Geelong’s Record Run – Round 14, 1952: Footscray v Geelong – Menacing Dogs chase Cats




Featuring Bruce Morrison and Arthur Edwards


Round 14 1952   

Footscray v Geelong

Western Oval

26th July 1952


Fresh from an upset win at Windy Hill, Footscray were “back as a football force” and “could cause quite a few upsets before the season concludes”. Geelong “have often experienced trouble at West Footscray, and it could be that they run into some bother again” (Football Record No. 14, 1952).


Geelong selectors named Victorian centre half forward Fred Flanagan on the half forward flank, allowing Bill McMaster to remain in the key forward position where they believed he was best suited. Bruce Morrison returned to full back while Ron Hovey moved into the back pocket position replacing the injured Bernie Smith. Geelong’s versatility made for ready flexibility at the selection table again.


The teams



B. Donald Henderson King
HB. Abbey Collins Martin
C. Wearmouth Ross Barrett
HF. Kent Whitten Harper
F. Gilmore Duffy Phillips
Foll. Bryden Scanlan
Rov. Rogers
Res. Gallager A. Edwards






B. Hovey Morrison Morrow
HB. Middlemiss Hyde Williams
C. Worner Palmer Reed
HF. Flanagan McMaster Davis
F. Pianto Goninon Herbert
Foll. Swarbrick Renfrey
Rov. Trezise
Res. Rayson S. Smith



Footscray jumped straight out of the blocks and had two goals on the scoreboard, courtesy of Phillips and Scanlan, before Goninon for the Cats raised both flags. Attacking with the breeze in the second term Geelong sprung to life, and with Goninon on fire in front of goals, took a handy 15 point lead into half time.


In the third quarter Scanlan and Whitten led a Bulldogs resurgence. With their ruck dominance and fast play, the Dogs were well on top and menacing the Cats at every turn. Geelong went into the three quarter time huddle with a one point lead. Gathering themselves, the Cats showed poise in the last term and with two clever goals from ‘Nipper’ Trezise appeared safe mid way through the quarter. But the Bulldogs would not retreat and staged a fighting finish in the dying minutes of the match.


The Cats walked off the Western Oval with the four premiership points but had work to do, particularly in the ruck department. Geelong’s win was largely a credit to defenders Bruce Morrison and John Hyde who turned back many dangerous Bulldog’s attacks. Once again, Neil Trezise’s brilliant roving offset the strength of Footscray’s ruckmen. Dave Bryden in particular led the way in the ruck for the Bulldogs while Don Ross was on top in the centre.




The scores



Footscray                       2.3                        3.4                        6.8                        8.9  (57)

Geelong                           1.4                        5.7                        6.9                        9.12  (66)



Goals: Geelong – Goninon 4, Trezise 3, Flanagan, Herbert

Footscray – Scanlan 3, Whitten 2, Phillips, Harper, Gilmore



Best: Geelong – Morrison, Hyde, Trezise, Flanagan, McMaster, Goninon

Footscray –Bryden, Scanlan, Ross, Harper, Whitten, Rogers



Umpire:           Blumfield                        Attendance: 22 759


Reserves         Geelong 9.11 (65) defeated Footscray 6.5 (41)



Around the grounds


At The Lake Oval, Carlton and South Melbourne staged a draw (76 pts. a piece) after the Blues made a late charge for victory.

At Brunswick Street the scores were almost as close, as Fitzroy [5.6 (36)] scored a one point win over an inaccurate Collingwood [4.11 (35)].

At Arden Street another close game saw the home side North Melbourne [7.11 (53)] end Essendon’s [7.8 (50)] slender finals hopes with a three point victory.

At Glenferrie Oval,  Richmond [14.7 (91)] had no trouble in accounting for Hawthorn [8.14 (62)].

At the MCG,  Melbourne [11.12 (78)] led all day to defeat St. Kilda [8.10 (58)].



On the ladder – The finals contenders  (* draws)


*Geelong                                      14          46          125.3
Collingwood                                14          40          147.6
**Carlton                                      14          40          115.6
Fitzroy                                          14          40          108.5
*South Melbourne                         14          38          112.2
*Melbourne                                 14          30          101.0



Leading goal kickers


  1. Coleman (Ess) 4    60
  2. Spencer (NM) 1     36
  3. Ongarello (Fitz) 1   35
  4. Goninon (Gee) 4    35



Next week:     St. Kilda v Geelong

With a features on Doug Palmer and Jack Stevens for Geelong

For the Opposition: Jack Toohey (St. Kilda)



This week’s featured Geelong player: Bruce Morrison from Bairnsdale



Bruce (‘Joey’) Morrison arrived at Geelong in 1948 fresh from winning the Gippsland League best and fairest award and a premiership with Bairnsdale the previous year.  He immediately found his straps in VFL football taking out Geelong’s best and fairest award in his debut season. An action-speaks-louder-than-words man, Morrison was a quiet presence around the club, so much so that coach Reg Hickey often asked “Where’s Morrison?” On the football field he was resolute, tireless, attacking and extremely hard to outpoint, qualities that made him one of Geelong’s all time best full backs. And he was resilient, only missing one game in Geelong’s record run of 26 undefeated games. Bruce Morrison was a 1950s version of the great Matthew Scarlett.



Bruce Morrison



In 1955 when his 130 game career in the VFL ended he returned to the Bairnsdale Football Club as playing coach. The Bairnsdale Redlegs dominated the Gippsland League in the 1950s, winning six premierships.




For the opposition: Arthur Edwards


In round 14 the Bulldogs named forward/follower Arthur Edwards as 20th man.


Recruited from Sunshine Tech., he debuted as a 17 year-old in round 18 1951 against South Melbourne. Edwards played 120 games for Footscray across ten seasons (1951-1960). Like many Bulldogs from the 1950s, the highlight of his career was playing in Footscray’s 1954 VFL premiership. He initially played as a key forward but later established himself as a follower.



Arthur Edwards



Edwards was part of a rich football family that covered four generations: his father-in-law ‘Dolly’ Aked (Footscray); his son Allan (‘Butch’) Edwards (Richmond, Collingwood, Footscray); his grandson Jake Edwards (Carlton); and his grand-nephew Shane O’Bree (Brisbane and Collingwood) all played at the elite level.


Well after his VFL career ended Arthur Edwards moved to Boundary Bend, Victoria, where he coached Mid-Murray League club Tooleybuc in 1978-79.



Country football connections


In the Gippsland League, Bruce Morrison’s former club Bairnsdale [6.14 (50)] paid for their inaccuracy against Stratford [7.9 (51)] that day in 1952.


Arthur Edwards’ future club Tooleybuc went down to Tyntynder by 60 points in a one sided Mid-Murray League game.


In the Alberton League that Saturday in 1952 two records were broken at the one venue: Woodside kicked a record high 43.24 (282); while their opponents Carrajung failed to score.



Meanwhile …


In Helsinki the Olympics were in full swing. The “Lithgow Flash”, Marjorie Jackson, won the 100 metres final (Australia’s first track title in 56 years) and followed that achievement by winning the 200 metres final.




Marjorie Jackson with her 200m Olympic gold medal (The Age, 28 July 1952)




Shirley Strickland won the gold medal in the 80 metres hurdles. Australian team standard-bearer, Mervyn Wood, won the silver medal in the single sculls final.


(See next week’s column for an update on the progress of the Australians in Helsinki.)


Egyptian ruler King Farouk abdicated following a bloodless coup d’état. Egypt was to be ruled by regency until his seven-month old son (Fuad II) reached the age of 18. In 1953 Egypt became a republic, ending his uncrowned ‘reign’.


In Chicago, Adlai Stevenson won the Democratic Party nomination for the November United States election.


And in Melbourne, adult movie-goers were treated to the Hollywood version of the Broadway classic, “A Street Car Named Desire” starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh.




Read about the earlier games in Geelong’s run, click HERE.




Peter also wrote about St. Kilda’s premiership season in his 1966 and All That series. You can read that HERE.





The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE



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About Peter Clark

is a lifetime Geelong supporter. Hailing from the Riverina, he is now entrenched on the NSW South Coast. His passion for footy was ignited by attending Ovens and Murray League matches in the 1960's with his father. After years of watching, playing and coaching, now it is time for some serious writing about his favourite subjects… footy, especially country footy, and cricket.


  1. John Butler says

    Peter, when was it ever not tough to play at the Western Oval? :)

    Some things never change.


  2. Thanks again, Peter.

  3. Thanks again Peter for the well researched, well written articles. Fitzroy V Collingwood the match of the round? I can’t recall VFL footy at the Brunswick st ground. With Tony Ongarello well held Fitzroy found goals hard to find, but a winning score of 5-6 is still a winning score. North Melbourne got some revenge for 1950 I see.

    The Edwards family certainly left a strong legacy. I’d forgotten Shane O’Bree’s links to them.

    Footballers from Tooleybuc? I thought Trevor Poole, Jimmy Jess, but no on both counts. I’m struggling to think of one.

    This is a wonderful series Peter. I hope Geelong supporters enjoy it because it’s probably the closest they’ll come to a flag in 2021. Some bookies had them pre season flag favourites. In The Age on Friday all 14 tipsters selected them. Happy to be proven wrong, but it brings back memories of my Geelong days.

    On a more positive note look forward to next weeks article on win 7, then beyond.


  4. Peter Clark says

    Thanks Glen.

    John Sharrock came from Tooleybuc, and much later, Brett Hungerford played a couple of games for the Cats in 1990.

    After his Richmond days, Jimmy Jess played at Balranald and helped them to their first flag in ’89.


  5. Ta Peter.

    I recall Brett Hungerford. John Sharrock i’m aware of but was a season too early for me.

    Keep up the good work.


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