The Lance Perkins end (of Kardinia Park).

 

 

Round 1 1967 – Geelong v Collingwood, Kardinia Park

 

by Burkie (John)

 

I think it might have been Malcolm Blight who, when asked one year about the significance of the opening round for a team, said something along the lines that it was probably the least important game of the season.

 

Maybe Malcolm was trying to say that March/April is a long way from July/August when the big games that shape the finals take place.  Perhaps he was just fed up with pre-season hype and was sick of being asked what he considered to be stupid questions.  With Malcolm you never quite knew what was in his mind.  Just ask Austin McCrabb.

 

There can be little doubt that the 40,000 plus fans who turned up for the Round 1 clash between Collingwood and Geelong at Kardinia Park on a beautiful April day in 1967 saw the game as important – life and death stuff actually.  We could not have anticipated the drama that was to unfold and make this match so memorable.

 

Both the Cats and Magpies had experienced disappointing ends to 1966.  Collingwood famously in a 1 point loss to the Saints in the Grand Final.  Geelong not so famously going down narrowly to Essendon in the first semi.  Another year wasted.  Both teams were out for early redemption.  Both teams had legendary players – names such as Farmer, Goggin, Wade, Sharrock, McKenna, Price, Thompson, Tuddenham come to mind.  Mouth-watering stuff.

 

The match was a cracker.  Collingwood kicked to the city end in the first quarter.  In those days, like now actually, there was no Hickey or Wade Stand to block the breeze coming up from the Barwon River.  There were however some enormous trees just to the south of the ground which were great vantage points for kids who wanted to see the game for free.  This day, rarely for Geelong, the breeze had little influence.

 

My family of Geelong supporters (except dad who liked the Blues, so naturally loathed the Pies) decided to position itself just behind the city end goals.  Good decision!

 

The game was pretty close all day and the crowd was roaring.  At three quarter time the Cats seemed to have a slight advantage and we were feeling optimistic.

 

Enter Peter McKenna.  He’d been dangerous all day and largely as a result of his efforts the Pies found themselves five points up with less than a minute to go in the last quarter.  The Geelong crowd was stunned.  After a frantic passage of play Geelong managed to hoist a speculative kick towards the city goals (our end!).  All we could see was the back of an enormous pack trying to mark or spoil the ball about 25 yards out, straight in front.

 

Enter Lance Perkins.

 

Lance (the umpire) was blowing his whistle and had his hand up.  We had no idea what he was paying.  A mark?  A free?  To us or to them?  Bang!  He was paying a mark to Billy Ryan, our centre half forward.  Lance thought Billy was in front and had a bit more fingertip on the ball than Terry Waters, who was right with him.  You beauty!  All he had to do was kick it.  Siren!

 

So here’s Billy.  A great mark but a bit of a dodgy kick (Peter Johnston/Paddy Guinane-ish for those who can remember), lining up for goal after the siren to give us a 1 point win.  He kicks…into the man on the mark.  Collingwood players and fans ecstatic.  Gut-wrenching despair for Geelong.

 

But wait.  Lance has his hand in the air again.  He reckons Waters has gone over the mark and is giving Billy another kick, about three minutes after the siren.  Hundreds on the ground as Billy lines up.  Bang.  The ball sails over our heads.  Goal.  We win!  Collingwood loses its second game in a row by a point.  No sympathy from us I’m afraid.  We’re still pinching ourselves.

 

We’ve gone from euphoria to agony to ecstasy, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

 

Opening game not matter?  Don’t you believe it.  It mattered a lot on that day back in ’67.  Both teams made the finals but after some terrific games it turned out to be the year of the Tiger, with the Cats runners-up in a classic Grand Final.

 

Some of us still call the city end goal at Kardinia Park the Lance Perkins end.  With good reason!

Comments

  1. Lance was on the take, no doubt about it.

  2. Phantom says:

    Wonderful memory Burkie.

    If I remember correctly the Monday morning Melbourne Sun ran a story and pic on the back page.

    The headline was “Oh Joy, Oh Bliss, He Didn’t Miss”

    (Phantoms have very good memories)

    Could take a decent mark our Billy.

  3. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Definitely a home town decision! I’ve only seen the incident replayed. Was it Bluey Adams commentating when he exclaimed: “Heavens above it’s the most amazing game I’ve seen in my life!” Unrestrained gratitude and emotion. Love it, even though the result didn’t go our way. Well done Burkie.

  4. Peter Flynn says:

    Ivor Grundy is most impressed.

    Cheers,

    PJF

  5. Lucas,

    Money well spent I reckon. Cheers.

  6. Malby Danlges says:

    Terrific piece! So enjoyable to read people’s own viewpoints on various matches. Thanks!

  7. Another great 1point result involving these 2 sides @ Kardinia Park was in 1972, when the Pies led by circa 8 goals late in the second term, to be overun. As a sprightly young lad, i was atune to 3GL that afternoon, but i can’t recall who kicked the winning point. I’m sure scores were level late in the final terrm, and maybe Ken Newland, or Robert Whatman, got a minor to snatch the lead, and obtain victory. I know it wasn’t Billy Ryan, who I am sure played back pocket that afternoon in his final season @ Kardinia Park. Can any one recall ?

    Glen!

  8. Glen. Pretty sure it was Ken Newland. Sadly I missed that game (wasting time studying or something) but Ivor and Leo kept me in the picture.

    I think I’m right in saying Ken Newland was one of the youngest ever players to make their debut, just over 16 back around 1965. Took a great mark in the ’67 Grand Final, but then again so did Royce Hart. Ken went to Footscray for a year before returning to Geelong in the late 70’s. A fine footballer.

  9. Ta Burkie, Ken was agood ruck rover. Went to Footscray with Billy Goggin for 1season, 1976 to my recollection. It mIght have even been 2 seasons, 76 & 77, but his final year was defintrely 1978, and he was in the Blue and White hoops.

    Glen!

  10. Peter Flynn says:

    Burkie,

    Great recollection of a very famous day. Is Lance still with us?

    Glen, I’ve looked up the game you speak of. Wow.

    5.2 to 13.3 at half-time. 17.10 to 17.9 at the end.

  11. Peter,

    Hope Lance is still with us. I’d love to have a beer with him sometime down at his end of Kardinia Park. Always thought he was a good umpire. No, really!

  12. Debbi Bermingham says:

    I have just found this article from 5 years ago. I am Lances daughter. Sadly Dad left this earth way too early in 1998 at the age of 60. This article has certainly given me a smile today. The other thing that made me laugh was my Mum was a Collingwood fan. I wonder if this influenced the decisions that day?

  13. Debbi,
    Great to see your post. Sorry to hear Lance is no longer with us. His decision that day was spot on…just ask any Geelong supporter who was there.

    Hope your Mum wasn’t too hard on him when he arrived home after the game.

    Cheers, Burkie

Leave a Comment

*