1980 A Personal Footy Almanac – Round 7, Saturday 10 May, v Footscray, Western Oval

As we take our places behind the goals at the Barkly St end, the Richmond larrikins are in full voice. Mark Jackson, all jutting jaw and bleach-blond hair, is giving his Footscray reserves opponents a touch-up and the fans are loving it.

Yes – that indi-bloody-vidual Mark Jackson! Melbourne, Geelong and St Kilda fans might claim greater ownership rights over Jacko’s antics, but he first became a cult hero at Tigerland and I reckon this was the day it began. The crowd is sparse and the players are at close range and, knowing Jacko’s predilections, you can imagine it was a pretty interactive barracking session. No need for pre-match announcers urging us to “make some noise” in those days!

Getting to the Western Oval has been a big test for a group of closeted kids from the eastern suburbs.

Into Flinders Street and out again on the St Albans line, with the careful advice ringing in our ears about not getting off at Footscray Station, but waiting until the train reached West Footscray. It’s pretty obvious once we get there. The station is right next to the ground.
The Western Oval, long, narrow, windswept and utterly bereft of even the thread of glamour brought by the recent statue of Ted Whitten and the renaming of the ground in his honour, had a reputation for bringing good sides undone. Once again, we were not taking anything for granted.

By Round 7, my regular footy gang had formed. Two schoolmates, Cam and Anil, and Anil’s neighbour, Scott.

Cam and I have made the long trip out to West Footscray station together and to celebrate our achievement we decide to buy Richmond scarves at the ground. I’m particularly proud of my efforts here – Cam had been a lifelong Melbourne supporter until a few weeks ago!

Full Forwards Galore
Jacko couldn’t have chosen a worse year to make his mark in the Richmond reserves. Despite kicking over 130 goals, he couldn’t get a sniff of senior action with Michael Roach bagging 112 goals for the season.

As if that wasn’t enough, another handy young forward by the name of Brian Taylor was also doing the hard yards in the twos, cracking just one senior game in 1980. And in the Under 19s, a kid called Peter Lane booted 110 in the Tiger Cubs’ Premiership season.

Unfortunately, Richmond didn’t capitalise on this surfeit of riches. Jacko was out the door to Melbourne at the end of the year. Lane never made it into senior ranks. Taylor took over full forward in 1982 and was on target for a century of goals until a mid-season knee injury sidelined him for six weeks. Although he was fit again by season’s end, Taylor wasn’t selected in our Grand Final team that year. Despite this disappointment, he stuck around for a few more years before moving to Collingwood where he fulfilled his potential with a 100-goal season in 1986. Attempts to make a two-pronged attack of Roach and Taylor never really worked and neither player was versatile enough to hold down a position further up the ground.

On a still grey day, only a Tiger supporter could have enjoyed the main event. For all their home ground advantage, Footscray’s a rabble today.  In a repeat of our Anzac Day massacre, Richmond boots 27 goals against the Bulldogs, coached by our erstwhile favourite son, Royce Hart.

By the last quarter, interest centres on how many goals Michael Roach will kick. Kicking to our end and playing on a youthful Neil Cordy, Roach bags five for the term to finish with a career-high 11 for the game.

For two teenage boys near us, the added interest from this procession of goals is the opportunity to “acquire” one of the Sherrins that are lobbing in on us at regular intervals. Eventually, they manage to grab one, shove it in a bag and stand around nonchalantly, hoping they’d get to the end of the game undetected. Alas for them, the local constabulary, alert to the disappearance of the ball, wander casually through the crowd, giving each and every bag a careful kick until they find what they were looking for. The lads are led away and from then on, are known to us as the “football stealers”.

As the game ends in semi-darkness, excited chatter breaks through the Richmond ranks. Carlton, beaten last week for the first time, has lost again today. Two points down to Hawthorn at three-quarter time, the Blues kicked one goal and 14 behinds in the last quarter to the Hawks 3.2, to lose by that same two point margin. We’re top of the ladder!

The Wrap
Footscray 1.2 3.6 6.7 10.10 (70)
Richmond 3.1 9.10 17.12 27.18 (180)

Foots: Morrison 3, Seery, Templeton 2, Atkinson, Davidson, Whitten
Rich: Roach 11, Bartlett 4, Monteath, Raines Sarah, Weightman, Wiley 2, Cloke, Keane

Major Stats
Every Richmond player achieved double figure possession tallies today, except for our interchange players, Paul Sarah and Greg Strachan, and even then, Sarah bagged two goals from his only two kicks.

In an otherwise remarkably even team performance, Lee’s 49 hitouts and Roach’s 16 marks were the standout statistics, alongside “Disco’s” 11 goals. This was a personal best for Roach, which he equalled five years later against Hawthorn in a remarkable match that the Tigers won, 29 goals to 21.

Slim pickings for the hapless Bulldogs with Geoff Jennings and Ian Dunstan leading the possession tally, along with VFL journeyman, Gary “Crazyhorse” Cowton. Neil Cordy, Roach’s opponent, had a forgettable day, but was early on in a career that rose considerably higher over the years.

Other notable names in the Dogs’ lineup this day included Jim Edmond, Robert Groenewegen, Terry Wheeler and Ted Whitten Jnr. Kelvin Templeton was held to just two goals for the day but still posed an aerial threat with eight marks.

16,471 at Western Oval

In other games…
Melbourne 10.12 (72) v North Melbourne 24.15 (159) at VFL Park
South Melbourne 17.13 (115) v Collingwood 13.12 (90) at Lake Oval
St Kilda 12.20 (92) v Fitzroy 18.23 (131) at Moorabbin Oval
Essendon 13.15 (93) v Geelong 16.11 (107) at Windy Hill
Carlton 14.27 (111) v Hawthorn 16.17 (113) at Princes Park

Yes, Carlton lost again – in the remarkable circumstances outlined above. Remarkably, their one goal of the quarter came from Wayne Johnston on the boundary on his wrong side right on the siren! This put the Tigers half a game ahead of the Blues – the first time we’d topped the table since 1974.

Melbourne’s early form continued to unravel, this week with a big loss at the hands of North Melbourne at Waverley. The result put North into second spot ahead of the Blues.

The milestone game of the round was at Moorabbin where John Rantall broke Kevin Murray’s VFL games record with 334 games for South Melbourne, North Melbourne and, today, Fitzroy. The Lions celebrated the achievement with a slogging win and Rantall retired a couple of weeks later with 336 games – a short-lived record, as we shall see!

Elsewhere, South Melbourne’s improved standing gained a further boost with a solid home win over Collingwood, and Essendon continued to play well without success, this week going down to visiting Geelong.

The Ladder
Team                 W   L    D             PF       PA       %       Points
Richmond          5   1     1             932     643    144.9     22
Nth Melb            5   2     0            828     570     145.3    20
Carlton               5   2     0            811      691     117.4    20
Hawthorn          5   2     0            769      713     107.9   20
Sth Melb             5   2     0            750       715    104.9   20
Geelong                4   3      0            692        629     110.0    16
Essendon              3   4      0            722        689     104.8    12
Collingwood         3   4      0            662        718       92.2     12
Melbourne            3   4      0            734       847       86.7     12
Fitzroy                  2   5      0             745       890       83.7      8
St Kilda                 1    5      1             651       867        75.1      6
Footscray             0    7     0             638        962        66.3     0

(Next week – Round 8)

About Sam Steele

50 years a Richmond supporter. Enjoying a bounteous time after 37 years of drought. Should've been a farmer!


  1. DBalassone says

    Great stuff again Stainless. These 1980 flashbacks are the highlight of my week.

    Re “football stealers” one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen on a footy field occurred at Victoria Park in 1989 in a game b/w Collingwood and Sydney. The Pies kicked a behind at the outer end and a kid in front of me grabbed the Sherrin and put it in his bag. Merv Neagle was taking the kick out and was demanding the ball back from the crowd. But the kid wouldn’t budge. After asking a few times, Neagle had had enough and jumped the fence, snatched the kid’s bag & pulled out the sherrin, tossed the bag away, and then jumped back onto the field to take the kick out. The crowd was speechless. You would have thought it was a Dimboola 2s game.

  2. Love it again Stainless. Agree with DBalasone- a highlight of the week. Great bit on Jacko-must’ve been some show.
    What a glut of full forwards we had!

    I’m also an eastern suburbs boy who grew up with warnings in regards to Footscray, where i’ve now lived the past 5 years…drop kick from the Western Oval.

    As an aside-as Williamstowns ground will not quite be ready in time, the upcoming Willy v Coburg match has been moved there, being Footscray and Richmond’s VFL alignments. I’m sure there’ll be no antics such as the Jacko show, but may interest a few to get along and reminis.

  3. Reminisce even. Be reminiscent. Ah…have a think back

  4. Mic Rees says

    Superb Sam. Really enjoying your weekly look at season1980.

    One correction – Footscray were a rabble during the entire Royce Hart era – not just that day. The previous season Van Morrison kept Roach kickless (4 h’balls) so it wasn’t surprising that the genius played him up the other end of the ground.

    John – Hope it’s a nice day when the VFL returns to the Western Oval. I’d hate to see the Willy boys subjected to the horrendous conditions they faced last weekend – poor darlings.


  5. DBalassone says

    Sam, correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t there another reserves and/or under-19 centurian full-forward at Richmond in the early 80s – Brian Winton?

  6. Stainless says

    Brian Winton came a couple of years later I think. Not sure if he topped the ton or not.

    Another one who did get 100 goals in the Under 19s was Stephen James in 1984, playing as a ruck-rover/half-forward flank if you don’t mind. He played a few senior games for Richmond in the next couple of years and memorably bagged five goals at Waverley in a big win over Collingwood. He briefly looked like the “next big thing”.

  7. Great stuff, Stainless.

    If memory serves me correct: when he first started, Neil Cordy
    was as skinny as his nephew Ayce. Hardly fair that he was
    matched up on M Roach. But then again, Footscray were indeed
    a rabble around that time.

    Whatever happened to P Lane ?

  8. Stainless says

    I distinctly remember the huge difference in height and bulk between M.Roach and N.Cordy on that day. He was a pretty skinny kid at the time.

    I don’t know about P.Lane. I think he was briefly on the senior list in 1981 but I’m not sure where he went after he was dropped off the list. Any Tiger tragics know?

  9. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Super stuff Stainless,

    I’m just trying to imagine Roach, BT and Jacko in the same forward line. Might not be pretty but it would sure be entertaining. Characters like this are needed in the game more than ever.

  10. Stainless says


    If there’s one point I’m trying to get across in this series, it’s about the character and characters that the game had back then. It’s hard to imagine Jacko getting a game these days!

  11. Skip of Skipton says

    I love the trepidation of your first visit to Victoria Park and now the Western Oval. I take it you didn’t pop into the Rising Sun for a few pots?

  12. Stainless says

    Hi Skip
    Er…no. However, the issue of under-age drinking may appear in a future episode!

  13. I reckon the Round 7 ladder really highlights what a phenomenal effort it was for the ‘Pies to make the Grand Final and that the end result was hardly surprising. An example of a season where you’re better off for the players and the supporters’ sanity not to make the big one.

  14. Skip of Skipton says

    I concur there Jeff.

    Geelong in ’94 (fourth) were in a similar boat to Collingwood in 1980. The dinky little floater that Leigh Tudor put over Mick Martyn’s head and straight into the hands of Himself; whilst a magic moment, was actually a curse.

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