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Jack Shorten

Jack Shorten

1909-1910, 1912-1913
30
Other Guernsey Nos.
29

60 CFC Games Played

0 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
30 November 1887
Date of Death
9 October 1958
Recruited From
Royal Australian Artillery
Collingwood Debut
Round 4, 1909
Height:
183cm
Weight:
83kg

Biography

By Michael Roberts:

Jack Shorten was a soldier long before he served with distinction in the First World War – and his love of a battle served not only his country, but also his football club, well.


Shorten was one of those young men who loved being a soldier. Indeed in 1907, long before WW1 was even on the horizon, the 19-year-old Shorten had joined the Royal Australian Artillery as a gunner. He spent five years with the RAA, during which time he also began a senior football career with Collingwood.

He’d played suburban football with Sunshine (along with a number of his brothers), and in 1908 trialled in a couple of Collingwood practice games while on duty at Queenscliff. In April of 1909, the VFL introduced a new rule forcing all players and prospective to sign a form and be registered with their nominated club. The Pies remembered Shorten’s promising practice displays and promptly signed up the strapping young man, frustrating at least two other clubs (Essendon and South) that had planned to sign him. Indeed, according to The Argus newspaper, Jack Shorten was the very first player to be registered with the League under the new system.

Even then, newspapers referred to him as “the young artillery man”. So it was no wonder he soon gained the nickname ‘Soldier’ when he landed at Victoria Park.

He quickly adapted to VFL football, playing 15 games in his first season and all 21 in the Premiership season of 1910. He played mostly in defence, usually across half-back, with occasional runs on the ball. He was tall (nudging 6′ in the old language), strongly built and could take a decent mark. ” Shorten once more proved his ability at half-back, where he marked admirably and was always a serious obstacle to opponents,” wrote The Australasian in 1910, a sentence that came to neatly summarise his career. He could look a bit awkward at times but he almost always got the job done, and became one of the Pies’ most reliable players.

He also became one of their most feared. Shorten didn’t mind a stoush, and even in his first year he drew the ire of the local South Melbourne newspaper after what it described as “savage attacks” by him on South star Charlie Ricketts in a semi-final.

But that was nothing compared to what happened the following year. Shorten played a major role in what is still regarded as one of the wildest grand finals of all time. He was a rock in defence all day, and one of the Pies’ best players. But early in the last quarter, he ran from the back line to where teammate Tom Baxter and Carlton’s Jack Bacquie were fighting and belted Bacquie with a fierce blow that lifted him off the ground. Shorten himself was then felled by retributive punches from Carlton’s Jack Sheehan. The Pies won the Premiership, but Shorten was rubbed out for a season-and-a-half for his role in the mayhem (as was Sheehan).

He came back as scheduled in the second half of 1912 and pretty much took up where he left off, playing the remaining nine games of that season and all but one of the next until he dislocated his shoulder against St Kilda in the Round 16 game.

That, as it turned out, was the last game of Jack Shorten’s VFL career. By this stage he was a blacksmith, having served his apprenticeship at the Sunshine Harvester company. He moved to Tasmania in 1914 and played for Waratah, but as soon as the War broke out he was among the first to enlist – though this time, for reasons unknown even to his descendants, he did so under the name ‘Jack Shore’.

Jack became part of the first 4000 soldiers to arrive at Anzac Cove on the first morning, and remained there for a few months. He was quickly promoted to corporal, then sergeant, but re-injured his dislocated shoulder after falling into a deep hole while on a charge in April 1915. He carried on but reinjured the shoulder again in France the next year when he was tripped by barbed wire and fell into a shell hole, eventually having to be sent to England to recover before returning to France.

In between times, he won renown as a solider of great courage and determination. In August of 1916 he was recommended for a military medal “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” during an operation at Pozieres. The recommendation said that “by his gallant conduct and fine example during heavy bombardment of our trench on 25 July, he, being the only senior NCO left in his company, kept his men well under control and placed them in best available cover and commanded them with zeal and ability.”

Fortunately, Shorten was able to use his time in England for more than just recovery. He eventually married an English girl, and when he returned to Australia after a storied army career in 1919 it was with a wife and child.

Jack ‘Soldier’ Shorten packed a lot into three-and-a-half seasons at football’s top level. But that was nothing compared to the service he gave his country on the battlefields that matter most of all.

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Statistics

CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1909-1910, 1912-1913 60 0 4 73%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1909 15 0

1909 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 4 Richmond W 0 View match >
Round 5 Sydney L 0 View match >
Round 6 Essendon W 0 View match >
Round 7 University W 0 View match >
Round 8 Geelong W 0 View match >
Round 10 Fitzroy W 0 View match >
Round 11 St Kilda W 0 View match >
Round 12 Carlton W 0 View match >
Round 13 Richmond W 0 View match >
Round 14 Sydney W 0 View match >
Round 15 Essendon L 0 View match >
Round 16 University D 0 View match >
Round 17 Geelong W 0 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne W 0 View match >
Semi Final Sydney L 0 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1910 21 0

1910 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Carlton L 0 View match >
Round 2 Sydney W 0 View match >
Round 3 St Kilda W 0 View match >
Round 4 Essendon L 0 View match >
Round 5 Melbourne W 0 View match >
Round 6 Fitzroy W 0 View match >
Round 7 Richmond W 0 View match >
Round 8 University W 0 View match >
Round 9 Geelong L 0 0 View match >
Round 10 Carlton L 0 View match >
Round 11 Sydney L 0 View match >
Round 12 St Kilda W 0 View match >
Round 13 Essendon W 0 View match >
Round 14 Melbourne W 0 View match >
Round 15 Fitzroy W 0 View match >
Round 16 Richmond W 0 View match >
Round 17 University W 0 View match >
Round 18 Geelong W 0 0 View match >
Semi Final Essendon W 0 View match >
Preliminary Final Sydney W 0 View match >
Grand Final Carlton W 0 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1912 9 0 29

1912 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 10 Melbourne W 0 29 View match >
Round 11 Essendon L 0 29 View match >
Round 12 St Kilda W 0 29 View match >
Round 13 Carlton L 0 29 View match >
Round 14 Richmond W 0 29 View match >
Round 15 Geelong W 0 29 View match >
Round 16 University W 0 29 View match >
Round 17 Fitzroy L 0 29 View match >
Round 18 Sydney L 0 29 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1913 15 0 30

1913 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Melbourne W 0 30 View match >
Round 2 Geelong W 0 30 View match >
Round 3 Essendon W 0 30 View match >
Round 4 Carlton W 0 30 View match >
Round 5 Richmond W 0 30 View match >
Round 6 University W 0 30 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 30 View match >
Round 8 Fitzroy L 0 30 View match >
Round 9 Sydney L 0 30 View match >
Round 10 Melbourne W 0 30 View match >
Round 11 Geelong W 0 30 View match >
Round 12 Essendon W 0 30 View match >
Round 14 Richmond W 0 30 View match >
Round 15 University W 0 30 View match >
Round 16 St Kilda L 0 30 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 60
Avg/Game   0.00
Legend
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number

154

Total AFL Games
60
CFC Debut
Round 4, 1909
CFC Last Game
Round 16, 1913
Recruited From
Royal Australian Artillery
Full Name
Jack Shorten

Awards

  • Premiership
    1910
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