1966 and all that: Round 11 – St. Kilda v Footscray



Saints back in form


Saturday 2nd July




 The teams:


St. Kilda


B. Head, Murray, Sierakowski

HB. Howell, Synman, Baker

C. Moran, Stewart, Oakley

HF. Ditterich, Baldock, Roberts

F. Neale, Austin, Griffiths

Foll. Mynott, Breen

Rov. Smith

Res. Rowland, Billing




B. Bryant, Darcy, Reilly

HB. Shanahan, McGowan, Jillard

C. Fincher, McKenzie, Chalmers

HF. Mannix, Whitten, Merrington

F. Pleitner, Dark, Jackman

Foll. Schultz, Delmenico

Rov. Bissett

Res. Thorpe, O’Connor



Relief for St. Kilda came in their home game against Footscray in Round 11. One possible source of motivation for the Saints was to avoid following in the footsteps of Melbourne in 1965. The Demons won their first eight games then slowed almost to a halt and won only two more games for the remainder of the season.


A return to Moorabbin after two disappointing weeks away was just the tonic for the Saints. St. Kilda emerged from their slumber after quarter time expertly led by Ian Stewart who took command in the centre of the ground winning every contest he entered. The ‘Doc kicked three goals for the winners but was overshadowed by Stewart who was widely acclaimed as best on ground. The advantage of having a masterful centreman who invariably delivered the ball to perfection was on show that afternoon at Moorabbin. Meanwhile, wingman Ross Oakley had one of his best games of the season.


After two humiliating defeats, the Saints regained the assurance and teamwork which had been a hallmark of their play earlier in the season. With the second half of the split round coming up, the Saints had the benefit of a week off before meeting the Demons a fortnight later.


Percy Beames (The Age 5 July 1966) made the observation that St. Kilda had not remedied the roving weakness that was evident in its 1965 grand final loss. The Saints rucks were winning plenty of the ball but that advantage was not being consolidated by effective roving. According to Beames, Ross Smith lacked back up from a second rover. In the match against the Bulldogs, coach Jeans tried the versatile Daryl Griffiths and skipper Baldock in the roving role but with little effect.





St. Kilda          6.3 (39)          9.8 (62)          14.11 (95)     15.15 (105)

Footscray        3.4 (22)          4.8 (32)          6.10 (46)       7.12 (54)


Goals – St. Kilda: Baldock 3, Roberts 3, Austin 2, Griffiths 2, Moran, Mynott, Neale, Smith, Ditterich

Footscray: Dark 2, Bissett 2, Pleitner 2, Whitten


Best – St. Kilda: Stewart (best on ground), Oakley, Mynott, Baker, Head, Sierakowski, Ditterich

Footscray: Jillard, Darcy, Schultz, Bissett, McGowan, Merrington


For the Saints, Ian Stewart had 34 disposals, Ross Oakley 29 and Ross Smith 24. George Bissett topped the disposals for the Bulldogs with 21.


Umpire: Fisher                      Crowd: 21 507



Reserves:        St. Kilda 13.13 (91) def. Footscray 9.7 (70)

Under 19’s:    Footscray 9.11 (65) def. St. Kilda 7.11 (53)


Around the grounds (Round 11 was the mid-season split round)



2nd July:


At Brunswick Street – North Melbourne 22.8 (140) d. Fitzroy 10.7 (67)

At the MCG – Geelong 13.15 (93) d. Melbourne 9.21 (75)


9th July:


At Princes Park – Carlton 7.11 (53) d. Collingwood 6.6 (42)

At The Lake Oval – Essendon 13. 12 (90) d. South Melbourne 12.10 (82)

At Glenferrie Oval – Richmond 11.13 (79) d. Hawthorn 6.13 (49)



Read The Age, Monday 4th July 1966, for coverage of all matches HERE.


Read The Age, Monday 11th July 1966, for coverage of all matches HERE.





In Round 11, North Melbourne’s John Dugdale played his 200th VFL match.



Highlights of the round


Saturday 2nd July


Fitzroy full forward Gary Lazarus kicked seven goals in the game against North Melbourne. It was the biggest haul of his 132 game career with the Lions.


Essendon and Hawthorn played an exhibition game in Sydney and attracted a larger crowd than the highest attended rugby league game. 14 308 people attended the SCG and saw the Bombers defeat the Hawks by five goals. On the same day, Canterbury and Balmain attracted a crowd of 13 435.



Saturday 9th July


 Carlton kept their finals chances alive with a fighting win over Collingwood in wet and greasy conditions at Princes Park. After the game both coaches sharply criticised umpire Blew for his handling of the whistle. Ron Barassi described Blew’s performance as “the worst exhibition of umpiring I have seen” while Bob Rose said “he was shocking” (The Age, 11 July 1966).



Interstate Footy


 In the TANFL, Ian Stewart’s former club Hobart defeated rivals North Hobart. Much to the bemusement of North Hobart, who had hoped to recruit the talented 18 year old, Stewart chose to start his football career with Hobart. He was soon on the radar of VFL clubs making his way to St. Kilda in 1963.


Country Footy


Under the VFL country zoning scheme announced in 1966 and subsequently introduced in 1968, St. Kilda was allocated the Ballarat League. Let’s check out how teams in the Ballarat League fared on 2nd July 1966 (the eventual 1966 premiers are in bold type). Redan had a big win over Beaufort, Golden Point defeated Maryborough, East Ballarat got the points against Ballarat while North Ballarat and Daylesford played a draw.


 Golden Point was the original club of a long list of VFL players prior to country zoning, most notably: Percy Beames (Melbourne), Bob Davis (Geelong) and Jack Collins (Geelong).


During the country zoning era (1968-85) the Ballarat district provided St. Kilda with a regular sprinkling of talented players. North Ballarat was the original club of St. Kilda star full forward Tony Lockett who joined the Saints towards the end of the country zoning era in 1983. Mick Malthouse is another legendary name associated with both St. Kilda and North Ballarat. Recruited in 1977, Jeff Dunne played 100 games for the Saints while centreman Greg Burns, also from North Ballarat, commenced his 169 game career with St. Kilda in 1978. Redan was the home club of St. Kilda rover, and later coach, Graham Gellie. Golden Point provided tough wingman Geoff (‘Joffa’) Cunningham to the Saints in 1977. Defender Gary Odgers was recruited in 1981 followed by Peter Kiel in 1982. Ballarat was the former club of volatile wingman Robert (‘Mad Dog’) Muir who played for the Saints, off and on, between 1974 and 1984.


In 1984, Danny Frawley made his way from the Bungaree (via East Ballarat) to his beloved St. Kilda where he built a highly respected 240 game playing career.


The country zoning system was replaced by the National Draft in 1986.



Meanwhile …


The Australian Census was underway with the collection of forms starting on Friday 1st July.


Prime Minister Harold Holt was in Washington to meet President Johnson and made his infamous pledge “All the way with LBJ” interpreted widely that Australia was lockstep with the US in Vietnam. His slogan immediately intensified opposition to the war but had little electoral impact later in the year.


France’s nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific blasted into the news the following day. As radioactive cloud drifted towards South America strong condemnation from countries including Australia and New Zealand followed the French tests.


Later in the week the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission handed down its decision in the 1966 wage case granting a $2 increase in the basic wage and reinstating the principle of fixing wages according to prices and productivity.


On July 9 Jack Nicklaus won the British Open and became the fourth player to have won all four golf majors.


On the Australian pop music charts that week, The Beatles’ song “Paperback Writer” climbed to number one, only to be displaced by ‘Old Blues Eyes’ with his hit song “Strangers in the Night” one week later.





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  1. Neil Anderson says

    Great memories for me as a nineteen year-old. Working in the St Kilda area surrounded by Saint’s supporters as their team headed for the premiership. As a Footscray supporter it was the era of standing on the Western Oval terraces with mates and quite a few tinnies. Footscray always seemed to end up halfway up, or more correctly, halfway down the ladder. Just the occasional win against a top four team at Footscray to keep us coming back for more, standing amongst the mud and blood and the beers.
    Just looking at the team consisting of such players as Whitten, Schultz and Bissett, you would think they would have been more successful instead of me having to wait 50 years for the second premiership. But how sweet it was when it did happen.

  2. Dr Rocket says

    Thanks again Peter for triggering wonderful memories of the Mighty Sainters!

    Daryl Griffiths was ahead of his time as a mid-fielder, reckon he was 6’1′.
    Really missed him in 71 when he had been cleared to South Fremantle…
    could have taken over the centre role from Ian Stewart.

    St Kilda players from the 80s nearly always invoke Greg Burns when they speak of that period.

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