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Reference_ 1924 VFL Premiers vs VFA Premiers Match

Matches
Essendon (VFL)
Footscray (VFA)


Introduction

At the end of the 1924 Season, the VFL premiers played a charity match against the VFA Premiers. Surprisingly, Footscray, the VFA premiers, beat the VFL premiers.

Certainly a historically important match regardless of the result. The newspaper reports after the match point to a positive and tough game.

Leading into the game the Essondon team had lost the final game of the VFL Finals to Richmond and there had been punchups between the players after the game. Essenden were reluctant to play the game against Footscray and Dame Nellie Melba (whose charity they were playing for) had to intervene to get them to play. Essendon had internal problems and possibly still had reluctant players players in the team. It is likely that this baggage had an effect on Essendons performance on the field.

The Age 6-Oct-1924 p14 Footscray Champions Source: Google News Archive
The Age 6-Oct-1924 p14 Footscray Champions Source: Google News Archive


Sun 1924 - VFA v VFL - Flying Higher- History of the Essendon Football Club 1872-1994 - Michael Maplestone 1994
Sun 1924 - VFA v VFL - Flying Higher- History of the Essendon Football Club 1872-1994 - Michael Maplestone 1994


Footscray (VFA) Team


BacklineBill DoolanJack MeulemanWally Fraser
Half Back LineFrank NielsenNorm FordBill McIntyre
Centre lineAlf MertonCol LaidlawRupert Gibb
Half Forward LineAlan HopkinsJack O'BrienTommy McHenry
Foward LineCharlie ZinnickTom MullensLes Punch
FollowersCon McCarthyVic Sampson
RoverAlec Eason
Captain/CoachCon McCarthy


Con McCarthy Footscray - Football Record 1924 Essendon (VFL) v Footscray (VFA) p9: Source State Library of Victoria
Con McCarthy Footscray - Football Record 1924 Essendon (VFL) v Footscray (VFA) p9: Source State Library of Victoria


Footscray Premiership Team - Sunshine Advocate 25Oct1924 p1 Footscray 1924 - Alma Studios Footscray
Footscray Premiership Team - Sunshine Advocate 25Oct1924 p1 Footscray 1924 - Alma Studios Footscray

FOOTSCRAY—VICTORIAN ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS 1924. (1924, October 25). Sunshine Advocate (Vic. : 1924 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74725540

Essendon (VFL) Team


BacklineHarry HunterVince IrwinClyde Donaldson
Half Back LineCharlie FarrellTom FitzmauriceRoy Laing
Centre lineRowley WattCharlie MayJimmy Sullivan
Half Forward LineGeorge ShortenJustin McCarthyGreg Stockdale
Foward LineSyd BarkerTommy JenkinsCharlie Hardy
FollowersNorm BecktonGeorge Rawle
RoverFrank Maher
Captain/CoachSyd Barker


Syd Barker Essendon Captain - Football Record 1924 Essendon (VFL) v Footscray (VFA) p7 Source State Library of Victoria
Syd Barker Essendon Captain - Football Record 1924 Essendon (VFL) v Footscray (VFA) p7 Source State Library of Victoria


Scores

Q1Half TimeQ3Final
Footscray 2.3 (15)3.4 (22)5.8 (38)9.10 (64)
Essendon3.1 (19)3.5 (23)3.8 (26)4.12 (36)
ResultEss by 4Ess by 1Foots by 12Foots by 28


Umpire for VFL - First Half - Jack McMurray Sr
Upire for VFA - Second Half - James Leheny


Match Fixing Accusations

In the mid 1930's some Essendon players made accusations that the game was fixed.

Dale James Blair article The 1924 Championship Game:Did the Dons play dead? presents a strong argument that should remove much of the stain from the game. Blair's arguments Include:

  • The motivation for the VFA team to win was high. Essendon camp was full of internal friction.
  • Footscray had a good team of proven players, many with VFL experience. They had won the 1923 and 1924 VFA Premierships and lost only one game in 1924.
  • Footscray used a style of play unfamiliar to the VFL teams as rules in the VFA were interpreted differently.
  • Footscray had a week off prior to the encounter wheras Essendon played and lost to Richmond.
  • Because the 1924 VFL premiership was decided by a round robin rather than a grand final. Essendon still won the premiership but a week before the VFA game, the VFA team had a chance to see tactics that were effective against the top team.
  • An Essendon player, Roy Liang, was badly hurt in the second quarter and because in 1924 there were no substitutes or interchange, Essendon effectively played the second half with one man down. The second half is where Footscray pulled away and won the game.
  • Comparisons of how bad Footscray were, ie their subsequent 1925 poor showing in the VFL must be measured. Three key players, rover Alex Eason, centre half-back, Norman Ford, and centre half-forward, Jack O’Brien were not able to play in 1925 due to their earlier transferring to the VFA without a permit and the VFL debaring their return. Secondly the 'flick pass' handball so part of the Footscray tactics in the VFA was not possible in the VFL
  • Finally that there has been little evidence found to support the fixing of the game, contemporary reports do not point to evidence of any foul play.

Rather than match fixing a less sinister explanation may be that Essendon's great team from the era probably were not at their best, and Footscray with motivation played above themselves.

In 1925 Essendon had their revenge and defeated Footscray twice. Firstly in round three at Windy Hill by 48 points at secondly in round 14 at the Western Oval by 26 points.

Sporting Globe 8Apr1939 p6 Con McCarthy Famous Match was a Dinkum Go - Photographer Unknown
Sporting Globe 8Apr1939 p6 Con McCarthy Famous Match was a Dinkum Go - Photographer Unknown



Argus Newspaper Match Report
FOOTBALL. (1924, October 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 7. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2045552

The Age Newspaper Match Report
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=h9RVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4dADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6794%2C600178

Blair, Dale James , The 1924 Championship Game:Did the Dons play dead?, ASSH Bulletin No. 30 June 1999
http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/ASSH%20Bulletins/No%2030/ASSHBulletin30d.pdf

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