Good Old Collingwood Forever

The Story of Collingwood's 1953 Premiership

Round 7 – Footscray Vs Collingwood

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June 6, 1953

Wells looks at the game at the Western Oval

Collingwood tired badly in the last quarter after dominating their match early against Footscray at the Western Oval, but held on to win by a single point.

Early on the Magpies pace and system, and their dominance on the wings and in the air, gave them many chances, but their shocking forward play was costly. Despite only kicking four points after half-time the Magpies held on as the Bulldog’s inaccuracy at the finish cost them chances.

It was a scrambling game with the defences on top and early on Collingwood were faster and much more systematic. Luckily for Footscray the Magpies kicked badly. Collingwood outmarked and outpaced the Bulldogs, while Thorold Merrett’s roving was upsetting the Footscray defence. Footscray had no counter for Collingwood’s dominance to half-time, of the wings or in the air.

Footscray were always a step behind with the Magpies pace leaving them at times flat-footed, whilst the Bulldogs gave away several free kicks with unnecessary scragging. The Magpie Machine displayed the art of handball and shepherding to perfection. Merrett and Mann provided much of the drive, with the hornet-like Merrett daintily pirouetting around the packs and scampering off with glorious stab-passes proving to be a menace to the Dogs’ defence.

Footscray’s tactics were very poor and they kept kicking the ball high even though they were constantly being outmarked. Herb Henderson at full-back was one of the main offenders, with Neil Mann goaling in the first quarter after marking an errant Henderson kick-in.

Harvey Stevens in his first game against his old club rucked tirelessly and battled gamely for Footscray. He sent the Dogs forward several times but the Footscray forwards were never in front of their men. Stevens was playing so well that Alf Brown of the Herald wondered if the Collingwood selectors had been too hasty when they dropped him from their list earlier in the season.

Collingwood’s forward line broke down after half time, with their inaccuracy being inexcusable. In the third quarter alone they had at least ten direct shots at goal but could only manage four behinds. It was not Footscray’s much heralded backline holding Collingwood but the Magpies lack of forwards. In fact the Footscray backs at time were too man-conscious and tried to overmind their men.

In the hectic final quarter the Dogs finally started to show some dash and spirit, whilst Collingwood had tired badly. The Magpies never looked like scoring while Footscray were continually in attack and had whittled the Magpies lead to 8 points with just three minutes to go. Charlie Sutton inspired his men with clever roving and robust bustling whilst Stevens started to outmark Mann. When Jack Hickey goaled in time-on, there was just a single point the difference between the two teams. Collingwood had run themselves into the ground while Footscray did everything in their power to get the two extra points needed for a win. When the siren sounded the ball was in the Bulldog’s half-forward line, robbing them of what would likely have been a great fighting victory.

Collingwood vice-captain Neil Mann played a dominating game. He kicked an excellent goal from 65 yards out and his great marking saved the Magpies day.

Scores

Teams 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter Final Score
Footscray 0.0.1 4.1.25 4.3.27 7.9.51
Collingwood 5.4.34 7.6.48 7.10.52 7.10.52

Goalkickers

Collingwood – M Twomey (3), Hickey, Clarke, Mann, R Richards

Footscray – Duffy (3), Kerr (2), Collins (2)

Best

Collingwood – Mann, Healey, Lucas, Merrett, Finck, Hickey, M Twomey, Parker

Footscray – Stevens, Sutton, Ross, Donald, Collins, Henderson, Martin, Warren, Henderson, Box, Gallagher, Whitten

In Other Magpie News

Jack Hamilton was sensationally dropped from the Collingwood team for this game. It was the first time he had been out of the side, except because of injury, since the start of the 1949 season. Jack Finck replaced Hamilton at full-back.

19-year-old Terry Waites played his first senior game, as did Footscray’s John Kerr. Kerr would go on to be best on field for the Bulldogs in the 1954 premiership match.

Before the match Mrs Twomey, husband of former Collingwood captain Bill Twomey Sr and proud mother of Magpie stars Pat, Mick and Bill Jr, was presented by the Club with a framed photograph of her boys in their football uniform.

The Sporting Globe called for umpires to try to curb Collingwood’s exasperating habit of refusing to give the ball to their opponent after a free kick has been called. The Magpies are notorious at holding and fooling with the ball until every opponent is covered and only then giving up the ball. While the Sporting Globe called for offending players to be reported, the Australian National Football Council has made a recommendation for a rule change that will give a 15 yard penalty against any offending side.

In Other Footscray News

Only 28 goals have been kicked against Footscray’s frugal defence in the last 5 games, an average of just 51/2 goals per match.  Two weeks ago they kept Fitzroy to just one goal for the whole match, while today Collingwood kicked just four behinds after half time.

In Other Games

South Melbourne thrashed the hapless Saints by 71 points and Geelong defeated Melbourne by 24 points. North Melbourne came crashing out of the four after being thumped by Carlton by 52 points. Other winners included Essendon and Fitzroy. John Coleman kicked 6 goals to take his tally to 46 for the season. Comparisons have been made between Coleman and South Melbourne’s past goalkicking legend Bob Pratt, who kicked a record 150 goals in the 1934 season. In that stellar season by round 7 Pratt had kicked 56 goals, leaving Coleman just 10 goals off this margin.

VFL Ladder After Round 7

Team

Win

Draw

Lose

Premiership Points

Geelong

7

0

0

28

Footscray

5

0

2

20

Collingwood

5

0

2

20

Fitzroy

5

0

2

20

Essendon

4

0

3

16

Carlton

4

0

3

16

North Melbourne

4

0

3

16

South Melbourne

3

0

4

12

St Kilda

2

0

5

8

Melbourne

1

0

6

4

Richmond

1

0

6

4

Hawthorn

1

0

6

4

 

Leading Goalkickers

Player

Team

Goals In Round

Goals For Season

J Coleman

Essendon

6

46

G Goninon

Geelong

3

33

J Hickey

Footscray

0

22

J Collins

Footscray

2

21

G Marchesi

North Melbourne

0

19

P Bennett

St Kilda

0

19

N Trezise

Geelong

0

17

R McKenzie

Melbourne

2

17

A Aylett

North Melbourne

3

17

A Walsh

Carlton

4

17

J Spencer

North Melbourne

2

16

B Rose

Collingwood

0

15

__________________________________

Acknowledgements

  • Brown A – The Herald – June 6 1953 – page 22
  • Baggot J – The Sun – June 8 1953 – page 24
  • Buggy H – The Argus – June 8 1953 – page 10
  • The Age – June 8 1953 – page 7
  • Reynolds D  – The Argus – June 8 1953 – page 9
  • The Argus – June 8 1953 – page 9
  • The Sporting Globe – June 10 1953 – page 4
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Written by Millsie

January 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

Posted in Home & Away Season

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