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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

3 October 1936 | GF

  • Collingwood
  • vs.
  • South Melbourne

MCG (Home)

Attendance: 74,091

  • 11.23 (89)

    • QT 13.6

    • QT 27.16

    • QT 38.19

    • QT 411.23

  • -

  • 10.18 (78)

    • QT 13.4

    • QT 25.7

    • QT 38.12

    • QT 410.18

Match Report

The Argus
Monday 5 October, 1936


System At Its Best

Collingwood’s Lesson

By DENIS RYAN, winner of the Brownlow Medal for the best and fairest player of the season.

A team that produced the superlative football that Collingwood displayed against South Melbourne deserved to win the premiership.

It was the Australian code at its best, and for evenness, pace, and cohesive team work was the grandest exhibition I have ever seen.

Had South snatched victory—as was possible even in the last two minutes—it would not have deserved the laurels.

Collingwood’s game was as amazing as South’s was disappointing. Cool deliberate quick thinking and systematic in every move, each man in the winning team blended himself perfectly into a foot- ball machine which worked with a precision that was superb. The co-operative spirit was really brilliant. I have seen nothing to equal it.

Any temptation to attempt individual brilliance was suppressed in favour of disciplined team-work, which neither South’s shock tactics nor spasmodic bursts were allowed to upset. Team-work the equal of which has not been seen for years won the day for Collingwood.

South seemed to me to carry enough passengers to start the proverbial bus service. Several of its usual stars in key positions could not shine because they were outclassed by their individual opponents, others simply did not shine. The nimble Ross was every bit as clever as Nash in the ground play and held the dashing Southerner in check. Whelan was too tricky and elusive for Thomas in the centre and the diminutive and dashing Morgan managed to quieten Matthews. Thus Collingwood effectively smothered three weaknesses.

Reid, one of the fastest men playing and a beautiful kick, defeated himself by trying to do too much and by overrunning. Twice at a critical stage in the last quarter he got so wound up with his own exceptional speed that two golden openings were missed. Had he kicked promptly instead of streaking through the result might have been different.

South’s Tactics Wrong
I think South erred badly in persisting in playing out to the flanks where it was being beaten. Bisset should have tried the more direct methods that Collingwood exploited.

It was inevitable that South’s shock tactics in the first half would find itself out toward the end. So much energy was used up in the gruelling bumping contest—most of it, I consider, unnecessary—that when the chances came near the end South’s stamina had gone and it had spent the determination necessary to thrust home the advantages it then had. The Collingwood men took it all and refused to be knocked out of their deliberate and steady system. They also set their opponents the example in shepherding, backing up, and scouting around the packs. These were pronounced South failings.

One aspect of Collingwood’s play which I consider is as remarkable as it is rare, is that, surveying the work of each man after the game it was difficult to name even four or five who stood out, yet every man played brilliantly, and came constantly into the picture.

Each seemed to realise that he was only one of a team and to keep that fact in mind rather than to seek momentary glory for himself alone. That is as it should be. And that I think is the supreme lesson that Collingwood, best disciplined of all the clubs, and deservedly premiers for 1936 has to offer the rest of the League teams.

South’s Plans for the Future Three Leading Players May Retire

In defeating South Melbourne and winning the 1936 League football premiership, Collingwood demonstrated again the value of team work against spasmodic efforts.

Collingwood players covered themselves with glory.

Already South Melbourne is discussing its plans for the future, for it feels that it will need to find men to play the vigorous game. Bisset (captain-coach), Kelleher, and Hillis are likely to retire.

Unbounded joy reigned in the Collingwood ranks after the game. The chief actors on the field were carried off the ground by enthusiastic supporters and   the crush in the dressing room was tremendous.

The president of the League (Dr. W. C. McCelland) hastened to the room to congratulate Collingwood on its well-earned victory. Its continued success, he said was a great compliment to the management whose ability was recognised all through the football world. It had given   the large crowd a fine display in winning its 11th League premiership.

The South Melbourne president (Councillor Crofts M.L.C.) added his good wishes saying that Collingwood had proved the best team in the League and had thus earned the honours of the season. While naturally he had hoped that South Melbourne would turn the tables it had found Collingwood too sound in all departments. South Melbourne was probably the better individual side but the great club spirit and tradition of Collingwood were obstacles that would not be overcome.

Acknowledging the compliments on behalf of the president, Mr. Frank Wraith, the secretary thanked South Melbourne for its sportsmanship. Collingwood had had a troubled season because of injuries and other disabilities. Collingwood respected the decisions of the independent tribunal which it felt was making a great effort to keep the game on the top rung of Australian sport. He congratulated his   players, not only those who were on the field that day, but the other 10 on the list, for their efforts during the season.

After the players and officials had been entertained in the committee room all attended a social evening at the residence of Mrs Collier, of Northcote, mother of the captain and vice captain. It was to celebrate not only the success of the team, but the birthdays of the captain (Harry Collier), and the president Mr. Harry Curtis). Several players attended the Palace Theatre as the guests of the management.

Yesterday morning the players again assembled at the rooms where nearly 200 people were present. They included many visiting footballers from other States and the country, and the coach (Jock McHale) was besieged for the recipe for winning premierships.

74,091 Saw Match
The attendance at the grand final was 74,091 and the takings were £4,008.

These figures are the second highest on record, the best being 75,754 and £4,070 at the grand final between South Melbourne and Richmond in 1933 when South Melbourne won its last premiership.

Consistently large attendances have   been registered in the four matches of the second round, and a new record has been established, the previous best being in 1929. Figures in the last few years have been as follow.

11th Premiership Won
Its second successive premiership and its 11th since it joined the League are Collingwood records that are a tribute to the excellence of the coaching of the players and the management of the club.

Since 1919 Collingwood has won seven premierships, has been second four times, third twice and fourth twice. Thus in 18 seasons it has been 15 times in the four.

Fitzroy (seven premierships), Essendon   (6), Carlton(5), and Richmond (4), have been most successful among the others.

Much of the success of Collingwood is due to the fine coaching of Jock McHale the acute judgment of the old players now among the officials, friendly but firm discipline and the recognition by the players that they are cogs in a machine and that   team work is the first essential to success.

Players Who May Stand Down

South Melbourne officials paid a tribute to Collingwood. “The victory was no fluke,” said one of them. “It was too good. In the last quarter I thought we had a chance, but we missed too many chances. It has to be admitted that Collingwood showed greater determination and purpose resolved to win the premiership. South on the other hand, played as if it were just an ordinary club game.”

Although no official statement has been made it is expected that Bisset (captain-coach), Kelleher, and Hillis have played their last games. All had said previously that they did not intend to play again. Thus South will have to seek for another captain and coach, another full-back, and   two followers. It is thought that Graham will be a really good follower, and Mitchell a young player should also develop.

Use may be made of Wilbur Harris for the same purpose.

Of more importance, however, is the future style of play to be observed. There is a growing feeling at South Melbourne that, if it is to be successful, it must sacrifice its dash for ruggedness. Players tried to use their weight on Saturday, but they were not as successful as was the more experienced Collingwood team.

There will be general regret if South alters its style of play, for it is easily the most attractive.


1936 ‘ALL WORKING TOGETHER System At Its Best.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 5 October, p. 14, viewed 26 August, 2014,

Final score
Collingwood 3.6   7.16   8.19   11.23 (89)
South Melbourne 3.4   5.7   8.12   10.18 (78)

Collingwood: Pannam 5, Todd 4, Knight, Kyne.
South Melbourne: Pratt 3, Johnson 2, Moore 2, Evans, Nash, Robertson.

Collingwood: Pannam, Whelan, Kyne, Carmody, Todd, Fraser.
South Melbourne: Robertson, Cleary, Hillis, Richards, Nash, Evans.

Crowd: 74,091 at the MCG.

Umpire: Blackburn.

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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