Good Old Collingwood Forever

The Story of Collingwood's 1953 Premiership

Posts Tagged ‘Thorold Merrett

Des Healey

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Debut – 1948
Retired – 1955
Games – 149
Goals – 27
1955 Copeland Trophy
1951 & 1954 R. T. Rush Trophy
1953 J. J. Joyce Trophy
Seconds Best and Fairest: 1947
Interstate Representative: 1949, 1953 (carnival)
All-Australian – 1953
Coach under 19s – 1972-77
Member of Collingwood’s Hall of Fame (Inducted 2006)

Des Healey was a brilliant and attacking wingman whom both Phonse Kyne and Lou Richards regarded as the best winger Collingwood had ever produced, whilst Essendon legend John Coleman described Healey as the best wingman he had ever seen in the game. Coleman praised him by saying, “He is clever, has that wonderful tenacity of all good Collingwood players, and is tireless.” His teammate Bill Twomey Jr. said that Healey was the cleverest player he had ever seen in one on one duels, whilst Bob Rose said that Healey was a top class player who had everything. Richmond’s duel Brownlow Medalist Roy Wright called Des the gamest player he had ever seen and that he had a lot of courage for someone who was just 5’6″. “If he were a big man he would kill someone the way he tears through packs” Wright said. Along with fellow left-footers Bill Twomey and Thorold Merrett Healey was a part of one of the best centrelines of the era.

The tenacious Healey was small and fast and a great stab-kick off his left boot. He also possessed a safe pair of hands as he was a great mark. He showed dazzling speed in the way he cashed the ball and could keep control of it with uncanny ability.  His evasive skills were superb. Healey worked long and hard perfecting his talent. He often spent extra nights alone on the training track twisting and turning around imaginary opponents at top pace. His unrivalled commitment was inspiration for all.

1953 was a stand out year for Healey, as he won All-Australian selection and was judged by many observers to be best on ground in Collingwood’s premiership win. He was third in the Copeland Trophy behind Bob Rose and Neil Mann.

Unfortunately today Healey is most well-known for the last game in which he played, the 1955 Grand Final loss to Melbourne. In one of the most talked about incidents in Grand Final history and with three minutes to go in the match, Healey collided with Melbourne’s Frank ‘Bluey’ Adams who had just run onto the ground from the bench. Healey, who had been the Magpie’s best player to that point, had his nose broken, skull fractured and was severely concussed. Despite winning the Copeland Trophy that year he never played another game saying ‘I could not stand another blow like that. He was just 27.

Healey was also an outstanding cricketer who in the 1953-54 season was a part of Collingwood’s first grade district cricket team. In the 1952-53 season he was a part of the Magpies’ second XI team where he topped the batting averages and won the club championship. He top scored in the final match of the season with 92 runs against South Melbourne. Two years earlier both Healey and Merrett were team-mates in Collingwood’s 1951 Third XI team that won the cricket final against Prahran. They put on a 151 run partnership to set up their victory, with Healey scoring a century and Merrett making 51.

In the late 70s Des spent six years as coach of Collingwood’s under 19 team, nuturing young talent such as Peter Daicos. Healey passed away in 2009 aged 81.

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Acknowledgements

  1. Roberts. M & McFarlane. G -The Official Collingwood Illustrated Encyclopedia – Updated Edition – 2010 The Slattery Media Group
  2. Holmesby R & Main J. – The Encyclopedia Of AFL Footballers – Seventh Edition – 2007 Bas Publishing
  3. Main. J – When It Matters Most – 2006 Bas Publishing
  4. Collingwood Football Club Website – http://www.afl.com.au/Season2007/News/NewsArticle/tabid/5586/Default.aspx?newsId=7022
  5. Carlyon. G – Gordon Carlyon’s Scrapbook Number 2 – 2002 Gordon Carlyon
  6. Roberts. M – A Century Of The Best – The Stories of Collingwood’s Favourite Sons – 1991 Collingwood Football Club
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Lou Richards

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Lou's caricature by Jim Edema appeared in the Sun before the semi-final clash with Geelong

Debut – 1941
Retired – 1955
Games – 250
Goals – 423
Captain – 1952-1955
Collingwood’s Leading Goalkicker – 1944, 1948, 1950
R.T. Rush Trophy – 1947, 1950 (Runner Up Best & Fairest)
J.J. Joyce Trophy – 1951 (3rd Best & Fairest)
Member of Collingwood’s Hall of Fame (Inducted 2004)

Out of all the champions who have donned the famous black & white jumper Lewis Thomas Charles Richards is perhaps the most famous of all. Unfortunately it is for his deeds off the ground, as football’s first multi-media star that Lou is remembered rather than his great contributions to the Magpies as a player and premiership captain. While Lou never won a Copeland Trophy he was placed three times, coming runner-up in 1947 and 1950 and third in 1951. He also led Collingwood’s goalkicking on three occasions in 1944, 48 and 50. In 1947 he was named the Herald’s Player of the Year. In that year he also polled the most Brownlow Medal votes of all the Magpies (10) to finish 14th. Phonse Kyne who won that year’s Copeland Trophy finished a further three votes behind Lou, as did teammates Ray Horwood and Ray Stokes. With the exception of the 1953 premiership year in which he did not poll a single vote, Lou was usually one of Collingwood’s best polling players on Brownlow night.

Lou as pictured in The Argus, September 1951

While Lou was an immensely courageous rover with a ton of cheek, who was rugged, tough and determined. He also was ferociously competitive and had a fierce will to win. In 1951 on Phonse Kynes’s retirement as a player he forced his brother Ron to nominate him for the captaincy of the Magpies, but was overwhelmingly rejected in favour of Gordon Hocking. Neil Mann was appointed vice-captain to Hocking, something which really annoyed Lou as he did not have the experience of Richards. However rather than dwell on this misfortune he decided to reflect on what he perceived as his biggest flaw, his open criticism of his teammates, both on and off the field. Lou decided to change his style and became encouraging rather than critical and by 1952 he was appointed captain after filling in for Hocking and Mann on occasion in 1951. Des Healey claimed Lou was the best captain he had played under saying that “He was a magnificent team man and a real great Collingwood player – he culd almost win matches for Collingwood on his own by getting the other players in. Thorold Merrett claimed, “He was always firing you up, telling you to get up if you were hurt and urging you from start to finish.” whilst his deputy Neil Mann said “Louie was a terrific captain, always giving you lots of encouragement.” Bob Rose rated Lou as the best rover of his era, alongside Essendon’s Bill Hutchison and Fitzroy’s Alan Ruthven. Lou’s greatest triumph was leading the team to premiership glory in 1953.

After retiring from the game in 1955 Lou was given two options. The first was to coach Collingwood’s seconds with a view to becoming senior coach some time in the future, while the second was to join the media and to write articles for the Argus. Deferring the decision to his beloved wife Edna, Lou decided to set himself on the road to multi-media mega-stardom by refusing the coaching job and writing for the Argus. Despite his reservations Lou proved a natural, which shouldn’t have surprised anyone since during his playing career he was a media darling, giving extensive interviews for all of Melbourne’s daily newspapers on occasions. He was also a favourite of newspaper cartoonists such as The Age’s Sam Wells and The Herald’s WEG, who often depict him as a loud-mouthed chimpanzee. He would go onto being the game’s greatest media personality on radio, television and the newspapers.

In Collingwood’s 2010 premiership year Lou was once again in the headlines over the AFL’s refusal to elevate him to Legend status in the AFL’s Hall of Fame. The AFL argued that due to their rules which states Legends must be players and coaches at the “very pinnacle” of the game onfield, despite being one of the few to have captained Collingwood to a premiership and despite being the most-loved and greatest character that the game has produced.

___________________________________________________________

Acknowledgements

  1. Roberts. M & McFarlane. G -The Official Collingwood Illustrated Encyclopedia – Updated Edition – 2010 The Slattery Media Group
  2. Holmesby R & Main J. – The Encyclopedia Of AFL Footballers – Seventh Edition – 2007 Bas Publishing
  3. Richards L. & Phillips S.- The Kiss Of Death – 1989
  4. Stevens M. – Lou Richards rejects AFL Hall of Fame offer – http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/its-all-or-nothing/story-0-1225713271416
  5. Carlyon. G – Gordon Carlyon’s Scrapbook Number 2 – 2002 Gordon Carlyon
  6. Roberts. M – A Century Of The Best – The Stories of Collingwood’s Favourite Sons – 1991 Collingwood Football Club

Round 3 – Collingwood Vs Geelong

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May 9, 1953

Round 3 Action

Round 3 was the match that everyone wanted to see, the Grand Final rematch between Collingwood and Geelong at the Magpies‘ home ground Victoria Park. Collingwood however was reeling from injuries to several key players. Full-forward Bill Twomey who kicked nine goals in round 1 and wingman Des Healey both were injured in the Exhibition Match at the Showgrounds two weeks earlier, while Lou Richards, Mick Twomey, Peter Lucas and ‘Moccha’ Dunstan all suffered injuries in round 2 against North Melbourne. (1) George Hams and Dave Little were both dropped. (2) First gamers Tom Tarrant, Kevin Flint, Kevin Clarke and Neville Waller were selected, with Tarrant given the job of trying to stop Trezise and Pianto when they rested in the Cats’ forward pocket (3), whilst Waller was given the Herculean task of trying to curb Geelong skipper and centre-half-forward Fred Flanagan. (4)

Geelong fans celebrate at Victoria Park

Before the match Percy Beames said that the odds were stacked so high against Collingwood that if they won the match it would be a victory to overshadow all of the Magpies greatest triumphs (5), while H.A de Lacy from the Sporting Globe predicted that the Cats would simply ‘murder’ the Magpies. (6)

Unfortunately for the Magpies the Cats notched up yet another victory at their expense, this time by a margin of 25 points. Surprisinglyit was  a spirited Collingwood who were just one point down at three-quarter time, after leading by as much as 28 points at half-time, before the under-strength and exhausted Magpies finally bowed to Geelong’s superior stamina. (7)

Geelong, a team that prior to the game Essendon coach Dick Reynolds said played class football all the time (8), had their system torn to tatters by Collingwood’s vigor and tenacity. (9) The Magpies clearly resolved to make the Cats fight for every kick. (10) Dick Reynolds was so impressed by Collingwood’s effort that he declared that a full-strength Magpie side could beat Geelong (11)

Neil Mann

Stand-in skipper Neil Mann provided the inspiration for the Magpies in the ruck (12) and with his high marking. (13) Bob Rose was never beaten whether he was roving to Mann or playing on the wing (14), while Thorold Merrett was another dangerous player. (15) Des Healey outclassed the Geelong centreline with his sheer artistry (16) and magnificent ball handling (17), while Jack Parker was solid (18) and John Hickey showed great heart and worked tirelessly. (19) Ron Richards also fought gallantly. (20)

More action at Victoria Park

Geelong got back into the game in the second half after coach Reg Hickey made the tactical change of shifting Bob Davis into the centre, which dragged his opponent Frank Tuck away from defence. (21) Noel Raysun at centre-half-forward was rarely beaten and was responsible for several Geelong goals. (22) Bernie Smith was another stumbling block for the Magpies with his full-blooded dashes that got the Cats out of trouble time and time again. (23) George Goninon eclipsed Jack Hamilton, kicking four goals, resulting in Hamilton being shifted to the ruck in the last quarter. (24) Both Peter Pianto and Neil Trezise had quiet first halves but were effective in Geelong’s comeback. (25) In the end the Magpies’ courage was not sufficient against Geelong’s great strength. (26)

Scores

Team

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

Final Score

Geelong

2.1.13 4.4.28 9.9.63 14.14.98

Collingwood

3.5.23 8.8.56 8.14.62 9.19.73

Best

Geelong – Smith, Flanagan, Sharpe, Swarbrick, Raysun, Morrison, McMaster

Collingwood -Mann, Healey, B. Rose, Hickey, Merrett, Tuck, R. Richards

Goals

Geelong – Goninon 4, Flanagan 3, Trezise 2, Swarbrick 2, Raysun, Pianto, Sharpe

Collingwood – B. Rose 3, Healey 2, Mann, Merrett, Tuck

In other news

Footscray and Essendon both had great victories, with the Bombers John Coleman again kicking 10 goals. North Melbourne retained second spot on the ladder with a lucky 1 point victory over bottom of the table Melbourne, while Fitzroy and Carlton both enjoyed wins.

The Sporting Globe’s Alan Fitcher must have been watching a different game to the one described by the other scribes of the day. He claimed that Geelong had the game well and truly wrapped up at three quarter time despite only being a point up. (27) The Sporting Globe also claimed that the Magpies had been ‘thrashed’. (28)

Ladder after round 3

Team Win Draw Lose Premiership Points
Geelong 3 0 0 12
North Melbourne 3 0 0 12
Essendon 2 0 1 8
Footscray 2 0 1 8
Carlton 2 0 1 8
Fitzroy 2 0 1 8
Richmond 

 

1 0 2 4
Collingwood 1 0 2 4
South Melbourne 1 0 2 4
St Kilda 

 

1 0 2 4
Melbourne 0 0 3 0
Hawthorn 0 0 3 0

.

Leading Goalkickers

Player Team Goals in Round Goals For Season
J. Coleman Essendon 10 31
N. Trezise Geelong 2 14
J. Hickey Fitzroy 5 14
A. Aylett North Melbourne 3 11
G. Goninon Geelong 4 11
G. Marchesi North Melbourne 4 10
A. Walsh Carlton 6 10
P. Bennett St Kilda 4 9
B. Twomey Collingwood 0 9

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Footnotes

  1. Buggy. H – The Argus – Friday May 8 1953 – page 8
  2. Beames. P – The Age – Friday May 8, 1953 – page 9
  3. Buggy. H – The Argus – Friday May 8 1953 – page 8
  4. Buggy. H – The Argus – Friday May 8 1953 – page 8
  5. Beames. P – The Age – Saturday May 9, 1953 – page 7
  6. de Lacy. H. A. – The Sporting Globe – Wednesday May 6 – page 2
  7. Beames. P – The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  8. Reynolds. D & Buggy. H – The Argus, Saturday May 9, 1953 – page 13
  9. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 11
  10. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 11
  11. Reynolds. D & Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 10
  12. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 11
  13. Beames. P – The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  14. Beames. P – The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  15. Beames. P – The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  16. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 11
  17. The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  18. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 11
  19. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 11
  20. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 11
  21. Buggy. H – The Argus, Monday May 11, 1953 – page 11
  22. Beames. P – The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  23. Beames. P – The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  24. Beames. P – The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  25. Beames. P – The Age – Monday May 11, 1953 – page 7
  26. Fitcher. A – The Sporting Globe – Saturday May 9, 1953 – page 11
  27. Fitcher. A – The Sporting Globe – Wednesday May 13, 1953 – page 2
  28. The Sporting Globe – Saturday May 9, 1953 – page 11

1953 Preseason

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Jack Hamilton (wearing Richmond colours) and 'Mocha' Dunstan compete during the Magpies' final practice game

The big news of Collingwood’s 1953 preseason was the unexpected dropping of Harvey Stevens from the Magpies’ list. Stevens played 54 games with Collingwood, including their 1952 Grand Final defeat.

Stevens was omitted from the Collingwood list despite good form in practice games (1) and was expected to be a vital part of the Magpie’s machine in 1953. (2) He was dropped to Collingwood’s supplementary list in 1952 due to being overweight, but fought his way back into the senior side and was playing well at the end of the season. (3)

Fortunately for Stevens he was picked up by Footscray where he had a stellar season, winning the Bulldogs best and fairest. In 1954 he would play a vital role in Footscray’s successful premiership campaign.

Rover Kevin Coghlan was also dropped and subsequently recruited by Hawthorn, while Ken Aitken was also dropped a week out from round 1. (4)

Going into the 1953 season some Magpies were under an injury cloud. Maurice ‘Mocha’ Dunstan had an injured ankle as did Pat Twomey.(5) George Hams had a knee injury while Keith Batchelor suffered from fibrosis. (6) Peter Lucas had a split eardrum (7), Thorold Merrett a bruised thigh (8) and Arthur Gooch a strained leg. (9) Brian Turner was also under treatment for neuritis in the hip. (10)

Ron & Lou Richards and Ron's new bride Gladys. Ron & Gladys married in March.

Prior to the match Collingwood coach Phonse Kyne wrote an article for the Argus stating his expectations for the 1953 season. He rued the amount of injuries that the club had suffered during the previous season and thought that a fully fit Magpie unit were not that far behind the Geelong side. (11) Kyne stated that Collingwood’s forward line was much improved over the one they had in 1952 with Bob Rose, Lou and Ron Richards, Maurice Dunstan and the Twomeys all being able to play in attack. (12) Kyne also expected a lot of Collingwood’s new recruit Dave Little, a mobile ruckman from Korrumburra, as a back-up for Neil Mann. (13) Jack Finck‘s return to the team would also mean that he could play at centre-half-back, allowing Mann to spend more time in the ruck. (14) Phonse considered the Magpie wings in Thorold Merrett and Des Healey and their half-back line of Fincke, Peter Lucas and Ron Kingston to be the finest in the league. (15)

Because of all this Jack Dyer thought that both Collingwood and Geelong were the teams to beat in season 1953. Dyer was particularly looking forward to seeing Jack Hamilton, George Hams and Neil Mann in action. (16)

As an aside at least one of the Collingwood players indulged in playing district cricket over the off-season. Des Healey played in Collingwood’s second XI in 1953 and won the team’s batting average and club championship. He top scored in the final match of the season with 92 runs against South Melbourne. (17) Thorold Merrett was another Collingwood player who played district cricket in 1953, donning the whites for the Magpie’s Third XI. Two years earlier both Healey and Merrett were team-mates in Collingwood’s 1951 Third XI team that won the cricket final against Prahran. They put on a 151 run partnership to set up their victory, with Healey scoring a century and Merrett making 51. (18)

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Footnotes

  1. Hogan. K – The Sun – Monday April 13, 1953 – page 28
  2. Hogan. K – The Sun – Monday April 13, 1953 – page 28
  3. Hogan. K – The Sun – Monday April 13, 1953 – page 28
  4. Hogan. K – The Sun – Monday April 13, 1953 – page 28
  5. The Sun – Wednesday April 1, 1953 – page 26
  6. The Sun – Wednesday April 1, 1953 – page 26
  7. The Sun – Friday April 10, 1953 – page 25
  8. The Sun – Friday April 10, 1953 – page 25
  9. The Sun – Friday April 10, 1953 – page 25
  10. The Sun – Friday April 10, 1953 – page 25
  11. Kyne. P – The Argus – Friday April 17, 1953 – page 18
  12. Kyne. P – The Argus – Friday April 17, 1953 – page 18
  13. Kyne. P – The Argus – Friday April 17, 1953 – page 18
  14. Kyne. P – The Argus – Friday April 17, 1953 – page 18
  15. Kyne. P – The Argus – Friday April 17, 1953 – page 18
  16. The Sun – Saturday April 18, 1953 – page 32
  17. The Argus – Friday 16 October, 1953 – page 12
  18. The Argus – Monday April 2, 1951 – page 9

Looking back at the 1952 Grand Final & its aftermath

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Sam Wells' preview of the 1952 Grand Final

To really grasp the significance of Collingwood’s 1953 season and their historic, drought breaking Grand Final victory of that year, one has to look back twelve months earlier, when Geelong comfortably defeated the Magpies by 46 points in the 1952 Grand Final. The strength and overall dominance of the Cats’ team of the early 1950s cannot be overemphasised. As they entered the 1952 Grand Final Geelong were not just the reigning premier but were also in the middle of what is still the longest unbeaten streak in VFL/AFL history and had easily defeated Collingwood by 54 points in the Second Semi-Final two weeks prior. The Cats were the undeniable favourites.

Most football observers predicted that the Cats would easily defeat the Magpies in the 1952 decider and whilst the final score of the Grand Final seems to indicate this, what it does not show is that Collingwood did not give up the match without a fight. In the end the courage and determination of the Magpies was simply not enough to even get close to the brilliant Geelong juggernaut, although the Cats clearly did not impress everyone. Writing in the Argus Essendon’s legendary coach Dick Reynolds was clearly underwhelmed by the Geelong effort. He thought that the Cats failed to live up to their stellar reputation and that they failed to turn on the fireworks that everyone had been expecting.(1) Reynolds praised the Magpies whose side was seriously depleted by  injuries, and thought that if they were at full strength they would probably be more than a match for the mighty Geelong team.(2) Reynolds concluded that their performance in the Grand Final proved that the Geelong team, who were starting to be dubbed the ‘Invincibles’ (3) were far from unbeatable.(4) This would perhaps prove to be prophetic twelve months later.

WEG's take on the '52 Grand Final

The Age ‘s Percy Beams said that although “…it was apparent from the start that the Magpies lacked the team balance and skill of their opponents, their sheer determination and concentration worried Geelong into mediocrity…”(5) and that there was a belief among the other sides “…that many Geelong players could be robbed of their confidence to do their best under pressure.”(6) Again these words would prove to be prophetic in 1953 and one wonders whether the Cats’ became too complacent during this time and started to believe that even if they did not play at their best they could still easily beat their nearest opposition.

Collingwood’s biggest problem on the day of the 1952 Grand Final was their inability to kick goals as they were handicapped by what Beams called an inadequate forward division due mainly to the strength of the Cat’s defenders. (7) Collingwood used Harvey Stevens as a makeshift full-forward and whilst he had several opportunities to goal there were many occasions where he dropped marks inside the goal square, with the Argus reckoning he could have kicked six goals if he had been able to hold onto his marks.(8) By the start of the ’53 season Stevens would no longer be a Magpie, having been let go, but he did end up at Footscray and would win their best and fairest award in 1953 and become a member of their only premiership team in 1954.

Cats' skipper Fred Flanagan is chaired from the ground

Collingwood only had two goal scorers for the day in wingman Thorold Merrett and forward pocket Jack Parker, whilst Geelong’s George Goninon kicked five and Neil Trezise kicked four. Things would again be very different in a years time, as prior to the ’53 Grand Final Geelong would drop Goninon for an off-field indiscretion, a move that many Cats’ fans and Goninon believe cost them the 1953 premiership.

Collingwood simply ran out of legs at the end of the match, although Bob Rose always battled tirelessly. (9) Collingwood’s skipper Lou Richards also ended up injured in the trainers hands with an injured head and bleeding arm (10). Geelong were simply the quicker team and player with much greater teamwork than the Magpies (11), although Collingwood’s bustling had the Cats worried on occasions. (12) The Magpies also suffered from great inaccuracy in front of goal kicking seven behinds in the final quarter, showing their generally haphazard approach to goal. (13)

Scores

Team

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

Geelong

4.2.26

5.3.33

11.6.72

13.8.86

Collingwood

1.1.7

3.3.21

5.3.33

5.10.40

Attendance – 82,890

 

Goalkickers

Geelong – Goninon 6, Trezise 4, Davis 1, Flanagan 1, McMaster 1, Worner 1

Collingwood – Parker 3, Merrett 2

Best

Geelong – Williams, Trezise, Morrison, Goninon, Davis, B. Smith, Flanagan

Collingwood – B. Rose, Merrett, Dunstan, W. Twomey, Parker, M. Twomey, Mann

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WEG shows the extent of Collingwood's injuries prior to the '52 Grand Final

AFTERMATH

Was the reason Geelong lost the 1953 Grand Final because they became too arrogant? Did they believe that they were so far ahead of their nearest rivals that they could beat anyone even when they were not playing to the best of their considerable ability? There is one story that I think sums up the arrogance of the Geelong team of the early 1950s which I thought was apocryphal when I first heard it but as all the major Melbourne newspapers reported it I guess that it is in fact true. According to the Sun the evening after the ’52 Grand Final the president of Geelong, Cr. J. Jennings, accompanied by players and officials, tried to bury a dead (or as the Age put it, stuffed) magpie, in front of the celebratory crowd at Kardinia Park. (14) The players carried the magpie in a coffin but the ceremony had to be cut short as the crowd surged forward and women and children were in danger of being trampled. (15) Nowadays football teams control to an extent what they say and do off the field in relations to other teams so as not to give the opposition ammunition to use in future matches, but this did not seem to worry the Cats in 1952. I could not imagine what they would have done if they had beaten Richmond or Fitzroy in the Grand Final. Also could it have been this arrogance as well as morality that led them to drop their leading goal kicker twelve months later? Did Geelong really think they could beat Collingwood without one of the best players in the side? I guess that we will never know.

As for Collingwood they put up a gallant effort but just were not good enough on the day. They did have a lot of injuries during the 1952 season and their stocks were depleted going into the 1952 decider, missing Peter Lucas and Pat Twomey, but they battled hard and exposed a few chinks in the Cats’ armour.  Nobody expected Collingwood to win going into the big match with even two of the Magpie’s former heroes in Dan Minogue and Harold Rumney tipping against their old club. (16) Rarely do players ever make their AFL/VFL debuts in a Grand Final but 22-year-old Magpie Keith Batchelor did in 1952, named as full-back on Geelong’s champion forward George Goninon. The game looked lost before the teams took the field. Surely things would go better for the Magpies in 1953?

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Footnotes

  1. Reynolds, R & Dunn, J – The Argus newspaper, Monday September 29, 1952, page 9
  2. Reynolds, R & Dunn, J – The Argus newspaper, Monday September 29, 1952, page 9
  3. Ryan. P – The Unbeatables – from We Are Geelong, The Story of the Geelong Football Club – John Murray – The Slattery Media Group, page 74
  4. Reynolds, R & Dunn, J – The Argus newspaper, Monday September 29, 1952, page 9
  5. Beams, P – The Age – Monday September 29, 1952, page 14
  6. Beams, P – The Age – Monday September 29, 1952, page 14
  7. Beams, P – The Age – Monday September 29, 1952, page 14
  8. Dunn, J & Johnson, I – The Argus – Monday September 29, 1952, page 10
  9. Brown, A – The Herald – Saturday September 27, 1952, page 19
  10. Brown, A – The Herald – Saturday September 27, 1952, page 19
  11. Brown, A – The Herald – Saturday September 27, 1952, page 19
  12. Brown, A – The Herald – Saturday September 27, 1952, page 19
  13. Brown, A – The Herald – Saturday September 27, 1952, page 19
  14. The Sun – Monday September 29, 1952 – page 1
  15. The Sun – Monday September 29, 1952 – page 1
  16. The Sun – Saturday September 27, 1952