Good Old Collingwood Forever

The Story of Collingwood's 1953 Premiership

Posts Tagged ‘Hawthorn Football Club

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.


Round 5 – Collingwood Vs Hawthorn

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Saturday May 23 1953

Collingwood were expected to dominate their Round 5 encounter with Hawthorn at Victoria Park and ended up winning by 70 points. In front of just 9,627 people (1) in atrocious conditions both teams struggled with their being just 12 points separating the two teams at three quarter time. The Magpies finally broke the shackles with a devastating 9 goal final quarter.

The Hawks were tenacious for the first three quarters (2) and held a ruck advantage (3), with John Kennedy’s ruckwork being a highlight of the match. (3) Hawthorn also proved to be more adept at handling the greasy ball. (4) Unfortunately for the Hawks Kennedy’s efforts were often nullified by the roving of the Richards brothers Lou and Ron. (5)

The Magpie ‘Machine’ could not slip into gear until the final quarter when every player started producing his best. (6) Hawthorn were swept off their feet as Collingwood took control (7), the Hawks being unable to halt the sudden, systematic brilliance of the Magpies. (8) This final 9 goal burst boosted Collingwood’s percentage enough to put them into the four for the first time since Round 1. (8)

Bob Rose playing on the half-forward-flank proved to be the moving force behind the majority of Collingwood’s attacks with great ball-handling and kicking despite the conditions. (9)



1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

Final Score

Collingwood 3.3.21 3.10.28 4.13.37 13.18.96
Hawthorn 3.3.21 3.3.21 3.7.25 3.8.26


Collingwood – Tebble 2, B Rose 2, Hickey 2, R Richards 2, Kingston, Merrett, Finck, Clarke, Healey

Hawthorn – McCann, Coghlan, Collins


Collingwood – B Rose, L Richards, Healey, Merrett, Tebble, R Richards, Mann, Waller, Kingston

Hawthorn – Kennedy, Simmonds, Crane, O’Mahoney, Philp, Robison, Coghlan, Pearson

In Other Games

Footscray went to second place on the ladder with a 60 point victory over Fitzroy at the Western Oval that the Argus’ Hugh Buggy said resembled a swamp. (10) If it was not for a goal from Alan Ruthven late in the last quarter the Maroons would have had the dubious distinction of being the first team in VFL history to have gone through a match scoreless. (11)

Geelong beat Richmond by 54 points with Goninon kicking 11 goals. John Coleman could only manage 2 goals in Essendon’s 11 point loss to Melbourne.

In Financial News

Alf Brown reported in the Herald that whilst it costs Collingwood £250 to field a side each week, Collingwood lost £240 on this game. (12) The gate for the match in which less than 10,000 fans attended due to inclement weather and Hawthorn’s poor form, was just £212. (13)

In Injury News

Jock McHale was injured during the week when a log fell on his left foot and badly bruised his big toe. The former coach received treatment for this injury at half-time. (14)

VFL Ladder after round 5





Premiership Points

Geelong 5 0 0 20
Footscray 4 0 1 16
North Melbourne 4 0 1 16
Collingwood 3 0 2 12
Carlton 3 0 2 12
Fitzroy 3 0 2 12
Essendon 2 0 3 8
South Melbourne 


2 0 3 8
St Kilda 


2 0 3 8
Richmond 1 0 4 4
Melbourne 1 0 4 4
Hawthorn 0 0 5 0

Leading Goalkickers



Goals in Round

Goals For Season

J. Coleman Essendon 2 37
G. Goninon Geelong 11 28
J. Hickey Fitzroy 0 22
N. Trezise Geelong 0 17
J. Collins Footscray 3 16
P. Bennett St Kilda 3 11
G. Marchesi North Melbourne 2 15
A. Aylett North Melbourne 2 14
A. Walsh Carlton 2 13



  1. The Argus, Monday May 25 1953 – page 12
  2. The Argus, Monday May 25 1953 – page 12
  3. The Argus, Monday May 25 1953 – page 12
  4. The Argus, Monday May 25 1953 – page 12
  5. The Age, Monday May 25 1953 – page 7
  6. The Argus, Monday May 25 1953 – page 12
  7. The Argus, Monday May 25 1953 – page 12
  8. The Argus, Monday May 25 1953 – page 12
  9. The Age, Monday May 25 1953 – page 7
  10. The Age, Monday May 25 1953 – page 7
  11. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 25 1953 – page 12
  12. Brown. A – The Herald, Monday June 1 1953 – page 12
  13. Brown. A – The Herald, Monday June 1 1953 – page 12
  14. The Sun, Monday May 25 1953 – page 25