The rain prevented anything like a crowd at the St. Kilda ground on Saturday but the 4,000 or 5,000 people who braved the elements, and came out armed with overcoats and umbrellas, were amply rewarded for their pains by seeing a magnificent tussle. From the first bounce till the very last tinkle of the bell it was a battle between two earnest, strong teams, and the crowd entered into the excitement, and what it lacked in numbers it made up in enthusiasm. Many people thought that the adverse weather committee would have stepped in, but they decided to let the game go on. South Melbourne would have preferred a postponement, but Fitzroy wanted to get the game over, and would not consent.
Fitzroy were without Sharpe, the players wearing black arm-bands out of respect to their comrade, who had lost his father on the previous day. Kiernan was expected to resume his place in the team, but at the last moment Fitzroy had to call on Cleary to strip, as Kiernan did not make an appearance. South Melbourne had Henley and Purdy away, and in the dressing-room South supporters learnt with dismay that Pleass had an injured leg, while Fraser, with a stiff neck, and Jenarrett, with an abscess on his neck, would have been better looking on.
As the players came out it was raining steadily, and the wind blowing from the Elwood end made the city goal the best to kick to. South Melbourne had first use of the wind, and at once swooped down on the Fitzroy goal. After some good relief work by Hickey and Deas the Southerners returned to the attack, and Lampe, from a free kick, punted a goal. Just behind the posts were two South supporters, who carried red and white umbrellas, and they waved these for all they were worth. Howson was playing grandly on the wing, and once after marking well, a moment later, he beat Drohan in the air, and took the mark. McSpeerin and Drohan, with a smart run, sent the ball up, and Jim Grace took a flying shot at an angle, but to the disgust of his side the ball hit the post.
Garbutt, Howson, Jenarrett, and Lampe soon had Fitzroy busy again and Lampe, with a running shot, got the second goal, and sent those umbrellas waving again. Fitzroy were fumbling a lot, and South were strongly in the lead at this stage.
Lampe beat several Fitzroy men in a go for the ball, but nothing came of it, and when they changed over South had 2-3 to 0-1.
Having to play against the wind, Adamson strengthened his backs, by bringing James down. South attacked at once in the second quarter, but Deas saved Fitzroy, and down the ground the maroons came with a rush. McDougall took a hurried shot off the ground, and it went through the goals, but Adamson pointed to the mark on the arm of his jersey where the ball had touched, and Crapp had noticed the touch too, and only a behind was scored. There must have been some Rugby ideas at work in the South team, for they played the St. Kilda road wing very strongly, and the persistent way in which the ball went out savoured strongly of "kicking into touch." Time and time again South got up to the half-back lines only to find Hickey irresistible.
For a while there were signs of temper, Robinson, Cleary, and Dalton being called to book by the umpire for roughness. Twice Sloan came racing down the ground and behinds were scored, but when Hickey led a rush M. Grace, with a long punt out of the ruck, got Fitzroy's first goal. Free kicks were coming freely to Fitzroy on the St. Kilda road wing, for South Melbourne's tactics in kicking out. The southerners were taking the risks in this respect, and losing no points save in free kicks. After a while M. Grace by very clever play marked to Fontaine, and a nice punt brought the second goal. James and J. O'Hara worked the ball up against the wind, but Hickey, who was skirmishing behind the ruck like a Rugby half-back, brought it back and at half-time the scores were:— Fitzroy, 16 points, South Melbourne, 15 points.
Although Fitzroy were against the wind in the third quarter they began first, and Fontaine had a shot, but Goding and Howson got it away, and raced the ball down the centre, and Lampe picking it up made a clever snapshot, which deserved a better fate than a behind. Garbutt and James both scored behinds, and then the Fitzroy backs, working in a body, forced the play back to the centre, where Drohan did good work, but Howson with great dash got clear of the ruck, and kicked to Lampe, who made a good shot from the pressbox. A minute after Windley after the third try snapped a behind. Drohan and Clarke raised the siege temporarily for Fitzroy, but when Davidson returned it Colgan had a free kick and got third goal. He would have snapped the goal but for Jenkins, who took the risk of pushing him, but Crapp saw the point, and Colgan got his kick and the goal. The rain stopped for a little at this stage, but soon began again.
Howson was doing grand work on the wing, and time and again turned the rushes. Potter, Clarke, and McDougall, however, got through, and the last two scored behinds. There was a great struggle in front of the South goal, and it looked as though Fitzroy must score, when Davidson, Howson, and Pleass relieved the pressure. Drohan had a shot, but Trimm, Davidson, and J. O'Hara came racing away again, only to find Hickey in the way. It was grand football. Just as the quarter was ending the wind increased, and a nasty drifting rain came on again. Pleass got a behind just before the bell rang, and Fitzroy began the last quarter with the wind behind them and a goal and a behind to get to make the scores even.
South Melbourne went off in the last quarter hard, but Hickey, who was doing tremendous work, had a shot, and hit the post. Potter and Drohan were also working hard and Howson, Jenarrett, and Pleass, who was only now showing his old form, were defending ably. Lampe, fully 90 yards out, placed, but Hickey brought it back, and M'Speerin marked on the behind post. Before South had realised what had happened the Fitzroy rover had whipped round in front and with a beautiful shot got the goal, and put Fitzroy ahead by a point. Fontaine got another behind, and then Davidson, Pleass, and Jenarrett got the ball to Lampe, who had a shot. M. Grace, at the mark, just touched the ball and turned it from its course, or it must have been a goal. Undaunted, South came on again and again. Lampe had a shot, which Sloan marked in front. He made a fine run and passed to Drohan, who got the ball away and saved the game. Fitzroy won by a point. It was a splendid game, well played and admirably umpired.
In a game where every man did his best it is hard to pick out men, but Hickey's performance was far ahead of anything in the match. I have never seen a man do more for his side. Nominally, he was a half-back; as a matter of fact, he was everywhere, forcing when forcing was needed, and defending when defence was required. He took all the bumps, too. McSpeerin roved in great form, and was cool and clever as ever. Deas, back, was a sturdy defender, and played the game of his life. Sloan, too, was busy, and Jenkins and Moriarty were not ideal. Drohan played very fine football, and the tussle between him and Howson was worth going a long way to see. Clarke and Robinson both did well, and Fontaine, Jim Grace, and McDougall were busy forwards and ruckmen. Mick Grace and Potter were hard-working and clever in the ruck, Potter's work in the last quarter being grand.
Howson was the best man on the South side, his cleverness and marking being wonderful with such a wet ball. He had to play against Drohan, and the duel was a grand one. Garbutt was the centrepiece of the ruck, Pleass finding his injured leg troubling him. It was not till the last quarter that he threw caution to the winds, and went in as hard as ever. Garbutt's work cannot be too highly praised. Davidson, Trimm, and Goding were splendid in defence, F. O'Hara and James also doing good work. J. O'Hara (on the wing) and Jennarett (forward) both did excellent work and Brice and Colgan were useful players. Lampe showed his very best form, and, besides kicking two goals, did a heap of work.
Title: The premiership final: Fitzroy premiers
Author: Old Boy
Publisher: The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria, 1848 - 1956)
Date: Monday, 18 September 1899, p.6 (Article)
|Clarke, Harry||0||22y 293d||27||1|
|Cleary, Bill||0||31y 208d||21||6|
|Dalton, Bill||0||23y 189d||31||6|
|Deas, Jack||0||23y 315d||17||0|
|Descrimes, Pat||0||21y 259d||43||9|
|Drohan, Eddie||0||23y 61d||35||1|
|Fontaine, Fred||1||21y 229d||20||4|
|Grace, Jim||0||30y 360d||47||33|
|Grace, Mick||1||25y 54d||47||35|
|Hickey, Pat||0||28y 13d||45||3|
|Jenkins, Ernie||0||19y 347d||32||6|
|McDougall, Abe||0||22y 290d||31||10|
|McEwen, Hugh||0||22y 167d||18||0|
|McSpeerin, Bill||1||24y 356d||44||41|
|Moriarty, Geoff||0||27y 323d||26||0|
|Potter, Bill||0||27y 220d||33||4|
|Sloan, Alec||0||28y 278d||42||0|
|South Melbourne||Match Stats||Career|
|Adamson, Dave||0||25y 94d||40||5|
|Armstrong, Warwick||0||20y 117d||13||14|
|Bryce, Bob||0||20y 71d||2||0|
|Colgan, Charlie||1||21y 219d||30||40|
|Davidson, George||0||27y 95d||36||0|
|Fraser, Bill||0||32y 171d||42||10|
|Garbutt, Joe||0||20y 330d||16||5|
|Goding, Charlie||0||23y 44d||20||6|
|Henley, Artie||0||21y 2d||10||1|
|Howson, Bert||0||27y 36d||42||0|
|James, Charlie||0||19y 178d||5||3|
|Jeanneret, Henri||0||21y 258d||34||0|
|Lampe, Harry||2||25y 2d||18||12|
|O'Hara, Frank||0||27y 36d||46||1|
|O'Hara, Jim||0||24y 362d||32||1|
|Pleass, Mick||0||24y 308d||49||14|
|Trim, Albert||0||23y 345d||35||0|
|Windley, Bill||0||30y 292d||45||6|
‡ Approximate age