INTRODUCTION


There are three things that stand out in researching Ray’s football career; his skill particularly in aerial duels, his fierce determination against the odds and his loyalty to the Richmond Football Club.

The Age 3-May-1954 p13 Ray Poulter Richmond Peter Webster Carlton
The Age 3-May-1954 p13 Ray Poulter Richmond Peter Webster Carlton




‘BIG’ JOE POULTER….VFL & VFA STAR.


The fact that Ray Poulter was a talented footballer may have been of little surprise to the VFL fans of that era. His father (Joe aka ‘Big Joe’) played 83 games with Collingwood from 1923 -28. Joe Poulter was a member of the Magpie premiership team that had defeated Richmond in the 1927 Grand Final. On that day Joe played in the back pocket.

Joe only played two senior games with Collingwood in 1928 before being cleared to South Melbourne FC. His first game for the Swans was in Round: 5 against Geelong and he went on to play 36 games for South Melbourne. He retired from VFL football after the last round of the 1931 season.

Joe was described by ‘Holmesby and Main’ as…

“A big and solid follower from the Diamond Valley League with a fair turn of pace who could give and take a bump unflinchingly….he was a good mark, but an erratic kick…”

In all, Joe Poulter played 120 games and kicked 54 goals in VFL football.

In an attempt to control rising costs, The Coulter Law, established in 1930 set maximum payments for VFL players, meaning that a number of players in their final years often opted to play and coach football in minor leagues where the money was better. Joe played with Brighton in the VFA in 1932 and coached the team in 1933. In the lead-up to the opening match between Sandringham and Brighton, ‘The Argus’ (12th April 1933) reported…

“Brighton players are working hard under the coach Joe Poulter who was well known with South Melbourne and Collingwood.”

The influence of a father upon his son in sport can be profound and enduring. There are many successful father and son combinations in all fields of endeavour and VFL football is no exception. It is known that Ray was sometimes called ‘Joe’ and that may be indicative of the role ‘Joe-the-father’ played in the formative years of young Ray’s development as a footballer.

Joe Poulter- 1929 Griffiths Black Crow Footballers- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Joe Poulter- 1929 Griffiths Black Crow Footballers- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards
Joe Poulter No:152- 1933 Wills League Footballers - Larger Size Source:Australian Football Cards
Joe Poulter No:152- 1933 Wills League Footballers - Larger Size Source:Australian Football Cards
Joe Poulter - Brighton - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Joe Poulter - Brighton - 1933 Hoadleys Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards


RAY MEETS ‘CAPTAIN BLOOD.’


Ray (born in 1929) was recruited to Richmond from Greensborough FC. Greensborough was a ‘fertile area’ for the recruitment of VFL players and over the years has provided a notable list of VFL/AFL players including Stan Judkins, Ted Potter, Bruce McMaster-Smith, Ray Willett and Robert Hyde.

At 15 year of age, Ray had been a stand-out player in the Technical School football in 1944 and, as a teenager, his name was mentioned at the Annual meeting of the Richmond FC in February 1945…

“Several new players will be introduced at the annual meeting. They include Ray Poulter (son of Joe Poulter, the former Collingwood player). He is only 15, but is 6ft. 1/2in and 12st. In technical school football last year he was one of the out- standing players, and eventually should be a League star. He is the build of Dyer at the same age.” 1

On the 25th March 1945, ‘The Argus’ carried this story about the sons of former Richmond stars ‘hitting the track’ at Punt Road…

“Five sons of former League champions are among the large number of promising recruits training at Richmond. They are Ken Don, son of , Donald Don; Ray Bisset, son of Jack Bisset; Jack Reeves, son of Syd Reeves; Brian Williams, son of Charlie Williams; and Ray Poulter, son of Joe Poulter, former Collingwood champion.”

Ray again grabbed some attention in the press in 1945 when he starred in a trial game in April. He was named as the best player in that intra-club match. Observers viewed Ray as a ‘likely colt’ and he played with the Richmond Reserves in 1945 and played well in a Richmond v North Melbourne Exhibition game at the City Oval in Ballarat where he was again named by the Argus as in Richmond’s best.2

In April 1946 Jack Dyer named Ray among a group of young recruits that had caught his eye in pre-season training. Percy Taylor of ‘The Argus’ wrote…

Ken Albiston, Stan Tomlins, Ray Poulter, K. Stokes and J. Watson were among the best recruits seen in the last 15 years. This opinion was expressed by Jack Dyer, Richmond captain-coach, last night.”

Argus 5-Apr-1946 p17 - Ray.Poulter - Richmond Recruits
Argus 5-Apr-1946 p17 - Ray.Poulter - Richmond Recruits



1946 THE FORMATIVE YEAR


Time would show that Jack was ‘on the money’ with his prediction and Ray made his VFL senior debut against Hawthorn in 1946 at the age of 17 years. It must have been quite an experience for a teenager to have ‘rubbed shoulders’ with one of the all-time legends of Australian football Jack ‘Captain Blood’ Dyer.

“Ray Poulter, aged 17, will have his first senior game for Richmond. He is a son of a former Collingwood star. He has been placed at centre half forward” ‘The Argus.’

On 6th July 1946, When the team followed Jack onto the Glenferrie Oval that afternoon it was Jack’s 253rd game with the Tigers. He had been playing-coach since 1941. The team also included some great VFL personalities such as Max Oppy, Don ‘Mopsy’ Fraser, Bill Morris, Les Jones, Billy Wilson, Leo Merrett and Bill ‘Polly’ Perkins.

It is difficult to ascertain how Ray performed against Hawthorn on debut. However, in his second VFL game, the following week against Fitzroy, Ray kicked four goals and played a major role in setting up a Tiger victory. His display against Fitzroy was a pointer of things to come. For the loyal Richmond supporters at Punt Road, Ray was an exciting prospect.

Roy Wright - Photographer Charles Boyles - PR01-12
Roy Wright - Photographer Charles Boyles - PR01-12
Jack Dyer - Source: James Taylor - Photographer Unknown
Jack Dyer - Source: James Taylor - Photographer Unknown
Alby Pannam - Source:Richmond Seconds 1946 (SLV 122_150) - Crop - Photographer - Charles Boyles
Alby Pannam - Source:Richmond Seconds 1946 (SLV 122_150) - Crop - Photographer - Charles Boyles


On the day that Roy Wright made his debut for Richmond in Round:14, 1946, against St Kilda, Ray Poulter was playing his fourth VFL game. The day that Ray played his last game a decade later, Roy was playing his 156th game for Richmond. Roy Wright would play on until 1959 for a total of 195 VFL games.

Ray Poulter and Roy Wright had travelled a long way together on their football journey. Both were loyal and able servants of Richmond and their contribution to RFC, in testing times, was outstanding.

Ray and Roy were to become the vital cogs in the Tiger machine as the club underwent a ‘rebuild’ during the 1950’s.

Reserves Premiership


Ray played at centre half forward in the 1946 VFL Reserves Grand Final. The Richmond Reserves, captained and coached by Alby Pannam, won the premiership with Richmond 7.15 (57) defeating Fitzroy 7.14 (56). This was one of Ray’s only chance at premiership success.

1946 was Alby’s first season at Richmond after crossing from Collingwood FC. Alby coached the RFC Reserves until 1953. In an amazing career, Alby played 181 senior games with Collingwood and then captained and coached RFC Reserves in a further 119 games. He led the Tiger Reserves to three Grand Finals before taking over the Senior XVIII coaching position from Jack Dyer in 1953. Alby coached the RFC senior team until 1955.

‘Holmesby and Main’ (page 475) relate an amusing story of how Jack Dyer gave Ray a lifelong lesson about the importance of being punctual to training sessions. It seems that Ray learnt the hard way and he also realised that it didn’t pay to try to ‘pull the wool’ over Jack’s eyes.

Coaches play a significant role in moulding young footballers and Ray was fortunate in life and football to have been at Punt Road with Alby and Jack in charge.


1947-48 ESTABLISHING HIS PLACE.


Ray’s height (183cm), strong hands and powerful left foot were the pre-requisites to allow him to develop into a key forward in VFL football. In 1947 he consolidated his place in the team and also began to attract some positive media comment. Richmond finished fourth on the VFL Ladder that season. Ray who had played in 16 games was not selected for the First- Semi against Fitzroy. Fitzroy defeated Richmond by 28 points in front of a crowd of 82,570.

Richmond Team 1947 Round 11 v St Kilda - Ray Poulter - Middle Row – far Right - Source: James Taylor - Photographer Charles Boyles
Richmond Team 1947 Round 11 v St Kilda - Ray Poulter - Middle Row – far Right - Source: James Taylor - Photographer Charles Boyles


1948 was Ray’s ‘break-out season’ in VFL football. In Round: 13 against Footscray at the Western Oval he kicked six goals in a masterly display. The Tigers won and sounded a warning that they were on ‘the prowl.’

The following week Ray kicked eight goals against St Kilda as Richmond romped home by 107 points. It is safe to say that Ray had arrived in the ‘big time’ and, within a short space of time, he had proven to be an exciting aerialist and a focal point in attack.

Jack Dyer won the RFC goal kicking in 1948 with 64 goals and Ray finished the year with a tally of 32. At that stage in his VFL career, Ray had kicked 47 goals at an average of 1.27 goals per game. Ray, still a teenager at the end of the 1948 season, was learning fast and building a handsome reputation in VFL football.

1949~ JACK DYER’S LAST VFL GAME.


1949 was a memorable season for Richmond, Jack Dyer and Ray Poulter.
On the 27th August 1949 Jack Dyer played his last VFL game. It was the final round of that season against Geelong. Jack’s 312 game career, which had commenced in 1931, came to an end that day.

Jack Dyer Leading the Team out for the Last Time - Source Captain Blood - Jack Dyer - Photographer Unknown
Jack Dyer Leading the Team out for the Last Time - Source Captain Blood - Jack Dyer - Photographer Unknown


Only a small crowd of 11,000 attended the match but they saw ‘history in the making.’ The Richmond team that took the field that day was:-

B:Bill WilsonKen SierBob Wiggins
HB:Des RoweDon FraserKen Roberts
C:Geoff SpringKevin DillonLeo Merrett
HF:Ray StokesRay PoulterHavel Rowe
F:Max CurrieJack DyerKen Albiston
Foll:Bill MorrisAllan Cooke
Rover:Stan Wilson
19th 20thJack WatsonLeo Clarke


Ray played at centre half forward that day. Jack ‘took the square’ and put on a superb exhibition that thrilled his adoring fans. Jack kicked 6 goals bringing his all-time goal tally to 443. Bill Morris kicked 4 goals and Ray got into the act and kicked three. The Tigers kicked 22 goals, including ten goals in a runaway final term, to triumph by 69 points and set the scene for a remarkable ‘send off’ for Jack.

While all the attention centred on Jack Dyer’s ‘farewell’ game, Ray wasn’t overlooked by the scribes as he was listed as Richmond’s best player.

The details of the game were:

Richmond:4.412.814. 9 22.12. (144)
Geelong:3.4 3.57.1210.15. (75)


Goals for Richmond: Dyer 6 Morris 4 Poulter 3 Albiston 3 Wilson 2 Stokes 2 Rowe 1 Merrett 1

Goals for Geelong: Canning 2 Davies 2 Condon Flanagan Fulton Pritchard Scott Tate.
Best for Richmond: Poulter Fraser Dyer Albiston Spring Merrett Sire
Best for Geelong: Scott Russell Smith Fulton Davies Renfrey Morrison

Sports writer Brian Hansen described the scenes that followed the final siren that day …

“Richmond and Geelong players started to chair their champion ( Jack Dyer) from the field and emotional Richmond and Geelong supporters joined in singing and cheering in a unique gesture that showed the high regard that all lovers of the game had for this remarkable man. In the dressing room there was scarcely a dry eye in a list that boasted some of the wildest and toughest men in football and an equally emotional Jack Dyer declared to his men: “it isn’t considered manly for one man to kiss another, but I love you guys so much, I could kiss you all.”

Jack was 35 years old when he played his 312th VFL game. Richmond finished 6th that season.

Ray Poulter was only 20 years of age when Jack stepped down as a player. A big win against Geelong, a great personal performance and being part of Jack’s retirement was quite a ‘trifecta’ for Ray.

In 1949 Ray also won Richmond FC’s goal kicking trophy with 51 goals from 19 games. His best returns that season were: - six goals against St Kilda in Round: 15 and two ‘bags’ of five. Ray won Richmond’s leading goal kicker trophy three times in all, in 1949, 1950 and 1955.

Note: In 1949 Essendon’s champion John Coleman kicked 100 goals to top the list. John was the first player to break through the ‘three figure barrier’ since Jack Titus (100 in 1940). Coleman kicked 120 goals in 1950 and then 103 in 1953.

Card 68 - Ray Poulter - 1949 Kornies Victorian Footballers Source:GoldnPawn
Card 68 - Ray Poulter - 1949 Kornies Victorian Footballers Source:GoldnPawn
Card 68 - Ray Poulter - 1949 Kornies Victorian Footballers Source:GoldnPawn
Card 68 - Ray Poulter - 1949 Kornies Victorian Footballers Source:GoldnPawn


1950 RAY STARS ON THE BIG STAGE


With the departure of Jack Dyer, a greater responsibility was foisted onto Ray’s shoulders. It was a challenge for a young and emerging player. However, Ray responded well to the role set before him by the selectors in 1950…

“Ray Poulter, called on to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Jack Dyer, came under notice for excellent high marking and three goals. More concentration in kicking at goal could lift him to a class forward.” ‘The Argus’ 24th April 1950

Depending upon the circumstances, Ray was used at full forward or at centre half forward during his career. In 1950, Ray had made his mark in VFL football as a spearhead and Percy Taylor wrote …

“Richmond have Ray Poulter at full forward this year, but he was centre half-forward last year……He is shaping well enough to remain at full forward for an indefinite period.” ‘The Argus.’

Note: Sometime in those years Ray acquired the same nickname as his father… ‘Big Joe.’

A little known fact about the 1950 season was that Richmond played South Australia in an ‘Exhibition Match’ in Adelaide. It was held on the same weekend that Victoria was involved in the National Carnival in Brisbane. Ray played for the Tigers that Saturday in July. In the pre-match publicity journalist Colin Hay listed Ray Poulter as one of the ‘danger men’ to any South Australian victory…

“The State Second 18 will go into the game against Richmond at Adelaide Oval tomorrow with confidence following their grand victory over Carlton last Saturday. Richmond are keen to avenge Carlton's defeat and they claim victory tomorrow will give them the drop on Carlton for their important clash at Richmond tomorrow week.SA backs can expect strong opposition from follower forward pocket Ray Poulter, ...He heads the Richmond goal kicking this year with 45 goals.” ‘News’ (Adelaide 28th July 1950).

In 1950, Ray won the RFC goal kicking trophy again with several notable performances including a seven goal haul against Collingwood at Victoria Park. The match details show the dominant role he had played in that exciting Tiger victory.

Richmond:3. 1 6. 411.516. 11 (107)
Collingwood:4.7 6 1011.1314.14 (98)


Goals: Richmond: Poulter 7, K. Sier 4, Wright, Spring, R. Stokes. Dillon. Wilson
Goals for Collingwood: Richards 4, Shannon 3. Stevens 3, Welsh 2, Hocking, Purdon.

Best: Richmond: Morris, Wilson, D, Rowe, Poulter, Fraser, Austen,
Best for Collingwood: Utting, Hams, L. Richards. Welsh, R Rose, Dunstan.

In 1950 Richmond finished 6th and overall and was a competitive unit in most games .The season finished with Coleman again topping the list but as ‘The Argus’(Sept 25 1950) indicated Ray had performed in credible fashion…

“John Coleman, the Essendon full forward, kicked four goals on Saturday, bringing his season's total to 120. No other player has ever reached 100 goals in his first two seasons. Jock Spencer (North Melbourne) was second with 86 goals. Then follow Peter Bennett (St. Kilda) with 59, Ray Poulter (Richmond) 57, and Eddie Hart (Fitzroy) 50.”

1951 A COMPLIMENT FROM RON CLEGG.

South Melbourne’s Ron Clegg was one of the finest footballers of all time. Ron won the Brownlow Medal in 1949 and according to Jack Dyer… “Ron Clegg was so good that he could stop an army.”

In August 1951 Ron spoke to Percy Taylor about various aspects of VFL football.

“Ron described the Richmond half-back line- Col Austen, Don Fraser, and Des Rowe-as the best in the League. Unfortunately, it had to be split up in recent games because of injuries .Ray Stokes… In the centre, has played a big part in Richmond’s success, as he never wastes a kick. The best centre half-forward this season is Ray Poulter.” (‘The Argus’10th August 1951).

Richmond Senior Team 1951 – Probably Round 1 – Ray Poulter Back Row 2nd from Right - Source: SLV - Photographer Charles Boyles
Richmond Senior Team 1951 – Probably Round 1 – Ray Poulter Back Row 2nd from Right - Source: SLV - Photographer Charles Boyles


1952 TOUGH TIMES AT PUNT ROAD


During the 1950’s Richmond FC experienced tough times and ‘lean pickings’. During the period 1948-1966 Richmond did not play in one VFL final series. In 1954 the Tigers finished fifth. However, by 1956 the team had slumped back to 10th place much to the disappointment of the Tigers’ band of hardy followers.

Ray brought up his 100th Senior VFL game against Carlton in 1952. It was another milestone for Ray in a period of little joy for RFC.

Despite Roy Wright winning Brownlow Medals (1952 & 54) and the injection of some very talented recruits such as John Nix, Ron Branton , Tom Hafey, Allan Cooke, Havel Rowe, Allan Cations, Bob Dummett, Ted Langridge, Roger Dean and Stan Morcom, Richmond FC struggled to find a way through the ‘football wilderness’.

Age 28-May-1952 p10 Ray Poulter at Training
Age 28-May-1952 p10 Ray Poulter at Training
Ray Poulter - 1951 Kornies Footballers in Action - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Ray Poulter - 1951 Kornies Footballers in Action - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards


THE ‘PROPAGANDA ROUND’ IN SYDNEY IN 1952.

One of the highlights of the 1952 season was the Round: 8 match between Richmond and Collingwood in Sydney. It was part of what was called the National Round, sometimes known as the ‘Propaganda Round.’

It was the first regular season game of VFL football played in Sydney since 1904 (VFL teams had travelled to Sydney during the interveaning years and Ray himself had previously travelled to Sydney with the Richmond team in 1946 when Richmond had played NSW in an exhibition game). More than 24000 fans attended the game at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Collingwood doubled Richmond’s score that wintry day as Ray Poulter and his co-forwards struggled to make headway in the heavy conditions. The Tigers could only manage five goals.

1952 - Rd _8 Rich v C'wood in Sydney - Ray Poulter is near the centre of the photo, under the ND in Richmond in the Title, Source:Tigerland
1952 - Rd _8 Rich v C'wood in Sydney - Ray Poulter is near the centre of the photo, under the ND in Richmond in the Title, Source:Tigerland


Source: ‘100 years of Football - AFL Publication by Viking (Penguin Press) 1996
Source: ‘100 years of Football - AFL Publication by Viking (Penguin Press) 1996


Other venues for the National Round were: - Brisbane, Hobart, Euroa, Albury and Yallourn.

Through all the difficulties that Richmond FC faced in that period, Ray Poulter was often a ‘bright spot on some very dark days.’ One particular effort in 1954 against South Melbourne’s dashing defender Jim Taylor stood out. On that day Ray’s seven goals helped the Tigers to one of its five victories that year…

“Ray Poulter, playing wide of Taylor (South), got four goals for Richmond in the first half. …He finished the game with seven, the highest individual goal kicking effort by a Richmond man for the year.”

Richmond: 12.15 (87) defeated South Melbourne : 6.16 (52)

Goals for Richmond: Poulter 7, Branton 2, Davie, Wright, Hart.
Goals for South : Nolan 3. C. Lane 3. Clegg.

Best for Richmond: Dillon, Deane, Howe, Branton, Nix, Poulter
Best for South: Goldsmith, Dorgan, Hester, C. Lane, Hogan, Gillett.

1954 AN ATTRACTIVE OFFER TO GO NORTH.

In May 1954 it was reported that Ray had received a most attractive proposal to leave Richmond and coach in the Riverina. The Coulter Law, established in 1930 was still in effect, meaning that smaller country towns could still outbid VFL clubs.

Substantial offers from bush clubs to VFL stars were not uncommon and such lucrative offers often explain why great players such Les Foote, Vic Lawrence, ob Rose, Gerald Marchesi and Jim Dorgan etc; left the city for the bush.

It was fortunate for Tiger fans that Ray decided to stay-on at Richmond for the next few seasons. ‘The Argus’ (May 22nd 1954) stated …

“Ray Poulter, Richmond centre half-forward, had most reluctantly declined a £40 a week coaching job in the Riverina. There is nothing to prevent him accepting a similar offer next season.”

Ray Poulter - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Ray Poulter - 1954 Coles Victorian Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Ray Poulter - 1954 Argus Football Swap Cards Source: Australian Football Rules Cards
Ray Poulter - 1954 Argus Football Swap Cards Source: Australian Football Rules Cards
The Age 11-Aug-1954 p14 Ray Poulter Alan Cook Richmond
The Age 11-Aug-1954 p14 Ray Poulter Alan Cook Richmond


Age 24-May-1954 p14 Umpire
Age 24-May-1954 p14 Umpire
The Age 24-May-1954 p14 Ray Poulter Bill Green Richmond Ian Egerton Hawthorn Umpire - Source- Google News Archive
The Age 24-May-1954 p14 Ray Poulter Bill Green Richmond Ian Egerton Hawthorn Umpire - Source- Google News Archive


1955 A BRILLIANT PERFORMANCE AT CARLTON.

Ray had fans talking again with his brilliant performance against Carlton in August 1955. It was a defining exhibition and it was one of Ray’s greatest performances for Richmond. He kicked eight goals and was named the Tigers’ best player…

“The tough battle usually expected at a Richmond-Carlton clash turned out to be a fight between a tiger and a lamb. Richmond, which has been close to a win for the last six weeks, ran away from Carlton in the second half of the game to win by 47 points.

Richmond's superiority in the air was so marked that it was usually sufficient for the ball to be sent into the air for it to be taken by a Richmond man. The second half of the game could be called Ray Poulter’s. He went to full forward after half - time, and could do nothing wrong. He soundly beat both his opponents, Webster and Ferry, and finished the game with 8 goals, 5 behinds, and two misses.

Carlton made several changes in position during the match without success. Shining lights in the Blues team were James, on the half - back flank, and Kerr, playing on the half forward flank. The rest of the side was beaten.

Carlton was in the game until half-time, when it was only nine points down. McDonald, the Tiger full forward, got plenty of kicks, but was again goal-shy. He did better when he changed with Poulter after half-time. With Poulter unbeatable at full-forward, and Des Rowe turning its attacks, the Blues found goal getting a tough business. It got two goals after half-time to Richmond's eight, and that was a fair indication of 'the difference between the two teams. ‘The Argus’ 4th July 1955.

{img fileId="11310" thumb="y" rel="box" link=linked_images/other/misc/img800-1.jpg" img imalign="center" align="center" desc="Front - Richmond Senior Team 1954 Round 16 – v Melbourne. Ray Poulter - Back Row far Right - Source:Carl Margariti (Gold-N-Pawn) - Photographer Charles Boyles"}


1955 INTERSTATE SELECTION.

One of the greatest honours bestowed upon footballers was/is to be chosen to represent Victoria in interstate matches. Ray was selected on three occasions. One memorable game in which Ray played was in 1955 in Adelaide.

One of Richmond’s greatest rovers of that era, Bill Wilson played for South Australia that day. Bill played 185 games for RFC before being cleared to Glenelg in 1955. In 1953, Bill had finished fifth in the Brownlow Medal with 15 votes and he stared in South Australia, coming 3rd in the Magarey Medal in 1955.

‘The Argus’ filed a most comprehensive report on the game in which Victoria won by 37 points. Although Jock Spencer struggled up forward for Victoria, Ray Poulter ‘chipped in’ and kicked two important goals.

ADELAIDE, Sunday: Victoria took a firm grip on the State game against South Australia in the second half yesterday and clinched victory with a brilliant last quarter. At half-time there was a difference of only six points, but Victoria kicked three goals to six behinds in the third quarter, and then swept through the opposition by kicking 6-1 to 3-2 in the final term. Victoria's kicking generally was first class. It won in the ruck and centre, where Ted Whitten shone….

Final scores:-
Victoria 15.11 (101) defeated South Australia . 9.10 (64)

Goals for Victoria : Wright 3, Mann 2, Merrett 2, Planto 2. Poulter 2, J. Spencer, S. Spencer, Gunn, Lane.
Goals for South Australia: A'Court 2. F. Williams 2.' Coverlid, Clift, Wilson, Fitzgerald, Best for Victoria : Henderson, Whitten, Merrett, Pianto , Wright, Hovey, Roberts, Gale.

Best for South Australia: Taylor, McDonald. A'Court. Wilson, Williams, Whelan, Hayes.Williams.

Ted Whitten, who dominated the match, was to become a driving force in interstate football in later years. Ted promoted interstate football matches with enthusiasm, panache and a touch of showmanship. Ted loved the ‘Big V’ with rare passion…

BROWNLOW MEDAL VOTES.

One measure of a VFL footballer’s career is the number of Brownlow Medal votes received. Ray Poulter often caught the umpires’ eye and he polled consistently in the Brownlow Medal. His career tally of 59 votes in the prestigious award is meritorious.

Ray Poulter finished in fourth position in the Brownlow Medal in 1951. The voting was:-

Bernie Smith (Geelong) 23 votes… Ron Clegg (South Melbourne) 20 votes… Bill Hutchinson (Essendon) 16… Ray Poulter (Richmond) 15 votes… Bob Rose (Collingwood) 14 votes… Charlie Sutton (Footscray) 14 votes and Denis Cordner (Melbourne) 14 votes. What an illustrious group of footballers!
Ray also finished equal sixth in 1954 with 12 votes. That season, his team mate Roy Wright won the Brownlow Medal by 10 votes.

In 1955 Ray also polled well and received 10 votes. Des Rowe (13) was the only Richmond player to have received more votes that season.
It is not always appreciated what a consistent player Ray was in that era of football (1945- 56)… Roy Wright (98), Jack Dyer (86) Bill Morris (85) and Ron Branton (67) were the only RFC players who polled more Brownlow votes than Ray Poulter in those years. Des Rowe and Ray both polled 59 votes in their careers at RFC.

In his eleven years at RFC, Ray Poulter played with two Brownlow Medallists Bill Morris (winner in 1948) and Roy ‘the Gentle Giant’ Wright (1952 and 1954).

THE GOAL KICKER.

Ray’s importance to the Tigers in the 1950’s cannot be under rated. He had ‘the knack’ to kick goals against ‘all-comers’ including the ‘best of them.’
In his years at Richmond, Ray kicked 351 goals in VFL senior grade football. Ray won the RFC goal kicking award in 1949-50 and 55. He also kicked 50 goals in the Richmond Reserves games.

On the list of senior goal kickers in RFC’s history Ray ranks in the top ten:-

Jack Titus (970), Mathew Richardson (800), Kevin Bartlett (778), Michael Roach (607), Dick Harris (548), Jack Dyer (443), Royce Hart (369), Ray Poulter (351), Dale Weightman (344) and, at the time of writing, the current Richmond full forward Jack Riewoldt has kicked 337 goals in 142 games.

In his VFL career, Ray kicked 8 goals in a game twice and 7 goals in a game twice. In all, he kicked ‘five goals or more’ in a match on 19 occasions.
For the mathematically minded, Ray’s 351 goals averages out to be about 32 goals per season or 2.06 goals per game.

Compared with Royce Hart’s 369 goals in 187 VFL games (at an average of 1.97 goals-per- game), Ray Poulter’s statistics are impressive. Royce was selected in Richmond’s ‘Team of the Century’ along with Matthew Richardson (goals-per-game average of 2.84). It is highly probable that Ray’s name would have come into contention when the selectors sat down to decide Richmond’s best-ever team.

‘THE SPORTING LIFE’ TEAM OF THE YEAR IN 1955.

One of the finest compliments paid to Ray Poulter was when he won selection in the ‘The Sporting Life Magazine’ Team of the Year in 1955. The team was selected from all Australian States affiliated with the ANFC.

Ray was named at centre half forward. The powerful line-up included such VFL stars as Bill Hutchinson, Peter Pianto, John James, Thorold Merrett and Denis Cordner. Ray’s team mate at RFC, Des Rowe was named on the half back flank. The line-up is shown below:

B:Lerrel Sharp
Collingwood
Herb Henderson
Footscray
Norm Sharp
Geelong
HB:John James
Carlton
Jim Taylor
Norwood
Des Rowe
Richmond
C:Harold McDonald
Port Adelaide
Lindsay Head
West Torrens
Des Healey
Collingwood
HF:Barry White
South Fremantle
Ray Poulter
Richmond
Thorold Merrett
Collingwood
F:Jack Clarke
East Fremantle
Noel O'Brien
Carlton
Peter Pianto
Geelong
Foll:John Marriott
Norwood
Denis Cordner
Melbourne
Bill Hutchison
Essendon


Ray played his 150th VFL game against Essendon at Windy Hill in 1955 and in the same season he was awarded Life Membership of RFC. Des Rowe and Roy Wright were also named as RFC Life Members that year.

1956~ A RAVE REVIEW.

In 1956 that Ray sought a clearance from Richmond to Benalla FC. However, ‘The Age’ (1st Feb 1956) reported that Ray had withdrawn his clearance application and, as history shows, Ray played on at Punt Road and proved to be the ‘power forward’ for the Tigers again in that season.

One of the best ‘rave’ reviews Ray ever received was in his final year of VFL football. In Round: 9 against North Melbourne in 1956, Ray was ‘unstoppable’ and led the North defenders on a ‘merry dance’ as he dominated play.

In a surprise move the week before Ray played in the seconds, but he was back the following week against North.

Richmond’s coach Max Oppy’s strategy that day was to use Ray deep in attack in the second half of the match. The move paid dividends as Ray kicked six majors and in a performance that was head lined…

‘POULTER BRILLIANT IN RICHMOND WIN’
“Burly Ray Poulter’s brilliant individual effort of six goals was the feature of the fighting comeback which brought victory over North Melbourne. Poulter’s success made his transfer to a forward pocket after half time a tactical triumph. …and Poulter frequently threw North’s defence into confusion.” ‘The Age’ June 18th 1956. P.12


RAY POULTER STEPS DOWN FROM RICHMOND.

Ray played his last regular season game for Richmond against St Kilda in Round: 18 that year .The Saints won a cliffhanger by five points and Ray kicked one goal to bring his season tally to 31 goals.

1956 was another disappointing season for the Tigers. The club finished 10th on the VFL Ladder with only six wins and a percentage of 86.8%. Ray polled 6 votes in the Brownlow (equal second highest for the club) that season.

Ray’s last game for the club occurred in the first ever VFL night series. The night series was played by the eight teams not competing in the finals and was a knock out competition played at the Lake Oval at the same time as the 1956 finals series. Richmond made the Semi Finals but went down in a close game against Carlton. The Age listed Ray as Richmond’s best on Ground.

Ray had seen a lot of footballers ‘come and go’ at Punt Road and, despite high hopes over the years, he was never to play in a VFL Senior XVIII final. He left Richmond with the club still searching for a way through ‘the mire’ and hunting for an ‘elusive flag.’
Ray Poulter was only 27 years of age when he stepped down from VFL football.

1957- CASTLEMAINE & HARCOURT.

Ray was appointed as the coach of Castlemaine FC in December 1956…

Star Richmond forward (Ray Poulter has been appointed captain coach of Castlemaine Football Club for the next three seasons. “I’m looking forward to going there," he said last night… “… I should get an automatic clearance from the Tigers because I will be 27 before the start of the 1957 season. "The salary was not announced, but it is believed the contract is for £25 a week.”

Under the Coulter Law VFL players received a maximum of £5 per week, and it is no wonder, regardless of loyalty, that players moved to the country for five times their salary.

Castlemaine FC was then affiliated with the Bendigo Football League (BFL) and the BFL was ranked as one of Victoria’s superior leagues. The other clubs of the BFL in that era were: - Eaglehawk, Sandhurst, Golden Square, Echuca, Rochester, Kyneton and South Bendigo.

Another of Richmond’s most famous forwards (Jack Titus) had played with CFC before leaving for the city in 1926.

Ray coached Castlemaine from 1957-59 and played 43 games. He kicked 164 goals including topping the BFL goal kicking in 1958 with 81 goals. Ray represented the Bendigo FL in inter-league fixtures.

In May1961 ‘The Age’ reported that Ray had been cleared to Harcourt FC…

“Former Richmond and inter-state footballer Ray Poulter has been transferred by Castlemaine Football Club to Harcourt in the Bendigo-Golden City League. Poulter coached Castlemaine ….but did not coach last year.” (May 9th1961 p.12).

In his twenty games with Harcourt FC, Ray topped the league list with 82 goals. Ray had carried his ‘trusty left boot to the bush’ and it appears that he never lost the art of kicking for goal.

Ray Poulter died on the 14th June 1999.

Today the suburb of Hoppers Crossing contains a cluster of streets bearing the names of famous Richmond footballers. Those in Poulter Street, regardless of the team they support, should not be disappointed.

Poulter St - Hoppers Crossing - Photo:MRiley
Poulter St - Hoppers Crossing - Photo:MRiley


Table 1: - Ray Poulter - VFL Senior Career Statistics

YearGamesGoalsBrownlow Votes
1946660
19471691
194815322
194919513
195017560
1951183315
195218338
195312192
1954173212
1955164910
195616316
Totals17035159
Averages 2.060.35


THE END



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End Notes


1. RICHMOND'S GOOD PROSPECTS. (1945, February 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 13. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1100995
2. NORTH WINS FINE GAME. (1945, June 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 13. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article977937