Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


South Melbourne vs Fitzroy

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Round: 12   Venue: Lake Oval   Date: Sat, 04-07-1914 3:00 pm    
South Melbourne C:  Vic Belcher
Fitzroy C:  Percy Parratt
  FITZ by 9STH by 7STH by 11STH by 10  

Match Report



Although the two leading clubs in the League were engaged at South Melbourne on Saturday before a crowd in proportion to the attraction, which contributed £300, and the ground, though a trifle on the heavy side for this winter, still fit for football of the finest every body was disappointed in the result. They had all that makes football exciting and attractive in a game that was in doubt almost up to the last minute, yet at no phase was the struggle worthy of the combatants. It was just one of those inexplicable disappointments that occasionally happen.

1st Quarter

The wind at the outset slightly favoured the lake goal, though scoring throughout the day was not heavier there than at the other end. In the opening stages the best things in the match were the defence work of Bamford and Johnson, who were constantly in evidence, while O'Donoghue, in the South colours, developed his best defensive game for the season. Early in the match two of the long-range men, Toohey and Kelly, had shots which failed. Then Freeman and Kelly passed the ball to Morgan who snapped first goal for the South. The next assauit was Fitzroy's, Millen and Holden to Heany, who quite early in the match, lamed himself so badly that he was of very little use afterwards, and several times tell helplessly when attempting to turn quickly for the ball. It is not likely that he will be able to play again for some weeks. In spite of the fine defence work of Johnson and Bamford, South Melbourne, broke in again. Caldwell, from the wing, passed the ball on to Freeman who with a good long, shot got their second goal. O'Donoghue stopped Fitzroy from getting within range for a time. Then Martin and Parratt worked it up, and the lastnamed, by a pass that was either exceptionally lucky 0r very clever, placed it with Toohey, who with one of his long place-kicks got first goal for Fitzroy. The incident was repeated almost in detail, Martin and Parratt again serving Toohey and once more a magnificent shot went true to goal. Free kicks were very plentiful, yet offences against fair play or the spirit of sport singularly few all through the game. Players were holding the ball and holding their opponents—that was the chief offence. Some good play, by Saltau, Sloss, and Freeman, of the South, went to waste against the stalwart defence of Johnson, and there was great cheering from Fitzroy when that player marked over Kelly's head. Heany and Abbott both missed chances for Fitzroy, the lastnamed hitting the post, but just on the change Toohey got another chance and scored a beautiful third goal for Fitzroy, who led at the end of the first quarter by 3-4 to 2-1.

2nd Quarter

In the second quarter Walker, who was playing his first game this season, went into the ruck. Fitzroy were active at first, Millen, Wilson, and Norris all serving them smartly. The ball went through the goal from Norris's kick, but it was low. Toohey tried to mark, and touching the ball, spoiled the goal. Immediately Shaw passed it to Freake, who got their fourth goal. Rusich with a nice dodging run gave the South some relief, and, after a dash by Bamford, Kelly got a running shot and scored their third goal. An exchange between Kelly and Sloss gave the last-named fourth goal. Cooper held them off for a while, but Charge, who opened badly, but was playing on, got fifth goal out of a crush, and the South had suddenly taken control, although Holden, Bamford, and Cooper were doing good work for Fitzroy. Yet the football was poor—the prevalence of free kicks spoiled it. Thomas, on the South Melbourne wing, was playing very fast and clever football. He showed persistence, which is a good point, and it was largely his effort that enabled Freeman to snap their sixth goal. The South were missing scarcely a chance, and at half-time they had a lead of 6-1 to Fitzroy's 4-6, largely the result of superior shooting.

3rd Quarter

At the opening of the third quarter Thomas got a very bad knock out from an opponent's knee, and it took considerable time and attention to put him on his feet again. For some time the play was uninteresting, mainly in favour of South Melbourne, for whom Morgan, Kelly, and Charge were prominent. It was one of Charge's fine high marks that passed the ball on to Sloss, who kicked seventh goal for the South. Kelly, from a free kick in a scoring position, got nothing, and the South, largely owing to pace as contrasted with strength and crush, still held the upper hand, though there was little in the football that even an enthusiast could have spared. Fitzroy picked up again, when a pass from Wilson gave Freake the chance to score their fifth goal. Then Hennington, one of the Southerners, was down for a time. Millen, Cooper, and Bamford in turn shone out for Fitzroy. Freake when roving was prominent and active. He gave Abbott a hurried chance, which brought nothing of consequence while Parratt did little better. The outfield kicking on the whole was rather poor; the impression one got was that the ball weighed about 10lb. Morgan, who was playing a fine game for South Melbourne, passed it to Charge, who took another of his masterly marks and kicked eighth goal for South Melbourne. At the last stage South Melbourne had 8-1 to Fitzroy's 5-8, yet everyone expected a hard finish, for they know how Fitzroy play when a recovery has to be made. Their worst enemies never accuse them of want of pluck or heart.

4th Quarter

Early in the last quarter Charge gave it to Thomas with a beautiful pass, but the shot did nothing, though Freeman a little latter went a good deal closer. In Fitzroy's answering rush Norris took an easy mark in front and kicked their sixth goal. Shaw and Holden were particularly prominent in their forcing attacks. The ball appeared to be going low behind, when two of the South Melbourne defenders jumped for it and hit it back into play right in front of Freake's toe and the goal. It went through as a matter of course, and no time was lost in doing it. This made the game very interesting again, and it looked as if Fitzroy would repeat some of their great recoveries of the season. There was wild excitement on the ground when Thomas got a shot and failed to cover the distance. In the rally that followed Kelly got ninth goal for the South. There was still hope for Fitzroy, and the game became more desperate, the football distinctly worse, but at that stage of course anything was excusable. Everyone was so eager they were bound to make mistakes. Rusich and Rademacher put in some sound work for the South, and as a consequence O'Donoghue got a shot which scored their tenth goal. That placed it beyond doubt, and South Melbourne, who seemed to be a beaten team a little earlier, when they led by one point only, had made the game safe. The excitement lasted to the end, some of the wild kicks in the crush being rather hair-raising, but Fitzroy were beaten in a match in which excitement was the only recommendation. Apart from the points won and lost it was a match of no consequence. The final scores were:—

SOUTH MELBOURNE, 10 goals 4 behinds—64 points.
FITZROY, 7 goals 12 behinds—54 points.

The merit in South Melbourne's victory was that they accomplished it almost against hope, and with many of their leading men absent. In individual play a feature was decidedly the prominent part taken by Morgan and Thomas. The first-named has now established himself as one of the leading men of League football, and Thomas promises to do so. It must have been gratifying for the South also to find O'Donoghue developing the form which led to his inclusion in then team. Sloss got nearer his quality of last year than in any previous game this season, and from beginning to end was always playing finely. Charge was weak at first, but there was no man doing better work for the South in the second half of the game. Both Caldwell and Tandy played first-rate football on the wings while Freeman and Belcher were in the useful division.

For Fitzroy the three prominent men were Johnson, Bamford, and Millen. The last-named caught the eye of the crowd occasionally with one of his fine dashes; but Johnson and Bamford were playing splendid defensive football right through the match. Both Shaw and Holden came on towards the finish, when Cooper was also playing a fine game, but earlier in the match he gave rather too many free kicks, wholly for technical mistakes generally for over-running. After the first quarter Toohey did little; his marking and kicking practically ended there. Freake on the whole was an active little rover, and did very well forward also. Norris in the ruck and Lethbridge and Parratt also did a fair amount of work. Norden was a very strict umpire.


Title: Match that failed. Disappointing game. South Melbourne's victory.
Author: Observer
Publisher: The Argus (Melbourne, Vic: 1848 - 1957)
Date: Monday, 6 July 1914, p.8

Thanks to Stephen Wade for helping to prepare this report.

Match stats

South Melbourne Match Stats Career
# Player K M H D G B HO T FF FA Age Games G
1 Belcher, Vic 0 25y 314d 145 59
4 Bennett, Harold 0 23y 25d 21 2
2 Caldwell, Jim 0 25y 327d 89 12
5 Charge, Les 1 22y 342d 54 42
9 Freeman, Jack 1 22y 231d 13 26
11 Hennington, Bill 0 6 0
32 Jackson, Percy 2 20y 94d 3 4
13 Jones, Charlie 0 25y 244d 3 1
14 Kelly, Harvey 2 31y 102d 83 125
24 Morgan, Harry 1 25y 102d 12 14
17 Mullaly, Dick 0 22y 15d 37 6
26 O'Donoghue, Alan 1 23y 31d 17 9
20 Rademacher, Arthur 0 24y 219d 31 0
18 Rusich, Les 0 25y 56d 40 22
22 Saltau, Harry 0 22y 290d 36 0
21 Sloss, Bruce 2 25y 164d 75 38
27 Tandy, Mark 0 21y 304d 37 3
30 Thomas, Claude 0 23y 80d 5 0
  Rushed   4  
  Totals         10 4         24y 64d 707 363
Fitzroy Match Stats Career
# Player K M H D G B HO T FF FA Age Games G
31 Abbott, Paddy 0 25y 152d 13 0
3 Bamford, Fred 0 27y 85d 61 1
5 Cooper, Jack 0 25y 133d 112 6
9 Freake, Jim 3 25y 158d 51 147
7 Heaney, Tom 0 26y 93d 84 63
30 Holden, George 0 25y 80d 100 26
14 Johnson, Wally 0 26y 306d 136 82
15 Lambert, George 0 26y 298d 76 4
11 Lenne, Bert 0 24y 336d 78 6
12 Lethbridge, Chris 0 24y 41d 25 6
4 Martin, Jim 0 29y 318d 122 86
29 Millen, Roy 0 20y 265d 13 3
22 Norris, Charlie 1 32y 346d 70 12
20 Parratt, Percy 0 27y 127d 93 72
17 Shaw, George 0 28y 94d 59 24
8 Toohey, Jim 3 27y 346d 29 58
24 Walker, Bill 0 31y 40d 169 25
28 Wilson, Billy 0 22y 225d 6 3
  Rushed   12  
  Totals         7 12         26y 211d 1297 624

Match highlights

Bill Walker played his last game for Fitzroy (V/AFL, Premiership Season, R12)


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.