Original Source:
Roy Cazaly Tells Of
Sporting Globe 1-May-1937 p. 8

Sporting Globe 1 May 1937 P8 Banner
Sporting Globe 1 May 1937 P8 Banner

Football Ring-in with £500 at Stake

Coach Of South Melbourne
As Told to H. A. de Lacy

First past the post the winner, £500 up and both teams "ring-ins." That was the funniest football match I ever played in.

But the story must have a beginning. Colbinabbin and Elmore were great rivals. The money was up. Colbinabbin won. Elmore was not satisfied — there were "ring-ins" in the Colbinabbin team. That started the fight and the money was on in packets.

Billy Schmidt was playing with St. Kilda then. As the League team were not playing on the Saturday someone at Elmore decided that if Colbinabbin could win with a few "ring-ins," so could Elmore.

Billy Schmidt got a letter asking for assistance. A regular S O.S. Seven of us volunteered for the emergency.

Sporting Globe 1 May 1937 P8 Billy Schmidt
Sporting Globe 1 May 1937 P8 Billy Schmidt

We would have played anywhere in those days so long as it was football.

WE left town on Friday afternoon—a secret departure. Hush Hush everywhere- We were to leave the train two stations before we got to Elmore. We sneaked off the train—more hush hush. Cars were waiting. It was about 1am. We were taken to a general store, where supper was to be provided.


Visualise us sitting in the back room of that store. There were racks of delicacies. We were hungry, and this was to be a feed with a vengeance. We pulled tins of crab, sardines, salmon, pickles, etc., off those shelves, and had a regular "blow-out."

Then more hush hush. We were seeing the funny side of it by this tune. To bed. We remained in bed until about two hours before the match.

Then we were fed and groomed and motored to the ground. The stakes exceeded over £500 by this time. Elmore were well set.

Uniforms complete, out we ran, regular Elmore colts, prancing and preening.

1922 Magpie Cigarettes St Kilda Biilly Schmidt Otway Jack (thecollectingbug)
1922 Magpie Cigarettes St Kilda Biilly Schmidt Otway Jack (thecollectingbug)
1922 Magpie Cigarettes Sth Melbourne Roy Cazaly
1922 Magpie Cigarettes Sth Melbourne Roy Cazaly
1922 Magpie Cigarettes Sth Melbourne Mark Tandy
1922 Magpie Cigarettes Sth Melbourne Mark Tandy

There was Billy Schmidt, "Snow" Noonan, Pat Kennedy. Paddy Maloney, Mark Tandy, Jock Doherty and myself, 0ut ran Colbinabbin. The first player I saw was Dick Godfrey from Hawthorn. We had played together as kids, so it was no use trying to hide anything.

We smiled, and knew the game was up.

Twelve Association “Ring-Ins'

There were 12 Association "ring-ins” in the Colbinabbin lot They had reconstructed their team.

In those days the game did not command the publicity it does now. Players

were allowed to have a game here and there, and no notice was taken. They were playing in Wednesday games. No bar was on anyone — almost a "go-as-you-please" permit arrangement.

"Snow" Noonan. who usually played full-back for St. Kilda. started in the ruck with me. with Mark Tandy as rover.

The Colbinabbin fellows had an "ace" to play. Smack! A big, raw-boned Irishman - with the touch of the brogue in his tongue — let go a haymaker.

'I’ll have you!" he yelled at me. "Snow" had been played in the ruck for Saints, but he was a little too wild, especially if there was a fight offering.

First Class Scrap

'He's mine, Cazzaer!" I heard Snow yell. In he went, and a first-class scrap was soon in progress.

Then said the Irishman, sudden-like. "Soiy. lets go on wit the game.”

So on went the game. Down went the Irishman. "Snow" had bowled him properly. Off they started again. Gee! They could both scrap.

After about a dozen exchanges, one of them remembered

"Now we have a game." he said, and on they went.

Mark Tandy still laughs when he recalls Snow and the Irishman.

They were two young huskies, full of life and vitality. They would scrap for a few minutes then with a laugh one of them would say "Now what about a few more kicks?"

Mark Tandy played a great game. He was bowling everyone, and those wonderful feet of his were twinkling.

Billy Schmidt in the centre dominating everything. This everything was “made to order/”

The St. Kilda "ring-ins" were right at their top. We could not have done better.

It was an eye opener to the country people, and even though the money had been won and lost they were taught something about the game they did not think possible. Docker Doherty was up and down off the ground like a bouncing ball.

The Association men did not let Colbinabbin down either. The result was a wonderful game of football. The country fellows also played their part.

But Mark and "Schmidty" were too good, and we had about a five-goal margin.

I nearly forgot to tell you that Mark Tandy got 24 dozen eggs as the prize for the best and fairest. He's never been able to laugh that one off. We naturally disagreed about the decision.

We had a court martial on the way home and decided unanimously that Mark had not only been the roughest bird in the match, but the noisiest as well. He'd talked his way to those eggs.

So we took them away from him.

We were extended wonderful hospitality. On the Sunday we were taken to, the weir, where fish abounded, but not having the inclination for fish we just dawdled about.

Now as 1 look back I am convinced that Jock Doherty must have been prompted with an evil impulse to make one of us splash about like a fish. He had a go s tech of us.

Finally he had me set for a “sitter”. He took a running jump to push me in, I just saw him coming and half turned. In he went – clothes and all.

We returned to Melbourne with a fiver each, all expenses paid, and the better for having played in a great game.

Outings such as these cement friendships. Clubs should get their players together as much as possible. Any excuse is good enough for an outing. Take your player into the bush, take them

anywhere. so long as you break down the strangeness that helps to keep fellows apart.

A man is altogether different when the strain of seriousness is off him. Teach him to play when the serious business of football is over, and you will get better and happier teams.

I was coaching at Minyip in 1925. By an arrangement. 1 was also able to play with Litchfield-Carron in the Donald district. They played on a Wednesday.

Too Much "Rough Stuff"

We were playing against Donald. There was a lot of money on the match—but no ring-ins. I was offered £50 for a win. I've still got to get that money Money was plentiful, and everyone in both "teams was flat out to win.

Donald were playing better football that we were. The game was willing. The players were keyed up, and there. far too much rough stuff arising from over-anxiousness. When players get keyed up, and they are fit, they become a trifle abnormal. You have seen it before a final or an important game, and you have seen it on the field during such a game. It takes iron nerve and a steady head to weather such an occasion.

In the second quarter, I did one of those unorthodox turns with which I used to get out of trouble. To my amazement I was struck the hardest blow over the eye 1 have ever had. It was a beauty.

I was told afterwards that as I turned a big fellow with more brute strength than science flung

himself head first at me. I got his head above the eye. It was a fair knock but did it bleed! Naturally I was out of the game for a while.

It is strange how a knock -will stimulate a player. I have seen it in other games, but this was the first occasion I had experienced it myself.

1 was covered with blood, and a weird sight. The game went on. and I flew for a high mark. Got it; and then from somewhere about 70 yards out, I put the ball through. Mark you. I was still dazed. Had 1 not been. I would have hesitated about having that shot. But there it was.

The ball was thrown in. Somebody grabbed my pants and tore them off mc. But nothing could stop me. Had I been more rational, I would have noticed those torn trousers. But no - I knew nothing but getting that ball.

Wife Brought Me To My Senses

The first I knew about it all was the voice of my wife calling to me. "Roy, come here, come off."

My wife has always been my companion in football. She is a fine judge of a game too. She was accompanied by my sister and my kiddies. Covered with blood as 1 was. and with my pants torn off, 1 must have looked a wild sight.

My wife attracted my attention but still I didn't know what it was all about. She ran out with

two safety pins and pinned my pants up on the field. That was honestly my first knowledge that they were torn.

There we no spare pants, so that repairs had to be effected at the interval.^

After that knock 1 got five goals. They told me about them for 1 didn't know much.

We won the game.

Often a player with slight concussion as I must have had that day will play on and do things that his normal senses would have prevented him from doing. The incidents of that game are told to you second-hand. I was just an automaton.

Lost — And Bogged!

We did not get home till after 4 am. next day—the climax of a beautiful day. If you know the Wimmera you know, just how bad those roads were about 1925. After rain they were impassable.

I started out to drive home By that time the eye was closed and the other one affected. We lost the guiding ears, and soon I could see through the pelting rain a patch of water ahead of me.

The water I soon proved was deep. l made for a track near the fence, but half blind as I was, I hit the wire and got tangled up it it. Then we were bogged. After a lot of struggling we reached a farm house, borrowed some petrol and asked where we were.

We were headed for Warracknabeal. The relatives of the folk we were giving a lift to were nearly crazy with anxiety when we did not arrive home on time.

What a game – a bung eye, torn pants and that £50 still missing, wet and far from home, bogged, and an irate husband looking for his wife – Lucky I had my own wife along.


SportingGlobe 15 May 1937 P8 Banner 600thumb
SportingGlobe 15 May 1937 P8 Banner 600thumb

Original “Ring-In” Tells Of Famous Match
Sporting Globe 15-May-1937

Original “Ring-In" Tells Of Famous Match

By ARTHUR FEHRING, as told to P. J. Millard

IN this, special to The Sporting Globe, Arthur Fehring, former Hawthorn footballer, reveals that he was the original "ring-in" in the Colbinabbin v. Elmore football clashes in 1920, widespread interest in which has been aroused by Roy Cazaly's description of the great challenge game, and the "ring-ins" in it, published in the Globe on May 1

Roy CAZALY'S racy account in The Sporting Globe of Saturday, May 1. of the great challenge match in which he and other League stars were "rung-in" by Elmore against Colbinabbin has stirred vivid memories within me.

You see I was the original "ring-in" in the Colbinabbin team. They and Elmore were keen rivals in the local competition. Pat Dooley—the big Irishman mentioned by Cazaly – was also “rung-in” with me.

The pair of us, under assumed names, were chiefly instrumental in Colbinabbin defeating Elmore in an important competition match. As a result of that and Elmore's suspicions that Colbinabbin had played a couple of dark horses in disguise, the challenge game came about.

It was not a competition fixture, but the money went on good and hard. Squatters, with big bank rolls, plunged solidly, one wagering £100, and. Another £130, to my knowledge. I think that Cazaly's estimate that £500 was at stake over the result was too conservative. It was more like £1000.

Let me now go back to the beginning of my part in it- It was the 1920 season, and I was playing half-forward for Hawthorn in the Association. Previously I had played for Richmond (League). Well, one evening at training a member of the Hawthorn committee handed me a letter from a pal of his at Colbinabbin, with the remark. "This may interest you." It did. The letter asked the committee-man if he knew a couple of senior footballers in Melbourne who would like a few weeks football in the country at £S/10/ a week each and keep, under assumed names, as It would not be advisable to disclose their identity in the district in which they would be playing.

Elmore and Colbinabbin
Elmore and Colbinabbin

Pat And I Accept

The sport and adventure of it appealed to me. "How about It?” I said to Pat Dooley, my room mate in the Hawthorn team. Pat, like me had come to Hawthorn from Richmond. having been centre man for the Tigers. “Sure, ‘twill do me.” Smiled Pat. That settled it

And so to Colbinabbin we decided to go. We then proceeded to make arrangements. Our trip, we found, was to be enveloped in the utmost secrecy. It reminded one of a secret society, stealthily carrying out a great plot. (slight edit – ed.)

We were to get out of the train at Rushworth, some 13 miles from Colbinabbin, and look out for a man waving a white handkerchief from the top of the overhead bridge at the station, then follow him without speaking to a soul! To our intense relief, we were not told to disguise ourselves with false beards and so forth!

Well, the train stopped at Rushworth Pat and I stepped out, feeling like "Babes in the" wood." We stared up at the top of the bridge. Sure enough, a man there waved a white handkerchief, as though

Trying to dry it. Grabbing our suit cases and clenching our teeth Pat and I made for him.

When we got up to him he said not a word. We never spoke either. Then still silent, he walked with us slowly down the steps to a Dodge tourer, with heavy, dark-looking side curtains well up. We put our luggage in and sat in the back seat.

Still nobody spoke a work. For all the world we were like three dumb men.

Incredible as it seems, the silence was not broken during the whole of the 13-mile drive to the hotel at Colbinabbin! Now, for the first time, the mysterious driver spoke. "You'll stay here." He said. Then, to me: "You are Arthur Watson;" and to Pat: "You are Pat Gleeson." And those were our football names during our two or three months with the Colbinabbin team.

Coaching In Barn!

Our duties were not only to play on Saturdays, but also to teach the side something of the senior style in Melbourne. For that purpose, I was made coach, and was virtually captain a post nominally held by a local player. I have had many a laugh since at my addresses to the team in an old barn, dimly lighted by lantern. It was impossible for me to see many of those I was instructing; or for the players to see my chalk marks on the rafters (we had no blackboard!).

Well, as t have said, after we had beaten Elmore, came the famous challenge match. Our team (Colbinabbin) had a hunch that Elmore might "import" some Melbourne stars; so they sent me to Elmore on the morning of the challenge match to "snoop around”. I was having a quiet drink in the Shamrock Hotel, when who should come down the stairs but Roy Cazaly. Mark Tandy and Jack Doherty—three of the Elmore “ring-ins”!

“Hullo Mark," I greeted Mark Tandy, I didn't know him to speak to, and be didn't know me; but I recognised him. "For heaven's sake' don’t mention my name, “ he exclaimed; “I’m up to play in this game today, and nobody is supposed to know who I am.” With that I subsided, and did not show that I was interested.

Then I stole off quietly, back to Colbinabbin, with the alarming news that Elmore were “ringing-in” a lot of Melbourne champions!

We had previously feared a move like that, and had prepared ourselves with several players from Hawthorn (the Association were not playing that day). In addition, we also had some champions of the Goulburn Valley League ready a few miles away, in case of emergency. So we feverishly completed the team by playing the lot! If I remember rightly, each side, in that match, had only two or three of the local players with which it had begun the season!

What a Game !

What a game it was! Crisp, exhilarating football, in which there was no needless politeness. It was staged at Goornong. Elmore won, but they had to earn their victory, take it from me. Although players of both sides knew all about the wholesale "ringing-in," once they were face to face with opponents on the field, nobody "squealed" or complained after the match. Backers of the defeated Colbinabbin team lost a hefty wad with good grace like sportsmen and gentlemen.

I shall never forget the surprise on Mark Tandy's face when, just at, play began, he recognised me on the field as the polite stranger in the hotel that morning. "You cow!" he muttered, or words to that effect; but It was meant good-naturedly.'

I can't remember all the 'ring-ins" in the Colbinabbin side, but those I recall, besides myself were: — Pat Dooley (Haw.), Charlie Fehring (Haw.), my brother; Dick Godfrey (Haw.), two or three other Hawthorn players, and Greg and Leo Stockdale, then Goulburn Valley champions. That was before Greg Stockdale came down to play with Essendon. I received the shock of my life when, going full-forward. I found myself up against Ted Webster, one of my greatest pals. Until then I didn't know be was up there, let alone playing! Ted is now a trainer at Richmond F.C.

Greg Stockdale - 1923 Magpie Portraits of Leading Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Greg Stockdale - 1923 Magpie Portraits of Leading Footballers - Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

During that time, and for some years afterwards, I was known throughout the Elmore district as "Number 9 ' — the number I always wore as "Arthur Watson."


Editors Comments

From the scraps of information in the Age from 1920, it is possible that both Semi Finals were replayed. Elmore is listed as winning the premiership.

Age 2 Sep 1920 P9 Elmore 1SF
Age 2 Sep 1920 P9 Elmore 1SF

Age 8 Sep 1920 P12 Elmore 2SF
Age 8 Sep 1920 P12 Elmore 2SF

Age 21 Sep 1920 P14 Elmore 1SF
Age 21 Sep 1920 P14 Elmore 1SF

Age 28 Sep 1920 P8 Elmore 2SF
Age 28 Sep 1920 P8 Elmore 2SF

Age 5 Oct 1920 P9 Elmore Final
Age 5 Oct 1920 P9 Elmore Final