1981 Revisited – Round 12: ‘Under pressure’



After the bumper crowds of the split round, the second half of the season kicked off in decidedly low-key fashion, with nearly 100,000 fewer fans through the gates than the previous week. However, this was a pivotal round that strongly signalled the changing directions of the season – the teams under pressure and those applying it.


Just five days after their triumph over Collingwood, Hawthorn returned to earth with a thud at the hands of a fierce, well-drilled Carlton. Although Peter Bosustow again stole the limelight for the Blues, it was the evenness of the side and its defensive pressure that most satisfied their coach, David Parkin. Rod Austin did a number on Leigh Matthews (who was also reported for striking Bruce Doull in the opening minutes), whilst Doull, Sheldon and Harmes played similarly effective lock-down roles on Tuck, Greene and Wallace.


North Melbourne suffered a similar fate to the Hawks as Essendon’s emergence gathered momentum, the two teams swapping ladder positions just outside the Five. At a wind-affected Arden Street, normally a tough venue for visitors, the Bombers charged home with 8.9 in the final quarter, including 6.6 to 0.2 in the final 12 minutes. Their inaccurate final tally of 18.29 was the only indicator of the tricky conditions. Malcolm Blight’s defiant lone hand of seven goals was no match for Essendon’s eleven individual goal-scorers.  The video footage of Essendon’s last quarter avalanche will be enjoyable viewing for Bomber fans, particularly some trademark dashes from Tim Watson.






Footscray rolled out Mike Brady to launch a new version of their ‘Sons of the ‘Scray’ club song, and followed up with a staunch performance that almost delivered a major upset over a still lacklustre Collingwood. The Bulldogs led 9.15 to 8.8 at three-quarter time and with Hampshire starring, kept at it to the extent that the visitors were most relieved to hear the siren. Only a rapid burst of three goals to Morris, Daicos and Brewer in two and a half minutes at the start of the final quarter saved the Magpies.


At Waverley, Richmond celebrated Francis Bourke’s 300th (and final) game with a come-from-behind win over South. When John Roberts kicked his fifth goal early in the last quarter, the Tigers trailed by 22 points, but surged home with nine late goals, ensuring they would cling onto a Top Five spot for at least one more week. As if five goals in his 350th was not enough, the indefatigable Kevin Bartlett kicked six today, having been awarded an Order of Australia medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours. The move of ‘The Ghost’ Jim Jess to full-forward in the last quarter was also decisive, producing three important goals.


At Kardinia Park, the Cats surged into third position with their biggest win over the Saints for more than 30 years. Jeffreys and Mossop were the stars for the Cats, while Bruce Nankervis played his 200th game.


Fitzroy could have had a similar result at the MCG only to be thwarted by incredible inaccuarcy. Mick Conlan 2.7 and Leigh Murnane 2.5 were the key offenders in a team tally of 17.32!






Richmond 5.3 9.7 10.10 19.12 (126)
South Melbourne 5.3 6.6 12.14 16.15 (111)


Goals —
Bartlett 6, Weightman 3, Jess 3, Welsh 3, Roach 2, Wiley, Taylor.
SOUTH MELBOURNE: J. Roberts 5, Foschini 4, Wright 3, T. Morwood 2, Evans, Fraser.


Best —
Bartlett, Wiley, Welsh, Raines, Weightman, Bourke.
SOUTH MELBOURNE: Wright, T. Morwood, Foschini, Jackson, Ackerly, Taylor.


Umpires: Dargavel, Dye.


Attendance at VFL Park: 24,588.


Receipts: $48,959.





Collingwood 3.3 7.7 8.8 14.14 (98)
Footscray: 3.8 6.9 9.15 13.15 (93)


Goals —
Brewer 4, Daicos 3, Stewart 2, Morris, A. Shaw, Weideman, Allan, Williams.
FOOTSCRAY: Loveless 2, Knight 2, Edmond 2, Seery 2, Hampshire, Whitten, N. Cordy, McAllester, McKenna.


Best —
Worthington, McCormack, Byrne, Brewer, Wearmouth, Williams.
FOOTSCRAY: Hampshire, McConnell, Knight, Dunstan, Hawkins, McAllester, Seery.


Umpires: Bryant, Quinn.


Attendance at Western Oval: 20,903.


Receipts: $36,129.





Essendon 4.4 7.13 10.20 18.29 (137)
Nth. Melbourne 7.5 7.8 12.10 13.12 (90)


Goals —
Andrews 3, Schultz 3, Buhaglar 3, Hawker 2, Neagle, N. Daniher, Taubert, Carey, Madden, Watson, Bennett.
NORTH MELBOURNE: Blight 7, Spencer 2, McCann, Hodgeman, Dempsey, Reeves.


Best —
Watson, Andrews, Foulds, Neagle, S. Madden, N. Daniher.
NORTH MELBOURNE: Blight, Dempsey, Spencer, Dench, Ramsay, Tanner.


Umpires: Morgan, Robinson.

Attendance at Arden Street: 22,526.

Receipts: $41,127.





Fitzroy 5.5 9.12 12.21 17.32 (134)
Melbourne 1.6 6.7 8.10 13.12 (90)


Goals —
Rendell 6, Quinlan 3, Thornton 2, Conlan 2, Poynton 2, Murnane 2.
MELBOURNE: Jackson 5, Pinnell 2, Dullard 2, Elshaug, Smith, Hutchison, Bickford.


Best —
Smith, Murnane, Rendell, Quinlan, Thornton, Hansen.
MELBOURNE: Jackson, Elshaug, Pinnell, Crosswell, Keenan.


Umpires: Sawers, Smith.

Attendance at MCG: 17,691.

Receipts: $34,278.





Carlton 5.4 10.7 16.10 21.13 (139)
Hawthorn 2.7 7.10 10.12 14.16 (100)


Goals —
Bosustow 4, Marcou 4, Johnston 3, Ashman 3, McConville 3, McKay 2, Wells, Maylin.
HAWTHORN: Moncrieff 3, Tuck 3, Matthews 2, Robertson 2, Mace 2, Goss, Greene.


Best —
Fitzpatrick, Doull, Maclure, Ashman, Marcou, Bosustow, Austin, Glascott.
HAWTHORN: Goss, Tuck, Wallace, Robertson, Moore.


Umpires: Chapman, Sutcliffe.

Attendance at Princes Park: 27,000.

Receipts: $40,155.





Geelong 5.3 9.13 11.16 19.21 (135)
St Kilda 1.1 1.5 2.11 4.11 (35)


Goals —
Matthews 4, Bright 3, Blake 2, Turner 2, Featherby 2, Witcombe 2, Johnston, Clarke, Bruns, B. Nankervis.
ST KILDA: Roberts, Scott, Hewitt, Bennett.


Best —
Jeffreys, Bruns, Mossop, Bos, Featherby, B. Nankervis, Blake.
ST KILDA: Thomas, Durnan, Cox, Burns, Roberts, Hewitt.


Umpires: Cameron, Marcy.

Attendance at Kardinia Park: 22,154.

Receipts: $32,529.






Read The Age, Monday 15th June 1981, for coverage of all matches HERE.




W L D F A % P
CARLTON 10 2 0 1354 1046 129.4 40
COLLINGWOOD 10 2 0 1472 1167 126.1 40
GEELONG 8 4 0 1177 1007 116.9 32
HAWTHORN 8 4 0 1348 1163 115.9 32
RICHMOND 8 4 0 1370 1332 102.9 32
Essendon 7 5 0 1235 1050 117.6 28
North Melbourne 6 6 0 1447 1189 121.7 24
Fitzroy 6 6 0 1440 1365 105.5 24
South Melbourne 4 8 0 1198 1441 83.1 16
St Kilda 3 9 0 1152 1384 83.2 12
Footscray 1 11 0 1036 1503 68.9 4
Melbourne 1 11 0 1041 1623 64.1 4



To read Sam Steele’s coverage of Rounds 1-11 of 1981, click HERE.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE


About Sam Steele

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


  1. I remember going to the round 22 game of North Melbourne versus South Melbourne at the Lake Oval, not realising it would be the last time they played as South Melbourne and relocated to Sydney.

  2. Stainless says

    Hi Paubai
    I’ll get to the decision to relocate South Melbourne in the coming weeks. It happened quickly. Like you I attended the Richmond South game in this round without knowing it would be the last time I saw “South Melbourne” play.
    Thanks for your interest.

  3. The first quarter of the North Melbourne V Essendon had a higher total score than the R2 Richmond V Collingwood match this season.

    Graeme Schultz with three for Essendon was their equal leading goal kicker. He had a few stints @ Windy Hill spending time in Western Australia. A handy goal kicking rover, small forward.

    A few blokes playing for their second clubs kicked four. Silvio Foschini, Ross Brewer, Kelvin Matthews: were they better players at their second, or first club?

    Stainless, i’m trying to remember/recall a Fraser for South Melbourne. As the team has not existed since 1981 my poor, old brain needs some prompting.


  4. Stainless says

    Hi Glen
    Mark Fraser – 20 games between 1979 and 1981. Wore numbers 44 and 29. You’ll need to ask South tragics for mor detail on what sort of player he was.
    Graeme Schultz will figure more prominently next week!
    Surely all three of those guys were better at their second clubs? Brewer wasn’t as good at his third (Richmond)!
    And yes the scoring rates are mind-boggling. 18.29? 17.32? Where are the defenders?!

  5. Ta Stainless.

    I forgot Ross Brewer went to Richmond for a season. I always reckoned his best footy was with the Dee’s. Like his father he played in a Pies side that couldn’t salute on the big day.

    Graeme Schultz started in 1971, down from the bombers recruiting zone in the Wimmera. I always rated him as a goal kicking rover/small forward.

    Mark Fraser: my old memory is going. I’ll have to check AFL tables, also Gigz site.


Leave a Comment