Brilliant opening quarter
There was an outburst of cheering as C. Rankin won the toss from C. Tyson, the Collingwood leader, and chose the Richmond goal as his objective, the wind favouring it, giving him an opportunity of an early lead. In the previous games everyone has been struck by the quiet of the onlookers, but this was a noisy gathering. They realised that it was their last chance till next year, and they were determined to make the best use of it and of their lungs. They cheered everything. The clang of the bell announcing the bounce was drowned by cheers, and the game to decide the premiership had begun.
Geelong moved forward, but in the first rush Wilson was in the way in more ways than one, but though he stopped the movement someone stopped him. I don't know who it was or how it was done, but a strong punch landed fairly on Wilson's jaw. Quick as lightning Cheswass and Webb got the ball to Gordon Coventry, who began a bad day by missing. His shot was short, and Stainsby at the foot of the post might have marked, but failed, and a behind only resulted. When Milburn made another opening Baker fumbled and nothing came of it. Heagney and Greeves forced the ball away, but Milburn dashed in again. A free kick to Greeves gave Geelong an opening, and like a flash he sent the ball to Heagney, to Hagger, to Rankin, and Geelong with their first attack had scored. In that rush Wilson was down again, and it was evident that these two falls had steadied him.
The first goal had come in five minutes, but in a moment Fitzmaurice was defending for dear life and was cheered for his effort, but L. Murphy marked, and Gordon Coventry, marking over Ferguson, had another chance and another miss. After good play by Chambers and Leahy had been answered by Wilson and F. Murphy there was a high-marking duel between G. Coventry and Ferguson, in which honours were easy, and the ball was bounced. Fitzmaurice tore out of that crush, and before Collingwood could realise it the ball went straight up the centre, with Greeves, Rayson, and Hagger as the operators, to Rankin, whose snap brought second goal. Twice within range and two goals!
They had been playing nine minutes, and for seven of those Collingwood had attacked, with but little to show for it. Hudd and L. Murphy were bumping one another, and McMurray passed a word of caution to each, but though it was hard the game was particularly clean. Geelong were not dismayed by the ruggedness of Collingwood, and the game swung on. ‘The seagulls’ were not prevailing over "the magpies" in aught but scoring, and when Frank Murphy beat Fitzmaurice for a mark he could add but the inevitable point. A bad kick-in, the only mistake Johns made all day, was marked by L. Murphy, who passed to Lawn and on to Webb, who with a grand kick scored first goal for Collingwood.
They had been playing 12 minutes then, and Collingwood were holding their opponents. Johns and Chambers, playing grandly, beat back one rush, but when little Harris came in with a dash he ran too far and the penalty to Smith saved Geelong. A free kick to Baker, however, let Collingwood in again, and F. Murphy, marking his kick, dropped a nice goal. Thus after a quarter of an hour against the breeze Collingwood were two points to the good, and their supporters were jubilant. Pressing on, the Collingwood men were turned by Hall and Greeves. Twice Greeves attacked and twice Syd Coventry marked in the danger zone. Rayson got closer, but Dibbs marked right in goal. Geelong were playing better then; their early anxiety had worn off, and Collingwood, realising that bumping was not so effective as they hoped, were not so vigorous. A long, running shot by Greeves went out of bounds — the first time in 18 minutes' play.
All the game was on the Harrison stand wing, and Chambers was the outstanding figure. Through his efforts, aided by Fleming, Warren had a chance, but he fumbled and only a point came. Tyson, Baker, and F. Murphy replied, and Fitzmaurice, missing an easy mark, Gordon Coventry snapped a behind. He was doing everything but kick straight. It was a rare struggle, with dash and go, plenty of fire, and a splendid spectacle. An attack by Stevenson and Warren produced nothing, and on the rebound L. Murphy and Milburn sent the ball to Cheswass, from whom Stainsby received and fired across the goal front. Then Ferguson took it, and with a streaming rush, which left Collingwood powerless, it passed to Leahy, Heagney, Todd, and Warren to Hagger, who, marking grandly, kicked third goal. Thus in three well-executed thrusts Geelong had scored three goals! Collingwood's reply was a behind by G. Coventry, and the term ended with the scores: Geelong. 3-2; Collingwood, 2-5.
It had been a grand quarter, hard and fast, and full of vigour and sparkle. On the merits Collingwood should have been ahead. They had been against the wind, and their stubborn play had kept Geelong down, while they had missed chances. At that stage it looked as if Collingwood would take the lead, for Geelong, after their turn with the breeze, were only three points to the good. As soon as they began, Fleming, Williams, and Chambers attacked, but by rare passing, Dibbs, L. Murphy, Tyson, Wescott, and Stainsby took the ball up the field, where a free kick to Greeves checked them. Passing to Hagger, he sent the ball to Chambers, who scored with a long snap. They had been playing but three minutes.
It was noticed that Hall had gone full forward and Hagger had come out from goal. Geelong were playing grandly then, but Shannahan, Stainsby, and Wescott gave Gordon Coventry another chance to miss. A moment later Tyson made a bad mistake, which might have been costly, but Wescott redeemed it, and F. Murphy, from a free-kick, scored a beautiful goal. Geelong then took a hand, and playing rare football, had Collingwood rattled. Baker, fumbling let Todd in, and Hagger forwarding, Heagney scored with a snap. A long chain of marks down the pavilion wing, in which Todd, Warren, Williams, and Rankin formed the links, brought a point, the captain's shot curving away in the wind. Collingwood were making mistakes, and Geelong had caught the infection of inaccurate shooting, for three behinds, each of which might have been a goal, came before Collingwood could clear their doorstep.
The Collingwood defence was being strongly tested, but Geelong were pressing and their pertinacity was rewarded by Rankin, by clever dodging, and with long snap scoring sixth goal. Geelong were the stronger and faster, they were always in front and their victory was loudly proclaimed. Collingwood had gone to pieces and were floundering.
Once Lawn had a chance, and he kicked straight, but Gordon Coventry had pushed Smith and the shot was wasted for Smith was awarded a free-kick. It was a goal thrown away. Soon after Gordon Coventry after a good mark, missed the goal and Stainsby's shot grazed the post. Collingwood had pulled themselves together but their attack was wild. Little Harris was very busy then, and in one patch of lightning passing the movements read - Harris, to Tyson, to Harris, to Webb, to Harris, to Stainsby, and a snapped goal.
Makeham, who marked so well against Melbourne, had hurt his ankle again and he was in the hands of the trainers for a shoulder injury. In a minute Geelong replied to that goal. Hudd and Stevenson made a thrust, which Shanahan deflected, but Stevenson was not to be deterred and passing to Hall the seventh goal appeared amidst loud cheering. A wonderful mark by Leahy, clean over the top of Harris, was an outstanding incident, but interest in the game was flagging for Geelong were everywhere too good, and even with the wind Collingwood could make no impression. It was desperately hard, with each side attacking in turn, but no more scoring before half time, when the board showed Geelong 7-8; Collingwood 4-9.
That quarter won the game for Geelong. They had appeared over-anxious at the beginning of the game but in the second term they were at their top, and beat Collingwood and the wind. At half-time Collingwood had a deficit of 17 points, but though their supporters were anxious they were by no means dismayed.
Hard third quarter struggle
The third quarter saw the game settling down into a harder struggle than ever. The wind had freshened, and Geelong pressed forward. L Murphy, Milburn, and Tyson were prominent but they could do no more than keep Geelong out for a while. Hall got a behind, then Hagger made a bad miss for another point. They wanted goals then instead of points. Fleming and Chambers, soaring for a mark, were well above the crowd, and Fleming beat his club mate. Then, with some delightful passing, Fleming to Hagger to Hudd, who kicked badly, Geelong got close in, and Rankin with a beautiful left foot shot kicked eighth goal.
Collingwood realised that it was now or never. Rallying pluckily, they threw caution to the winds and played with rare pluck. Twice Beasley stopped a Gee- long rush, and then down the lower wing Lawn and Webb took it to the corner, where, in a crush, Baker was given a free kick. It was a sharp angle, but he kicked a splendid goal. In a minute Collingwood had swooped again. Cheswass led the attack, which Leahy checked, but Wilson came again, and a free kick to Syd Coventry carried it on. His shot fell in a crush close to goal, where Gordon Coventry was held as he rose for the mark. The breach was unnoticed, but it did not matter, for as the ball came out Webb seized it. Squirming, twisting, evading capture, he worked his way out, and, shooting over his shoulder, found the goal. A brilliant, clever bit of work, for which he was deservedly applauded!
That reduced the deficit to 13 points — a remarkably good performance against the wind — but it was soon up again, and when Stevenson sent the ball in front Rankin was pushed and scored easily. In the next rush Heagney and Wescott were at cross purposes, but the incident soon passed. Lawn, Harris, and Stainsby led a Collingwood rush which Johns turned and Webb, F. Murphy, and Stainsby figured in another, which Ferguson checked in the last ditch. Then came one of those passing rushes which had proved so effective, the ball passing without Collingwood interference between Ferguson, Rayson, Leahy, Fitzmaurice, and Warren, whose kick was marked in goal by Dibbs. Hall was censured for pushing Beasley after he had kicked, but there was little of which to complain - more misdirected energy than temper.
Greeves, who was hurt in the second quarter had been very quiet, but was noticed again and from his pass Hall missed badly, and Rankin's long snap brought no more than a point. Dibbs and Beasley defending well, kept Geelong off till Rankin added another point. Collingwood striving desperately, made another sortee, in which Milburn, Wescott, Cheswass, and Tyson figured, and Webb's flying shot went behind. Baker missing a mark, Collingwood could not go right, for, after Gordon Coventry had missed again F. Murphy, with a long shot hit the post. Despite their mistakes, Collingwood were still pressing and another point came from Gordon Coventry's erratic foot. It was still the same hard struggle, with no scoring, until just as the timekeeper rose to ring the bell Stevenson had a flying shot, and as the bell rang it went high through the posts for Geelong's tenth goal.
The lead of 25 points for Geelong was of course substantial, but they had increased the lead by only eight points on the term, and with Collingwood having last say with the wind the game was by no means over. There was a feeling that Geelong might yet lose what they had striven so hard to attain.
Game in the balance
Collingwood began very quickly. Wescott passed to Webb, who missed the mark, and Hudd, Stevenson, and Fleming relieved. When Cheswass and Wescott again served Webb he made another miss. The crowd was strangely quiet just then. It realised that a premiership was hanging in the balance. When Wescott and Harris worked the ball forward, Cheswass could snap only a behind. Harris, Cheswass, Milburn, and Stainsby led the next attack, and Cheswass, tearing through, scored with a long snap. They had been playing four minutes and the difference was now three goals. Lawn forwarded, but Johns intervened. Webb and Cheswass, playing finely, gave Stainsby a chance and he kicked a splendid goal. Collingwood in six minutes had reduced the lead to 12 points, and when Cheswass, Harris, and F. Murphy found Gordon Coventry within range a Collingwood man said, "Surely he'll get one goal," but his shot was worse than ever, not even a behind resulting. It was a poor kick, the ball going out of bounds.
Geelong rallied nobly, and Fleming, Chambers, and Hall led up to Rankin adding a point, while Hall, over his shoulder, got another. A mistake by Warren let Webb in with a beautiful pass to Stainsby and a behind. Then Hagger got two points in quick succession before Collingwood could drive them off. Harris, Wescott, Cheswass and Stainsby led the next Mag- pie attack, which gave Lawn a chance, and to the dismay of all Collingwood his shot hit the post high up. Tyson marked the kick in, but passed to Stainsby, who sent the ball back to Tyson, who with a long kick scored ninth goal.
The position then was serious for Geelong, for with 19 ½ minutes gone their lead had been reduced to eight points. The game might yet be lost but Geelong with great determination rallied and attacked, but they too could gain no more than single points. Hagger kicked one and Rayson another and with their lead increased to 10 points time was up save for the added time of two minutes 57 seconds. With a despairing final effort Collingwood worked forward and, as F. Murphy shot from the wing, there were three Collingwood men and only Ferguson to check them. As Ferguson ran in he fell, and the ball dropping short, he marked it while lying on his back. It was dramatic and spectacular and most timely. That was the end, and with both sides tiring the last bell sounded on Geelong's first League premiership with the scores:—
Geelong, 10 goals, 19 behinds (79 points)
Collingwood, 9 goals, 15 behinds (69 points)
The best players
Geelong had an even team in which all played well. It is not easy to pick their best, though I think that most will agree when I name Chambers, Johns, Rankin Rayson, Leahy, and Warren as the best half dozen. Hudd did well, as he was brought in only at the last moment. Greeves in the first half until he received a knock on the head was splendid. He was very "dizzy" at half-time, and not till late in the game did he recover. To Rankin, for his clever leadership and excellent goal-kicking, a special word of praise must be given.
For Collingwood it is hard to pick one man as playing at his very top. Syd Coventry worked very hard. Webb roved well, but made mistakes. Stainsby had no superior on the side; Milburn made some fine dashes; Cheswass, with a free hand, did well in the centre in the second half. Dibbs did everything well but kicking, and the same may be said of Gordon Coventry. F. Murphy was the best of the forwards and marked well. All of the others did well at times, but on the whole they found Geelong a more serious opposition than Melbourne, and their play suffered accordingly.
Geelong — Rankin (5), Hagger, Heagney, Chambers, Hall, Stevenson. Collingwood — F. Murphy (2), Stainsby (2), Webb (2), Baker, Cheswass, Tyson.
A record crowd
The official figures given by the Melbourne Cricket Club are: - Attendance, 64,288; receipts, £3,122/7/9. The number of people present was 140 larger than in the previous record; but the receipts were £82 less. This is accounted for by the fact that there are very many more club members now than there were then. The previous figures as given by the "Victorian Football Record," the official publication of the League, are: —
|1922||Semi-final||Essendon v. Carlton||64,148||£3,204|
|1920||Semi-final||Richmond v. Carlton||62,220||£3,227|
|1923||Semi-final||Collingwood v. Essendon||60,055||£2,963|
|1913||Grand Final||Fitzroy v. St.Kilda||59,556||£2,308|
|1923||Semi-final||Fitzroy v. Geelong||56,240||£2,868|
|1923||Semi-final||South Melbourne v. Essendon||55,617||£2,621|
|1913||Final||St. Kilda v. Fitzroy||54,846||£2,109|
|1912||Grand Final||Essendon v. South Melbourne||54,536||£1,950|
|1920||Grand Final||Richmond v. Collingwood||53,908||£2,532|
|1908||Final||Carlton v. Essendon||50,261||£1,776|
|1922||Grand Final||Fitzroy v. Collingwood||50,100||£2,221|
|1919||Semi-final||Richmond v. South Melbourne||50,000||£2,413|
The takings on Saturday bring the total for the four games to more than £11,000, a highly satisfactory result. The figures for the four days are: —
|Essendon v. Collingwood||60,055||£2,963 13 5|
|Melbourne v. Geelong||51,256||£2,570 17 1|
|Melbourne v. Collingwood||49,833||£2,424 7 9|
|Geelong v. Collingwood||64,288||£3,122 7 9|
|Totals||225,432||£11,081 6 0|
Title: The Play Author: Argus Staff Writer Publisher: The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria, 1848 - 1957) Date: 12 October, 1925, p.7 (Article) Web: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2151253
|8||Chambers, Jack||1||23y 308d||18||7|
|3||Ferguson, Dave||0||22y 247d||26||2|
|23||Fitzmaurice, Tom||0||27y 95d||100||31|
|11||Fleming, Eric||0||22y 208d||62||61|
|20||Greeves, Edward 'Carji'||0||21y 343d||44||11|
|14||Hagger, Lloyd||1||26y 307d||128||264|
|4||Hall, Syd||1||23y 124d||35||6|
|29||Heagney, Denis||1||27y 180d||4||1|
|31||Hudd, Bill||0||23y 316d||28||3|
|9||Johns, Keith||0||23y 227d||64||13|
|25||Leahy, Ken||0||19y 18d||13||3|
|6||Rankin, Cliff||5||28y 310d||107||285|
|28||Rayson, Arthur||0||23y 313d||19||26|
|16||Smith, Les||0||25y 135d||52||12|
|15||Stevenson, Ted||1||24y 182d||42||7|
|19||Todd, George||0||22y 273d||60||23|
|12||Warren, Jim||0||22y 80d||18||24|
|24||Williams, Jack||0||23y 252d||14||0|
|1||Baker, Reg||1||26y 22d||40||37|
|3||Beasley, George||0||23y 167d||18||11|
|9||Chesswas, Harry||1||24y 114d||55||25|
|6||Coventry, Gordon||0||24y 15d||79||206|
|7||Coventry, Syd||0||26y 119d||65||26|
|11||Dibbs, Charlie||0||20y 190d||30||1|
|13||Harris, John||0||21y 340d||12||5|
|15||Lawn, Jim||0||23y 158d||35||37|
|29||Makeham, Bob||0||23y 338d||36||38|
|20||Milburn, Charlie||0||26y 214d||37||1|
|19||Murphy, Frank||2||20y 232d||14||8|
|18||Murphy, Laurie||0||26y 30d||68||14|
|23||Shanahan, Jim||0||24y 131d||28||0|
|22||Stainsby, Les||2||27y 125d||17||29|
|25||Tyson, Charlie||1||27y 330d||90||34|
|27||Webb, Reynolds||2||25y 179d||79||63|
|28||Wescott, Leo||0||25y 94d||66||3|
|26||Wilson, Ernie||0||24y 360d||91||9|