Good Old Collingwood Forever

The Story of Collingwood's 1953 Premiership

Posts Tagged ‘Carlton Football Club

Round 10 – Essendon Vs Collingwood

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The headline at the Argus summed up the result of this clash very nicely: “Don ‘Tornado’ Hits Collingwood”, as Essendon defeated the Magpies by 28 points, thanks to a 6 goal haul by John Coleman.


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.

Round 4 – Carlton Vs Collingwood

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May 16, 1953

Collingwood ventured to Princes Park in May to meet their oldest foe Carlton. The Magpies‘s stocks were still depleted with injury, while Carlton were just outside the four after defeating Melbourne and Richmond and suffering a narrow loss to Footscray in round 1.

37,500 crammed into the Blues’ home ground to see the Magpies prevail by just 8 points in a fiery clash in which Collingwood was in charge for the whole game despite the closeness of the scoreline. Carlton’s Jack Howell had a great ruck duel with Neil Mann, with the Blues’ big-man just prevailing in this evenly fought battle, showing a brilliant display of marking power. (1) In the end however, Collingwood simply played smarter, faster and more expert football in snatching the win from their rivals. (2)

The Magpies showed great fighting spirit and in the last desperate few minutes they overcame a 4 point deficit to ultimately win by 8 points. (3) Jack Finck was a success at full-forward in Bill Twomey’s absence, kicking 4 goals including the match-winner after Carlton’s George Stafford kicked into the man on the mark. (4) Even when the pressure was great in the last few minutes the Magpies’ players kept their cool heads to hold on. (5)

Throughout the match the Magpies used handball to devastating effect, although this was occasionally overdone. (6) For much of the game Collingwood showed superior pace and a slight superiority in the air and across the centre, while Mann was slightly more effective in the ruck for much of the match. (7)



1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

Final Score


2.1.13 6.5.41 9.5.59 14.11.95


5.5.35 7.10.53 11.17.83 14.19.103


Collingwood – Mann, Healey, Parker, R Richards, B Rose, Kingston, Tuck, Clarke

Carlton – Hands, Howell, Beasy, Dern, Spencer, Ferry, Malony

Goal Kickers

Collingwood – Finck 4, B Rose 3, R Richards 2, Kingston 2, Tebble 2, Clarke

Carlton – Spencer 5, Beasy 3, Warburton 2, Mills, Walsh, Milroy, Kerr

In Other Football News

Geelong kept up their unbeaten run with a 14 point victory over Essendon. Goninon kicked 6 goals and Trezise 3 while the Bombers’ Coleman had an off day by his standards and could only manage 4 majors, in what was the battle of the VFL’s best goal-scorers. North Melbourne suffered their first defeat of the season to Fitzroy who had crept into fourth place on the ladder, while Footscray was now placed second with a 45 point win over lowly Melbourne, with Ted Whitten being amongst the best on the ground.

Hawthorn and Melbourne were languishing on the bottom of the ladder winless while Richmond were 10th with just one win.

VFL Ladder after round 4





Premiership Points

Geelong 4 0 0 16
Footscray 3 0 1 12
North Melbourne 3 0 1 12
Fitzroy 3 0 1 12
Essendon 2 0 2 8
Carlton 2 0 2 8
Collingwood 2 0 2 8
South Melbourne 2 0 2 8
St Kilda 2 0 2 8
Richmond 1 0 3 4
Melbourne 0 0 4 0
Hawthorn 0 0 4 0




Goals in Round

Goals For Season

J. Coleman Essendon 4 35
J. Hickey Fitzroy 8 22
N. Trezise Geelong 3 17
G. Goninon Geelong 6 17
J. Collins Footscray 5 13
G. Marchesi North Melbourne 3 13
A. Aylett North Melbourne 1 12


In his preview of the match the Sporting Globe’s H.A. de Lacy referred to Collingwood’s Mick Twomey as Mike Twomey. I’m not sure if this is his fault or that of his editor/subeditor though.

Mick Twomey did not play the match due to a torn ‘monkey’ muscle according to Percy Taylor in the Argus. Google told me that a ‘monkey muscle’ is a calf muscle.

Jack Finck only kicked 8 goals in his entire career at Collingwood, with half that tally coming in this match.

In Other Sports News

Rocky Marciano retained the World Heavyweight Boxing Title with a knockout victory over Jersey Joe Walcott in the first round of their highly anticipated bout in Chicago.



  1. The Argus – Monday May 18, 1953 – page 10
  2. Taylor. P – The Argus – Monday May 18, 1953 – page 10
  3. Taylor. P – The Argus – Monday May 18, 1953 – page 10
  4. The Age Monday May 18, 1953 – page 7
  5. Taylor. P – The Argus – Monday May 18, 1953 – page 10
  6. Taylor. P – The Argus – Monday May 18, 1953 – page 10
  7. Taylor. P – The Argus – Monday May 18, 1953 – page 10