Main content

The complete history of Australia's greatest sporting club

Harold Rumney

Harold Rumney

1927-1935, 1937
22
Other Guernsey Nos.
21, 24, 26, 30

171 CFC Games Played

28 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
16 May 1907
Date of Death
16 November 1987
Recruited From
Carlton
Collingwood Debut
Round 1, 1927
Height:
171cm
Weight:
76kg

Biography

In the first nine years of the Copeland Trophy’s existence, it was won only once by a player who was NOT part of either the Coventry or Collier households. That player was dashing defender Harold Rumney.

Rumney’s triumph in the 1931 Copeland was a stunning tribute to the quality of his play. In those halcyon days most players were happy just to find a spot in the Collingwood team, so strong and stable had it become. With the Coventry and Collier brothers carrying all before them at both league and club level, there appeared little room for anyone else to get even a look-in when it came to end-of-season trophies. But Rumney dispelled those theories with his 1931 victory.

What made that victory even more remarkable was that it was achieved by a player who was primarily a half-back flanker — not the sort of position where you expect to find someone outshining the acknowledged stars of the team, who were usually key position or on-ball players.

But Rumney was himself a star — albeit an underrated one.

Although born in Kyabram, Rumney was a product of Collingwood Technical School. He and his family were forced to move to Melbourne due to an illness his mother was suffering. “The local doctor gave my father two choices: bury your wife here or get out to better climes,” Rumney once said. Not surprisingly, they chose the latter option.

The family settled in Fitzroy, and Harold later went to Collingwood Tech where he captained the school team. He played junior football at Kensington and Brighton and spent a year with Brighton seniors before joining Carlton — to whom he was residentially bound — in 1925. He played 13 games in his first year with the Blues and did reasonably well, but was not at all happy at a club beset at that time by internal bickering.

Rumney also developed an unenviable reputation for running too far with the ball. Carlton could not rid him of this habit, so rid itself of him. ‘They told me I was too old (at 19!), too weak and too gutless — a no-hoper in fact,” said Rumney.

On the advice of one of his brothers, he crossed to Collingwood, for whom he barracked anyway, and spent the rest of 1926 with the seconds. He had made such little impression during his time at Carlton that his clearance to Collingwood raised barely a murmur.

If his clearance attracted little attention, his performances for Collingwood were quite the reverse. Rumney quickly adapted to his new club’s style of play and, just as importantly, heeded Jock McHale’s advice about getting rid of the ball quickly. He was a late inclusion in the team for the first game of 1927 and performed creditably. He soon became a permanent and successful fixture in the Collingwood team, playing in 17 matches in his first year and booting 19 goals as a forward pocket/flanker. “Dasher”, as he was known to his teammates (though his family called him “Wal”), even took home a hat from Treadway’s in Smith Street as an award for the best first year player.

Despite his successes as a forward, the selectors decided to try him in a few other positions. Within a year he had established himself as one of the best defenders in the VFL. He played back pocket in the 1928 grand final and filled the half-back flank post with distinction in the last two of Collingwood’s historic four-in-a-row Premiership teams. Rumney played in all four of those teams and was a key contributor, regularly being named among the best players in finals’ games.

In 1930 he gained interstate selection for the first time, and his performances at the Adelaide carnival were such that he was awarded the trophy for the most consistent player of the series. That year he also won a trophy from the local Austral Theatre for best Collingwood player as voted by the public.

He was a player of exceptional speed who was capable of matching it with the best, most elusive and quickest forwards of his day. Importantly, his explosive pace was also accompanied by great ball control. Though he was only 170 cm (5ft 7in) tall and weighed only 71kg (11st 2lb), he could also match it with the bigger players. He was quite muscular, with a sturdy physique and broad shoulders that allowed him to tackle even robust opponents vigorously.

Despite his apparent lack of inches and pounds, his strong and determined play enabled him to regularly beat bigger opponents. And if they were at all sluggish, Rumney would use his pace to run off them, creating opportunities for his forwards with long, accurate kicking. His kicking to position was a feature of his game, as was his handball — considered to be unusually clever and accurate for his time. He was also a model of consistency, rarely turning in a poor game.

Rumney became one of the players who were crucial to Collingwood’s success during the late twenties and thirties. This was partly because of the important role he played in the renowned Collingwood defensive unit but also because of his adaptability, which allowed Jock McHale to swing him into any number of positions where his speed, skill and fearless determination were needed. Although best known for his work on the half-back flank and back pocket, he also spent time at half-forward, across the centre line and even on the ball. It was this flexibility that may have led Collingwood to “discover” the position of ruck-rover, when Rumney was thrown onto the ball in a game against Richmond when the recognised followers had been tagged out of the game.

Later in his career Rumney moved back a further notch in defence, to the back pocket. In the 1935 Premiership he formed part of a highly regarded back line, playing alongside the great Jack Regan and Charlie Dibbs, who had moved from full-back to the back pocket to accommodate Regan.

Rumney returned to Victoria Park for the 1937 season in order to secure his ten years service, but played so well when given his chance that he played 13 games that season, finishing up in the grand final against Geelong.

Harold’s on-field athleticism carried over into his off-field activities as well. He was a fitness fanatic who, like quite a few VFL players of his era, took up footrunning during the summer months. He ran professionally at meetings around the State and was first over the line in a number of races, including the Shepparton and Frankston Gifts. With his devotion to physical fitness it was no surprise to find that Rumney was one of the most enthusiastic trainers at Collingwood, regularly winning training prizes.

Outside of sport, Rumney enjoyed the performing arts. He took part in many amateur dramatic plays, something which probably sprang from what he said was “an innate desire to show off” that he displayed as a child. He was also a first-class musician, playing the trumpet and cornet. Late into his life he still performed regularly for pensioner and community groups around the Mornington Peninsula, where he lived during his years in retirement.

It was a call of a different kind to which he responded when the Second World War broke out. An engineer by trade, he joined the navy and was one of the survivors when the HMAS Canberra was sunk by the Germans in the Indian Ocean.

For all the grand service he tendered his country, it is the service he gave Collingwood for which Harold Rumney is best remembered. Few who saw his strong, dashing play will forget it, or the key role he played in some of the finest sides Collingwood has ever sent on to a football field.

Read more

Statistics

CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1927-1935, 1937 171 28 20 76%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1927 17 19 0 0 24

1927 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 4 Sydney W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy W 1 0 0 24 View match >
Round 6 Essendon W 3 0 24 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 4 0 24 View match >
Round 8 Western Bulldogs W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 9 Carlton L 0 24 View match >
Round 10 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Richmond W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Sydney W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Fitzroy L 1 0 24 View match >
Round 17 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Round 18 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Grand Final Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1928 17 4 0 22

1928 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 2 Fitzroy W 0 22 View match >
Round 5 St Kilda W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 9 Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 10 Western Bulldogs W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 22 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 22 View match >
Round 13 Fitzroy W 0 22 View match >
Round 14 Richmond W 1 0 22 View match >
Round 15 Hawthorn W 0 22 View match >
Round 16 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 18 Carlton L 0 22 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne D 0 22 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Grand Final Richmond W 0 22 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1929 20 3 0 0 24

1929 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 24 View match >
Round 3 Sydney W 0 0 0 24 View match >
Round 4 Geelong W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs W 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Carlton W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 0 0 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Fitzroy W 0 24 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Richmond L 0 24 View match >
Grand Final Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1930 20 0 0 0 26

1930 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 26 View match >
Round 3 Sydney W 0 26 View match >
Round 4 Geelong L 0 26 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy L 0 26 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne W 0 26 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 26 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 26 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs W 0 26 View match >
Round 10 Carlton L 0 26 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 26 View match >
Round 12 Fitzroy W 0 0 0 26 View match >
Round 13 North Melbourne W 0 26 View match >
Round 14 Melbourne W 0 26 View match >
Round 15 St Kilda W 0 26 View match >
Round 16 Western Bulldogs W 0 26 View match >
Round 17 Carlton W 0 26 View match >
Round 18 Essendon W 0 26 View match >
Semi Final Richmond W 0 26 View match >
Preliminary Final Geelong L 0 26 View match >
Grand Final Geelong W 0 26 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1931 19 2 0 0 26

1931 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 0 26 View match >
Round 2 Hawthorn W 0 26 View match >
Round 3 Sydney W 0 26 View match >
Round 4 Richmond L 0 26 View match >
Round 5 Carlton L 0 26 View match >
Round 6 St Kilda W 0 26 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 26 View match >
Round 8 North Melbourne W 0 26 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs W 0 26 View match >
Round 10 Essendon L 0 26 View match >
Round 11 Fitzroy W 0 26 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 26 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 0 26 View match >
Round 14 Sydney W 0 26 View match >
Round 15 Richmond L 0 26 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 0 0 26 View match >
Round 17 St Kilda L 0 0 0 26 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 2 0 26 View match >
Semi Final Carlton L 0 26 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1932 17 0 0 0 21

1932 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn W 0 21 View match >
Round 2 Geelong L 0 21 View match >
Round 5 Carlton L 0 21 View match >
Round 6 Western Bulldogs W 0 21 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne W 0 21 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 21 View match >
Round 9 North Melbourne W 0 0 0 21 View match >
Round 10 Richmond W 0 21 View match >
Round 11 Sydney W 0 21 View match >
Round 13 Geelong L 0 21 View match >
Round 14 Essendon W 0 21 View match >
Round 15 Fitzroy W 0 21 View match >
Round 16 Carlton L 0 21 View match >
Round 17 Western Bulldogs W 0 21 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 21 View match >
Semi Final Sydney W 0 21 View match >
Preliminary Final Carlton L 0 21 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1933 15 0 0 0 22

1933 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 2 Fitzroy L 0 22 View match >
Round 3 Sydney W 0 22 View match >
Round 4 Richmond L 0 22 View match >
Round 5 Carlton W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne L 0 22 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Round 9 Western Bulldogs L 0 22 View match >
Round 10 Hawthorn W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 22 View match >
Round 13 Fitzroy L 0 22 View match >
Round 14 Sydney L 0 22 View match >
Round 15 Richmond W 0 22 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1934 17 0 0 0 22

1934 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Sydney L 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 2 Essendon W 0 22 View match >
Round 3 Hawthorn W 0 22 View match >
Round 4 Richmond W 0 22 View match >
Round 5 Geelong D 0 22 View match >
Round 7 North Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Round 9 Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 10 Carlton W 0 22 View match >
Round 11 Western Bulldogs W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 12 Sydney L 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 13 Essendon W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 14 Hawthorn W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 16 Geelong L 0 22 View match >
Round 17 Fitzroy W 0 22 View match >
Round 18 North Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Semi Final Sydney L 0 22 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1935 16 0 0 0 22

1935 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 2 Fitzroy D 0 22 View match >
Round 3 Essendon W 0 0 0 22 View match >
Round 4 Geelong W 0 22 View match >
Round 5 Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Round 8 North Melbourne W 0 22 View match >
Round 9 Carlton L 0 22 View match >
Round 10 Richmond W 0 22 View match >
Round 11 Hawthorn W 0 22 View match >
Round 12 Sydney L 0 22 View match >
Round 15 Geelong W 0 22 View match >
Round 14 Essendon W 0 22 View match >
Round 18 St Kilda W 0 22 View match >
Semi Final Sydney L 0 22 View match >
Preliminary Final Richmond W 0 22 View match >
Grand Final Sydney W 0 22 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1937 13 0 0 0 30

1937 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 6 Carlton W 0 30 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda L 0 30 View match >
Round 8 Essendon W 0 30 View match >
Round 9 Fitzroy W 0 30 View match >
Round 10 Richmond W 0 30 View match >
Round 11 Hawthorn W 0 30 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 0 30 View match >
Round 13 Sydney W 0 30 View match >
Round 14 North Melbourne W 0 30 View match >
Round 18 St Kilda W 0 30 View match >
Semi Final Richmond W 0 30 View match >
Preliminary Final Melbourne W 0 30 View match >
Grand Final Geelong L 0 0 0 30 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 171 28 0
Avg/Game   0.16 0.00
Legend
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number

312

Total AFL Games
186
Total AFL Goals
37
CFC Debut
Round 1, 1927
CFC Last Game
Grand Final, 1937
Recruited From
Carlton
Full Name
Harold Rumney

Awards

  • Life Members
    1941
  • Austral Cup
    1930
  • Best Finals Player (Bob Rose Award)
    1931
  • Best First Year Player (Harry Collier Trophy)
    1927
  • CFC Hall of Fame
    2006
  • CFC Team of the Century
  • E.W. Copeland Trophy (Best and Fairest)
    1931
  • x5
    Premiership
    1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1935
Provide feedback Ask the Experts