Introduction

St Kilda’s 1933 victory over North Melbourne in Round Five was a match where true courage was shown by a team. With only 15 men on the field by the final quarter, the St Kilda players won a remarkable victory against a team higher placed on the ladder. The following week, the St Kilda committee struck a medal for their players.

Each club builds its identity over time, moments, good and bad combine to symbolise a club. This was such a time.

Background

Leading into Round Five game, St Kilda had a turbulent time. Just under two weeks before hand there had been a successful no-confidence vote in the selection committee by the club committee, and another vote, that Col Deane no longer be captain or player, was decided on the casting vote of the Committee Chairman. (“The St.Kilda Resignations’ by Forward Age 17May1933p7) On the field, the club had not won a game and were in twelfth position. They would win six games for the season and drag themselves into ninth on the ladder by the end of it.

With one win and a draw, North Melbourne was in eighth position on the ladder, a position they owned throughout 1933.

North Melbourne had won both matches against St Kilda the 1932 season, but in the previous seven seasons from 1925-31, North had only managed a single win against the Saints.1

The Argus newspaper previewed the match under the banner “two struggling teams”. Both the Age and Argus sent their photographers to the Carlton v Collingwood game.

The Teams

The VFL rules were changed in 1930 to allow for a 19th man to substitute for an injured player. Prior to 1930 if a player was injured, the team automatically played one short. The law was not changed until 1946 when a second substitute was added and later until 1978 when an interchange bench was introduced rather than allowing once only substitutions. The VFA introduced substitutes in 1929, a year earlier than the VFL
Many players were familiar with tough encounters and playing on while injured.

St Kilda


Bill Mohr -1933 Wills League Footballers  - Source: Australian Football Cards
Bill Mohr -1933 Wills League Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Roy Bence -1933 Wills League Footballers  - Source: Australian Football Cards
Roy Bence -1933 Wills League Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Bill Roberts -1933 Wills League Footballers  - Source: Australian Football Cards
Bill Roberts -1933 Wills League Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Harry Comte -1933 Wills League Footballers  - Source: Australian Football Cards
Harry Comte -1933 Wills League Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Jack Davis -1933 Wills League Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Jack Davis -1933 Wills League Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards


St Kilda's team included aging rover Roy Bence (First played for St Kilda in 1925) who was in his final season with the club. Bence was awaded St. Kilda Life Membership in 1935.2 There was also the team's 1933 Best and Fairest, Harry Comte and St Kilda's leading goal kicker every year from 1929-40 Bill Mohr. Mohr kicked 74 goals in 1933 and was later included in St Kilda's Team of the Century. Another player was Billy Roberts who eventually played 160 games for the club and was a six time state representative.

Clarrie Hindson had only just taken the role of captain and was now in his second week in the position, with ex-captain Deane acting as coach.

B:Clarrie HindsonJack HoldenJack George
HB:Matt CaveJack DavisStewart Anderson
C:Doug BourneBilly RobertsGeoff Neil
HF:George ChapmanJack AndersonHarry Comte
F:Stuart KingBill MohrFrank Roberts
Foll:Bill DownieRon Fisher
R:Roy Bence
19thTom Fogarty


Chapman’s first game for St Kilda after playing for Fitzroy in previous season.

North Melbourne


Charles Cameron - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Charles Cameron - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Richard Taylor - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Richard Taylor - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Johnny Lewis - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Johnny Lewis - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Charlie Gaudion - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Charlie Gaudion - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Wally Carter - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards
Wally Carter - 1934 MacRobertsons 1_2d Footballers - Source: Australian Football Cards


North Melbournes team combined a number of veterans with five players having already notched up 100 league games (Cameron, Fitzmaurice, Gregory, Lewis, Taylor), where St Kilda had only one (Bence).

Tom Fitzmaurice had first played for Essendon in 1918, Richard Taylor, North Melbourne's captain/coach, had been a colleague of St Kilda's coachCol Deane’s at Melbourne and had moved to North in 1932. Johnny Lewis was North Melbourne's ex captain/ coach, but was still playing with the team. A member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame, Lewis was a tough and hard ruckman. Charlie Cameron was an interstate player, and wingman for the club, in 1934 Cameron left North after 122 games for a 3 year (22 game) term as Fitzroy captain/coach.. Cameron later coached North in 1948.

Other players of note included
Charlie Gaudion had played for Footscray but moved to North Melbourne to 1931-36. He played interstate Football for Victoria and was interstate Captain in 1936. He later coached North Melbourne in 1956-57. Jack Wrout moved to Carlton where became part of their 1938 Premiership Team and later Chairman of Selectors. Wally Carter would play until 1940 with 137 games, and coached the club in 1940, then again 1948-53 and 1958-62, coaching the club to it’s first VFL premiership

B:Frank PearceCharlie GaudionSyd Barker
HB:Johnny GregoryJimmy Adamson Ted Wintle
C:Charles CameronJack DiproseJack Smith
HF:Neville HugginsJack WroutRichard Taylor
F:Jim BicknellTom FitzmauriceWally Carter
Foll:John LewisTed Llewellyn
R:Selwyn Baker
19thBen Whittam


Ben Whittam and Jack Diprose, played their first games for North Melbourne

The Game

http://stats.rleague.com/afl/stats/games/1933/121519330527.html
Round 5 - Sat 27-May-1933 2:45 PM A
In front of 13,000 fans at the Junction Oval

St Kilda4.47.109.1713.1997
North Melbourne 3.56.107.1311.1783

St Kilda won by 14 pts

First Quarter

• Matt Cave (St Kilda – Half Back Flank) – Cut above eye – 4 stitches - Substituted
• Jack Wrout (North Melbourne – Centre Half Forward) – Cut above eye – Several stitches - Substituted
St Kilda end the quarter up by 5 Points

Both teams used their reserve players in the first quarter

The Age Mon 29 May 1933 p6 wrote:
Play in the first term was much below standard, and lacked interest. The visiting wing and ruck men forwarded time and again, but as the forwards lacked any semblance of anticipation, the St.Kilda backs had no difficulty in thwarting their puny efforts. The first casualties occurred when both Cave and Wrout retired to have wounded heads dressed. St. Kilda clapped on the pace towards the end, and superior across the centre, they led at the change.


Second Quarter

• Bill Mohr (St Kilda full forward) – 2 broken ribs - St Kilda down to 17
• Clarrie Hindson (St Kilda Captain – back pocket) – broken right ankle - St Kilda down to 16
St Kilda end the quarter up by 6 Points

North Melbourne constantly used their weight advantage in a physical quarter of tough football that resulted in a number of injuries. St Kilda ended the quarter two men down, but Bence had received a stitch on a head wound and Downie probably broke his thumb in this quarter but both continued playing.

The Age Mon 29 May 1933 p6 wrote:
Plenty of nip and dash characterised the opening of the next term, but this soon degenerated into a battering display. Mohr was accidentally injured when he fell across Gaudion’s powerful kick off, and shortly afterwards left the field with a fractured rib. Taylor led practically every North Melbourne offensive, but although the visiting forwards were showing a lamentable lack of co-ordination, the St. Kilda men were equally as bad in this respect. Player after player was subjected to unnecessary physical violence, and shortly before the bell Hindson was carried off with a badly damaged ankle. F. Roberts, however placed St. Kilda a goal in front with a shot after the bell had rung..



Third Quarter

• Roy Bence (St Kilda - Rover) One stitch on cut on head at half time, four more stitches after being injured a second time. - St Kilda down to 15
• Downie (St Kilda follower) playing with broken thumb
• J George (St Kilda Back pocket) playing with bad ankle injury
• S. Anderson (St Kilda Half back)- Knocked unconscious, but continued to play
St Kilda end the quarter up by 16 points

North Melbourne continued their tough tactics on an already battered St Kilda. In an era where on field violence was not uncommon, this was probably intended to knock St Kilda out of the game. The Age and Argus reports do not include details indicating spite and illegal play that existed in other games, though neither paper is charitable about North Melbourne's tactics in the third quarter.

The Argus Mon 29 May 1933 p13 wrote:
In the interval the St Kilda dressing room with Hindson, Mohr, Cave, Bence and Downie all receiving attention, resembled a casualty station. St Kilda came out with 16 men, playing one short in the ruck and one short forward. Applause was redoubled as the 16- faster, more ....more systematic – matched and mastered their 18 opponents.

S.Anderson (St Kilda) fell unconscious, and a few minutes later, W. Roberts went down after a collision. Within 10 seconds Bence (St Kilda) was felled and was carried off the ground. When Comte (StKilda) was thrown down a few seconds later an unpleasant situation developed with players crowding together in the centre. Play was stopped for a time, but it had scarcely been resumed before J Anderson (St Kilda) tripped and fell heavily, and then W.Roberts (StKilda) went down again. Next Lewis, Baker and Smith were receiving attention from the North trainers. Fighting on relentlessly and fairly with 15 men, St Kilda thoroughly deserved the great ovation it received at three quarter time when it led by 9-17 to 7-13


Fourth Quarter

St Kilda by 14 points

St Kilda were now the walking wounded and had already played the previous quarter down two men. Now down three men and a few of the others barely servicable (J.George's ankle injury making him nearly useless), a lead of 14 points was a small margin for the exhausted survivors to protect in the semi darkness overtaking the ground..

Still in a losing but winnable position, North Melbourne produced a sporting gesture as Lewis sent the other follower (probably Llewellyn) away and played with only one ruck, matching the position that through injury St Kilda had been reduced to. Sporting gestures when the game is in balance show character. No additional injuries are mentioned in reports of the final quarter, another indication that North melbourne changed their tactics. But the smaller battered St kilda players hung on to their lead and won an astounding victory.

The Age Mon 29 May 1933 p6 wrote:
Heartened by a rousing send-off, St. Kilda scored two goals in quick succession, and then witnessed the only enjoyable football of the match. St. Kilda were now supreme in every department and Bourne, Chapman, and J. Anderson excelled themselves. The sympathy of the crowd was with the gallant sea-siders and deafening roars welled up when-ever they scored a goal. In marked contrast was the comparative silence that greeted North Melbourne’s scoring shots. J. Anderson was the outstanding man afield and his two brilliant goals placed his side in an unassailable position. The visitors fought back doggedly in the later stages, but lack of training was now evident, and St. Kilda won a rightly deserved victory with fourteen points to spare.


After the Bell

St Kilda were elated by the victory and the committee and home crowd were appalled at the North Melbourne tactics. In contrast to the jubilation in the St Kilda rooms, North Melbourne players faced a gauntlet of outraged fans.

The Argus Mon 29 May 1933 p13 wrote:
While every player in St.Kilda’s team worked manfully for victory, King (forward) and JJ Anderson (centre half forward) were outstanding. J.Anderson’s dazzling runs, soaring marking, and remarkable stamina were delightful to watch. In the centre W. Roberts was the pivot of many attacks. Bourne, cool and polished, and Neil, fast and tenacious, gave sterling service on the wing. Comte, Chapman, F. Roberts, Hindson (until injured), Davis, S.Anderson and Holden all played solidly, and Downie and Fisher (following), and Bence (roving), in the circumstances, did well in the ruck.
For North, C. Gaudian (full back and Centre half back) was conspicuous for his outstanding marking and kicking in. Cameron (wing) stared some decisive thrusts, and Lewis won comfortable in the ruck. The others were Baker (roving), Carter and Fitzmaurice (forward), and Diprese (centre)


Reports and Injury List

There were no reports after the game.

Excluding minor injuries to Lewis, Baker and Smith, all of North Melbourne and S. Anderson of St Kilda being knocked unconscious, all in the third quarter, there were 12 players with injuries worth reporting at the end of the match. The Argus report on the injuries reported that seldom before has St.Kilda so fully lived up to the motto in its clubroom. “Determination Defies Defeat”3

TheAge 30-May-1933 p12 Letter
TheAge 30-May-1933 p12 Letter

Ten St Kilda players
• Matt Cave – Cut above eye – 4 stitches - Substituted
• Bill Mohr – 2 broken ribs - St Kilda down to 17
• Clarrie Hindson – broken right ankle - St Kilda down to 16
• Roy Bence - One stitch on cut on head at half time, four more stitches after being injured a second time. - St Kilda down to 15
• Downie (follower) playing with broken thumb
• J George (Back pocket) playing with bad ankle injury
• D.Bourne (kicked on calf of leg),
• W. Roberts (Head injury),
• J. Holden (Ankle injury),
• J Anderson Leg injury

Two North Melbourne Players
• Jack Wrout (North Melbourne – Centre Half Forward) – Cut above eye – Several stitches - Substituted
• Fitzmaurice having a reoccurrence of leg trouble


Medals

Silver Medals with “St Kilda defeated North Melbourne with 15 men – May 27 1933” on one side and “Presented to a member of the team on this memorable occasion” on the other were commissioned at the next committee meeting.4

The medals were presented to the players, some of whom were still injured (making for good newspaper copy). As the medals were presented in the same year that St Kilda began to regularly include a shield on the front of their club jumpers, the medals have become linked to the shield. Though the medals were not the inspiration for the shield, the association of this match with the shield is entirely appropriate.

Final Comments

The following weeks newspapers were full of accusations and denials over events on the day. By the end of the week North Melbourne were asking for an apology for the 'wild statements' in the press. For all the individual comments and mumblings, St Kilda's officials waited for the umpires report, and when nothing eventuated in the umpires report, they allowed the issue to be dropped.

The return game in round 16 was won by North Melbourne. The Age reported that the game was "played in strong vigorous fashion, but from bounce to bell there was not one untoward incident to indicate rankling bitterness or spite." 5

There are many events in football where individuals and teams show inspirational courage and determination. On this day, St Kilda's players, played a full half of football with two men down, and the final quarter with a third off the field and a fourth effectively useless. With a total of 10 injured players on the team, not counting a player who was knocked out but revived and played on, this was true victory, by team effort, against a larger team who played the man.


Boyles Website Newsletter

Just us sending out an email when we post a new article.
Image

Endnotes


1. When North Melbourne was still in the VFA, and during World War One, the two teams had a charity match. It was one of the few times matches were played between the rival associations. Although North Melbourne won the match, it was a bitter affair. The Argus newspaper reported that “From first to last the match was played with a bitterness that was highly discreditable. The supporters of each side blamed the other; but as far as I could see there was not much to choose; each was distinctly culpable. (1915, August 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 11. Retrieved January 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page388667
2. (1935, November 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 29. Retrieved January 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11850995
3. 15 DEFEAT 18. (1933, May 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved January 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4738802.
4. The Glorious 15, Ron Carter, The Age 4-Jun-1976 p26
5. The Age Mon 21-Aug-1933