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Reference_ 1925 VFL R12 - North Melbourne v Geelong - A Tribunal Life Sentence

Matches



Introduction

Football in the 1920's could be a rough affair but not all games went to this extreme. Fred Rutley of North Melbourne received a life ban.
The Age 3-Oct-1925 p3
The Age 3-Oct-1925 p3


Season and Lead-up

North Melbourne defeated Geelong at the Corio Oval in North Melbournes first VFL game in Round One 1925, this had so far been Geelong's only loss for the season and the ladder leaders were keen to avenge that defeat.

Teams

North Melbourne

North Melbourne selected a team on Friday that included Curly Linton on the half back line. (Both Argus and the Age newspapers)

The difference between the selected side and the actual side that played was that Fred Rutley came in for Linton. The reason for the change is not mentioned in the match report on Monday and as Rutley kicked three goals, he may have played up field.

Tim Trevaskis - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Tim Trevaskis - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards

Tim Trevaskis
Dave Walsh - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Dave Walsh - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards

Dave Walsh


B:Alf LambeDave WalshCharlie Healy
HB:Fred RutleyWels EickeDon Watson
C:Jacky LockBill RussLeo Dwyer
HF:Duncan LindsayClarrie NolanChris Gomez
F:Tim TrevaskisJoe WoodJack Lynch b1905
Foll:Johnny LewisGerry Britt
Rover:Harold Johnston


Geelong

Edward Greeves - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Edward Greeves - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards

Edward Greeves
Cliff Rankin - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Cliff Rankin - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards

Cliff Rankin


B:Stan ThomasKeith JohnsDave Ferguson
HB:Nick BrushfieldTom FitzmauriceSyd Hall
C:Edward StevensonEdward GreevesKen Leahy
HF:Jack ChambersGeorge ToddArthur Rayson
F:Cliff RankinLloyd HaggerLes Smith
Foll:Eric FlemingArthur Coghlan
Rover:Jim Warren


Reference_ 1925 VFL R12 - North Melbourne v Geelong - A Tribunal Life Sentence - North Melbourne Team
Reference_ 1925 VFL R12 - North Melbourne v Geelong - A Tribunal Life Sentence - Geelong Team


The Game

Arden St, North Melbourne
Sat 1-Aug-1925
Crowd: 10,000

TeamQ1Q2Q3Final
North Melbourne3.0 (18)6.1 (37)8.2 (50)9.5 (59)
Geelong4.8 (32)7.11 (53)16.16 (112)22.22 (154)
DifferenceGE by 14GE by 16GE by 62GE by 95


http://afltables.com/afl/stats/games/1925/091219250801.html

Goal Kickers
Geelong: Hagger 5, Todd 4, Leahy 3, Rayson 3, Fleming 2, Warren 2, Chambers, Hall, Rankin
North Melbourne: Rutley 3, Wood 2, Johnson, Lindsay, Lynch, Trevakis

Excerpts of Argus Match Review

Old Boy – The Argus 3-Aug-1925 p16
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2150381

(The following excerpts of the match review have had some formatting added)

The ‘Worst Game for years.” Is the description of the match, Geelong v North Melbourne played at North Melbourne on Saturday. The incidents were so outstanding and disgraceful that in addition to the inquiry which the independent tribunal will have to make because of the reports by the umpires, the League should go fully into all the circumstances. It was freely rumoured on Friday that trouble was brewing and as results proved, rumour seems to have been well founded.

Never in the experience of good judges have so many spiteful and vicious acts been witnessed in a match. Players were sent down in a cowardly fashion after they had kicked the ball. Other acts of foul play included tripping, charging, chopping players as they ran past, and deliberate punching – in fact, it appeared as if the rules were totally ignored. Scott, the field umpire, utterly failed to stop the roughness and allowed the play to get out of hand.

Just before half time a spectator in the grandstand threw a large stone at Coghlan, a Geelong player which hit him on the leg behind the knee, necessitating attention from the trainers. No effort was made to discover the man who threw it. So incensed were some members of the Geelong Committee at half time that they declined an invitation to partake in refreshments with Northern Officials.

(Note -An all in brawl involving team officials occured at the start of the third quarter. Rutley would receive his ban as the instigator of the fight)

It was hoped that wiser counsels would prevail during the interval, but if anything, when the game was resumed there was more viciousness than before. Men were sent reeling to the ground from elbow digs and other spiteful acts. No mercy was shown and in one torrid encounter in the last quarter C.Rankin, the Geelong captain, went down, badly hurt. Efforts to get him on his feet being futile, he was carried off the ground in an unconscious state. For some time after the match he was feeling the effects of the knock which, in his case, may have been due to an accidental blow.

The whole game was seething with so much roughness that it was a relief to most of the onlookers when the final bell rang. Rankin, the Geelong captain, has made an almost complete recovery from his injuries, but several of the players are complaining of injuries.

At the conclusion the various umpires announced their intention of reporting four North Melbourne men and two Geelong players. Altogether 17 charges will be laid as follows
  • W.Russ (North Melbourne), for allegedly striking C.Rankin (Geelong)
  • T.Trevakis (North Melbourne), for allegedly striking G. Smith (Geelong)
  • F.Rutley (North Melbourne), for allegedly striking and kicking F.Fleming (Geelong), and attempting to kick S.Hall (Geelong)
  • H.Johnson (North Melbourne), for allegedly attempting to kick S. Thomas (Geelong)
  • A. Coughlan (Geelong) for allegedly elbowing T.Linday (North Melbourne), and striking H.Johnson (North Melbourne)
  • S.Thomas (Geelong), for allegedly elbowing J.Woods (North Melbourne) and T.Linsay (North Melbourne)

As might have been expected in a fierce game such as that played at North Melbourne, there were many injuries. The North Melbourne casualty list is.
  • H.Johnson injured mouth. Four stitches inserted
  • W.Russ, twisted knee
  • J.Woods, injured arm
  • T.Trevakis, strained leg
  • J.Lewis, Bruised hip.
On the Geelong side
  • A.Coughlan was injured by a stone thrown by a spectator, described by a North Melbourne supporter as ‘a bit of a pebble’.
  • C. Rankin, the Geelong captain, was carried off the ground unconscious in the last quarter, and was very shaky when he left the ground.


Match Previews

Club Notes. (1925, July 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2149147

The Age 31-Jul-1925 p7
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=yBIRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=_NcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7206%2C3032023

Match Reviews

WORST GAME FOR YEARS. (1925, August 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 16. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2150381

The Age 3-Aug-1925 p7
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=yhIRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=_NcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6853%2C3294055

Photos



The Tribunal

The Age 6-Aug-1925 p10
The Age 6-Aug-1925 p10


A blow by blow record of the tribunal meeting can be read in the Age. The sentences were heavy and reflected how much the match had got out of hand.

Coughlan (Geelong) - Guilty - Suspended for the remainder of the 1925 season and all the 1926 season
Thomas (Geelong) - Guilty - Suspended for the remainder of the 1925 season and all the 1926 season

Rutley (North Melbourne) - Guilty - Suspended for life
Russ- Guilty- Suspended for the remainder of the 1925 season
Trevakis (North melbourne) - Guilty - Suspended for three weeks
Johnson (North Melbourne) - Charge not sustained

The Age 6-Aug-1925 p10
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zRIRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=_NcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7092%2C3711631

The Aftermath

Geelong's loss of two quality players would have certainly affected the teams chances in the finals, especially in Geelong's 10 point loss to Collingwood in the Grand Final.

One of the odd outcomes is the comment on suspended Geelong player Stan Thomas's wikipedia page, "Following his retirement, Thomas joined the coaching staff at North Melbourne and coached them for one game in the 1926 season."

Fred Rutley who was suspended for life was eventually allowed to return to North Melbourne in 1930 when he played four more games for the club. Rutley's suspension of five years, where he missed 89 games, is by far the longest suspension of a player in the VFL for an on field incident.

Rutley's suspension ended on 25 July 1930 by the motion of the Geelong Delegate at the League Meeting.
FOOTBALL. (1930, July 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 17. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4102074



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