The international football match: England v. Carlton.
The English team of footballers made their debut under Australian rules on the Melbourne Cricket-ground on Saturday afternoon, all circumstances being favourable to the match. The day was the finest yet experienced during the season, and the gathering the largest. Every part of the ground was packed with spectators. In the grand stand there was not a spare seat, and the lawn in front of it, looked at from the south, suggested some strange pavement of human faces, while the slope round the ground presented very much the same appearance. The reserves have not for a long time past looked so bright nor so well packed, an unusual number of ladies being amongst the spectators. Counting all sources, there could not have been fewer than 26,000 people on the ground, and the Englishmen who stood out of the match declared that they had never seen so great a gathering at a match in England.
When the visitors appeared in the field they had a splendid reception, the cheering being kept up for some time, and the applause was renewed when the teams drew up and cheered each other, Carlton leading off. The Englishmen, appropriately costumed in red, white and blue, looked physically a fine team, and although Carlton are not easily beaten in this respect, they certainly suffered by comparison with their opponents. R. L. Seddon, the English captain, won the toss, and his team had the advantage of a wind behind them for the first quarter.
The men went promptly to their places at the kick-off, and, setting to the game with spirit, got the ball into Carlton ground. It was taken along the further wing, and the Carlton men had a couple of shots without scoring, before Haslam, with a very nice run, brought it out of danger along the pavilion wing. Thus early it became manifest that the concerted play of the Carlton would altogether puzzle the Englishmen, but the back players made a gallant defence, and Eagles, Stoddart, and Chapman, in turn, relieved their goal from the attack of the clever Carlton players.
The spectators were fully alive to the difficulties of the task which the visitors had undertaken, and every bit of good play was warmly cheered. The English followers too, were playing an excellent game, and perhaps were a bit too conscientious in striving to follow our rules instead of resorting to a greater extent to Rugby tactics. Several behinds were scored by Carlton before Coulson, with a running kick, got their first goal. Then Scarborough by dashing play got the ball down the ground, and the Englishmen, amidst great cheering, scored their first behind. Twice in succession Chapman playing back came to the rescue of his safe, and turned dashes by Goer and Batters. The visitors were most puzzled by the marking of the Carlton men, and the style in which they played to each other, for the colonials not being very closely watched were able to give a very pretty exposition of those two most attractive points in the Australian game.
Scarborough was again conspicuous for his sterling play. Goer got Carlton's second goal, and the Englishman, in no way disheartened, made another fine rally. The English captain, Seddon, fairly got the best of a tussle with Moloney, and the latter pushing him from behind gave the English side their first free kick. The great fault in their play, however, was that the forward men to a greater extent than the back were nonplussed by the requirements of the new game. In Rugby the impulse would have been to carry the ball over the goal line for the "touch down," and the players could not bring themselves to play together with the object of getting a touch for goal.
Cook from a scrimmage ran close up to the posts and scored Carlton's third goal. Scarborough got the ball finely away from several Carlton men, but made no effective use of it afterwards, and Williams, who got possession of it right in against the Carlton goal, was equally unable to turn the chance to any account. Berry scored Carlton's fourth goal from a side shot, and the Englishman made another game rally. Bumby taking it away from his posts, and Dr. Brooks further up the ground backed him up well, while Nolan hold his own most creditably. Paul's kicking off was very fine, and the spectators got a fair idea of what a dangerous forward his straight place kicks must make him at any point within 60 yards of the enemy's posts.
In some very pretty play Cook gave his opponents an excellent lesson in style, and Berry was again successful in scoring a goal for Carlton. Haslam's play was once more admired, and with very little practice he should become a dashing player of the Australian game. Scarborough and Seddon were both cheered for their play, but the disheartening thing to the team was the weakness of their forwards. Geliatley and Baker both scored for Carlton, and when the players retired at half-time the score was:
Carlton, 7 goals, 7 behinds; England, 1 behind.
The result was not a fair indication of the merit of the two teams, for the Englishmen, by their back and centre play, were entitled to better luck than attended them.
Commencing the second half, England got the ball down the ground again, and Eagles had a good chance for goal, but got a behind only. Laing had also a fairly easy chance, but, like his comrades, was at fault as to the best means of turning it to profit. It was noticeable that every goal scored by Carlton brought a rally from the Englishmen, and in one of these, following upon a goal scored by M. McInerney, Thomas seized an opportunity and amidst ringing cheers kicked first goal for England. Thus encouraged, the Englishmen went gamely to work, and the crowd cheered them on most sympathetically, Bumby again made a fine run, and the Englishmen had a slice of bad luck, for a shot by one of their forwards hit the post.
The ball came persistently now into Carlton quarters, and Matners getting a shot at long range made a very fine place-kick, but was not straight enough. With the play once more around the Carlton posts, Eagles marked to Dr. Smith, who punting it coolly at short range, scored second goal for his side. Stuart turned a forward rush of Carlton, and fairly scored the honours in a bout with two Carlton men. As a result of his good play, the ball came south again, and Banks scored third goal for the English team, to the great delight of the onlookers, who were much pleased with the way in which the team were fighting against their heavy handicap. McKechnie put another goal to the Carlton credit with a very line kick, but Nolan, who got a try for the Englishmen was not equally fortunate, and only added to the behinds.
Anderton and Stoddart were warmly applauded for some very nice play, but the team were out of condition as compared with the Carlton, and in the last quarter they died away altogether. Banks had a mark in front of the Carlton goal, but failed to score. From this out, the concerted play of the Carlton team, coupled with their fine condition, was too much for the Englishmen, and Berry, Green, Hutchison, Baker, and Green scored goals in succession. Just upon time the Englishmen broke through their opponents defence on the right wing, and as the bell rang, scored their eighth behind, going very close to goal. The game thus ended in a victory for Carlton, the scores being:
Carlton, 14 goals and 17 behinds. England, 3 goals 8 behinds.
The visitors played the Australian game better than their most sanguine friends anticipated, for the fact may as well be admitted that on going into the field on Saturday, all that they knew of it practically had been picked up in two muff practice matches. In face of this, the task they were asked to perform in going into the field against such a team as the Carlton was an impossible one, and it becomes a matter for wonder how they managed to play as well as they did. At least half the team gave evidence of being naturally fitted to play our game, and it was surprise none of those who saw them play yesterday if by the close of their tour they are able to hold their own with the best of our seniors. At present they lack perfection in drop kicking, and made no attempt at marking from long kicks, in which the Carlton were so successful. Neither was there any of that roughness in their play which might have been expected from players so long accustomed to Rugby rules.
The Carlton team played just such a game as their friends would have wished, bringing out all the finest points in the Australian rules. Their marking was a very fine exhibition, their play to each other true and cool, and their long kicks in marked contrast to those of the majority of their opponents. Had the Englishmen been spectators instead of players in such a match, they could not have been otherwise than impressed by its merits - as, indeed, was the single member of the team, Mr. A. P. Penkten, who took no part in the game. In the third quarter it was noticeable that the example in playing together set by the Carlton men was not lost upon the visitors.
To the central umpire, Mr. P. H. Roy, a large measure of credit is due for the success of the match. Indeed had he been supported by the concentrated wisdom of the association instead of being obliged to use his own discretion entirely he could not have done his work with greater judgment. He ignored all smaller lapses of the rules on the part of the visitors without encouraging in any way the rough play which it was held would follow anything like a liberal reading of the rules. The Englishmen helped to make his task much easier than was expected, and there was not a single case of passing the ball as in Rugby rules during the whole of the afternoon. Mr. Roy will add more to his reputation as a cool and efficient umpire by this one match than if he had officiated in all the best matches of the season. The game was played in a fine spirit by both sides, and in this respect also the Englishmen, after their experiences in some of the New Zealand towns, will be in a position to make comparisons not unfavourable to our game and those who play it.
During the week the against team will play matches at Sandhurst and Castlemaine and on Saturday next they will meet another formidable twenty in the South Melbourne team.
Title: The international football match: England v. Carlton. Author: Argus Staff Writer Publisher: The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria, 1848 - 1957) Date: Monday, 18 June, 1888, p.5 (Article) Web: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/6133442