Multiple Records

Statistics can always be argued and this record streak is no exception. The streak created two key records. Firstly, a record number of VFL/AFL wins in a row (23) and secondly, a record number of undefeated games (26) in a row.

Interestingly the streak was actually 27 undefeated games. Geelong also defeated a combined Tasmanian (T.F.L.) team during the streak and thus the actual number of club wins in a row was 24 and undefeated games 27.

26 Undefeated Games


The Streak itself

In World news, the Korean war ended in 1953, just after Geelong's final win.

# Date R Home Score Away Score Ground Win Margin
1952
1 21-Jun-1952 R9 Geelong 7.13 (55) South Melbourne 4.11 (35) Kardinia Park Geelong 20
2 28-Jun-1952 R10 Hawthorn 6.8 (44) Geelong 10.10 (70) Glenferrie Oval Geelong 26
3 5-Jul-1952 R11 Essendon 10.16 (76) Geelong 11.10 (76) Windy Hill Draw 0
4 12-Jul-1952 R12 Geelong 9.8 (62) Collingwood 4.9 (33) Kardinia Park Geelong 29
5 19-Jul-1952 R13 Geelong 14.26 (110) Melbourne 8.6 (54) Kardinia Park Geelong 56
6 26-Jul-1952 R14 Footscray 8.9 (57) Geelong 9.12 (66) Western Oval Geelong 9
7 2-Aug-1952 R15 St Kilda 7.13 (55) Geelong 9.16 (70) Junction Oval Geelong 15
8 9-Aug-1952 R16 Geelong 12.16 (88) Fitzroy 5.10 (40) Kardinia Park Geelong 48
9 16-Aug-1952 R17 North Melbourne 11.9 (75) Geelong 15.13 (103) Arden St Geelong 28
10 23-Aug-1952 R18 Geelong 17.9 (111) Richmond 10.7 (67) Kardinia Park Geelong 44
11 30-Aug-1952 R19 Geelong 10.17 (77) Carlton 3.14 (32) Kardinia Park Geelong 45
12 13-Sep-1952 SF Geelong 14.16 (100) Collingwood 6.10 (46) M.C.G. Geelong 54
13 27-Sep-1952 GF Geelong 13.8 (86) Collingwood 5.10 (40) M.C.G. Geelong 46
1953
14 18-Apr-1953 R1 Geelong 12.15 (87) Hawthorn 5.8 (38) Kardinia Park Geelong 49
15 2-May-1953 R2 Footscray 8.13 (61) Geelong 15.12 (102) Western Oval Geelong 41
16 9-May-1953 R3 Collingwood 9.19 (73) Geelong 14.14 (98) Victoria Park Geelong 25
17 16-May-1953 R4 Geelong 12.7 (79) Essendon 9.11 (65) Kardinia Park Geelong 14
18 23-May-1953 R5 Richmond 6.16 (52) Geelong 15.16 (106) Punt Rd Geelong 54
19 30-May-1953 R6 Geelong 14.16 (100) South Melbourne 7.5 (47) Kardinia Park Geelong 53
20 6-Jun-1953 R7 Melbourne 8.10 (58) Geelong 11.16 (82) M.C.G. Geelong 24
21 13-Jun-1953 R8 Geelong 21.10 (136) Fitzroy 7.8 (50) Kardinia Park Geelong 86
22 20-Jun-1953 R9 St Kilda 6.8 (44) Geelong 9.6 (60) Junction Oval Geelong 16
23 27-Jun-1953 R10 Carlton 8.15 (63) Geelong 10.14 (74) Princes Park Geelong 11
24 4-Jul-1953 R11 Geelong 12.14 (86) North Melbourne 13.7 (85) Kardinia Park Geelong 1
25 11-Jul-1953 R12 Hawthorn 9.8 (62) Geelong 12.14 (86) Glenferrie Oval Geelong 24
19-Jul-1953 Combined T.F.L. 8.13 (61) Geelong 17.24 (126) North Hobart Geelong 76
26 25-Jul-1953 R13 Geelong 11.12 (78) Footscray 8.10 (58) Kardinia Park Geelong 20


Note - The win over the combined T.F.L. team is usually not counted as the 26 games is a record for consecutive VFL/AFL games only.

The Players

Russell Renfrey was the only player to play all 26 games in the streak (he also played against the TFL in the 27th games). Six players played 25 of 26 games and seven players played 20-24 games. In total 36 separate players contributed demonstrating a solid depth to the side.

Bob Davis - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Bob Davis - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Bob Davis
Fred Flanagan - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Fred Flanagan - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Fred Flanagan
Peter Pianto - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Peter Pianto - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Peter Pianto
Russell Renfrey - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Russell Renfrey - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Russell Renfrey


Typical Team was the 1952 Grand Final Lineup where 18 of the top 20 contributors to the streak (in number of matches) played. The two missing from the top 20 contributors are Les Reed and Harry Herbert. (Terry Fulton 11 of 26 and Jim Norman 5 of 26 appeared)

Geelong - Argus 1952 - Source: Private Collection - Photographer Unknown
Geelong - Argus 1952 - Source: Private Collection - Photographer Unknown


1952 Grand Final Lineup with number of Games played out of the 26 game streak

BacksBernie Smith 16 gamesBruce Morrison 25 GamesNorm Sharp 17 Games
H/BacksRussell Middlemiss 25 GamesJohn Hyde 23 GamesGeoff Williams 24 Games
Centre LineBert Worner 24 Games Doug Palmer 25 Games Terry Fulton 11 Games
H/ForwardsBob Davis 25 Games Fred Flanagan 25 GamesLeo Turner 20 Games
ForwardsJim Norman 5 GamesGeorge Goninon 21 GamesPeter Pianto 25 Games
Rucks/RoverBill McMaster 22 GamesRussell Renfrey 26 GamesNeil Trezise 23 Games
ReservesSid Smith 18 GamesRon Hovey 18 Games
Coach:Reg Hickey


Bernie Smith - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Bernie Smith - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Bernie Smith
Harry Herbert - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Harry Herbert - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Harry Herbert
John Hyde - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
John Hyde - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

John Hyde
Bill McMaster b1930 - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Bill McMaster b1930 - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Bill McMaster b1930


Participation in the Streak

All players who played as part of the streak are listed in the table below. The game numbers correspond to the match list above.
Name Games 1952 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 1953 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Baumgartner, Ivan 5 X X X X X
Borrack, Les 2 X X
Davis, Bob 25 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Flanagan, Fred 25 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Fulton, Terry 11 X X X X X X X X X X X
Goninon, George 21 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Herbert, Harry 15 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Hovey, Ron 18 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Hyde, John 23 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
McMahon, John 4 X X X X
McMaster, Bill 22 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Middlemiss, Russell 25 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Morrison, Bruce 25 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Morrow, Tom 7 X X X X X X X
Murray, Bruce 5 X X X X X
Norman, Jim 5 X X X X X
OHalloran, Leo 1 X
Palmer, Doug 25 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Pianto, Peter 25 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Rayson, Noel 15 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Reed, Les 17 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Renfrey, Russell 26 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Roberts, Jim 3 X X X
Scott, Don 3 X X X
Sharp, Norm 17 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Smith, Bernie 16 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Smith, Sid 18 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Stevens, Jack 3 X X X
Swarbrick, George 15 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Trezise, Neil 23 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Tuckwell, Jim 4 X X X X
Turner, Leo 20 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Walsh, Tony 2 X X
Williams, Geoff 24 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Worland, Don 1 X
Worner, Bert 24 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X


Russell Middlemiss - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Russell Middlemiss - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Russell Middlemiss
Bruce Morrison - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Bruce Morrison - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Bruce Morrison
Neil Trezise - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Neil Trezise - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

Neil Trezise


Performances

1952-53 Brownlow Votes

Though the Brownlow votes for 1952-53 cover games outside the streak, they are a useful indicator to Geelong’s contributors.

Players 1952 1953 Total
Pianto, Peter 17 9 26
Smith, Bernie 2 16 18
Morrison, Bruce 8 4 12
Hyde, John 10 1 11
Flanagan, Fred 7 3 10
Williams, Geoff 4 5 9
Trezise, Neil 2 4 6
Rayson, Noel 5 5
Hovey, Ron 4 1 5
Turner, Leo 3 1 4
Middlemiss, Russell 3 3
Palmer, Doug 3 3
Goninon, George 2 2
McMahon, John 2 2
Davis, Bob 1 1


Leading Goal kickers for the Streak

Rank Name Goals %
1 Goninon, George 86 27%
2 Trezise, Neil 47 14%
3 Flanagan, Fred 31 9%
4 Pianto, Peter 28 8%
5 Rayson, Noel 22 6%
6 Davis, Bob 21 6%
7 McMaster, Bill 21 6%
8 Renfrey, Russell 8 2%
9 Hovey, Ron 7 2%
10 Herbert, Harry 7 2%


A Record not a Fluke

The records for undefeated games in the VFL/AFL is listed in the table below.

The Undefeated Record
Games Team Commenced Round Concluded Round
26 Geelong South Melbourne R09,1952 Footscray R13,1953
21 Collingwood Melbourne SF,1928 Melbourne R18,1929
20 Essendon Port Adelaide R01,2000 Carlton R20,2000
20 Brisbane Lions Essendon R10,2001 Western Bulldogs R04,2002

Source: http://stats.rleague.com/afl/teams/allteams/streaks.html


Consistancy of Domination

The first thing that one notes is that the teaks with the longest streaks in the VFL/AFL are recognised as some of the best that have ever played the game. The second fact not immediately evident from the table is that the longest streaks have all been part of longer sequences where the teams were dominant within the competition. A number of the top streaks are surrounded by other long streaks of wins.

Warming up for the record, the Geelong team had won 21 of their previous 25 games, including two streaks of 10 games in a row and winning the 1951 Grand Final. Before their unbeaten streak in 1928/29, Collingwood had won 30 of their last 35 games, including winning the 1927 and 1928 Grand finals. Essendon’s 2000 team won 14 of 16 games before their 20 straight wins, then followed it with another 18 wins from 21 games which included the 2001 Grand Final.

This seems to indicate that even longer winning streaks are easily possible within the competition.


Geelong other Streaks

Geelong's longest streak is 42 undefeated games played in the early VFA era. games had lower scores during that period, but that VFA team won seven premierships within nine years.

Geelongs best streaks in the VFL/AFL (other than the 1942-53 Streak), were achieved by two of Geelong’s other great teams; The powerful 2007/09 team won 15 games in a row twice and the next best was 14 in a row by the 1937 Premiership team.

Games Team Commenced Round Concluded Round
15 Geelong Richmond R06,2007 Kangaroos R20,2007
15 Geelong Carlton R10,2008 Western Bulldogs PF,2008
14 Geelong Fitzroy R7, 1937 Collingwood GF, 1937


The efforts of the 2007/09 team are even more astounding when you allow for a few losses. Starting in round 6 2007 at Docklands where Geelong 35.12 (222) defeated Richmond 9.8 (65) Geelong won a sequence of 15 wins - 1 loss – 12 wins – 1 loss – 15 wins – 1 loss- 13 wins. Finally ending when Port Adelaide was defeated at Kardinia Park in Round 13 2009. A total of 55 wins and three losses from 58 games! A win of any of the three games Geelong lost would have created a new record for consecutive games without a loss.

Geelong's 42 game streak in the VFA era and near streak in the 2007/09 period demonstrate that the 26 game streak could easily occur again.

The National Perspective

A sequence of 26 unbeaten games is not a national record (it was not even a record for Geelong!). Streaks longer that Geelong's 26 games have occured numerous times.

In the VFA, records are dominated by the performance of North Melbourne’s team through the years of the First World War. The excellent 'AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL FACTS & FEATS' page compiled by James Hothersall at http://www.oocities.org/jsmooth_00001/Footyfacts.html is the source for most of the records that appear here. His excellent page on statistics across all first class Australian Rules competitions is a valuable asset to anyone attempting to see a wider picture in Aussie Rules history.

VFA Undefeated Streaks
Games Team Period Notes
58 North Melbourne (VFA) 1914 & 1919 (49 VFA & 9 Other)
56 Essendon (VFA) 1892 & 1894 (47 VFA & 9 Other)
50 South Melbourne (VFA) 1884 & 1886 (47 VFA 3 Other)
42 Geelong (VFA) 1885 & 1887 (35 VFA & 7 Other)
25 Williamstown (VFA) 1956 & 1957
23 Coburg (VFA) 1925 & 1926
23 Preston (VFA) 1983 & 1985
22 Geelong West (VFA) 1971 & 1972


Carlton also included a streak of 43 games in the pre VFA era 1872 & 1875

In the strong South Australian and Western Australian Leagues, each includes a team with a streak of 30 games in a row, but neither with another streak above 20. East Fremantle includes being undefeated for the entire 1946 season.

Games Team Period Notes
35 East Fremantle (WAFL) 1945 & 1947
32 Port Adelaide (SANFL) 1913 & 15 (30 SA & 2 Other)


In interstate games Victoria’s VFL representative team was also dominant for long periods,
Games Team
Games Team Period Notes
25 Victoria (VFL) 1952 & 1959
23 Victoria (VFL) 1965 & 1977


Outside the competitions above, teams have been able to dominate smaller leagues for longer periods.
Games Team Period Notes
60 Sydney Swans Reserves (ACT) 2005 & 2007
55 St Marys (NT) 1994 & 1997
36 Ulverstone (NTasFL) 1992 & 1994
30 Western Suburbs (NSW) 1972 & 1963
30 Burnie Dockers (NTasFL) 2000-2001
28 Ainslie (ACT) 1952 & 1953
27 Launceston (NTas) 1937 & 1939
25 Eastlake (ACT) 1960 & 1961
25 Ainslie (ACT) 1981 & 1983
24 Longford (NTas) 1955 & 1956
23 Newtown (NSW) 1972 & 1973


Longest Ever Undefeated

Highest Known Total is 50 years by St Patricks School (Ballarat). St Pats has been home to 85 VFL/AFL players at time of writing, including Brownlow medallists John James and Brian Gleeson.

In terms of games, Port Melbourne (VFA Third Grade 1946-1952) with 129 games and Heathfield-Aldgate United (Hills FL) 1971-1975 with 88 are listed as the longest streaks.

Port Melbourne (VFA) Thirds Team 1951 - Argus 26-Jun-1951 p9 - Photographer Unknown
Port Melbourne (VFA) Thirds Team 1951 - Argus 26-Jun-1951 p9 - Photographer Unknown


Conclusion

Geelong's impressive streak of 26 undefeated games is a VFL/AFL record. A comparison to other competitions shows it to be a record that will eventally be broken, but whoever does will likely be remembered as one of the greatest teams to ever play the game.

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Note - Introductory cartoon is a section of a Wells Cartoon that appeared in the Age Newspaper 27 July 1953 p12