Although there were many rival attractions to the league final on the Melbourne Cricket ground on Saturday, the attendance was maintained, 43,000 people being present and the gate was worth £1,420, as against £1,190 for the final last year.
The disinterested amongst football followers were anxious to see Collingwood win, because they have been repeatedly in the finals without of late years getting actually on top, but one found a good deal of sympathy for Carlton. Beginning the season with the loss of some notable players they further weakened themselves, mainly through their own faults, as the tournament went on. Fate was rather against them this year. Collingwood played the same team as the previous week and the only alteration in the Carlton ranks was the substitution of Gillespie for Flynn. A coincidence was noted as the teams came out. In every one of the finals this year the first team on the ground has won the match. Saturday was no exception, as Collingwood led the way into the field.
At the opening the game was inspiriting. Carlton seemed to have arranged for a sudden charge, and the way the ball was rushed right to the front of Collingwood's goal got the onlookers excited at once. Nothing decisive came from it, though it was quite clear in the first five minutes that the game was going to be desperately hard. Collingwood's retaliating change was more effective, for McHale, Baxter, and Angus took the ball the length of the ground, and with a fine drop-kick Angus set his side a goal-kicking example by landing the first for Collingwood.
The play was hot and close, and in the excitement no one gave a thought to possible consequences. Marchbank turned a second Collingwood rush, and Scaddan was equally effective in defence for Collingwood when Bacquie and Jamieson, of the blues, looked like forcing it home. The first fair try for Carlton was a snapshot by Elliott, which carried away slightly to the left of the post. Next Clancy sent it well up to Collingwood's goal front; the defenders worked it away along the wing for a bit, but Carlton came again, and Marchbank had what would have been a difficult try from an angle. He preferred to pass it right outfield to McGregor, and just as Collingwood were seriously menaced a free kick in front of their goal gave them relief.
The next moment Carlton were being just as hotly pressed at the other end when Wells got a free kick and some ease for the blues. Angus and Payne shone out in turn for the fighting sides, and the play was tremendously hard, even desperate. Baxter and Angus, of Collingwood were working beautifully together, and got the ball in position when Ryan, by an exceptionally fine effort, won his way to a scoring position, and just missed a goal. Both Bacquie, who marked finely, and McCluskey were conspicuous in Carlton's next attack, but Shorten, playing in determined rushing style, stayed off the trouble.
It was a little bit of bad luck for Collingwood that led to Carlton's first goal. The magpies were being hard pressed when Rowell, by a fine effort, stopped it in front, and dashed away on the right wing. Just as he seemed to be clear an accidental slip was quickly taken advantage of by Carlton and Bacquie snapped their first goal. Although Harris was watching Lee very closely, it did not prevent his doing his share in the back work, and the contest between these two all day was on the fairest possible lines. Another fine Collingwood effort, in which Angus and Vernon did most of the battling, landed the ball well forward where Lee marked and scored Collingwood's second goal with a punt.
They had a dazzling rush of success then, and earned it with some very brilliant football. McHale, Gibb, Baxter, and Vernon dashed in, working well together, and Vernon scored their third goal, while Ryan and McHale were chief helpers in the effort that gave Lee a difficult angle shot and fourth goal for Collingwood. Clarke and Payne were both playing splendidly in defence for Carlton, Harris giving them sound help, but Collingwood simply overpowered them at that stage. In their next effort, Gibb, Wilson, McHale, and Hughes all battled splendidly. Wilson got the try, made a very fine shot, but not quite straight and only got a point. At quarter time Collingwood had established a sound lead of 19 points.
In the second quarter they made their only mistake of the match in adopting, I think, absolutely wrong tactics. Angus massed his men wholly for defence. They had been carrying their rushes home with such persistency and effect that the best form of defence at the moment was to go on forcing the attack. Lee was put right back. Collingwood's greatest strength was concentrated on their goal front, and they played wholly for the Richmond wing. As a consequence Carlton began to show up, and with anything like the same luck or skill that Collingwood were able to command the Blues might by half-time have recovered the position.
Lee stopped the first Carlton rush but he made mistakes afterwards, for in a tussle with Gardiner the little Carlton forward got a free kick and just squeezed the ball through, making their second goal. It looked then as if Carlton would easily make up the leeway, but they were in a missing mood thence on to half-time. A fine rush, in which Marchbank and Elliott excelled, gave Gardiner a chance almost immediately, but only a behind resulted. There was a lot of scrambling for a time down in the Collingwood corner, and Marchbank once got it right in front, but Lee saved his side. He put it out of bounds and was punished, McDonald having a shot almost on the boundary line, but too difficult to turn to account, although he kicks fairly straight. Next Gardiner got a chance from a free kick, and missed.
Collingwood were being continually pressed, and were a long time in finding out that the negative game was not their best line. Rowell and Angus both did good work in their defence, but the captain, trying a short pass, saw Elliott come in cleverly and make a very fine shot without getting a goal. The first time Collingwood fairly got within reach success still stuck to them. Ryan, Hughes, and Angus passed it on to Gilchrist, who marked in front, made an excellent shot, and bagged their fifth goal. The play was fairly even for a time; then Collingwood's luck turned completely. Within a few minutes they had two of their finest players, in Scaddan and Ryan, down. Scaddan soared for a mark and came down heavily, getting a wrench across the loins that kept him out for some time. Ryan had his elbow so severely injured that he was practically of no further use in the match.
At half-time Collingwood held a 15 points lead. The state of affairs in that quarter was very well summed up by a member of the league who described Collingwood's policy as a winning side playing a losing game.
The second half of the match was neither so skilful, so exciting, nor so good tempered as the first half. It fell away considerably in character and never at any stage perhaps compared with the game between Collingwood and South Melbourne on the previous Saturday. McGregor, of Carlton, had hurt his leg badly in the first half. He could only be placed forward. Scaddan had recovered, but Ryan could only be posted forward on the chance that something might drop into his arms. Before the play had been long continued Wilson, the active little Collingwood player was hurt near the boundary, and he too was of very little service to the side afterward. In fact, in the final stages, Collingwood were represented forward by two cripples.
Opening the third quarter Collingwood, playing briskly in a game which had quietened down greatly, were some time getting position. Finally Lee, by clever play, snapped up the ball in front, got a fair scoring show, screwed his kick and achieved sixth goal. Immediately afterwards Daykin got the seventh. At that stage it looked like a run-away match. Clarke was playing very solidly for Carlton, Payne putting in some slashing defence also. But the scoring chances for the blues were few and far between. Lee had another difficult shot but did nothing, while Elliott, from a very fine try landed the ball right in the Collingwood goal, but not through it.
Carlton were a long time making any impression, but finally Marchbank, from a free kick a long way out, scored one of the finest goals of the match—their third. Shortly afterwards the Blues goal was in danger. Gillespie and Payne were running the ball out between them when Lee, very cleverly anticipating the pass, whipped up the ball, and kicked eighth goal for Collingwood. Still Carlton played on valiantly, Marchbank, McDonald, and Clancy by grand efforts landed the ball with the lame McGregor, who was playing forward, and he got fourth goal for them.
At the last chance Collingwood led by 20 points, which meant that Carlton had to score four goals to win. There seemed to be very little hope of their doing so, but the Magpies realised the loss of such a follower as Ryan in that crisis of the game.
Just as the final term was well under way a disgraceful scene occurred, which is dealt with in another column [see below]. Soon afterwards, McGregor marking right in front, got Carlton's fifth goal, and the game was rather rough and unpleasant. Collingwood were fighting forward on the left wing, when Gibb, with a fine left foot shot, got their ninth goal, though his effort was probably meant only to land the ball in front. It, however, made Collingwood absolutely safe.
In the last stage of the match the players were bunched together, there was very little system, and the match lost caste, but Collingwood held their lead, and the cheering at the finish showed that their success this year was popular.
The fact that Lee got four goals for the side in this exciting game made him one of the most notable men in the colours, because, as the scores show, it was mainly through his straight shooting that Collingwood won. No one played a finer game for them than Angus, who, although he wrenched his leg once rather badly, kept going pluckily right up to the finish. Scaddan, Shorten, and Mclvor did splendidly in defence. McHale was again a brilliant player for them about the centre. Norris proved a most useful man in the final stages when Ryan was hurt, and at that critical time also Vernon put in some of his best work. Hughes's marking was one of the features of the match, and Baxter and Rowell were of the greatest service to them.
Carlton's defence was their strongest point. Both Payne and Clark did some splendid work, Payne showing a pace that enabled him to surprise even such fast men as Oliver of the other side. Clark was very solid, and a continual barrier in Collingwood's path, and Harris decidedly useful. Elliott, Marchbank, and Bacquie all did excellent work. McDonald was exceptionally smart, and Wilson shows talents that will inevitably make him one of the brilliant players of the league.
Elder's task was less pleasant than usual, but he made singularly few mistakes.
The final league match on Saturday was seriously marred by what one old follower of the game unhesitatingly described as "the most disgraceful scene ever witnessed on a Melbourne football field." What happened in the playing arena may, by some, be discounted because of the actual results. A few men exchanged blows, two fell to the ground, 40 or 50 attendants and onlookers left their places, the police raced to the centre. The umpire bounced the ball, and the game went on again. Two minutes, perhaps, was the full term of the incident, but it was a period fraught with sensational possibilities. An umpire's whistle saved over 40,000 persons from being the witnesses of a pitched battle, in which hundreds of their own number must inevitably have been the belligerents. The occurrence will be investigated by the league, to whom four players—Bacquie and Sheehan (of Carlton) and Baxter and Shorten (of Collingwood) have been reported, Bacquie for striking Baxter, Baxter for striking Bacquie, Shorten for striking Bacquie, and Sheehan for striking Shorten.
In all the quarters the fight for the premiership was keen, arduous, and relentless. The pace was hot from the first bounce, and men met, clinched, struggled, and threw every few seconds. With the passing of the ball the contest between man and man passed. Once two players leapt for a mark, and their arms interlocked. Each claimed the ball, and each was determined to have it at any cost. Umpire Elder was handy. He threw himself between the men, and in their astonishment the ball dropped. Play went on from a bounce.
With the opening of the final quarter the huge crowd was tremulous with excitement. It swayed at the sides it, surged at the goal-ends; it was always roaring. Carlton were behind on points, but they were determined to win while 25 minutes remained. The crowd's roar doubled in intensity when Elder bounced the ball on the centre cross. It was swept away to the Collingwood goal at the railway end. Collingwood supporters shrieked, and the Carlton yells became deafening. For minutes the men battled and fought at the mouth of the goal. Heads met, and players sprawled, and the crowd roared lustily and mightily. Collingwood relieved; but back came the rush.
Ten minutes from the start one fine kick sent the ball well down the field. Bacquie, standing opposite the Harrison stand, between the line and the centre, rose to take a mark. Baxter rose a second later. As the two men regained their feet, their arms were locked about the ball. Bacquie wrenched and twisted, Baxter hung on tenaciously. Bacquie fell back. Baxter was still gripping the ball. Bacquie released one hand and Baxter freed one of his hands. Bacquie, hot with rage that his possession of the ball being so obstinately disputed, raised his hand, and in a second the two men fell to the ground fighting. Fierce yells went up from the Carlton and Collingwood camps.
Umpire Elder and the majority of the players had not had time to disengage themselves from the struggle at the goal's mouth when the men were struggling on the ground. Shorten, of Collingwood, was the first up with the fighting pair. He rushed to Baxter's assistance. Sheehan came up to help Bacquie, and Hughes arrived a second later. Every one of these players either struck or was struck.
A stand-up fight was in progress in the centre of the field, all the players were running to the scene, then attendants left the grass at the railings and joined in the chase, policemen bolted from the sides, and twenty or thirty men from the rival camps jumped over the fences and set out to take part in the settlement. A mad melee was imminent. The vast crowd thrilled with excitement, and the roaring was terrific. Had the one incentive been there—the sinking of another blow—those crowds might have swarmed over the fences.
Elder, who had parted the contestants in the centre, carried the ball to the wing, and, furiously blowing his whistle, diverted attention, Bacquie and Hughes and Baxter were down on the ground, and men were standing about them ready to fight if necessary.
Back flew the attention of the crowd, and immense roaring was varied by bitter yells. Elder whistled shrilly. Again the attention was turned from the prostrate forms. The ball was bounced, and, to the accompaniment of intense excitement, the Collingwood goal was once more in danger. That was the end of that ugly incident.
Hughes who had been sorely struck, soon felt well enough to stand up, but several minutes elapsed before the small knot of attendants and a policeman, who were fanning Bacquie, parted and allowed the injured player to rise. The man who felled Hughes with a blow has not been identified.
Title: Collingwood's triumph. Carlton defeated. Keen and eager struggle
Publisher: The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria: 1848-1957)
Date: Monday, 3 October 1910, p.8 (Article) Web: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10465936
|Angus, George||1||35y 169d||141||57|
|Baxter, Tom||0||26y 220d||70||43|
|Daykin, Richard||1||23y 267d||21||7|
|Gibb, Percy||1||28y 299d||103||5|
|Gilchrist, Paddy||1||20y 325d||9||11|
|Hughes, Les||0||26y 166d||45||28|
|Lee, Dick||4||21y 196d||86||252|
|McHale, James 'Jock'||0||27y 293d||144||7|
|McIvor, Duncan||0||25y 324d||17||0|
|Norris, Charlie||0||29y 70d||11||4|
|Oliver, Norm||0||24y 321d||29||2|
|Rowell, Ted||0||34y 108d||130||160|
|Ryan, Dave||0||25y 251d||73||46|
|Sadler, Jim||0||24y 65d||45||0|
|Scaddan, Joe||0||24y 61d||21||0|
|Shorten, Jack||0||22y 305d||36||0|
|Vernon, Dick 'Bendigo'||1||31y 277d||33||8|
|Wilson, Percy||0||21y 184d||30||15|
|Baquie, Jack||1||24y 83d||48||22|
|Clancy, Tom||0||23y 173d||21||2|
|Clark, Norm||0||31y 323d||96||1|
|Elliott, Fred||0||31y 177d||194||80|
|Gardiner, Vin||1||24y 343d||52||96|
|Gillespie, Doug||0||22y 292d||82||0|
|Goddard, Bill||0||30y 219d||41||19|
|Gotz, Martin||0||27y 217d||79||21|
|Harris, Dick||0||24y 352d||44||19|
|Jamieson, Ernie||0||22y 119d||9||1|
|Marchbank, Jim||1||32y 45d||73||31|
|McCluskey, Tom||0||20y 31d||4||0|
|McDonald, Andy||0||24y 278d||20||19|
|McGregor, Rod||2||27y 347d||109||17|
|Payne, Billy||0||28y 280d||103||0|
|Sheehan, Percy||0||27y 88d||74||11|
|Wells, Jack||1||27y 270d||54||11|
|Wilson, Archie||0||22y 159d||3||0|