The Melbourne Cricket-ground was a wonderful spectacle on Saturday afternoon when Fitzroy and St. Kilda played the final match for the League championship. Nearly 60,000 people thronged the stands and the ground; it was just a living mass, with clumps of faces curiously conspicuous in places where the onlookers were jammed densely together. All records for football in Australia were eclipsed, but, best of all, under conditions that favoured football of the best, the teams threw themselves into it with magnificent vim, and there were surprises which kept the great crowd simmering with expectation, and at times half crazy with excitement. It was a wonderful scene, and a wonderful game.
The beginning of the match saw Fitzroy open out with a game that fairly surprised the onlookers. Massing together and trusting to strength chiefly for their progress has been their policy for the season, but they seem to have spent a good deal of the week in discussing a new plan of campaign. As a consequence, they commenced with fine, breezy, open football, and for a while seemed to take complete command of the game. It was noticeable then, and all through the match, that those brilliant passing rushes in which St. Kilda excel were very seldom carried past the centre line. There Holden, playing brilliantly on the wing, McLennan, in his old place in the centre, and Buisst, on the other wing, formed a barrier which St. Kilda could rarely pass.
From the bounce of the ball Schmidt dashed off with it, but a breach of the rules kept St. Kilda out of range. Woodcock started an exhibition of high marking which, on both sides, has rarely been excelled in a great game. Cooper, Buisst, and Walker were conspicuous in a Fitzroy dash, which Cumberland and Collins in turn checked. Then Holden came out on the wing, passed the ball to Freake, who missed the mark, but before Fitzroy had time to record the failure, Holden had forced it back again. Parratt backed him up, and lodged the ball with Heaney, who was keeping guard over Lever, the St. Kilda full back. Heaney marked it splendidly, and got first goal for Fitzroy. They were playing better football, and there were rousing cheers from the Fitzroy contingent when the ball came back to Freake, who scored their second goal. Two goals in less than four minutes, and St. Kilda looking gloomy! Parratt was again conspicuous in attack, but Eicke, with a beautiful mark, and backed up by Cumberland and Woodcock, took it away. St. Kilda, chiefly through Bowden's help, were forcing into Fitzroy territory, where Buisst marked and stopped them.
It was getting a little bit rough, largely, no doubt, through over-excitement, and one player after another was warned to be more careful. There was nothing particularly bad, but Elder and the steward were keeping a firm hand on the game. Ellis, of St. Kilda was the first man cautioned for using his elbow against Martin. A minute later, and chiefly through Woodcock's help, the ball was going fast into St. Kilda's goal front, when Ellis took it out again. Then Martin placed it with Freake straight in front. It was a good kick, but not quite straight. Next, the ubiquitous Holden took it up to scoring point, and Heaney, soaring, very nearly got the mark, but Eicke carried it off with a fine breezy rush for St. Kilda.
Heaney had another chance, and went within a couple of feet of goal. Then Parratt with a free-kick from a sharp angle lodged it in front, and in the turmoil Norris snapped it through. It looked as if Fitzroy were walking away with the match, for Holden and Harrison put in fine play for them immediately afterwards, and Heaney, who was quite another man to the previous Saturday, got it with his back to the goal. He requires almost as much space as a man-of-war to swing round, so he tried a shot over his shoulder and missed. A minute later Holden from a fine running kick got a behind. Heron, in spite of the fact that he had lost eight of his teeth in the game of the previous Saturday (it was a marvel how he played so well after that accident), was showing up finely for the maroons. Cumberland took a great mark, but St. Kilda could make no progress, for Walker and Shaw had it back to their goal-front again. Martin got it on the wing, and Hattam stopped the shot right between the posts. Fitzroy were simply overwhelming St. Kilda. Toohey was next in evidence. He marked the kick-off, and sent it back to Heaney, who on the second effort took a magnificent mark, but could not get the goal.
Millhouse varied the monotony of Fitzroy's scoring rushes with a fine dash; but Harrison checked it instantly, and brought the ball right back to St. Kilda ground. Buisst and Parratt carried on the attack, and it was only a fine mark by Dangerfield that turned the assault. Immediately afterwards Millhouse made a gallant struggle on the wing, where three Fitzroy men were against him, and Holden, who was one of them, came streaming away with the ball. Heaney, who was charged, got a free-kick on a difficult angle, with very little space open to him, and was not equal to it. St. Kilda were breaking the rules a good deal—in fact, they were slightly rattled, and it was just on the end of the quarter when they got their first scoring chance. Ellis, Cumberland, and Morrissey placed it with Sellars, who missed the goal. At the end of the quarter Fitzroy had scored 24 points to 1.
The St. Kilda fellows had a hurried consultation before starting the quarter, and improvement was seen almost instantly. Cumberland, Sellars, Cumberland again, then Lynch carried it to Morrissey, who went just outside the posts. Sellars immediately got a free-kick on a sharp angle, but was out of tune. Little Shaw, the nugget of the Fitzroy team, was spoken to by the steward, and Jory had the same attention within a minute. Sellars got a second shot, but it was again faulty. Then Fitzroy in a rattling dash carried it right to the other end, where Heaney, being held down as he went for his soaring mark, got a free-kick and hit the goal-post. Cumberland was one of the few men in St. Kilda colours shining out at that instant. He struggled magnificently, but Walker checked his efforts. Then Collins from a free-kick passed the ball quickly to Baird, whose shot hit the goal-post. There was fierce fighting around St. Kilda's goal-posts for a while, but immediately it was passed to the other end Cumberland sent it to Woodcock, who made a fine mark, but only got a behind. Eicke was cheered for a beautiful run, and Woodcock was doing a giant's work in the crush.
The football was of the finest, open and full of excitement. Martin and Parratt came into notice for Fitzroy, and again Hattam was the useful man back for St. Kilda, while Collins followed it up by a very pretty effort along the wing. St. Kilda were coming on, but before they had reached anything like Fitzroy's level of the first quarter their opponents scored again. Buisst passed to Toohey. He had it up with Heaney, whose quick shot scored nothing; but while the ball still lingered in range Shaw got fourth goal for Fitzroy. Eicke brought the ball out, and just afterwards, as Woodcock was going for a mark Walker, who was altogether too late to stop him, brought him down with a bad sling, and again there was a caution from the umpire. Hattam on the half-back line was doing splendid work for his side, but Fitzroy were a hard team to hold in check. In their next effort Walker, Martin, and Freake shone. The ball lodged finally with Heaney, whose kick was very long, but not straight. McLennan with a dash from the centre passed to Freake within comfortable range. It looked a certain goal, but Lynch soared up for it just in time.
Three beautiful high marks for Fitzroy by Johnson, Toohey, and Martin carried the ball the length of the ground. Parratt came in, but Dangerfield was St. Kilda's reliable defender. In another Fitzroy dash Martin, Shaw, and Parratt got close home. This time Lever marked right over Heaney on the goal front. It was interesting to notice that during the earlier stages Heaney allowed Lever to go for the ball first, and then soared right over him. Lever had profited by the lesson. He let Heaney go first afterwards. There was a great struggle
in front of St. Kilda's goal, just as the bell rang, with Fitzroy leading by 4-8 to 5 behinds. It seemed certain victory for them, only a question of time, for St. Kilda had as yet developed little of that brilliant football which served them so well a week before.
Commencing the third quarter Morrissey, Collins, and Sellars were all busy about Fitzroy's goal, but nothing material came from it. They were coming in by the wing again, when a free kick for holding stopped them. From a chance kick along the ground they got very close, and for an instant there was a doubt as to the result. Then Lenne gave Fitzroy relief that was rather badly needed. Parratt carried on the full back's effort, lodged it with Toohey, who made a very fine shot indeed, but the ball, curving at the last moment, hit the goal-post. St. Kilda were picking up. Eicke, Woodcock. Bowden, and Lynch all made dashing efforts, and Morrissey got a shot within easy range, but for the fourth time in the match, twice for each side, the shot hit the goal-post. Beautiful play by Schmidt was backed up by Lynch, Millhouse, and Cumberland, but the big fellow's shot was a bit low to get home.
The turning point seemed to have come when Bowden placed it with Millhouse, who scored first goal for St. Kilda. About 40,000 people cheered the success, for it was quite manifest that two-thirds of that great crowd were sympathisers with St. Kilda. It was coming that way again fast when Walker intervened, but a moment later Dangerfield had to do his best in defence for St. Kilda. Bowden, Jory, and Cumberland were all under notice, and the last named, being tripped by Johnson in front, had a try without success, for Johnson, having given them the chance, saved his side with a beautiful mark. Eicke, who had worked up forward, tried for the goal, and went just outside the post. St. Kilda were playing on, but they were still decidedly weak on the forward lines.
In a Fitzroy interlude Harrison, Heron, and Martin put the ball within scoring distance, and after a tremendous struggle Parratt got his chance, and scored fifth goal for them. Shaw added another behind within half a minute, and then towering efforts by Woodcock staved off further danger. The high marking was really brilliant, Ellis and Johnson being in turn cheered for superb efforts. Thus far in the third quarter it had been perfect football, but for a little while it got fierce again St. Kilda were pressing when Cooper McLennan, and Toohey took it away to the other end. The Tricolours tried in vain to get their passing rush to work. It began well frequently, but seldom carried home.
Towards the end of the quarter, Fitzroy were the better team again, and Toohey, who can kick a long distance, had a try within comfortable range for him, but no- thing was got, and at the last change Fitzroy had a lead of 25 points. From 11 scoring chances St. Kilda had only got one goal, and in that, though no one realised it at the moment, had lost the match.
As they faced up for the last spell it seemed hopeless for St. Kilda to make up their leeway, but a struggle that had been full of incident, thus far never for a moment dull, reached its climax in this last quarter. Fitzroy commenced it with such power that it seemed they were going to hold their own easily. Johnson, Buisst, Holden, Martin, all in turn did splendidly for them. Martin had a running shot, and failed to score. Within a few seconds Buisst had the ball back again to Toohey, who again failed. It was a fine shot, but not straight.
Then came St. Kilda's splendid effort at recovery, and for a while it looked as if Fitzroy were doomed. The revival came with a cleverly-got goal by Sellars—St. Kilda's second. They were attacking with wonderful vim, and for a time the best that Johnson could do on the half-back line was required to keep them off. Schmidt came out with one of his great dashes and dropped the ball where Baird stood alone, within a couple of yards of goal. He got the third goal easily, and the cheering had hardly died out when Morrissey got a free kick through Johnson's fault, straight in front of goal. When he got the fourth there was simply a roar of cheers all round the ground.
St. Kilda continued to play with such dash and method that for a time Fitzroy were simply powerless. Bowden placed it with Schmidt, who failed to complete the effort, and then Millhouse marked in a crush, was instantly overwhelmed with half a dozen maroon jackets, and amid surging excitement failed to do anything of consequence. An effort by Shaw gave Fitzroy momentary relief. Then it was back again, and Baird got another behind for St. Kilda, going very close indeed. Johnson and Buisst again checked their progress, but it was only for an instant, for Morrissey marked from Schmidt, and got fifth goal for St. Kilda. They were only two points behind then.
The great crowd was worked up to the highest pitch of excitement and Fitzroy seemed to be rattled. Again it was Johnson who gave them a little relief. St. Kilda seemed certain to win. With five minutes to go they were only a point to the bad. They were still streaming on—Fitzroy a little bit distracted. An effort that looked like getting home was spoiled through Schmidt hanging on to the ball.
Then came the last turn in this great game. St. Kilda had made their great effort, and stopped just short of victory. Cooper's cool head was invaluable to Fitzroy at this stage. More than once he stopped it on the half-back line. Then Martin and Lethbridge passed it to Heaney, and before that strain eased Martin marked it in front, took his place-kick very deliberately, and the Fitzroy followers went half mad for joy when sixth goal was scored, for it was seen then St. Kilda could not in the time recover. The last nail in their coffin was driven home when, as the result of a fine effort by Cooper, Shaw got the ball and scored the seventh and last goal just as the bell rang.
Although the great majority of those present would, for the best of sporting reasons, have wished to see St. Kilda win, they could not in justice deny Fitzroy all the credit of a victory, which was a fitting crown to a very fine season's football. They had won through the first phase by sheer merit, and this victory, gained in a game that will be long remembered, was the supreme effort.
In speaking of individual play it is very difficult to give preferences on the Fitzroy side. They had more men playing at their top than their opponents had, and this mainly accounted for their victory. Reversals of form were conspicuous. Johnson and Heaney did little good a week before, but they were invaluable on Saturday. The three men, however, who did most for Fitzroy were undoubtedly Holden, by his great play on the wing; Parratt, on the half-forward mark, where his coolness was a most valuable factor; and that grand player McLennan in the centre. One might mention almost every one on the side, for Shaw, Lethbridge, Buisst, Toohey, and Norris were all doing really good work; and even then the merit was by no means exhausted.
On the other side there were two men who stood out conspicuously, and they were a contrast. The pair were Woodcock and Eicke. The little fellow had seldom played a better game, and the big fellow was at his very best. Next to these two Cumberland was as usual one of the stalwarts. Bowden did splendidly on the wing, especially in the later stages. Dangerfield and Hattam were great defenders, and Ellis was another who won distinction. St. Kilda's forward lines have been their strength all through the season, but just when it was most needed that part of their organisation failed. Both sides covered themselves with glory in the game, and St. Kilda have almost all the distinction for the year that goes with victory.
Elder should be highly complimented for the cool and effective way in which he held control of the match.
All figures in connection with football in Victoria were again beaten on Saturday in the final between Fitzroy and St. Kilda. The attendance numbered 59,479, as against 54,536 for the final of last year. The comparison between gates was even more marked. Saturday's takings on the Melbourne Cricket-ground were £2,304/4/3, as against £1,952/6/9 for last year. As a result of the fine series of finals the League gathers in a sum of £7,373, as compared with £6,554 for the finals of 1912.
Title: The football final. Author: Observer Publisher: The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria: 1848-1957) Date: Monday, 29 September 1913, p.12 (Article) Web: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7228539
|1||Buist, Teddy||0||28y 146d||44||1|
|5||Cooper, Jack||0||24y 218d||102||4|
|8||Freake, Jim||1||24y 243d||39||109|
|18||Harrison, Artie||0||20y 231d||11||2|
|6||Heaney, Tom||1||25y 178d||73||54|
|11||Heron, Percy||0||20y 276d||34||15|
|30||Holden, George||0||24y 165d||88||24|
|14||Johnson, Wally||0||26y 26d||124||82|
|17||Lenne, Bert||0||24y 56d||66||6|
|12||Lethbridge, Chris||0||23y 126d||13||4|
|8||Martin, Jim||1||29y 38d||110||80|
|19||McLennan, Harold||0||25y 63d||94||16|
|20||Norris, Charlie||1||32y 66d||58||10|
|21||Parratt, Percy||1||26y 212d||81||65|
|23||Shaw, George||2||27y 179d||48||22|
|7||Toohey, Jim||0||27y 66d||17||22|
|24||Walker, Bill||0||30y 125d||168||25|
|2||Wells, Charlie||0||21y 167d||16||10|
|St. Kilda||Match Stats||Career|
|3||Baird, Des||1||25y 93d||32||7|
|23||Bowden, Bob||0||26y 182d||98||5|
|22||Cazaly, Roy||0||20y 257d||27||7|
|23||Collins, Ted||0||20y 5d||20||7|
|6||Cumberland, Vic||0||36y 85d||141||75|
|17||Dangerfield, Gordon||0||28y 0d||101||9|
|11||Eicke, Wels||0||20y 0d||72||26|
|15||Ellis, Reg||0||22y 217d||20||0|
|2||Harris, Dick||0||27y 348d||89||22|
|18||Hattam, Harrie||0||23y 82d||54||2|
|14||Jory, Percy||0||24y 280d||28||11|
|1||Lever, Harry||0||27y 265d||137||6|
|16||Lynch, Phil||0||23y 137d||33||24|
|12||Millhouse, Algy||1||26y 137d||20||9|
|30||Morrissey, George||2||30y 269d||93||64|
|32||Schmidt, Billy||0||25y 272d||109||102|
|4||Sellars, Ernie||1||23y 99d||47||119|
|5||Woodcock, Bill||0||25y 90d||107||36|