Round 1, 1965

Last week on, Paul Daffey wound the clock back to Round 1, 1965.

Relive the Saints very first match at Moorrabin, North Melbourne’s debut at Coburg City Oval and Ron Barassi’s debut as Carlton captain-coach right here:


  1. No mention of the disastrous effects the moves by St Kilda and North had on the original tenants of their new homes?

  2. Dave Nadel says

    Very good piece, Daff. I always consider the 1965 season as the beginning of the end of suburban VFL footy. The Tigers’ move across the park from Punt Road to the MCG might have been the shortest move any club made but it was very significant because it marked the end of twelve separate home grounds. There had been ground sharing before (Essendon and University had shared the old East Melbourne Ground) but University wasn’t a suburban club and to some extent neither was Essendon until it moved to Windy Hill) The Tigers’ move to the “G” was the first step in a process that ended up with every Melbourne club playing home games on one of the same two grounds.

  3. Top stuff Paul – agree that it signalled a major shift away from suburban footy – of course, no-one at the time knowing just how far that would go.

    That is all

  4. Paul Daffey says

    Thanks Dave and Arma,

    Dave, you’re right about the beginning of the end. The funny thing is that Hawthorn wanted to move to the MCG in 1964 but it was considered a preposterous idea. Not sure by whom, but the idea never gained legs.

    They then sussed out a move to Mitcham, where a ground would at least have been theirs alone, but it never happened. Eventually, a decade later, they went to Princes Park of all places.


    Quite right about the original tenants. Moorabbin were booted out of the VFA and withered away. Not sure what happened to Coburg, but the North move seems a disaster all round.

    If the Roos had more gumption, they would have gone to Broadmeadows. As a club, they’ve always been hampered by the fact that they have the smallest natural suburban supporter base.

    Their only natural supporter base is from the Oak Park end of Moonee Ponds Creek across to, say, Sydney Road. They’re essentially wedged between Essendon and Carlton areas.

    A Broadmeadows base might just have worked.

  5. Daff,

    Moorabbin actually made a comeback to the VFA in the 1980s, but only as a struggling division 2 side.

    In regards to what happened to Coburg, my info is from Dr Alf Andrews’ thesis from the late 1990s.

    Coburg was unfortunate in that it was a small club that got caught up in a very difficult situation: in a war between the two governing bodies; between North and Carlton, the latter of which felt that the suburb/locality rightly belonged to it; competing factions on the local council; and even amongst its own committee.

    The Coburg committee, after a four hour meeting, voted by a very slim margin to amalgamate with North. What Andrews contends is that unlike the anti-St Kilda faction at Moorabbin, the anti-North faction at Coburg was far more strident in its opposition to the VFL’s imperialism, and thus were able to regroup in the form of a breakaway faction with the assistance of the VFA, who in the case of Moorabbin were more punitive because they felt that there wasn’t enough anger/defiance on their part.

    Coburg played out of Port Melbourne, and while their results suffered, they stuck around long enough for North’s tenure at the City Oval to become untenable. Council elections saw the pro-North faction reduced, crowds had not improved significantly, the 40 year lease ended up being 7, and the promised new grandstand looked further away.

    It’s also worth noting that Richmond also considered relocating to Oakleigh and Moorabbin before moving to the MCG. Footscray also considered a move to Sunshine, which the latter knocked on the head very quickly.

  6. Great stuff, Daff.
    Articles such as this highlight the immense changes which have occurred
    (and continue to occur) in VFL/AFL footy.

  7. Steve Fahey says

    Great article Daff

    Incredibly low scores in Round 1, with Fitzroy kicking the sweep with 8.16.64. Was it wet, or was a relative of Ross Lyon coaching all 12 clubs ?

    From a Pies’ perspective (what else would you expect from me) the game was notable for the debut of The Sharpshooter, Peter Mckenna. Vaughan Ellis, later to become a Sunday afternoon VFA cult figure with Dandenong also made his debut for the Pies

  8. Alovesupreme says

    Was it the Easter week-end? I can vouch for the fact that Easter 1965 was cold, wet and miserable (on a brief holiday on Phillip Island).

  9. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    On ya Daff – salad days for the Saints.

    There is a great snap of The Doc leading the team out flanked by kids in St Kilda jumpers – no Little League until 1967…

    Pretty sure the deal for St Kilda to go to Moorabbin was for the Moorabbin name to be added…
    Moorabbin was very successful in the VFA at the time (premiers in 1963) – shame it didn’t happen as the Saints may have picked up the Great Max Papley, who went to South Melbourne instead.

    Used to love chatting to Graham Huggins when he was in Sydney about those grand old days for the Saints – he told me the cost of paying for ground development meant the club didn’t have sufficient funds for recruiting – then zoning came in 1967 – and Hawthorn got the Mornington Peninsula while the Saints got Ballarat – a dud area until Plugger, Spud, and every Saints footballer’s footballer, Greg Burns came down.

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