1966 and all that: Round 1 – Melbourne v St Kilda





A Day to Remember for the Saints


Melbourne v St Kilda
25 April 1966 (Anzac Day)


St Kilda kicked off the 1966 season with a big win against Melbourne on Anzac Day at the MCG. As the Melbourne press noted, it was “a day to remember for the Saints.” (The Age 26.4.66).


A crowd of 64,000 saw the Saints big men dominate with a vigorous Carl Ditterich in full flight and a handy rover around goal, named Ian Rowland (affectionately called ‘Doggy’), kick five. The game was an even contest up until half-time but the Saints broke loose immediately after the long break doing as they liked thereafter. St. Kilda kicked 12 goals to Melbourne’s two in the second half, running out 76 point winners.


Big Carl, under an injury cloud coming into the match, was best afield.  Ably supported by Brian Mynott, the Saints big men took control in the ruck and in the air. In a foretaste of what was to happen later in the season, Darrel Baldock was on one leg after half time, but still managed to outpoint the Melbourne defenders.


A head-on collision during the game between two St. Kilda players, Daryl Griffiths and, the appropriately named Ian Head, caused an anxious moment in the Saints camp. Fortunately, both men got to their feet and limped away unharmed.


That night the Saints sat on top of the VFL ladder, a position they were to occupy until Collingwood displaced them in Round 10.



St Kilda          4.4 (28)         5.5 (35)          12.6 (78)        17.7 (109)

Melbourne   1.0 (6)            2.4 (16)          4.7 (31)          4.9 (33)


Goals – St. Kilda: Rowland 5, Neale 2, Smith 2, kennedy 2, Howell 2, Baldock 2, Mynott, Ditterich

Melbourne: Groom, Bourke, Burston, Chapman


Best – St. Kilda: Ditterich (best on ground), Stewart, Smith, Mynott, Head, Griffiths

Melbourne: Bourke, Williams, Mann, Anderson, Dillon, Dixon


Daryl Griffiths, Ross Smith and Ian Stewart topped the disposals count for the Saints while Hassa Mann, Ken Emselle and Stan Alves led the kicks and handballs tally for the Demons.


Injuries – St. Kilda: Morrow (jarred knee), Baldock (bruised leg)

Melbourne: Bourke (bruised thigh)


Umpire: Fisher          Crowd: 64 934


Reserves: Melbourne 10.10 (70) d. St. Kilda 9.12 (66)


Melbourne’s weather: Fine and cool; maximum temperature 61° F (16° C)


Around the grounds


Easter Monday:


At Princes Park – Richmond 16.10 (106) d. Carlton 14.16 90)

At the Western Oval – North Melbourne 13.9 (87) d. Footscray 11.9 (75)



At Windy Hill – Essendon 11.6 (72) d. Geelong 9.4 (58)

At Victoria Park – Collingwood 17. 13 (115) d. Hawthorn 9.8 (62)

At the Lake Oval – South Melbourne 16.19 (115) d. Fitzroy 9.8 (62)


Highlight of the round

Collingwood full forward Peter McKenna had a big day, kicking 12 goals.



Meanwhile …


Coinciding with Anzac Day, Prime Minister Harold Holt was on a tour of South East Asia visiting the Australian troops in South Vietnam.


And on Melbourne radio the number one tune, “These boots are made for walkin‘” by Nancy Sinatra was appropriately in step with the start of the football season and the Anzac Day march.



Read more of Peter Clark’s weekly reviews of  St Kilda’s triumphant 1966 footy season HERE



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About Peter Clark

is a lifetime Geelong supporter. Hailing from the Riverina, he is now entrenched on the NSW South Coast. His passion for footy was ignited by attending Ovens and Murray League matches in the 1960's with his father. After years of watching, playing and coaching, now it is time for some serious writing about his favourite subjects… footy, especially country footy, and cricket.


  1. Ditterich, Murray and Stewart debuted in the first round match against Melbourne. Three years on in 1966 the same result with Ditterich again best on ground. That first game in 1963 was a key part of the Saints march to a premiership.Thanks for the story about that game in 1966. A bit of deja vu. Great memories.

  2. Roseville Rocket says

    Great start to the Saints best season ever!

    How good was Doggy Rowlands with 5 goals?

  3. Some of those names listed finished up in parliament.

    We know St Kilda’s Darrel Baldock became an ALP, MP in Tasmanian parliament. Then we have Melbourne’s Ray Groom, who ended up a Liberal MP in both the Tasmanian, and federal parliament.

    I noticed Geelong lost their R 1 clash at Windy Hill, not a happy hunting ground for them. I’ve got vague memories of Geelong winning there in 1970, one of the few times it won there over a long period of time.


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