Good Old Collingwood Forever

The Story of Collingwood's 1953 Premiership

Archive for the ‘The Opposition’ Category

The Opposition – Essendon

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Essendon finished 4th in 1953, losing their semi-final to Footscray by 8 points.The Bombers had many champions in their side, the two most known being Bill Hutchinson and John Coleman. They won the VFL Premiership in 1950 and were runner-up to Geelong in 1951.

Essendon were coached by the legendary Dick Reynolds. He debuted in 1933 and did not retire until the 1951 Grand Final after 320 games. King Richard captained the club between 1939 and 1950 and coached the team between 1940 and 1960. He won their best & fairest award seven times and the Brownlow Medal three times and was brave and brilliant, with tremendous ball skills. He captained/coached the Bombers to 4 premierships and is ranked as the greatest player to pull on the black and red. Off the field, he was a shy and private man, noted for his humility about his footballing achievements.

Bill Hutchison

Bill Hutchison captained Essendon in 1953. He also won the Brownlow Medal and Creighton Medal as Essendon’s best & fairest. His coach Dick Reynolds said that Hutchinson was the best player he ever saw play, while many other observers believe he was one of the greatest rovers to play the game. In 2002 he was voted the 4th greatest Essendon player behind Reynolds, Coleman and James Hird. Hutchison won back to back Brownlow Medals in 1952 & 53, was runner-up in 1955 and third in 1948 and 51. He won the Bombers best & fairest 7 times.He was a tireless player with dazzling pace and a fine stab kick. He was an accurate shot for goal. He played in 10 grand finals. He captained Victoria in 1953 and 1956. He was a fair player who was deadly accurate around goals, Hutchison had great anticipation and tremendous pace.

John Coleman
John Coleman

Many people judge John Coleman as the greatest full-forward of all-time. In just 98 games he kicked 537 goals, averaging over 5 goals a game. In 1953 he kicked 97 goals but started the season brilliantly, scoring 31 goals in the first 3 games of the season. His best haul of the year was 11 in round 2 against South Melbourne, a game that the Bombers lost. He is considered the 2nd greatest player to play at Windy Hill. Injury forced him to retire in 1954. He was a freakish high mark and excellent ground player. He was a deadly accurate shot for goal. He was best & fairest in 1949 and topped the VFL goal kicking in 1949, 50, 52 and 53. He went on to coach Essendon and guided them to the 1962 & 65 premierships.

Norm McDonald

Norm McDonald spent 7 years playing on Essendon’s half-back flank and was the first indigenous player to make it big in the VFL. He was an excellent mark and kick and was known as a big occasion player. He won the 1951 Creighton Medal as Essendon’s best player and was also brilliant in the 1949 & 50 premiership teams. He was also the Bombers’ best player during their 1948 finals series and judged by many as best afield in the 1950 Grand Final. Ben Kerville wrote in the Sporting Globe that…

“…McDonald……is league football’s best half back flanker; a veritable Mandrake at the business of befuddling and bewitching rival half forwards.  Football becomes ballet when interpreted by this fleet-footed will-o’-the-wisp.  There’s the rhythm and grace of the ballerina in his weaving evasive manoeuvres.”

He played 128 games and kicked 3 goals in his distinguished career.

Hugh Mitchell played 224 games between 1953 and 1961 and kicked 301 goals in his career. He was a versatile playing who had few equals as a ruck-rover. Mitchell won Essendon’s
best and fairest award in 1959, a season in which he also finished 3rd in the Brownlow Medal. Mitchell was a prolific kick-winner who headed Essendon’s goal kicking tally three times, he also was chosen to play with Victoria on 6 occasions.

John Gill was an Essendon ruckman between 1951 and 1957 who could dominate with his marking. He was a reasonable kick who finished 3rd in the 1954 Brownlow Medal but won Essendon’s best and fairest.In his 107 games for the Bombers he was known for his fairness. He represented Victoria in 1955 and 1957.

Geoff Leek was one of the VFL’s top ruckmen who played with Essendon between 1951 and 1962. Early in his career he was an atrocious left-footed kick and there were attempts made to change him to a right-footer, which were met with even more disastrous results. Leek worked hard on his game and eventually became a regular player. He was a clever palmer of the ball who was made vice-captain in his final season 1962.

Bob Syme

Jack Clarke played 263 games for the red and black between 1951 and 1967 and was one of the most brilliant footballers to ever pull on an Essendon guernsey. He was named Bomber’s captain in 1958 and remained in that position until 1964, and was captain of the 1962 premiership team. He also coached the team between 1968 and 1970. A superbly balanced and courageous player, he also captained Victoria on 6 occasions and was named in the All-Australian team 3 times.

Jack Jones

Bob Syme was a ruckman with Essendon who played 116 games in two stints from 1944-1945 and 1947-1953. He was a tough and fearless follower with a good leap and plenty of fire. He was one of the Bomber’s best in the 1949 and 1950 premiership sides.

Jack Jones was a fine contributor to the black and red during their glory years of the late 40s. He was fast for a big man who was equally at home in the ruck as he was on a half-forward-flank. He was a fine mark and a long kick and played 133 consecutive games for the Bombers, which is a record for Essendon. He never played in the reserves throughout his 175 game career that began in 1946 and ended in 1954.

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The Opposition – St Kilda

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1953 can be considered a reasonable season for the perennial cellar dweller when compared to their usual St Kilda standards, when they finished in 9th position with just five wins. St Kilda did have some great players in their team in the early 50s but unfortunately those who were running the club were small businessmen who seemed to have little idea of what they were doing. Things would eventually get better for St Kilda, with three of their players winning the Brownlow Medal by decade’s end, although they would not reach the finals until 1961. In 1965 the Saints would dominate the home & away season before going down to Essendon in the Grand Final, while we all know about what happened 12 months later.

In 1953 St Kilda was coached by Col Williamson. He had played with St Kilda between 1937 and 1946 and was a tall, strong ruckman and utility player who was safe and trusty and never let the side down. It was not his fault that the Saints did not succeed in his two seasons as coach. In 1954 he was replaced as coach by ex-North Melbourne champion Les Foote.

Keith Drinan

The Saints’ captain for 1953 was Keith Drinan, who had developed into one of the Saints’ best ever full-backs, he also won St Kilda’s best & fairest award in 1953, as well as in 1956. A player with a big heart but little flair, his effectiveness was undoubted. When he was appointed captain of St Kilda in 1951 he was just 26 years old and the youngest captain in the VFL. He played 134 games fo St Kilda between 1944 and 1957. In 1954 he was controversially replaced as captain by ex-North Melbourne champion Les Foote, who had returned to Melbourne after a stint playing in country New South Wales. After Foote departed at the end of the 1955 season Drinan was reappointed captain. He a did apply for the Saints’ vacant coaching position but this went to Allan Killigrew. Drinan was the last returned serviceman to play VFL football.

Neil ‘Coco’ Roberts was in his second season with St Kilda in 1953 and had not yet developed into the superstar footballer he was to become. After his first two seasons it seemed that he was going nowhere as a footballer until he was switch from the forward line o centre-half-back. In 1955 he established himself as a star by winning the St Kilda best and fairest and winning a spot in the state team. He also finished third in the Brownlow. In 1958 while deputising for injured skipper Brian Gleeson Roberts proved to be an inspiring leader and won the Brownlow Medal by 2 votes. He was appointed full-time captain in 1959 and in 1962 he led St Kilda into the finals for the first time in 22 years. He represented Victoria 11 times during his career.

Brian Gleeson would have to be considered one of the unluckiest players to play VFL football. He played just 71 games between 1953 and 1957. He won the Brownlow Medal in 1957 and was appointed captain of St Kilda for 1958 but he injured a knee in a practice game and never played again. Gleeson had a great high marking ability and developed into a fine ruckman with the knack of directing hit-outs unerringly.

Jim Ross

Jim Ross is one of the best players to have played for the Saints. A St Kilda stalwart, he played 139 between 1946 and 1954 and won the best and fairest award three times, in 1949, 1951 and 1952, a feat that has been bettered only by Nick Riewoldt and Robert Harvey and equalled by Nathan Burke and Darrell Baldock. He is also member of St Kilda’s Team of the Century and in 1954 he topped the Saints goalkicking. Ross was a classy footballer and one of the few quality players that St Kilda had in the 1940s and early 50s. He played at either centre half forward or in the ruck and could intelligently palm the ball to his rovers. He was a grand mark with great dash and anticipation. He should have won his fourth best and fairest award in 1954 but for the pettiness of the St Kilda committee. Despite having a fine season the award went to newly appointed captain-coach Les Foote, with few people doubting that Ross’ request for financial assistance at the start of the season angering chairman of selectors Bert Day, who told him he could have a clearance on the spot if that was what he wanted. Ross quit the Saints at the end of the 54 season at the age of 26 to captain-coach a Tasmanian side. In 1958 he won All-Australian selection.

Bruce Phillips

Bruce Phillips won St Kilda’s best and fairest award in 1950 playing at full-back. In that stand out season he also won the Herald’s best player award and came equal third in the Brownlow Medal. In 115 games between 1947 and 1955 Phillips proved to have uncanny anticipation and liked to charged out in front of the opposing full-forwards and send a long kick downfield. He represented Victoria in 1950 and 1953, he was forced to retire at 26 after he injured a knee in a practice match in 1956.

Jack McDonald

Jack McDonald was a left footer with great pace who played in the forward line for the Saints between 1948 and 1956, who had the ability to kick the ball long. He could devastate opposition defences but was also very moody In his 113 games he led St Kilda’s goalkicking three times.

Peter Bennett was an accurate full-forward who played 103 games in two stints in 1944 and between 1947 and 1953, his football career interrupted by war service. He led St Kilda’s goalkicking in 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1953, but is best remembered as the captain of Australia’s water polo team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He retired from football in 1954 to concentrate on his Olympic career.

The Opposition – Footscray

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Footscray in 1953 were on the cusp of premiership success. This was the year they won their first ever final, when they defeated Essendon in the semi-final by 8 points. They reached the preliminary final which they lost to Geelong by 26 points. It would be another year before the Bulldogs would finally taste premiership glory by winning their only Grand Final.

Footscray were captained and coached by Charlie Sutton. He debuted with the club in 1942 and played 173 games in a career that lasted 12 years. (He did not play between 1943-1945) He became captain/coach of the Bulldogs in 1951, a year after he won the best & fairest award which would subsequently be named after him. He would remain captain until his retirement as a player in 1955 and stay as coach until he was unceremoniously dumped midway through the 1957 season, when Ted Whitten took over. He is also a member of Footscray’s team of the century. He is a legend of the Footscray Football Club.

Ruckman Harvey Stevens won Footscrays’ best & fairest award in 1953. Two weeks prior to the start of the 1953 season Stevens was dumped by Collingwood and was fortunately picked up by the Bulldogs just prior to round 3. Stevens played VFL footy for 10 years, with 5 seasons at Collingwood where he played 55 games, and 5 at Footscray where he played 72 games. He played in Collingwood’s losing 1952 Grand Final side, where he was tried without success at full-forward, even though he had never played in that position before. Many feel that he was made the scapegoat for that loss and despite performing well in the 1953 preseason he was dumped from the team before the start of the new season. Stevens became a  member of the Bulldogs’ 1954 premiership side and captained Footscray in 1957.

The most famous Bulldog of all was a member of the 1953 side. 1953 was the 3rd VFL season for the legendary Ted Whitten. ‘E.J’ had played just 29 games prior to 1953. To many people he was the embodiment of everything Footscray, he captained the club from 1957 until his retirement as a player in 1970. Teddy also coached the club from July 1957 until 1966, when his predecessor Charlie Sutton took over the helm, and again from 1969 until 1972, when Collingwood’s greatest ever player Bob Rose took over the coaching role. Whitten won the Bulldogs’ best and fairest in 1954, 57, 58, 59 and 61 and was their leading goal kicker in 1961, 62, 64 and 68. He is the captain of both the Western Bulldogs‘ team of the century and AFL team of the century. Like Sutton he is a legend of the Western Bulldogs Football Club.

In 1953 the leading goal kicker for Footscray was Jack Collins who kicked 50 goals for the season. Collins won the best & fairest award for the Bulldogs in 1951 and 52. His 1953 season is perhaps remembered mostly for the controversy that occurred in the final round of the home & away season when he and Collingwood’s Frank Tuck clashed which caused both players to be suspended for the finals series. Collins played 154 games for Footscray over 9 seasons and kicked 385 career goals.

Peter Box was another of Footscray’s top players of the 1950s. He debuted in 1951 but missed the entire 1952 season through injury. In 1956 he won the Brownlow Medal after winning Footscray’s best & fairest in 1955. Don Ross the 1956 Footscray best & fairest was playing his second season in 1953.

The Footscray backline of 1953 also featured some of their all-time great players including Wally Donald and Herb Henderson. The Bulldogs conceded only 959 points for the season, the lowest in the VFL history to that date.

The Opposition – Richmond

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Richmond finished the 1953 season in 10th place on the VFL ladder with 3 wins and a draw with 11th placed Melbourne in round 12 at the MCG. Their wins came over Melbourne in round 1, Hawthorn in round 11 and St Kilda in round 15. Despite what looks like a dismal season on paper the Tigers did suffer many narrow defeats, losing five games by 10 points or less.

In 1953 Richmond were coached by Alby Pannam of the famous Pannam/Richards clan, and uncle to Collingwood’s Lou and Ron Richards. Between 1933 – 1943 and 1945 Alby played 181 games for the Magpies before playing 2 for Richmond in 1947. He skippered the Magpies in the 1945 season. From 1946 he coached Richmond’s reserves team before taking over from ‘Captain Blood’ Jack Dyer in 1953 as coach of the senior team. . After the Tigers lost the four of the first five games of they 53 season there were calls from fans for Jack Dyer to be reinstated as coach, but Alby managed to hold onto the position for three seasons taking the Tigers to 5th in 1954 and 6th in 1955

Des Rowe

Richmond was captained by Des Rowe. A member of the Tiger’s Hall of Fame he played 175 games between 1946 and 1957, winning the best & fairest in 1951 and 1955. In 1956, a year in which he was named as an All-Australian, he captained Victoria. He was a safe, tenacious half-back with plenty of pace. He was also a good kick with great judgement and anticipation. He coached the Tigers between 1961 & 1963. Under his coaching Richmond won the Night Premiership (played by teams who did not make the finals) in 1961. His father was Percy Rowe, a member of Collingwood’s ‘Machine Team’ of the 1920s.

Havel Rowe

Havel Rowe won Richmond’s best & fairest award in 1953. He was not in any way related to his skipper, but was a fast, clever player who was very versatile. He was a good mark and kick who played 124 games for the Tigers between 1948 and 1957.

Ron Branton was Richmond’s highest goal scorer in 1953 with 22 in what was his debut season. Branton was a brilliant rover who captained the club between 1960 and 1962, winning the best & fairest award in each of these seasons. He played 170 games for Richmond between 1953 and 1962, kicking 171 goals in total.

Roy Wright

The best known player for Richmond in 1953 would have been the gentle giant Roy Wright. In a career that spanned from 1946 – 1959  Wright won Richmond’s best & fairest award four times in 1950, 52, 54 and 57. He also won two Brownlow Medals in 1952 and 1954 and was runner-up in 1957. Wright captained the Tigers in 1958 and 59. A member of Richmond’s Team of the Century and Hall of Fame and the AFL’s Hall of Fame, Wright was a late developing ruckman who suffered a broken nose, thumb, and split the webbing in his hand in 1953 as well as having concussion three times in the season.

Max Oppy was one of the toughest players to have ever played VFL/AFL football, with Jack Dyer claiming he was a man who could not be hurt. Between 1942 and 1954 played 185 games for the Tigers and took over from Pannam as coach for a season in 1956. He was a cousin of Essendon legend Dick Reynolds.

Jack O' Rourke

Another famous Tiger name in Tom Hafey was also a member of Richmond’s 1953 side. Hafey only played 67 games in five seasons from 1953 but is best known for taking Richmond to premiership wins as coach in 1967, 1969, 1973 and 1974. He also was coach of Collingwood when lost (and drew) Grand Finals in 1977, 79, 80 and 81.

Bill Wilson played for the Tigers between 1944 and 1954. He was a cheeky rover who played 185 games for Richmond and kicked 225 goals. He was a clever and reliable player who was also very courageous and a fast mover of the ball. It was said that he relished games against the Magpies and usually had the edge over Lou Richards. He was a great team man who was a regular member of the Victorian squad, he won the Tigers’ best and fairest in 1947.

Alby Pannam and team inspect the portrait they won as Lightning Championship winners

Jack O’Rourke was the Tiger’s high leaping full-forward who had headed Richmond’s goalkicking in 1951 and 1952. He was a spectacular player whose career was cut short by injury he played just 44 games between 1949 and 1953. He left the Tigers at the end of the 1953 season after only managing five games for the year, unhappy with Jack Dyer’s sacking at the end of 1952.

There was one consolation for the Tigers in 53. They won the Lightning Premiership on Coronation Day at the MCG in June. For their efforts they were presented with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth at the June 11th premier of Elizabeth the Queen, the official film of the Coronation, at the State Theatre.

The Opposition – Hawthorn

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John Kennedy

Hawthorn had a dismal season in 1953. They finished last and won only 3 games. The 1950s were a bleak time for the team from Glenferrie spending much of the first half of the decade in the bottom 2 positions on the ladder. However by the end of the decade they started to taste success, reaching the finals in 1957 for the first time. In 1961 they would finally win their first premiership.

The Hawks’ coach for the 1953 season was Jack Hale. Hale made his name as a Carlton premiership player in the 1930s, and took over as coach of Hawthorn midway through the 1952 season after coaching South Melbourne in 1948 & 49. He remained at Hawthorn until 1960 when John Kennedy, took over. Kennedy often credited Hale as being the one who laid the foundations of the 61 premiership side.

Ted Fletcher

Ted Fletcher was the Hawks’ captain in 1953. A policeman from Dandenong Fletcher was a ruckman/defender who was a very good mark. In 1952 he represented Victoria and won the best & fairest award in 1953.

The most recognisable name on Hawthorn’s list in 1953 would be John ‘Kanga’ Kennedy. He started in 1950 and won the Hawks’ best & fairest award in his first season. He was not the most stylish football but he was extremely clever, and a fine team player who brought others into the game. He captained the club from 1955 until his retirement as a player in 1959, and won the best and fairest award four times. In 1960 he took over from Hale as the Hawks’ coach and lead them to the premiership in 1961 and a Grand Final in 1963. In 1964 he stood down from coaching due to work commitments but returned in 1967. He then coached Hawthorn to premierships in 1971 and 76, as well as runners up in the 1975 Grand Final. His son John Jr. went on to play in four premierships for Hawthorn in the 1980s, while his grandson Josh currently plays for the Sydney Swans.

John O' Mahoney

John ‘Bones’ O’Mahoney played with the Hawks from 1952 to 1960, amassing 112 games and kicking 28 goals. He was a clever centreman who both marked and kicked well. He was an unselfish footballer and creative team man.

Kevin ‘Skeeter’ Coghlan was the Hawks’ biggest goal scorer in 1953. He was dumped by Collingwood with Harvey Stevens a before the start of the season and picked up by Hawthorn where he kicked 19 goals. He topped the Hawks’ goal kicking in 1954 & 55 also. He was a classy rover who was the smallest player of his era.

Pat Cash Sr. played as a forward for the Hawks. He only played 8 games in 1953 due to injury, kicking 9 goals, but he did top the Hawks’ goalkicking list in 1951 with 26. He is the father of 1987 Wimbledon tennis champion Pat Cash Jr.

The Opposition – Carlton

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In 1953 Carlton would miss out on playing finals football, finishing 5th, 3 wins less than 4th placed Essendon. In 1952 they finished fourth but lost their semi-final against Fitzroy by a single point. The 1950s were a dark period of time for Carlton as they only reached the finals three times and lost all of their finals matches.

The Blues were coached by Percy Bentley, who is Carlton’s second longest-serving coach after David Parkin. He was a star player with Richmond in their champion sides of the 1920s and 30s, and coached the Tigers from 1934, the year they beat South Melbourne in the VFL Grand Final. He was one of the greatest players of his era. In 1941 he was lured to Carlton as a coach, bringing the Navy Blues premiership glory in 1945 & 47. He would coach the Blues until he retired in 1955. He then served on the Carlton committee for many years.

Ken Hands

Carlton was captained in 1953 by Ken Hands, a member of their team of the century and one of their greatest ever players. He was a complete footballer who was tough and an inspirational leader of the Blues who was willing to protect the Carlton small men.  He played 211 games with the Blues and kicked 188 goals and was a member of their ’45 & ’47 premiership sides. In 1953 Hands won the Blues’ best & fairest award. Hands would go onto captain and coach Victoria in 1954 & 1957 and represented his state on 12 occasions. Hands would also coach Carlton between 1959 and 1964. He was a great ball handler with excellent balance who possessed one of the best drop kicks in football.

Carlton’s leading goal-kicker in 1953 was John ‘Jack’ Spencer. He kicked 32 goals for the season. He only played VFL football for three seasons and in his 44 game career kicked a total of 67 goals but had a great career in the VFA before he joined the Blues.

Carlton’s second highest goal-kicker in 1953 was their vice-captain Jack Howell. Chooka, as he was known, kicked 28 goals for the season. He played 137 games for the Blues in a career that spanned from 1942-1954. He was a member of the 1947 premiership team and represented Victoria. He is another of Carlton’s greats.

John James, one of Carlton’s all-time greats debuted in 1953. He would go one to win the Blues best & fairest 3 times as well as the Brownlow Medal in 1961. In 1953 he played in 16 of the 18 home & away matches and kicked 8 goals for the season, although he did also manage to kick 43 behinds. He is another member of Carlton’s team of the century.

Laurie Kerr

Laurie Kerr was a speedy and courageous player who played for Carlton between 1950 and 59. The versatile Kerr could play as a winger, half forward flanker or centreman and his electrifying speed made him a potent force. What Kerr lacked in marking and kicking he made up for with sheer courage and pace, he was the Blues’ vice-captain from 1956-58.

In 1953 Keith Warburton kicked 26 goals for the Blues and was their third highest goal-kicker, while Jack Mills was another one of Carlton’s better players in the early 50s.

Bruce Comben played for the Old Dark Navy Blues between 1950 and 1961. In his 188 games he kicked 36 goals despite playing mostly as a tough and relentless back-pocket. He had a glorious running drop-kick and was totally fearless in his quest for the ball, often running staright at the ball and copping a lot of knocks around the head. He was Carlton’s captain and coach between 1958 and 1960 and won their best & fairest award in 1957 and 58. He represented Victoria 9 times.

The Opposition – North Melbourne

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Allen Aylett

Allen Aylett

North Melbourne in 1953 finished the season in 7th place on the VFL ladder with 9 wins and 9 losses. They started the season with 6 victories in the first 9 rounds but could only manage another 3 wins for the rest of the season. Their biggest scalps were Collingwood in round 2, and Essendon in round 17. In round 11 they almost caused the biggest upset of the season against the previously unbeatable Geelong, with the Cats winning the match at Kardinia Park by a solitary point.

1953 was a year of transition for the North Melbourne side, as it was the year in which they decided to ditch the ‘Shinboner’ nickname. Their president Phonse Tobin who took over the reigns in 1953 thought that the image of a ‘Shinbone’ was unsavory for the club and in 1954 they adopted the kangaroo as their mascot.

1953 was the last season in which North Melbourne was coached by former champion Wally Carter. He took over as coach in 1948 and lead the team to 61 victories and 55 losses. In this period North reach the finals on two occassions, topping the ladder after the 1949 home & away season, only to  lose both of their finals matches. In 1950 they did much better, reaching the Grand Final which they lost to Essendon by 38 points. In 1958 he would again be reappointed coach of North Melbourne, a stint which lasted until 1962, but it was a not very successful period in the club’s history.

Jack O’ Halloran won the 1953 Syd Barker Medal for North Melbourne’s best & fairest player. He played 10 games for Essendon in 1950 and ’51 before joining North Melbourne for the 1952 season. Between 1952 and 1956 he played 75 games with the Kangaroos, before joining Footscray for another season and a half of VFL football. He was a stocky and fearless rover who was fast and had great stamina. He was appointed vice-captain in 1954.

Jock Spencer

One of the best known players from this era for North Melbourne would be Allen Aylett. Aylett was in just his second season for North in 1953 and kicked 32 goals. He would go on to win the Syd Barker medal three times in a row between 1958 and 1960, and captain the club between 1961 an 1964. He was strong and deceptively quick with great ball control and an aptitude for kicking goals. He was president of North Melbourne during their very successful period in the 1970s, before becoming VFL president in 1977. In 2000 he would be named as a member of North Melbourne’s team of the century and in 2005 he would be named the ‘Shinboner’ of the 1950s and would go on to be one of the greatest rovers of all-time.

Jock Spencer was another of North Melbourne’s best known players of the 1950s but unfortunately due to injury he only played 4 games during the 1953 season. North’s full-forward of the 20th Century was only able to kick 7 goals in ’53. In his 9 years at the club he played 153 games and kicked 475 goals, which was a club record until passed by John Longmire in the 1990s. His best season was in 1950 where he kicked 86 goals, finishing runner-up to Essendon’s John Coleman who kicked 120. He was a brilliant mark and long punt kick, although he was not always accurate. In 1952 he was selected ahead of Coleman to play for the Victorian state side at full-forward.

Kevin Dynon

Kevin Dynon was North Melbourne’s  captain in 1953 He was first appointed captain in 1947 when he was just 21 years old giving him the distinction of being the youngest player to fill that post since North’s entry to the league, but was replaced by Les Foote in 1948. He was reappointed in 1952 after Foote deprated Arden Street to captain coach Berrigan in New South Wales. Between 1943 and 1954 the versatile Dynon played 149 games and kicked 83 goals playing across the centre, on the half-forward line or even as a follower.

North’s leading goal-kicker in 1953 was Gerald Marchesi with 49, which was the fourth highest goal tally for the 1953 season. He was a strong and powerful half-forward flanker who was deceptively fast for his 14 stone frame. He was an accurate kick and a strong mark and considered one of the best half-forwards of his era. In 1954 he would captain the side which would go onto finish 4th. That would be his final season of VFL football.