The Collingwood men were always just a little too good, and surprised even their own supporters by their pace. They seemed to be tuned up to the very last string, while Richmond, after three weeks’ inactivity, appealed to be short of a “gallop,” and made mistakes, of which Collingwood took full advantage.
Collingwood was the steadier side, Richmond often being rattled. At times the Tigers were ferocious, and two of their number must have felt relieved when the report came from the umpires’ room, “all clear.”
There were several incidents which were no credit to the game, but players are, after all, only human, and it was not to be wondered at that men who had been so confident of success, finding their plans checkmated, and victory slipping from their grasp, should have lost their heads.
The Collingwood players are entitled to every credit for a very fine performance. A few weeks ago the team seemed to have “gone off.” A weak display at North Melbourne, followed by the astounding defeat by Carlton, made one think the team had slipped; but the rest of a week while waiting for the second semi-final worked wonders, and the two splendid struggles with Melbourne sharpened the side up again, so that on Saturday the Magpies were at their very best.
Strong, resolute, fast, and systematic, they went into the game determined to win, and play had not been long in progress before it was evident that there would be no grand final. Richmond battled manfully, but always with the knowledge, that the Magpies were too good.
The third quarter effort of the Tigers, in which they made a heroic attempt to save the game, was magnificent, and though they were bitterly disappointed they fought it out well, and played like men possessed until, wilting under the relentless attack of their rivals, they were beaten back, and saw Collingwood triumph in a stirring struggle.
The attendance at a final match has only once been exceeded. On Saturday there were 50,026 spectators, who contributed £2,533/4/6 at the turnstiles. In September, 1913, when St. Kilda and Fitzroy met in a final match, the attendance was 54,846, and the receipts £2,109, the difference in the takings being accounted for by the fact that nowadays members of the competing clubs do not receive free admittance. These figures have been exceeded in grand finals and semi-finals, but not in final matches.
The conditions of ground and weather were all in favour of good football. The turf was firm and hard, there was very little wind, and fortunately the rain held off. The slight fall made the grass damp, and the ball was a little slippery, but these were small disadvantages compared to the gales of the previous weeks. There was no excuse for either side. Each had its strong points, and the conditions assisted neither.
The breeze perhaps favoured the Park end, but to Collingwood neither direction made any difference. It attacked the railway goal first, but did most of its scoring in the second and fourth quarters.
The game was responsible for some fresh records. The performance of Gordon Coventry in kicking nine goals in a final match is easily a record. Until Saturday Gordon Coventry shared with H. Curtis, now the president of the Collingwood club, the honour of having kicked the most goals in a final match. Coventry scored five against Melbourne in 1925, and Curtis scored the same number against Fitzroy in 1917. H. Johnson, for South Melbourne against Essendon, in 1923, and L. Hagger, for Geelong, against Melbourne in 1925, each scored seven goals in a semi-final, and R. Johnson scored six goals in the grand final for Melbourne against Collingwood in 1926. Gordon Coventry, by his record on Saturday, eclipsed all previous performances.
The Collingwood score is the highest ever made in a final, while the Richmond total has never been beaten by a losing team in a final.
Collingwood appeared first, and was received with cheers, and, as for nearly five minutes the players passed the ball round the ground from one to another, it was seen that they were in perfect condition. There was an air of quiet assurance in all they did. Richmond also received a cordial welcome, and they, too, looked fit, but anxious.
Little time was wasted, and at eight minutes to 3 o clock the ball was bounced.
The first incident was a punch by Rudolph, which carried the ball into Collingwood territory, the second, a brilliant dash by Rumney, which sent the packs racing for the lower wing. It was fierce and dashing, each team throwing itself with abandon into a struggle, in which an early lead was all important. Collingwood was anxious to score before Richmond could settle down. The scheme was to spoil the Richmond high marking and to throw the side off its balance by dash.
A free kick to Dibbs turned the first Richmond rush, while Don took the ball from the very goal mouth when F. Murphy’s flying shot had landed a yard short. A mistake by McCormack gave Chesswas an easy chance, which he wasted, but the shot brought first point to the Magpies. Three times Watson on the lower wing made a brilliant dash, only to see the ball return, and when McLeod brought it in by the other flank Gordon Coventry, shooting as he turned, was wide of the goal.
High Markers Foiled.
Collingwood was foiling the Richmond high markers, Syd. Coventry doing grand work. A dash by Watson and Gallagher was checked by Lauder, and on the rebound Lilburne defended grandly, but Collingwood could not be kept out, and after L. Murphy had failed with a place kick, he marked again and scored first goal with a high punt.
It had taken a quarter of an hour to score that goal, but it was clear that Collingwood had the upper hand. Solid defence by Bissett and a rush by O’Halloran and Titus failed through bad kicking. The Richmond forward work was ragged—a sure sign of want of match practice.
A zig-zag passing attack between Watson, Gallagher, Empey, and O’Halloran was repulsed, and, when Syd. Coventry and L. Murphy came tearing down the pavilion wing, Rowe’s capable shepherding let Gordon Coventry in, but his shot brought only a point. It was evident that the indisposition which had kept Gordon Coventry quiet in recent games, had disappeared, and, with Rowe to make the openings for him he was a decided asset a spasmodic rush, begun by Lilburne, gave Richmond a point, but Collingwood could not be checked, and when A. Collier and F. Murphy ‘pressed the charge, Don kicked wildly out of bounds.
From the free kick Gordon Coventry, again shepherded by Rowe marked and scored easily. When Richmond came again A. Collier, diving for a low mark, gathered it, but was crushed and bruised in the pack which swooped on him. The Magpies were tearing for goal when the bell rang, Clayden’s mark adding a point, and leaving the scores 2—4 to 0—3 in favour of Collingwood.
Collingwood Takes the Lead.
Each began the second term with a point, scored in answering rushes and then Collingwood had an innings, but only behinds came, H. Collier running into an open goal missed unaccountably.
McCormack’s relief and Judkins’s dash, however, gave Richmond a chance. For a moment Dibbs held the Tigers off, but O’Halloran, marking from Bissett, scored with a lovely drop kick. When Collingwood attacked Rowe’s shepherding for Gordon Coventry was too vigorous, and a free kick resulted. Led by Harris, Richmond came in by the lower wing, and Bissett, passing to Weidner, there was a roar of applause as the second goal appeared. A great dash by Rumney turned the next attack, and then Collingwood, sweeping the Tigers aside, a free kick to Gordon Coventry brought a punted goal.
As a reply Weidner, with a great kick, got close to goal when L. Murphy foolishly pushed Titus, who turned his free kick to the best advantage. The Collingwood lead had been reduced to three points, but that was the closest the Tigers got, for a screw snapshot by Gordon Coventry, a long running shot into the open goal by Harris, a brilliant dash by Beveridge, and a wonderful punt by Gordon Coventry, and a pass by H. Collier to Gordon Coventry, each produced a goal, while all Richmond could add was a point.
All this had happened in nine minutes, and it settled the premiership, for, though O’Halloran took a wonderful mark, and Goding followed with a snapped goal, Richmond was already beaten. Rowe paid for his good work with a deliberate punch in the face, but discipline prevented retaliation Collingwood was distinctly the better side, and left the field at half- time, leading by 7—8 to 4—5.
Richmond’s Supreme Effort.
A deficit of 21 points set Richmond thinking, and in the dressing room at half time there was some strong instruction from the coach. So long did the lecture take that the field umpire (McMurray) had to call the players to resume, Collingwood having been five minutes on the field waiting. Foster, who had been half-back, came into the Richmond ruck, and the Tigers attacked at once, a great kick by O’Halloran going through the goal, but the ball had been touched.
It was now or never for Richmond, and the game was very fierce.
Thrice, in quick succession, Murdoch staved off attacks, and when Judkins streaked away to the wing Titus marked grandly, and scored with a splendid drop-kick. Five minutes’ play had brought Richmond a goal. One minute brought the reply, L. Murphy taking a nice hand pass from Beveridge. The packs were fighting hard, and Libbis, scouting, was doing well for Collingwood. A splendid mark by Harris saved Richmond, but his kick was weak, and H. Collier added a point.
It was hard going, with Richmond holding its own, till a dash by Lauder carried on by Andrews, gave Gordon Coventry a chance. With a quick turn and long snap he scored. Richmond, playing better than at any other stage kept plugging away, Watson doing brilliant work on the wing. It was his dash which led to Empey scoring, and when Goding and Rudolph sent it up again Weidner’s cleverness gave Empey another goal. For a while the game hung in the balance. One wondered if Collingwood might weaken under the strain. There was some grand high marking, in which O’Halloran and Lilburn on one side, and Clayden and A. Collier on the other, were conspicuous.
Richmond kept up the pressure, but the Collingwood defence was sound, and nothing further happened, so that when the bell rang Collingwood had 9—11, Richmond 7—7.
The lead had been reduced by four points.
The opening of the final term was sensational. Before the ball could be bounced Rudolph pushed Syd. Coventry, and a free-kick was awarded. His kick was taken by Libbis, who found himself spread-eagled by Rudolph. Makeham marked and scored. No Richmond man had touched the ball! It was bounced, O’Halloran sent it to Weidner, who passed to O’Halloran, who marked and scored—no Collingwood man had touched the ball! Two goals in less than two minutes!
It was evident that Richmond could not come on, equally certain that Collingwood was not fading away.
A goal to Gordon Coventry made Collingwood more secure, and they had been playing a quarter of an hour, when Weidner scored Richmond’s ninth and last goal, in fact it was their last point. From that to the end Collingwood had all the best of it, and the next quarter of an hour brought two goals, both by Gordon Coventry, and six behinds. The last goal of all was due to the unselfishness of little Harris, who might have run in, but passed to Coventry. It was a distinct, clear-cut victory, with Richmond well beaten.
COLLINGWOOD, 13 goals 18 behinds (96 points). RICHMOND, 9 goals 9 behinds (64 points).
As soon as the final bell went, and the premiership was assured the Collingwood players danced with glee. So perfect is the discipline of the Melbourne Cricket Club authorities that there was no demonstration on the playing arena. Very few people encroached, and those who did were keen Collingwood supporters, who carried their heroes shoulder high to their dressing-room. Inside there was a scene of indescribable enthusiasm, and it was some time before the players could escape to change.
Everyone seemed to want to shake hands with someone else. When Messrs. J. Archer (president) and P. Page (secretary) came in to offer the congratulations of Richmond, the enthusiasm was unbounded. The Richmond representatives cordially admitted the superiority of their conquerors, and though they admitted that they were bitterly disappointed they acknowledged the defeat like good sportsmen.
Messrs. H. Curtis (the president) and George Connor (secretary) thanked the Richmond men for their congratulations, and J. McHale (coach) and Syd Coventry (captain) also had to speak. These are the men who have contributed be largely to the success of Collingwood, and each was cheered to the echo. Each has had an anxious time during the last few weeks, but this has all been forgotten in the delight of ultimate success. The celebration of the victory was continued during the evening at various parties, and on Tuesday evening the committee will consider what further entertainments are to be provided.
The Best Players.
COLLINGWOOD had no man in the colours who did not shine. Every man pulled his weight. The form of Gordon Coventry in kicking nine goals entitles him to first mention. He marked and kicked like a champion. With him must be bracketed Rowe, for he it was who gave Coventry the confidence, who made the openings, and was a strong, sturdy steadier of the forwards all day. He was, in fact, a match winner.
Syd Coventry, Rumney, Libbis, the Colliers, Lauder, Chesswas, and Beveridge, in their respective places might be specially commended, but it was the complete understanding of the whole side which was be telling.
RICHMOND suffered by contrast as a combination. There were too many men below form, too little cohesion, and though the spirit was there it was often ill-directed. Watson (on the wing), O’Halloran (for magnificent marking), McCormack, Lilburne, Murdoch, and Harris (in defence), Judkins (wing), and Empey, everywhere, all did well; in fact, they had too much to do, and this was one of the secrets of the failure.
McMurray, as field umpire, did remarkably well, and was applauded as he came in.
Although there was little or no wind to interfere with the play the game was extended by 22 minutes 39 seconds. The time added to each quarter was:—First, 5min. 16sec.; second, 7min.; third, 4min., 52sec.; fourth, 5min., 31sec. The time added to the second quarter (7 min.) was remarkable, and Mr. James Manning, who has been the timekeeper for Collingwood for 33 years, said that in all his experience he had never seen a quarter so much extended.
How the Goals Were Scored.
By kicking nine goals G. Coventry put up a record for final games, the previous highest tally being seven. In addition, Coventry kicked four behinds. Of Collingwood’s 13 goals, six were scored from marks, five from snapshots, and two from free kicks, while for Richmond five were scored from marks, two from snapshots, and two from free kicks.
Umpire McMurray was more than usually liberal in handing out free kicks, as during the match he awarded no fewer than 122, of which Richmond received 69 and Collingwood 53. A peculiar feature of the final games was that in every instance the losers received the majority of the free kicks. Of the 122 awarded on Saturday 32 were for out of bounds, Richmond receiving 18 and Collingwood 14. Seventeen players on each side received the penalties, Beveridge (Collingwood) and Foster (Richmond) missing. The details are as follow
COLLINGWOOD (53) Andrew, Dibbs 6 each; H. Collier, 5; S. Coventry, F. Murphy, McLeod, 4 each; Claydon, Cheswass, Libbis, 3 each; A. Collier, G. Coventry, Harris, Lauder, L. Murphy, Rowe, Rumney, 2 each; Makeham, 1.
RICHMOND (69) Don, 10; McCormack, 8; O’Halloran, 6; Harris, Judkins, 6 each; Bissett, Murdock, Baggott, Lilburne, Rudolph,4 each; Watson, Empey, Goding, 3 each; Titus, Gallagher, 2 each; Fincher, Weidner, 1 each
1928 ‘FOOTBALL.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 1 October, p. 12, viewed 20 August, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3960170
Collingwood 2.4 7.8 9.11 13.18 (96)
Richmond 0.3 4.5 7.7 9.9 (63)
Collingwood: G.Coventry 9, L.Murphy 2, Harris, Makeham.
Richmond: Empey, O’Halloran, Titus, Weidner 2, Goding.
Collingwood: A.Collier, G.Coventry, Murphy, S. Coventry, H.Collier, Rumney.
Richmond: O’Halloran, Murdoch, Watson, B. McCormack, Harris, Lilburne.
Crowd: 50,026 at the MCG.