1966 and all that: Round 15 – Geelong v St. Kilda


Football spectacle down at Kardinia Park


Saturday 6 August

Kardinia Park



A trip down the highway to Geelong confronted the Saints in Round 15. The home ground of the Cats, Kardinia Park, has been a graveyard for many teams over the years regardless of their position on the ladder.


The teams




B. Hosking, West, Ryan

HB. Devine, Walker, Marshall

C. Closter, Lord, Polinelli

HF. Newland, Sharrock, Eales

F. Newman, Wade, Brown

Foll. Farmer, Rosenow

Rov. Goggin

Res. Vinar, Reid


St. Kilda


B. Head, Murray, Synman

HB. Cross, Breen, Griffiths

C. Moran, Stewart, Oakley

HF. Kennedy, Baldock, Cooper

F:  Morrow, Neale, Rowland

Foll. Mynott, Baker

Rov. Smith

Res. Davis, S. Roberts



The game proved to live up to all expectations as two teams vying for a place in the finals and with genuine premiership credentials provided a football spectacle for the crowd of over 28 000. It had everything: pace, high marking, system and closeness of scores. But it was Geelong who prevailed in the end with a sensational final burst, kicking six goals to two in the last term.


The ability of Denis Marshall to eclipse Ian Stewart in the centre was a critical factor in Geelong’s 23 point win. Marshall, filling-in for injured Cats centreman Alistair Lord, was in superb form all afternoon. When Stewart was moved away and Griffiths took over in the centre, Marshall continued to do much as he pleased. The beneficiary of Marshall’s dominance, aided by Polinelli and Closter on the wings and Sharrock’s support at centre half forward, was Geelong full forward Doug Wade who kicked 8.1. His brilliant high marking and long kicking were features of the match. Wade’s accuracy in comparison with St. Kilda forward ‘Cowboy’ Neale, who managed an untidy 2.7, was a telling tale in the final analysis. For the Saints, ‘Doc’ Baldock booted four and rover Ian Rowland again made a handy contribution of two goals.


With Collingwood’s win over Richmond that afternoon, the top four was now Collingwood, Richmond, St. Kilda and Geelong, while Essendon lurked just outside with an inferior percentage to the Cats.





Geelong                      3.2 (20)          7.6 (48)          8.8 (56)          14.11 (95)

St. Kilda                      2.3 (15)          4.6 (30)          8.11 (59)       10.12 (72)


Goals: Geelong – Wade 8, Goggin 2, Brown, Marshall, Newman, Sharrock

St. Kilda – Baldock 4, Cooper 2, Neale 2, Rowland 2


Best: Geelong – Marshall (best on ground), Sharrock, Wade, Newman, Goggin, Polinelli, Closter

St. Kilda – Mynott, Cooper, Baldock, Morrow, Rowland, Griffiths


Umpire: Fisher                      Crowd: 28 720

Reserves: Geelong 9.17 (71) defeated St. Kilda 9.12 (66)

Under 19’s: St. Kilda 17.9 (111) defeated Geelong 7.13 (55)


Bill Goggin amassed 31 disposals for the Cats, while Ian Cooper had the most impressive stats for the Saints with 17 kicks, 10 marks, 5 handballs and two goals.


Around the grounds


At Windy Hill – Essendon 18.7 (115) defeated Carlton 10.13 (73)

At the MCG – Collingwood 16.9 (105) defeated Richmond 13.8 (86)

At Brunswick Street – Fitzroy 13.17 (95) defeated Footscray 13.11 (89)

At Arden Street – Hawthorn 12.11 (83) defeated North Melbourne 11.16 (81)

At the Lake Oval – South Melbourne 18.17 (125) defeated Melbourne15.19 (109)


Only 4 points separated the top five teams on the ladder after round 15. Collingwood moved back into top position after defeating Richmond in the match of the day. St. Kilda, Geelong and Essendon were equal on 11 wins (44 points) with the Saints holding the superior percentage.


Highlights of the round


Fitzroy won its only game of the 1966 season with a six point victory over Footscray in round 15. The match was the penultimate VFL game at Brunswick Street Oval with Fitzroy moving to Princes Park in 1967. The last game at the venue was in round 17 when the Lions hosted the Saints.


Essendon’s Ted Fordham had another productive afternoon kicking seven goals. Three of his kicks for goal sailed out of the ground and were lost. With the price of a new Sherrin $11 in 1966, he was becoming a ‘costly’ proposition at full forward.



Read The Age, Monday 8th August 1966, for coverage of all matches HERE.


Leading goalkickers


Fordham (Essendon) (7) 53

Robertson (South Melbourne) (6) 49

Guinane (Richmond) (4) 47

Goode (North Melbourne) (5) 44

Graham (Collingwood) (2) 43

Wade (Geelong) (8) 39

Baldock (St. Kilda) (4) 35



Country Footy


In the hills above East Gippsland results from the Omeo District Football League that day were: Omeo 20.23 (143) defeated Swifts Creek 4.9 (45) and Benambra 14.12 996) defeated Ensay 9.6 (60).


Omeo (the ‘Maroons’) won the 1966 premiership defeating Benambra (the ‘Bloods’). They were the most successful club in the league’s history with 34 premierships before merging with Benambra in 2007. The merged club adopted the nickname, the ‘Alpine Ranges’.


Ray Cross, originally from Omeo, was far from disgraced in St. Kilda’s loss to Geelong that day. Cross played eight games for St. Kilda in 1966 but suffered a knee injury late in the season and was one of the unlucky Saints who had to watch on from the grandstand on the last Saturday in September.


In Victoria’s north east, ‘bushranger country’, two country football leagues existed at that time – the Ovens and King League and the Benalla and District League.


In the Ovens and King League that day: Beechworth had a big win against Whorouly, Greta thrashed North Wangaratta, Milawa had a convincing win over Moyhu, King Valley were too good for Chiltern and Tarrawingee enjoyed a comfortable win over Bright. Greta were the 1966 premiers of the Ovens and King League.


In the Benalla and District League that day: Strathbogie defeated Glenrowan, Bonnie Doon had a close victory over Swanpool, Goorambat enjoyed a percentage boosting win over Tolmie, as did the Benalla All Blacks over Devenish, while Tatong were far too strong for Thoona. Bonnie Doon were the 1966 premiers of the Benalla and District League.


Meanwhile …


On the other side of the world, Australia’s athletes were competing in the Commonwealth Games hosted by the city of Kingston, Jamaica. They earned a healthy tally of 23 gold medals, highlighted by great performances from the swimming team, with every swimmer winning at least one individual or relay event medal, and the track and field team which won the most events.



Where were you on Grand Final day in 1966?


It is time to look back all those years and recount your memories of grand final day, 24 September 1966.


Every grand final has its stories and some survive the test of time. Some happen out on the ground, some in the stands, others transform an otherwise ordinary day into something else.


Footy Almanacker Jim Kesselschmidt started the ball rolling in his comment to my Round 10 post. A Magpie supporter, Jim was nine years old in 1966 and his family were having a picnic BBQ at Maroondah Dam. All eight listened to the broadcast of the grand final on the car radio of a friend’s new Holden Premier.


On the day the Saints came marching in I was visiting relatives in Deepdene and also listened to the radio broadcast of the match. My brother and father have another tale to tell. I will hand over to my Dad, now aged 95, to continue the story…


Keith, a life-time St. Kilda supporter invited Jim from Albury to come down for the weekend. He could get a ticket for himself but Jim would need to bring his own. Jim searched around for a week and called back “No luck up here mate, but we’ll come anyway.” It was a subdued and grumpy Keith who welcomed his visitors on grand final eve. “You’re not going to believe this, but I couldn’t get a …… ticket either. So it’s radio or nothing for all of us.” Poor Keith! His dark mood flew up a notch or three when he was told that Jim, at the last minute, had been handed two tickets by a young staffer with the blessing of her father, an MCG member. Keith’s response might not have been heard at the MCG several miles away but some of his near neighbours would have wondered what caused the shouting. His response, suitably edited, went something like this… “It beggars belief that a loyal supporter down here can’t get a grand final ticket while a non-fan from the bush can get hold of … not one … but two!”


Next day, Jim and son John, took seats at the ground, Jim in the Member’s and John in the Ladies stand. Both were very conscious of the fact that their host was suffering back at home. St. Kilda’s victory did wonders for Keith’s mood, but he didn’t forget what he considered to be a very raw deal.


Where were you on that historic day?



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





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  1. Ian Stewart was talking about Denis Marshall (maybe even this game) on Open Mike last night.

    Nice round-up again Peter. The momentum is building.

    I was four at the time of the 1966 Grand Final. We lived in Wangaratta (where KB Hill is from).I don’t remember it. We were not far off moving to Shepparton. One of my first footy memories is of the 1968 prelim final: Geelong v Essendon, which we listened to on the wireless (in its brown case) while Dad sowed the front lawn.

  2. Wally from Williamstown says

    ‘The last game at the venue was in round 17 when the Lions hosted the Saints’ – and most Saints fans will recall what happened that day!

  3. Dr Rocket says

    Thanks Peter,

    The Saints struggled to win at Kardinia Park as nearly as much as at Princess Park…

    Just wondering where Longwood were – not in the Benalla & District league?
    Only survivors now in Kyabram & District along with All Blacks & Bonnie Doon, both in Ovens & King.
    Goorambat keep getting excluded.

  4. Peter Clark says

    Longwood were in the Waranga NE Reserves comp in 1966..

  5. Valid point JTH but Stewie seemed a bit mixed up. He spoke of being @ Richmond when he lined up against Marshall. Denis Marshall last played for Geelong in 1968, Stewie commenced with Richmond in 1971. I imagine the encounter with Marshall was either this match, or the first semi final in 1968.

    Re the 1968 encounter Geelong won that match quite easily, reversing the result of the previous week @ Moorabbin. Bill Ryan took a huge mark in the first semi clambering high over a pack of players.There’s a photo of the mark, though i’ve never seen any footage of it.

    So Peter, reading your report the Lord named in the pivot was Alistair, who i’d surmise left the ground early?

    Dr Rocket is quite correct about Kardinia Park not being a particularly happy hunting ground for the Saints. However i feel i may have helped them have a quite good run there. I started barracking for Geelong in 1969. St Kilda won there in 1969, then again in 1971, 1972, 1974, then again in 1977. I won’t mention 1983 or 1988. So it wasn’t always gloom and doom for them, there.


  6. Peter Clark says

    Yes Glen it was A.Lord who was selected but did not take his place in the team -hence Marshall was placed in the centre.
    I was at the ‘68 prelim final between the Cats and the Dons as a 14 y.o. standing on beer cans in the Northern Stand trying to get a good view of the game. Two players stood out for me that day – Ken Fletcher and Denis Marshall.

  7. Dr Rocket says

    Thanks for update on Longwood, Peter.

    That’s interesting, just like Rannock in the South West league 2nds in the early 1950s.
    They really struggle in the Ky league which is a great shame.
    But footy and netball so important to their community so they soldier on.

    You’re right the ian Stewart interview Glen!
    I thought Stewart was less then forthcoming about the strife at St Kilda.
    Interesting how Allan Jeans called him up for a visit but he didn’t go to the funeral.
    And I think you’re right about Denis Marshall giving him a bath in the 1968 1st semi final.
    Marshall returned to Claremont after the 1968 season – Stewart went to Richmond in 1971.

  8. G’day Peter, you speak of only two footy leagues covering the area including, & surrounding, ‘Kelly Country’. True, the Ovens & Murray straddled both sides of the border,not just Victoria, but Wangaratta & Benalla were both pivotal locations during the outbreak; they had sides competing during the 1966 footy season.

    Dr Rocket, i’d surmise there are certain issues re Stewie that are verboten to discuss. Growing up during the time of his career there were lots of stories; stories that may best be left unsaid. Re Denis Marshall, i can’t recall him or the game, only following Geelong from 1969, but the 1968 1st semi appears to be the match he alluded to.


  9. Peter Clark says

    Correct Glen, the Ovens and Murray League does range over some of ‘Kelly Country’.

    I must watch the Open Mike episode with Ian Stewart and report back.

  10. Peter Clark says

    G’day John, Dr Rocket and Glen!
    Watching the Open Mike episode, I was surprised to hear Ian Stewart say he was “scared” of certain players because he perceived them to be superior. I reckon you are right Glen, the day Denis Marshall gave him a “thrashing” must have been the’68 first semi final. Not that Stewie played that badly, but it was Marshall who dominated and delivered his kicks to perfection.

    Many Sandgropers stand out in my mind for their running ability, high skill, hardness and wonderful long kicking – Marshall, Cable, Bairstow, Matera, Glendinning, Mainwaring etc – and the new breed – Fife, Hurn, McGovern, Cripps, T. Kelly etc. They add a lot to our much loved game.

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