Good Old Collingwood Forever

The Story of Collingwood's 1953 Premiership

Posts Tagged ‘Roy Wright

Bob Rose

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As A Player

Debut – 1946
Retired – 1955
Games – 152
Goals – 214
Copeland Trophy – 1949, 1951, 1952, 1952
Brownlow Medal – Runner Up 1953
All Australian -1953

As A Coach

Coach Collingwood – 1964-1971, 1985-1986
Coach Footscray – 1972-1975
Member of Collingwood’s Hall of Fame
Member of Collingwood Team of the Century

According to Gordon Carlyon many observers thought that Bob Rose was ranked as the best footballer to have ever played with Collingwood, while many others consider him to be the best footballer of his time, an era that included all-time greats such as Alan Aylett, Bill Hutchison, John Coleman, Roy Wright, Alan Ruthven and John Kennedy Sr. After the 1953 premiership victory Jock McHale was moved to announce that, “Bob Rose must be acclaimed as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, player to ever wear the black and white uniform.” whilst Hec de Lacy wrote in the Sporting Globe that “… the greatest team builder in Australian football is – Bobby Rose… he vitalises defences, rucks or attacks as the occasion demands.”He was without doubt Collingwood’s most inspirational player and is still the most revered figure at our Club. Bob Rose is probably one of the greatest players to never win a Brownlow Medal, although Bob had won four Copeland trophies by the age of 27 before leaving Collingwood for the country.

On the field Bob was one of the toughest and most courageous players of his day, with lots of speed and superb ball handling skills. He was a magnificent long kick but even better short passer. Bob would not tolerate any rival player winning possession of the ball ahead of him, although some followers of the game thought his tough approach trod the fine line between football and thuggery. Bob often sustained needless injuries by preferring to crash through packs rather than dodge his way out of trouble.

At the end of the 1955 season Bob decided to leave Collingwood to captain and coach Wangaratta Rovers in the Ovens and Murray Football League. Sadly back then country clubs could offer players greater incentives than Collingwood were willing to. Bob was offered £35 a week and accommodation by Wangaratta Rovers and they would also assist him in establishing a sports store. He led the Wangaratta Rovers to premierships in 1958 and 1960. Rose was the League’s leading goalkicker in 1960. Rose was also the Morris Medal winner in 1958 and 1960 for best player in the Ovens and Murray Football League.

In 1964 Bob returned to Collingwood after the ousting of Phonse Kyne as coach. He is often remembered as perhaps the unluckiest coach in VFL/AFL history, taking Collingwood to within 10 points of victory in each of the Grand Finals of 1964, 1966 and 1970. In 1972 he took over as coach of Footscray,while in 1985 he briefly returned to coach the Magpies before handing the reigns over to Leigh Matthews.

At the end of  a torrid 1975 season Bob stood down as coach of Footscray to look after his son Robert, who had become a paraplegic after a car accident earlier that year. Bob also had to contend with one of his Footscray players, Neil Sachse, becoming a quadriplegic after damaging his spinal cord in a sickening on field collision with Fitzroy’s Kevin O’Keefe.

In 2003 Bob passed away from cancer and several people from within the football community paid tribute to him. Ron Barassi, who coached against Bob in the infamous 1970 grand final, was devastated when told that he man he idolised as child had died. “Footy just lost one of its greatest people. He was a dashing player, the most unlucky coach and a superb human being,” he said. “I’ve never spoken to him about it,” Barassi said… “He was very gracious. He was a very good loser and honourable. ” The AFL’s chairman Ron Evans simply said  “Bob Rose was Collingwood, and Collingwood was Bob Rose.”

As a player and a coach Bob Rose set the example for how Collingwood would like its footballers to play on the field, and conduct themselves off it. No one has been more loved and respected at Victoria Park – not only for the way he played and what he achieved, but for the man he was and the way he carried himself.  Bob Rose epitomised all that is good about Collingwood, and about football. The legacy he has left will be a lasting one.




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.

Round 6 – Collingwood Vs Richmond

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May 30 1953

Jack Dyer in the Sun predicted that Collingwood would easily account for the young Tigers  in their round 6 clash at Victoria Park, which they did  by 23 points.The Magpie’s stocks were buoyed by the returns of Mocha Dunstan and Bill Twomey from injury. However vice-captain Neil Mann, a star in recent weeks, was out of the team to injury sustained in the match against Hawthorn.

Former Collingwood captain Dan Minogue wrote in the Sun that the Magpie’s strong back line, greater anticipation and intelligent handball were the main factors in Collingwood’s success. (1) The strong wind blowing across Victoria Park caused some congestion but the Maggies use of the whole ground was excellent. (2) The highlight of the match was the battle between Mick Twomey and Roy Wright in the ruck, with each player rising to great heights in ruck play and marking around the ground. (3) Wright in particular had no peer in the air but was forced to play defensively. (4) Minogue noted that despite the great ruck work of Twomey and Wright, the  rovers failed to capitalise by breaking free of the packs. (5)

Despite showing fighting spirit (6) and some fine defensive work (7) Richmond’s forward work was lamentable (8) and what Minogue called below League standard (9). The Tigers attacked the goals without purpose or plan and the Magpies were easily able to counter them. (10)



1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

Final Score

Collingwood 2.1 5.1.31 7.7.49 9.8.62
Richmond 1.2 2.5.17 3.7.25 5.9.39


Collingwood – B Twomey 4, B Rose 3, M Twomey 2

Richmond – Branton 2, Wright, Ritchie, Hafey


Collingwood – Merrett, B Rose, Dunstan, Finck, Lucas, Healey, Kingston, Hamilton

Richmond – Wright, Oppy, D Rowe, Wright, H Rowe, Patterson, Collins, D Rose

In Other News

Geelong remained at the top of the ladder with a 53 point thrashing of South Melbourne at Kardinia Park. Footscray cemented second spot by beating St Kilda, while North Melbourne dropped to fourth after being defeated by Essendon by 17, with Coleman kicking 3 goals for the victors and Marchesi 4 for the losers. Hawthorn recorded their first win of the season over a hapless Carlton by 20 points, with former Collingwood player Kevin ‘Skeeter’ Coghlan and Pat Cash kicking 3 goals each.

VFL Ladder after round 6





Premiership Points

Geelong 6 0 0 24
Footscray 5 0 1 20
Collingwood 4 0 1 16
North Melbourne 4 0 2 16
Fitzroy 4 0 2 16
Essendon 3 0 3 12
Carlton 3 0 3 12
South Melbourne 2 0 4 8
St Kilda 2 0 4 8
Melbourne 1 0 5 4
Richmond 1 0 5 4
Hawthorn 1 0 5 0

Leading Goalkickers

Player Team Goals In Round Goals For Season
J. Coleman Essendon 3 40
G. Goninon Geelong 2 30
J. Hickey Fitzroy 0 22
G. Marchesi North Melbourne 4 19
J. Collins Footscray 3 19
P. Bennett St Kilda 3 18
N. Trezise Geelong 0 17
B. Rose Collingwood 3 15
R. McKenzie Melbourne 4 15

In Royal News

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II occurred at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. The entire ceremony was broadcast on television in the around the world and was the first major international event to be broadcast on the new medium. We Australians missed out, as TV would not arrive down under for another 3 years.

In World News

On May 29 Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest, the news of this remarkable event reaching the world’s media on June 2, with Queen Elizabeth knighting the New Zealander as a thankyou for this Coronation gift. The Herald headline to mark this event was “British Claim Everest”. I know that things were different then and that the British Empire was still shining, yet it is difficult to think of a New Zealand beekeeper and a Nepalese sherpa as being British.

The Potts went to London for the Coronation and got to watch it on television, something that their friends back home in Melbourne could not do!



  1. Minogue. D – The Sun – Monday June 1 1953 – page 32
  2. Minogue. D – The Sun – Monday June 1 1953 – page 32
  3. Minogue. D – The Sun – Monday June 1 1953 – page 32
  4. Minogue. D – The Sun – Monday June 1 1953 – page 32
  5. Minogue. D – The Sun – Monday June 1 1953 – page 32
  6. The Herald – Saturday May 30 1953 – page 19
  7. The Herald – Saturday May 30 1953 – page 19
  8. The Herald – Saturday May 30 1953 – page 19
  9. Minogue. D – The Sun – Monday June 1 1953 – page 32
  10. The Herald – Saturday May 30 1953 – page 19