GEELONG'S DAZZLING FINISH
As a gate of £361 showed, there were about 26,000 people at Victoria Park on Saturday, and 20,000 of them at least were enthusiastically cheering Geelong. It was not that they had any special grudge against Collingwood, but the probabilities are that if the premiership in football went by a popular preferential vote Geelong would win easily, because every member of every League club in Melbourne would give Geelong his second vote. There was no mistaking the sympathy shown to them on Saturday. The game was worthy the occasion—one of the fairest and finest I have seen for many a day, and up to three-quarter time one would have tossed a coin to decide it, because there was nothing in the play showing one side in the least superior to the other; but in the last quarter Geelong came out with dazzling rushes, quick passing, and effective scoring, that quite paralysed their opponents, and earned their victory with as fine a finish to a great match as one could either desire or imagine.
Because the earlier phases were so even it is not necessary to dwell at great length upon the play. Geelong wore all blue, to distinguish them from their opponents, and the dark colours made the team look very boyish. Both captains were absent through injuries, so Heinz captained Geelong and Rowan acted for Collingwood. Right at the outset it can be said that both the emergency captains set their side a splendid example in individual play. The wind blew straight across the ground, making the goal kicking difficult.
In the opening phases Geelong were attacking, but Collingwood's defence was very sound, Jackson, Mutch, Laxton, and Anderson all showing out. Geelong, getting out of an awkward position, made a dashing attack, and Heinz passed the ball to Bill Eason, who might have marked right in front, but missed. A minute later Baker and Healy gave him a second chance. This time the shot was on the angle, but he scored first goal for Geelong. A fine battle between Rowan and McHale on the one side and Alec Eason ended in favour of Collingwood, who were attacking, when Gray came out with a strong rush and beat them off. After some smart passing Heinz played it to Martini, but nothing was done. Clever passing between Wilson and Jackson was checked by equally smart work on the part of Slater and Grigg. Martini had a long shot, but missed; then Heinz got a running try that was also astray, and Geelong at that stage seemed to be throwing away valuable opportunities. Collingwood's was the next attack. The ball passed between Laxton, Curtis, and Reynolds, but only a behind was got. Alec Eason, on the back lines, was doing wonderfully well for Geelong, but Collingwood played a rattling game just then; Curtis, Wilson, Hughes, and Laxton were all prominent, and the last -named had a fine try, which was just a little outside the goalpost. Collingwood at that stage were strong in the ruck, and attacked splendidly. Jackson and Wilson, playing to each other constantly, and seldom missing, got it up to range, where Hughes had a free kick right in front to score the goal. Immediately afterwards Grigg shone out with some fine high-marking. In another Collingwood dash Laxton and Mathieson gave it to Lee, who had a running shot. It was straight and low, and Alec Eason dashed across just in time to save the goal. Collingwood were having the better of the game then. Hughes took one of his high marks right in front, but missed. Then a Geelong dash, and Allan passed to Johns, who in a long shot was a bit short. Rowan was putting in one of his powerful dashes just as the quarter bell rang, when the scores were 1-4 to each side.
Opening the second quarter, Grigg, stooped Collingwood's first rush, but Gibb and Curtis curried it through, and it required another of Gray's fine dashes from the back line to clear the goal. As a result of good play by Brownlees, Baker had a hurried shot for Geelong, and missed Hughes, and McHale were prominent in the effort to get it away, but before they succeeded Heinz had another long shot, which failed to cover the distance. Gray and Armstrong were next prominent, Anderson and Sadler equally good on the other side. In spite of the strong cross wind, the football was fast and clever. Geelong's second goal was the result of some brilliant passing, in which Slater, Dalton. Armstrong, and Bill Eason shone. It was the last named who passed to Martini, and he scored. In an instant Reynolds gave Mathieson a chance, and he got second goal for Collingwood, making it 2-4 each. Lee had a free kick within range immediately afterward, but went just outside the goal. Then Grigg put in a dazzling effort for Geelong, and was prominent in some high marking. Then right away on the wing he got a try which seemed almost impossible, but with one of his beautiful kicks he scored third goal for Geelong. So it went on, point for point, and just upon half-time Seddon marked right in front for Collingwood, scored their third goal, and gave them a lead of two points with 3-6 to 3-4.
The third term saw Collingwood again attacking. Wilson passed the ball to Dobrigh, but nothing came of it. Gray cased the strain on Geelong's end for an instant, but Wilson again served Dobrigh; and a hurried shot missed. Then Geelong took a hand. Grigg with one of his fine marks sent it on to Dalton, who in turn passed to Allan, but he was too far out. Laxton next gave Curtis a chance, but it was only a behind. In the play that followed Hughes and Green were prominent for Collingwood, Alec Eason, Grigg, and Heinz for Geelong. A clever pass by James to Johns gave the visitors their fourth goal, and a fifth might have been got, for Bill Eason, who was playing persistently and with wonderful accuracy to Martini, gave him the chance for a mark right in front, but it was badly missed. Anderson, who was far above his from of recent games, put in another great burst for Collingwood. It was turn and turn about right through. The next instant Bill Eason from a free kick got very close. In the answering rush Wilson and Mathieson gave Lee a chance, and he scored a neat fourth goal. The usual Geelong dash—Johns and Bill Eason passed it on to Martini, who with a fine shot hit the goal-post. He corrected his mistake in the next instant, for a pass from Marsham gave him another try, and with that he scored fifth goal. Nothing further was done until three-quarter time, when Geelong led by 5-7 to 4-10.
The excitement was now intense. On the play it was impossible to forecast the winners. My personal impression at the moment was that Collingwood were playing slightly the stronger game, and looked more likely to see it out. That idea proved to be altogether deceptive. Martini had a long shot at the opening of the last term, and failed to score. Then Rowan three times in succession made grand rushes for Collingwood. His impetuosity is so great that mistakes might be expected, but he seldom made them. Dobrigh, too, was doing well, Seddon and Wilson backing him up, and Geelong had to play desperately hard in defence. Lasting out that deter mined Collingwood rally, the balance swung the other way, and stayed there to the finish. Heinz gave Martini another try, but it was only a behind. Rowell had to do his best to clear the Collingwood goal, and the next instant Baker marked within range. As he faltered about the try Rawle, as in his custom, took the fall from him. The crowd were indignant at the moment, but it did not matter. Grigg and Alec Eason gave Baker another chance. This time there was no indecision, He drove it through amid tremendous cheering, for with less than ten minutes to play it looked the winning effort. But Geelong left nothing to chance. Thence on they played really brilliantly, their long and correct kicking being simply irresistible. Collingwood saw it out with the finest pluck. They never faltered for an instant, but they were an over-matched and beaten team. Bill Eason got a try, and with a beautiful shot scored the seventh goal. Just on time Martini kicked the eighth, an equally fine effort, and amid rousing cheers Geelong won a place, with scores of:—
GEELONG, 8 goals 10 behinds (58 points).
COLLINGWOOD, 4 goals 10 behinds (34 points).
If one were to do justice to the Geelong team he would say that there were three weak men on the side and fifteen clippers, but amongst that fifteen, perhaps the men who stood out most prominently were Grigg, Gray, Alec Eason, and Heinz. Their form was carried right through the match, while at periods Slater, Dalton, Alwyn Johns, Bill Eason, and Healy were valuable men to the side. Collingwood also had four clippers in the match, and it is difficult to make a choice between Wilson, Anderson, Laxton, and Rowan. All four were absolutely at the top of their form. Hughes was a little less effective than usual in the ruck, and that was largely due to the manner in which Grigg baulked and sometimes beat him in the high-marking. Mutch, Johnson, Reynolds, Dobrigh, and Curtis were a useful detachment. Rawle's umpiring was strict but entirely satisfactory.
Title: Struggle for a place. Geelong's dazzling finish.
Publisher: The Argus (Melbourne, Vic: 1848 - 1957)
Date: Monday, 31 August 1914, p.5
Thanks to Stephen Wade for helping to prepare this report.
|1||Anderson, George||0||29y 87d||60||7|
|27||Curtis, Harry||0||21y 330d||7||5|
|3||Dobrigh, Gus||0||21y 199d||16||7|
|5||Gibb, Percy||0||32y 266d||156||8|
|6||Green, Jack||0||27y 1d||70||2|
|9||Hughes, Les||1||30y 133d||115||85|
|12||Jackson, Jim||0||24y 123d||68||18|
|14||Laxton, Charlie||0||24y 142d||47||27|
|13||Lee, Dick||1||25y 163d||123||344|
|17||Matheson, Harry||1||23y 78d||23||15|
|19||McHale, James 'Jock'||0||31y 260d||219||11|
|16||Mutch, Alec||0||25y 151d||63||1|
|24||Reynolds, Pen||0||22y 117d||13||5|
|21||Rowan, Paddy||0||25y 93d||66||21|
|20||Rowell, Ted||0||38y 75d||188||175|
|25||Sadler, Jim||0||28y 32d||108||3|
|26||Seddon, Mal 'Doc'||1||26y 90d||45||30|
|29||Wilson, Percy||0||25y 151d||92||47|
|22||Allen, Harry||0||24y 100d||8||4|
|7||Armstrong, Les||0||27y 74d||111||0|
|25||Baker, Jack||1||22y 263d||25||8|
|9||Brownlees, Rupe||0||26y 125d||70||1|
|12||Dalton, Bert||0||23y 7d||56||0|
|26||Eason, Alec||0||24y 294d||96||52|
|15||Eason, Bill||2||32y 257d||203||176|
|20||Gray, Jack||0||29y 12d||48||6|
|8||Grigg, Dick||1||29y 82d||191||63|
|18||Healy, Leo||0||23y 313d||60||22|
|1||Heinz, George||0||22y 325d||86||70|
|6||James, Les 'Jack'||0||24y 61d||55||14|
|21||Johns, Alwyn||1||20y 165d||24||9|
|3||Marsham, Harry||0||24y 41d||83||42|
|14||Martini, Percy||3||26y 86d||94||239|
|4||McCarter, Billy||0||25y 310d||36||2|
|13||Rankin, Bert||0||21y 193d||7||1|
|10||Slater, Joe||0||25y 273d||107||17|