Port Melbourne Senior Team 1939c (SLV 122_180)

Charles Boyles Collection SLV

Link to Photo at SLV Website
SLV Accession no. H2008.122/180

Team: Port Melbourne (VFA)
Location: Brunswick Oval (Brunswick)
Date: circa 1938 or 1939

Tommy Lahiff - middle row - fourth from left
Norm Goss - middle row - fifth from left
Frank Russo - front row, far right
Ted Freyer - front row far left


Most definitely the Port Melbourne (VFA) senior team. Pictured at centre (fourth from left in middle row) is the lovable rogue Tommy Lahiff who captain-coached Port in 1938 and 1939 (and briefly, for the last few games, in 1941). Therefore almost certainly photographed in one of those two years - 1938 or 1939. A very clear photo.

Lahiff’s great mate, back-pocket player Norm Goss, is seated beside him (on Lahiff’s left). Goss is regarded by many in Port Melbourne as the football club’s greatest-ever son. He was the club Secretary for thirty years from 1947 and steered Port Melbourne through its finest and most stable era. The grandstand at Port Oval is named after him.
The photo appears to have been taken at an ‘away’ game. Note the players are wearing white shorts. I’m certain the grandstand is Brunswick’s.

The only other player identified is Frank Russo (extreme right of front row). An odd feature of this group is that their jumper styles differ. Are some of them wearing a track suit top?

For the colourful Lahiff, see Ken Linnett, Game For Anything - The Tommy Lahiff Story, Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 1999.

Further Work Needed

The player front row far left is possibly Ted Freyer (ex-Essendon). Compare the photo here to his 1933 Wills card and another Port Melbourne photo.

The player back row far left resembles an older Bill Kuhlken, but there is no record of Kuhlken playing for Port Melbourne in 1938-39

Tommy Lahiff played with Essendon 1935-37.
According to Terry Keenan's list of Port Melbourne players
  • Norm Goss played his first senior game for Port Melbourne in 1937. He played 85 games for Port.
  • Frank Russo played his first senior game in 1936 and played 58 games for Port.

Joe Garbutt played for Port Melbourne in 1938 and I cannot see Garbutt in the photo
PLAYING FOR 19 YEARS. (1938, March 30). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 23. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11172630

Frank Kelly was captain/coach of Port Melbourne in 1940/41 and he is not in the centre of the photo.

The absence of Garbutt and Kelly leads toward this being a photo of Port Melbourne at Brunswick in 1939.

If this is Brunswick v Port Melbourne 1939 then Lahiff was concussed in the match.
See match report at
FREYER'S GREAT EFFORT. (1939, May 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 15. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12133073

Duplicates - Near Identical Photos

1939 Training List for Port Melbourne
PORT'S NEW LIST. (1939, April 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 7. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12120744

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