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Bob Makeham

Bob Makeham

1923-1932
15
Other Guernsey Nos.
14, 18, 19, 20, 29

157 CFC Games Played

97 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
6 November 1901
Date of Death
3 February 1974
Recruited From
Woodleigh
Collingwood Debut
Round 3, 1923
Height:
185cm
Weight:
85kg

Biography

Take a close look at Collingwood’s 1927 team picture and you will notice a clever piece of photographic licence – the inset of a player in the back row. The player whose picture was added later was Bob Makeham, one of 12 to play in all four Premierships and one of the quiet achievers of “the Machine”.

When the photograph was taken, it’s most likely that Makeham would have been out tossing hay or milking the cows on one of his farms at Woodleigh in country Victoria, far from the madding football crowds. It was there, on the land, that this easygoing, prematurely balding, genial giant felt most at home. He loathed the city life, its hustle and bustle, and tolerated it only in small doses so that he could play football at the highest level at the club he came to love.

Makeham saw football as a good distraction from farm life, though he had no desire to live in the city on a permanent basis. In 1928 he said: “It (football) is a break from the monotonous drudge of the farm.” So, for 10 seasons and 157 games, the 185cm, 85kg “real Australian” toiled tirelessly on the farm through the week before coming to Victoria Park for training on Thursday nights. He would return home the morning after matches.

The sharp eyes of the Baker boys from Wonthaggi, Ted and Reg, helped to send Makeham to Collingwood in 1923. After watching him in country football, the brothers told coach Jock McHale that he was a player who should be invited to training. When Makeham began pulling down marks at practice alongside Charlie Tyson, Gordon and Syd Coventry, Joe Poulter and Percy Rowe, Collingwood officials began to take notice. While he was a little slow to hone his bush skills into VFL ones, it was not long before he became one of the team’s mainstays.

A scrupulously fair player and one of the longest punt kicks in the game, the versatile Makeham played a number of key roles for Collingwood – in attack, defence and sometimes as a follower with Syd Coventry. His durability was remarkable, given the thousands of kilometres he had to travel each year. Makeham stepped out in Black and White in 78 of the club’s 82 games in those stellar 1927–’30 seasons, missing three of those matches because of selection in the Victorian state side.

Makeham credited the success of the “Machine Team” to the camaraderie of the entire group. Even though he mixed with the team only a few times a week, he was a very popular member of the side. “We have no bickering and everyone is a friend,” he told the Sporting Globe in 1928.

One of Makeham’s great strengths was his ability to perform at his best when it mattered most. Syd Coventry wrote that he “never lets us down when we want him”. This is borne out in Makeham’s performances in the four premierships. He was one of the best afield in appalling conditions in 1927 and made valuable contributions in both 1928 and 1929 (the latter despite being groggy after being knocked out).

But it was his contribution in the 1930 Grand Final that stands as his finest hour. He rose to the occasion when the club needed him most, trailing Geelong by 21 points at half-time and with the much-coveted four-in-a-row target seemingly in tatters. The team then produced a stunning third-quarter turnaround by kicking 8.6 to 0.1 to grab the match. Makeham had much to do with that dramatic revival, kicking two third-quarter goals and dominating the play. One critic said he had “never been seen to better advantage”. He received fitting recognition for his performance by winning the Palais Royale Cup as the best player afield.

Makeham managed four games for the club in 1932 to qualify for his 10-year service, something of which he was immensely proud. In the early 1930s he served as captain and coach of Maryborough, after the Bendigo club sought McHale’s counsel about which of his players would be suited to the role. The Collingwood coach had no hesitation in nominating Makeham, who did not let them down, leading them into a Grand Final.

An accomplished violin player, a clay bird and live bird shooting champion and a good tennis player, Makeham was much more than just a footballer. He continued to work on the farms for decades, and then operated a number of other successful business ventures, including hotels in Korumburra. A wealthy man who never had children, he was a philanthropist to many hospitals and charitable organisations. He also used to donate money to the Collingwood Past Players’ Association. But he never lost the common touch. Relatives remember that later in life his Labrador dogs used to jump into the back seat of his Mercedes and go wherever he did.

Sadly, Makeham took his own life in 1974, at the age of 72, believing he had a serious illness. It was hardly the end that befitted such a larger-than-life character. One death notice in the paper at the time concluded: “A gentleman is at rest.” No one who knew Bob Makeham, farmer and footballer, would disagree.

This story first appeared in the book The Machine, by Glenn McFarlane and Michael Roberts.

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Statistics

CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1923-1932 157 97 16 75%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1923 14 17 0 19

1923 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 3 St Kilda L 0 19 View match >
Round 4 Geelong W 4 0 19 View match >
Round 5 Richmond W 1 0 19 View match >
Round 7 Carlton W 1 0 19 View match >
Round 8 Fitzroy L 2 0 19 View match >
Round 9 Melbourne W 0 19 View match >
Round 10 Sydney L 0 19 View match >
Round 11 Essendon L 1 0 19 View match >
Round 12 St Kilda W 0 19 View match >
Round 13 Geelong L 0 19 View match >
Round 14 Richmond L 0 19 View match >
Round 16 Carlton D 2 0 19 View match >
Round 17 Fitzroy W 1 0 19 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 5 0 19 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1924 9 13 0 15

1924 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Essendon W 3 0 15 View match >
Round 2 St Kilda W 1 0 15 View match >
Round 3 Melbourne W 1 0 15 View match >
Round 5 Carlton W 4 0 15 View match >
Round 6 Sydney L 1 0 15 View match >
Round 8 Richmond L 1 0 15 View match >
Round 9 Fitzroy L 1 0 15 View match >
Round 15 Sydney W 1 0 15 View match >
Round 16 Geelong L 0 15 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1925 13 8 0 0 29

1925 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 2 Melbourne W 0 29 View match >
Round 3 Hawthorn W 1 0 29 View match >
Round 4 Geelong L 3 0 29 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy W 0 29 View match >
Round 6 Sydney W 2 0 29 View match >
Round 10 Western Bulldogs W 0 29 View match >
Round 11 North Melbourne W 2 0 29 View match >
Round 14 Hawthorn W 0 29 View match >
Round 15 Geelong L 0 29 View match >
Round 17 Sydney W 0 29 View match >
Semi Final Essendon W 0 29 View match >
Preliminary Final Melbourne W 0 29 View match >
Grand Final Geelong L 0 0 0 29 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1926 19 7 0 15

1926 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Fitzroy W 0 15 View match >
Round 3 Hawthorn W 0 15 View match >
Round 4 Melbourne W 0 15 View match >
Round 5 Geelong W 0 15 View match >
Round 6 Sydney W 1 0 15 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 15 View match >
Round 8 Western Bulldogs W 0 15 View match >
Round 9 Carlton L 0 15 View match >
Round 10 North Melbourne W 0 15 View match >
Round 11 Richmond W 0 15 View match >
Round 12 Fitzroy W 1 0 15 View match >
Round 13 Essendon W 0 15 View match >
Round 14 Hawthorn W 1 0 15 View match >
Round 15 Melbourne W 0 15 View match >
Round 16 Geelong L 2 0 15 View match >
Round 17 Sydney W 1 0 15 View match >
Round 18 Carlton W 0 15 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne L 0 15 View match >
Grand Final Melbourne L 1 0 15 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1927 20 3 0 0 15

1927 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 0 15 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 15 View match >
Round 3 Richmond L 0 15 View match >
Round 4 Sydney W 0 15 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy W 0 0 0 15 View match >
Round 6 Essendon W 0 15 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 15 View match >
Round 8 Western Bulldogs W 0 15 View match >
Round 9 Carlton L 0 15 View match >
Round 10 North Melbourne W 0 15 View match >
Round 11 Melbourne W 1 0 15 View match >
Round 12 Geelong W 0 15 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 0 15 View match >
Round 14 Richmond W 0 15 View match >
Round 15 Sydney W 0 15 View match >
Round 16 Fitzroy L 1 0 15 View match >
Round 17 Essendon W 0 15 View match >
Round 18 North Melbourne W 1 0 15 View match >
Semi Final Geelong W 0 15 View match >
Grand Final Richmond W 0 15 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1928 20 17 0 19

1928 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 0 19 View match >
Round 2 Fitzroy W 0 19 View match >
Round 3 Richmond L 0 19 View match >
Round 4 Hawthorn W 2 0 19 View match >
Round 5 St Kilda W 0 19 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne W 0 19 View match >
Round 8 Sydney W 2 0 19 View match >
Round 9 Melbourne W 5 0 19 View match >
Round 10 Western Bulldogs W 1 0 19 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 1 0 19 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 19 View match >
Round 13 Fitzroy W 0 19 View match >
Round 14 Richmond W 0 19 View match >
Round 15 Hawthorn W 0 19 View match >
Round 16 St Kilda W 0 19 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 0 19 View match >
Round 18 Carlton L 0 19 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne D 3 0 19 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne W 2 0 19 View match >
Grand Final Richmond W 1 0 19 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1929 17 10 0 0 18

1929 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond W 0 18 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 18 View match >
Round 3 Sydney W 0 0 0 18 View match >
Round 4 Geelong W 1 0 18 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy W 0 18 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne W 1 0 18 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 1 0 18 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 1 0 18 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs W 1 0 18 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 0 0 0 18 View match >
Round 14 Sydney W 1 0 18 View match >
Round 15 Geelong W 1 0 18 View match >
Round 16 Fitzroy W 1 0 18 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 0 18 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 2 0 18 View match >
Semi Final Richmond L 0 18 View match >
Grand Final Richmond W 0 18 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1930 21 11 0 0 20

1930 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond W 0 20 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 20 View match >
Round 3 Sydney W 0 20 View match >
Round 4 Geelong L 0 20 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy L 0 20 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne W 1 0 20 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 20 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 2 0 20 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs W 0 20 View match >
Round 10 Carlton L 0 20 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 20 View match >
Round 12 Fitzroy W 0 0 0 20 View match >
Round 13 North Melbourne W 1 0 20 View match >
Round 14 Melbourne W 1 0 20 View match >
Round 15 St Kilda W 0 20 View match >
Round 16 Western Bulldogs W 0 20 View match >
Round 17 Carlton W 0 20 View match >
Round 18 Essendon W 2 0 20 View match >
Semi Final Richmond W 1 0 20 View match >
Preliminary Final Geelong L 1 0 20 View match >
Grand Final Geelong W 2 0 20 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1931 19 6 0 0 20

1931 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 2 0 20 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 2 0 20 View match >
Round 3 Sydney W 0 20 View match >
Round 4 Richmond L 0 20 View match >
Round 5 Carlton L 0 20 View match >
Round 6 St Kilda W 0 20 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 20 View match >
Round 8 North Melbourne W 0 20 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs W 0 20 View match >
Round 10 Essendon L 0 20 View match >
Round 11 Fitzroy W 0 20 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 20 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 0 20 View match >
Round 14 Sydney W 0 20 View match >
Round 15 Richmond L 0 20 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 0 0 20 View match >
Round 17 St Kilda L 1 0 0 20 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 20 View match >
Semi Final Carlton L 1 0 20 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1932 5 5 0 0 14

1932 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn W 0 14 View match >
Round 2 Geelong L 1 0 14 View match >
Round 3 Essendon W 0 0 0 14 View match >
Round 4 Fitzroy W 2 0 14 View match >
Round 6 Western Bulldogs W 2 0 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 157 97 0
Avg/Game   0.62 0.00
Legend
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number

276

Total AFL Games
157
Total AFL Goals
97
CFC Debut
Round 3, 1923
CFC Last Game
Round 6, 1932
Recruited From
Woodleigh
Full Name
Bob Makeham

Awards

  • Life Members
    1935
  • x4
    Premiership
    1927, 1928, 1929, 1930
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