1981 Revisited – Round 16: ‘Some Days are Diamonds’

In these days of paralysis by analysis, what a joy to stumble across this treasure from the late, great Jack Dyer on World of Sport. The inimitable Dyer summed up the admittedly lop-sided game between Essendon and Footscray with refreshing brevity and clarity, reminding us that footy is indeed a simple game.



Ah, World of Sport! Was there ever a bigger misnomer for a show that revolved almost entirely around the VFL, save for a recap on the day’s racing and a couple of token segments like the in-studio woodchopping and cycling? Was there a better example of the simple certainties of life 40 years ago than the three-hour, live-to-air version of every Pleasant Sunday Morning (strictly men only) that regularly played out at footy clubs across the country?


Take this example of the ‘Club Corner’ segment in which the genial Bobby Davis interviews opposing coaches from the South Melbourne – St Kilda game, Ian Stewart and Alex Jesaulenko. It’s an archetypal mix of semi-serious dissection of the game, bookended by the larrikin jollity of Lou Richards, with plenty of off-camera muttering and chuckles throughout. You can almost picture the beer keg lurking at the back of the studio, its level lowering steadily as the morning unfolds.




Or this halting, stuttering summary of the Melbourne/Geelong game by Doug Wade, in which we hear about Peter Featherby’s extraordinary 48-possession game, the revelation that bottom-placed Melbourne has “a long way to go”, but precious little insight otherwise. Maybe it was better that way. Yes, it jars when Wade describes Geelong’s win as the easiest he’s seen since he used to beat his sister “and she couldn’t mark”. But do we really gain much more from War Rooms, trackers and behind-the-goal views that somehow transform the errant bounce of the ball into some type of strategic masterstroke or blunder?




For once during the miserable winter of ’81, bright sunshine greeted the players in Round 16. Match of the round was unquestionably the top-of-the-ladder battle at Victoria Park. Coming off their Escort Cup Grand Final loss the previous Tuesday, Carlton performed remarkably well, controlling long periods of the match, admirably led by their veterans, Bruce Doull in his 250th game and David McKay who booted four goals. However, Collingwood had the Blues reeling with a sensational burst of six goals in nine minutes straight after half-time. It turned out to be the match-winning run. Carlton showed no weariness from their mid-week exertions, finishing strongly, but ultimately they fell one point short in a thrilling finish. While the result appeared to hand the Minor Premiership to the Magpies, Carlton took plenty of heart from running them so close in such challenging circumstances. The highlights here are all from Carlton, perhaps justifiably.




The other big result of the round was Richmond’s big win over Hawthorn at Princes Park. Encountering his first dry ground in weeks, Michael Roach grabbed his opportunity (and 11 marks) to kick nine goals as the Tigers ran away with the game after an even first half. The result left Hawthorn in the Five only on percentage with the Tigers at last starting to show some ominous form.


Creeping stealthily up behind both, however, was Fitzroy. Another solid win, this time against the woefully out-of-form North Melbourne, kept the Lions well in touch. Bernie Quinlan was best afield with a five-goal performance.




On the Tuesday following the round, Malcolm Blight resigned his coaching commission as the ‘Roos slumped to their worst losing streak since 1972. North announced Barry Cable’s appointment as his replacement. The last of the playing coaches was gone.


The other games were predictably one-sided. Essendon took its winning sequence to 13, including night matches, and now looked the biggest threat for the flag. Their win over Footscray was their biggest ever against the Dogs, as was Geelong’s against the hapless Melbourne. With straight kicking, it could have been a far bigger thrashing The dominant Featherby was one of the Cats’ worst offenders, kicking 4.7 from his 40 kicks. And in what would be South Melbourne’s last win at the Lake Oval, they gave a high quality performance against a St Kilda side that led 10.0 to 3.0 early on, before Teasdale took control in attack for the Swans who then steadily took their visitors apart.





FItzroy 3.2 5.7 10.8 18.13 (121)
North Melb. 2.2 2.6 6.11 12.15 (87)

Goals —
Quinlan 5, Poynton 3, Wilson 3, Thornton, Conlan, Carlson, McMahon, Lewis, Parish.
NORTH MELBOURNE: Blight 4, W. Schimmelbusch 2,Glendinning, Briedis, Good, Hodgeman, Smith, Jarrott.

Best —
Quinlan, Lawrie, Alexander,Wilson, Carlson, Francis.
NORTH MELBOURNE: Dench, W. Schimmelbusch, Byrne, Blight, Henshaw.

Umpires: Cameron, Fellows.

Attendance at VFL Park: 17,713.

Receipts: $36,274.



Richmond 2.2 6.5 12.7 20.11 (131)
Hawthorn 1.6 5.9 9.10 12.14 (86)

Goals —
Roach 9. Sarah 4, Smith, Weightman, Bartlett, Jess, Wiley, Lee, Rowlings.
HAWTHORN: Murnane 2, Moncrieff 2, Tuck 2, Dipierdomenico 2, Greene, Wallace, Goad, Ablett.

Best —
Roach, Wiley, Strachan, Raines, Mount, Nugent.
HAWTHORN: Ablett, Russo, Tuck, Wallace, Davies, Dipierdomenico.

Umpires: Dye, Smith.

Attendance at Princes Park: 19,519.

Receipts: $32,040.



Geelong 5.6 10.16 16.26 22.35 (167)
Melbourne 1.2 2.5 7.5 12.7 (79)

Goals —
GEELONG: Bright 5, Featherby 4,Witcombe 4, Mossop 3, Johnston, I. Nankervis, Floyd, K. Matthews, Peake, Neal, Reynoldson.
MELBOURNE: Jackson 3, Crosswell 2, Healy 2, Elshaug 2, O’Donnell 2, Moir.

Best —
Featherby, Bright, Witcombe, Mossop, B. Nankervis, Reynoldson, Bruns.
MELBOURNE: Healy, Fowler, Flower. Elshaug, Smith, Jackson.

Umpires: Bryant, Dargavel.

Attendance at MCG: 21,947.

Receipts: $45,695.



Essendon 5.1 10.10 15.15 22.21 (153)
Footscray 3.8 4.9 6.12 8.12 (60)

Goals —
Schultz 5, Van Der Haar 4, Fowler 4, T. Danlher 2, N. Daniher 2, S. Madden 2, Neagle, Foulds, Reid.
FOOTSCRAY: Hawkins 2, Edmond 2, B. Cordy, Loveless, Dunstan.

Best —
Foulds, Neagle, Hawker, T. Danlher, N. Daniher, Schultz, Van Der Haar, S. Madden.
FOOTSCRAY: Whitten, Dunstan, Hampshire, N. Cordy, Edmond, McAllester.

Umpires: Marcy, Nash.

Attendance at Windy Hill: 21,588.

Receipts: $30,242.



South Melbourne 3.0 8.6 15.11 22.19 (151)
St. Kilda 9.0 11.2 15.3 16.4 (100)

Goals —
Foschini 4 S. Morwood 4, Browning 3, Teasdale 3 Hounsell 2, Wright 2, Evans, P. Morwood Round, Roberts.
ST KILDA: Gorozidis 4 Roberts 3, Duperouzel 2, Hewitt 2, Middlemiss, Dunne, Mildenhall, Thomas, Faletic.

Best —
SOUTH MELBOURNE: Round, Teasdale, Foschini, Browning, Smith, Wright Evans.
ST KILDA: Roberts, Gorozidis Thomas, Elphinstone, Hewitt, Mildenhall Barker.

Umpires: Carbines, Morgan.

Attendance at Lake Oval: 13,297.

Receipts: $23,464.



Collingwood 0.4 2.7 9.9 11.11 (77)
Carlton 3.3 5.9 6.11 10.16(76)

Goals –
Davis 4, Daicos 3, Weideman 2, A. Shaw, Taylor.
CARLTON: McKay 4, Ashman 2, Fitzpatrick, Bosustow, Johnston, Howell.

Best —
Williams, McCormack, Taylor, Byrne, Weideman, A. Shaw, Moore.
CARLTON: Hunter, Doull, McKay, Fitzpatrick, English, Howell.

Umpires: Sutcliffe, Robinson.

Attendance at Victoria Park: 30,708.

Receipts: $43,450.





Read The Age, Monday 20th July 1981, for coverage of all matches HERE.




W L D F A % P
COLLINGWOOD 14 2 0 1851 1448 127.8 56
CARLTON 12 4 0 1701 1323 128.6 48
GEELONG 11 5 0 1664 1280 130.0 44
ESSENDON 11 5 0 1713 1394 122.9 40
HAWTHORN 10 6 0 1820 1606 113.3 40
Richmond 10 6 0 1792 1700 105.4 40
Fitzroy 9 7 0 1846 1708 108.1 36
North Melbourne 6 10 0 1751 1744 100.4 24
South Melbourne 6 10 0 1639 1823 89.9 24
St Kilda 4 12 0 1485 1768 84.0 16
Footscray 2 14 0 1306 1979 66.0 8
Melbourne 1 15 0 1335 2130 62.7 4



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

    WOS certainly was a must watch on a Sunday morning. Graham Schultz 5 goals for the Bombers. Great talent but again not fulfilled.

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