FITZROY PREMIERS - KEEN, STRONG CAME - MAROON'S THIRD QUARTER
Fitzroy won the premiership for the seventh time since the creation of the League by defeating Collingwood in the grand final on Saturday. The best that was in the match came in the second half and it was then football of the smart, open style that is good to watch and so easy to follow. The system of Collingwood was broken after hopeful indications of success early, and Fitzroy, playing a strong and effective game in defence, opened up an offensive in the third term that turned an insecure position into a fairly safe one. It was, in fact a third-quarter victory, and much the same men who were responsible for the scoring against Essendon the previous week were again successful.
On reflection it could be said that the inclusion of two players who were originally the foundation to the team's greatness forward in years past has had very happy results. Between them they scored seven of the 11 goals obtained on Saturday. Still it was essentially a team victory, and Fitzroy has not placed a better regulated side in the field, judged on performances when performances tell, for many seasons.
There was an attendance of 50,054 people, and the gate receipts wore £2221 1/4. The aggregate receipts for the final matches were £9591, and approximately 50 per cent. of that amount will be available for distribution among the clubs. (The attendance for the four matches was 207,301. Last year the aggregate attendance was 165,450 and the takings £7863.
The teams were:— Fitzroy.-Backs: Atkinson, Jenkins, Taylor. Half-backs: Lethbrldge, Molan, Elliott. Centres: Williams, Corrigan, Sherry. Half-forwards: Parratt, Donnellan, Rattray. Forwards: Wigraft (left), Freake, Gale. Followers: McCracken, Collins. Rover: Fergie. Collingwood.— Backs: Murphy, Saunders, Wilson, Half-backs: Tyson, Brown, Tuomey. Centres: Drummond, Pannam, Wescott. Half-forwards: Cheswass, S. Coventry, G. Coventry. For-wards: Baker, Cock, Lee. Followers: Rowe, Sheehy. Rover: Webb.
The dash and cross-field play of Collingwood were attractions, but their hand-balling was not as sure as usual, and players were out in distance calculations. Improvement, however, came, and the team worked with vim and precision. But the fine efforts were almost negligible in results. Later there was neat yet spirited play by Pannam. Off him Baker obtained the ball, and he passed it to Lee. A splendid drop-kick goal was the result— it was the finest of the match. Lee had an opportunity again soon after, but preferred to pass the ball on, and it was rushed behind.
Clean, high marking by Drummond and Molan was cheered. Collingwood played down the centre, then over to the wing, and G. Coventry, with a flying shot from a difficult angle, obtained the second goal. Fitzroy's turn then came. Sherry passed quickly to forward, Parratt was fouled, and from the free kick Fitzroy's first goal was scored. For a long time the play was uncertain, and without attractive incidents. There was, however, a Fitzroy cheer when Parratt, finding a clear space ahead, ran in and kicked the ball through. It gave his team a two-points lead at quarter time— 2.5 to 2.3.
Much the same football was shown in the second term. Collingwood were still the smarter team early. The big men were coming well into the game. McCracken (right) and Atkinson endeavored to handball Fitzroy out of difficulties, but failed, and Baker, rushing in, scored a goal for Collingwood. Atkinson was at his best when the ball came his end again, and sending play to the wing Parratt took a fine mark. He just failed in an attempt to pass to Freake. Exciting incidents about the posts came more often. Fitzroy had now the more versatile team, and were more successful forward.
Freake added another goal, off Gale's good play. Soon after the ball was bounced Wescott played on dashingly to Lee, who marked. Owing to his weak knee and the hard ground he could not make a hole for the ball for a place kick. He called Cock over, and the ground also defied him. Lee then drop-kicked, and a behind was scored. The forward also found the turf too hard on subsequent occasions for place-kicking purposes.
Collingwood had the ball up often enough, but aggressive back play and indifferent kicking for goal kept the scores down. The two Coventrys, however, brought cheers for fine work, "Syd"." for a great punt, and George for a fine mark, resulting in another goal. A hard quarter, with Collingwood slightly better on the general play, but weak forward, ended:— Collingwood, 4.5; Fitzroy, 3.6.
The sensational aspects of the game were compressed into the third and last quarters. Everything went well for Fitzroy. Within seven minutes they scored three goals, and as there were long spells between the goals previously obtained the run of success was all the more impressive. It was again a Freake event. The ball came down quickly after the bounce. Gale secured it and kicked to Freake—and the goal came. Then Rattray, handling well from the rick, passed to Donnellan, and the ball from his kick was taken by Freake. With one of his true, short, drop kicks another goal was registered.
A dashing turn by Wescott (left) was stopped half back through a brilliant mark by Taylor, and when Fitzroy came into the attacking zone again Brown, for Collingwood, took a fine high mark. Parratt, however, playing one of his best games—with his head as well as his feet—got the ball very well, but the kick was not true. The dazzling moments for Fitzroy showed out the strategy in front of the posts. When the ball was thrown in McCracken hit out splendidly to Fergie, who, running on got the goal.
The game, rugged hard and keen as it had been, had opened out to the people's liking. Collingwood had for the time lost their grip of the play. There was, however, a brilliant move by Cock. He broke away from a crush, and shot on truly to G. Coventry, The ball from him went to the wing and S. Coventry marked grandly. The goal came. The harvest of goals had not yet been garnered.
Fitzroy moved with lightning rapidity, and there was sureness in their methods combined with a little luck. Parratt, for instance, secured the ball quickly as it bounced off Fergie's shoulder, and he turned around and sent it through. No Collingwood effort could have well saved it. In the next goal from Collingwood, for-tune was with the Magpies. Wescott and S. Coventry had brought the ball the ball down, and a Woodsman chanced to luck and banged it back along the ground.
G. Coventry picked it up smartly and scored the full points. It was a Collingwood awakening. Fitzroy's men were closely watched, and the game came hack to its own for the time being—tests of strength, not pace. Nothing was finer than the defence of Lethbridge and Atkinson; seemingly the captain keeps his best for the finals. They had much to do in the subsequent few minutes. Collingwood played in from the wing with almost monotonous regularity, but in the crush and struggle half forward they were usually beaten off.
Singularly another Fitzroy run came in much the same way as the one earlier in the quarter. Molan came out of the ruck with the ball, kicked well on and just over a Woodsman's head into Freake's hands right in front. It was an easy goal. Then Fergie dashed out and played direct to McCracken, who took a fine mark and scored again. Fitzroy, were scoring two to one. For Collingwood, Baker, playing one of his bright, smart games, raced off with the ball, passed to S. Coventry (right), and he to his brother, and Collingwood got the goal. The team, however, had a deficiency of 15 points at the final change, and it was the irony of things that it should have had so many movements forward for such barren results.
To the defence of Atkinson and Taylor some credit is due. No one on the ground was surer than the first-named. Behinds came to them with wearying frequency. Lee was having a bad day. He was full of energy and dexterity, but keen eyes were on him all the time. Fitzroy were serving their purpose by holding to their own score and massing men on the ball to keep their opponents' score down. Yet, in singles, Collingwood's score was running up. A goal or two would have meant a lot. At last Fitzroy broke away, Sherry and Rattray directing the play on. Freake secured and placed, for a point. McCracken had an easy shot and failed, and Freake, skimming round, added another.
Well on in the quarter, however, the full forward played across to Williams who, dashing on scored the goal. There was yet time for Collingwood to redeem their position. Drummond scored for them, bringing the figures to 10.13 to 8.16 in Fitzroy's favor, and for a time it looked as though the game might swing their way. However, Collins and Fergie came with a direct centre move. Freake (left) secured the ball and noticing Wigraft alone, hand-balled it on. The accompanying goal settled the issue definitely, although Lee scored six points a few minutes later.
The Final scores were—
FITZROY .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 11.12
COLLINGWOOD .. .. .. .. 9.14
The previous week Fitzroy's success was due to their all-round serviceability. It was the same in this match. The team, therefore, is to be congratulated on having won the premiership on general qualifications. The side was underrated by many, but those who were the keenest are the first to bestow a sporting tribute to an all-round combination, one that has settled all arguments by its play and has lived up to the best traditions of the club.
The finest player on the ground was Atkinson, half back; a great man in the previous game, a champion in this. His burdens not only came with the actual play, but he had Lee to watch. Elliott and Taylor, on his flanks, were splendid, and Lethbridge added to the defensive strength. Freake and Parratt did a lot up forward, and in that telling third quarter they probably won the team's premiership, as far as two men could achieve that end.
All the others were from very fair to very good—there was not a failure. Collingwood, however, were not their real selves— a losing team seldom is. The two Coventrys, forward, were good players throughout, and Baker, a busy and versatile rover. Probably he handled the ball more often than any other player. The half back line was not as effective as usual. Wilson was the most useful. Pannam and Wescott on the centre line were busy, without al-ways being effective, and Drummond took a number of good marks. The forward divisions were decidedly weak on the day, and the rucks hardly compared with those of Fitzroy.
The goal kickers were:— Fitzroy: Freake (4), Parratt (3), Fergie, McCracken, Wigraft and Williams. Collingwood: G. Coventry (3), Lee (2), S. Coventry (2), Baker and Drummond.
For full match details and another match report, click here.
Title: Fitzroy premiers - keen, strong game
Date: Monday 16 October 1922, page 11
Publisher: The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954)