1981 Revisited – Round 10: ‘Master Blaster’


This excerpt from Channel 7’s Grandstand from this round makes for interesting ’round the grounds’ viewing.




Check out the delightful shot starting with an elderly woman playing croquet at the club at the back of Windy Hill, before the camera pans across the packed terraces inside the ground (7 mins 25). It says so much about the state of the game back in 1981.


If the VFL wanted to prove a point about the need for ground rationalisation, its self-imposed schedule for Round 10 gave them plenty of ammunition. The ‘Big 4’ of Carlton, Essendon, Collingwood and Richmond found themselves drawn against each other on this wintry afternoon. Crowds of 31,000 at Windy Hill and 37,000 at Victoria Park shoe-horned themselves into the cramped venues, with many more locked out. Meanwhile, the MCG’s original tenant, Melbourne, played its home game against North Melbourne in front of a meagre turnout of 17,000 at VFL Park. Bizarrely, the ‘G’ lay vacant on this day.


Interestingly, the same footage from Grandstand mentions that at the Fitzroy-Footscray game a questionnaire is being distributed to fans about their attitudes to Sunday football (5 mins 55).


The final vignette from this video is the sight of the football standing on its end in the Victoria Park gluepot (1.30), awaiting hostilities to commence. Although it wasn’t a wet day, the May rains had been tumbling and heavy grounds would now be commonplace over the rest of the season. Whatever your view about poor conditions impacting on skill levels, there’s no doubt that on this day, they had no effect on the poise, balance and artistry of Peter Daicos. From my vantage point behind the Yarra Falls goals, I sullenly watched as he single-handedly took Richmond apart. His personal tally of 9.2 was a single point shy of the Tigers’ team score on the day. If his season to date hadn’t already cemented Daicos’s place as a superstar of the game, then this day did. The brief highlights of the game scarcely do justice to his performance, but there are a couple of memorable goals for black-and-white diehards to savour. For Richmond, the only consolation was a defiant performance from a young Brian Taylor who grabbed the opportunity presented by David Cloke’s injury after a string of outstanding performances in the Reserves. Three goals represented a pretty good return on such a dirty day.



Collingwood’s satisfaction with their thumping win was magnified by their return to the top of the ladder, courtesy of Essendon’s convincing victory over Carlton. In the Windy Hill bog, Carlton could manage just one goal after half time. The Bombers, by contrast, had now knocked off the two top sides in the last three weeks and were suddenly the big talking point of the competition. This match was also to mark the beginning of an extraordinary five-year sequence of wins by Sheedy’s team over David Parkin’s.




Elsewhere, North Melbourne amassed its best winning margin over any team in its massacre of Melbourne at Waverley. Remarkably, on a day when most sides struggled to kick goals, Kerry Good matched Daicos’s stellar individual effort of nine.


Another noteworthy goalkicking performance came at the Junction Oval where Harvey Merrigan kicked five for the Lions in their big win over Footscray. Merrigan was best known as through the 70s as Fitzroy’s stalwart full-back, but after a lengthy stint of injuries that prompted a temporary retirement, he returned, reinvented as a forward.



Both Geelong and Hawthorn skipped away late in their games after looking very vulnerable all day. Geelong trailed by as much as six goals late in the second stanza, and still trailed early in the final term, but their late revival enabled them to displace Richmond in the Five.






North Melbourne 6.5 11.11 17.15 25.22 (172)

Melbourne 3.3 5.5 6.7 6.7 (43)


Goals –

NORTH MELBOURNE: Good 9, Spencer, Kelly, Blight 3, Jonas 2, Schimmelbusch, D. Law, Wright, Dugdale.

MELBOURNE: Jackson 3, Gordon, Zantuck, Elshaug.


Best —

NORTH MELBOURNE: Spencer, Kelly, Wright, Good, McCann, Dempsey.

MELBOURNE: Gaunt, Healey, Fowler, Giles, O’Donnell.


Umpires: Dargavel, Nash.


Attendance at VFL Park: 17,015.


Receipts: $35,432.




Fitzroy: 1.2 4.9 11.13 22.15 (147)

Footscray: 5.3 7.4 9.7 10.10 (70)


Goals —

FITZROY: Merrigan 5, Quinlan 4, Murnane, Poynton 3, McMahon, Harris 2, Lewis, Parish, Wilson.

FOOTSCRAY: Dunstan 3, Egan, Bradmore, McKenna 2, Sait.


Best —

FITZROY: Lawrie, Conlan, Murnane, Quinlan, Harris, Wilson, Merrigan.

FOOTSCRAY: McConnell, Davidson, Hawkins, B. Reid, McKenna.


Umpires: Marcy, Robinson.


Attendance at Junction Oval: 11,630.


Receipts: $18,379.




Collingwood 4.3 8.5 13.9 17.10 (112)

Richmond 1.1 3.3 5.5 8.9(57)


Goals —

COLLINGWOOD: Daicos 9, Davis 4, Brewer 3, Williams.

RICHMOND: Taylor 3, Bartlett, Welsh 2, Roach.


Best —

COLLINGWOOD: Daicos, Picken, Taylor, Hannebery, McGormack, Davis, Williams.

RICHMOND: Raines, Wall, Lee, Weightman, Tempany.


Umpires: Deller, Smith.


Attendance at Victoria Park: 37,177.


Receipts: $57,815.




Hawthorn 2.4 5.8 8.13 13.17 (95)

St. Kilda 2.3 7.8 9.11 11.14 (80)


Goals —

HAWTHORN: Matthews 4, Moncrieff 2, Goss, G. Ablett, Davies, Wallace, Tuck, Goad, Kennedy.

ST KILDA: M. Scott 4, Faletic 2, Roberts, Herbert, Meehan, Bennett, Gorozidis.


Best —

HAWTHORN: Matthews, Wallace, Robertson, Goad, Polkinghorne.

ST KILDA: Barker, Burns, Breen, Kellett, M. Scott.


Umpires: Morgan, Sawers.


Attendance at Princes Park: 14,961.


Receipts: $24,830.




Geelong 1.3 3.6 8.7 14.8(92)

South Melbourne 4.3 7.5 9.8 10.10 (70)


Goals —

GEELONG: Matthews 4, Clarke 2, Bright, Sidebottom, Reynoldson, Witcombe, Bruns, Hawkins, B. Nankervis, Neal.

SOUTH MELBOURNE: Foschini 3, Roberts 2, Smith, W.Carroll, Teasdale, Round, Wright.


Best —

GEELONG: Mossop, Matthews, Malarkey, Featherby, Bruns, B. Nankervis.

SOUTH MELBOURNE: Smith, Teasdale, Foschini, Wright, Jackson, Round.


Umpires: Bryant, Quinn.


Attendance at Kardinia Park: 19,760.


Receipts: $28,099.



Essendon 3.4 4.5 7.7 11.13 (79)

Carlton 2.2 5.3 5.6 6.8 (44)


Goals —

ESSENDON: Buhagiar 3, Van Der Haar, Fowler 2, Reid, Stoneham, Schultz, Madden.

CARLTON: McConville 2, Bosustow, Armstrong, Marcou, Maclure.


Best —

ESSENDON: Reid, Neagle, Buhagiar, Andrews, Foulds, Carey.

CARLTON: Hunter, Perovic, English, Ashman, Klomp.


Umpires: Dye, Cameron.

Attendance at Windy Hill: 30,574.


Receipts: $54,993.








W L D F A % P
COLLINGWOOD 9 1 0 1293 947 136.5 36
CARLTON 8 2 0 1100 862 127.6 32
HAWTHORN 7 3 0 1121 943 118.9 28
NORTH MELBOURNE 6 4 0 1273 937 135.9 24
GEELONG 6 4 0 925 890 103.9 24
Richmond 6 4 0 1108 1127 98.3 24
Essendon 5 5 0 990 880 112.5 20
Fitzroy 5 5 0 1247 1176 106.0 20
South Melbourne 4 6 0 1007 1207 83.4 16
St Kilda 2 8 0 1018 1190 85.5 8
Footscray 1 9 0 861 1288 66.8 4
Melbourne 1 9 0 857 1353 63.3 4



Read The Age, Monday 1st June 1981, for coverage of all matches HERE.


To read further stories from ‘1981 Revisited….’ click HERE


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About Sam Steele

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


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Thanks Stainless, just love watching these old TV replays!

  2. Stainless says

    Thanks Colin – the old footage of Windy Hill and the Bombers in their red shorts must trigger some memories!

  3. That would have been Harvey Merrigan’s best day in front of goal. A very good full back, whose job was saving goals not kicking goals

    I’d probably say ditto with Kelvin Matthews snaring that 4 for Geelong. In the same game you have Greg Smith listed as best for South Melbourne. I recall having a few frothies @ Ardlethan bowling club a few years back, seeing a photo of Greg Smith prominent on the wall.

    You may wonder where Ardlethan is ?


  4. dan hoban says

    Ardlethan? Isnt that the Home of the Kelpie. Near Daniher Country? Quades came from that way too
    Great reporting Stainless. The big scores, the likes of Con Coriizidis, the gluepot at Victoria Park.

  5. Correct Dan, Ardlethan is one of the two small bush towns claiming to be the home of the Kelpie.

    It’s between Wagga and West Wyalong.

    The Quades are from Ariah Park, not a country mile away.


  6. Yes. Its like the Chiko Roll birthplace. Some debate where it originated from. I recall stopping at Ariah Park one day and looking up at the silo that Billy Brownless apparently kicked over…a decent roost. I think it put the town on the map for a while. Thats, assumIng i have the right town.

  7. Dan, i thought it was at Jerilderie where Billy cleared the silo’s.

    Casterton, down in SW Victoria stakes a claim for the birthplace of the kelpie.


  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Stainless, please tell me more about Satdy arvo TV. Did they only go around the grounds to the games that were being replayed that night? What did they fill the time between breaks with? Race results, previews of the Penthouse Club? Did the magoos ever get a run? (Didn’t the Commodore Cup get a regular airing?)

  9. Actually Dan , the more i think about the location of the silo episode i reckon it was Mirrool , between Griffith and West Wyalong.


  10. Stainless says

    Thanks all.
    Glen – K. Matthews and G. Smith seem to be turning up pretty frequently as prominent players for their respective sides. H. Merrigan was a surprise to me. The Footy Record actually ran a story on this very day about his comeback and switching to the forward line, so this performance was good timing.
    Dan – thanks for your comments. Most of this is personal recollection, but it does help to have the stats and a few YouTube highlights to fill it out. I hope I’m capturing the “vibe” of that era.
    Swish – I don’t recall any television coverage of the VFL in Melbourne on Saturday arvo as there was a strict embargo on any broadcast against the gate. Channel 7 would broadcast the match of the round live to country/interstate audiences. The “Around the Grounds” excerpt above looks like it’s the pre-game and quarter time interludes from that coverage where they checked in with other games they were covering. They typically covered three of the six games per round. Melburnians had to wait for the Big Replay on Saturday evening showing extended highlights of these. The other games did have a single camera coverage, and this footage was used on “World of Sport” on Sunday morning to show very brief highlights. The ABC also covered the VFL back then (again 2-3 games per round, but not always the same ones as Channel 7). They had a 6pm panel show followed by a replay of a quarter from the match of the round. “The Winners” was their highlights show, usually shown late on Saturday night. The Magoos got a run on Sunday arvos on Channel 7 with a feature match played at the Lake Oval (and Moorabbin briefly I think). From 1982 this alternated with telecasts of Sydney Swans home games from the SCG.
    Sorry folks, I can’t help with the silo recollections, except to note that Billy Brownless came from Jerilderie. Not sure if his legendary feat was at his “home” silo? Mirrool isn’t far from Jerilderie.

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