Saints 1940 – A Premier combination: the Patriotic Premiership

By Allan Grant


The Saints team of 1940 after contesting the finals in 1939 began the season with a bang. After four rounds the Saints were on top of the ladder and they looked sensational.


The Saints faithful turned up to the Junction in droves to watch the Blues end the winning run. Photos on that day show the Junction oval packed to the seams as the faithful jumped on the winning bandwagon.


The below photo of the Saints 1940 team was taken in Round 16 at Princes Park before the team was routed by 40 points and after that the side limped home with only 5 wins for the season in 11th position.


After the loss to the Blues in round 5 all form deserted them until inexplicably at the MCG the Saints came out to win the VFL Lightning Premiership against all sides. The competition was called the Patriotic premiership Cup.


This magnificent premiership win is still the subject of Sports trivia questions and is a little known Saints piece of history, “The Saints Premiership of 1940”.



The Patriotic Premiership cups 1940 (click to enlarge)



On their day they were a great side but the loss of many players to the services, injury and other wartime requirements went against them. The Premiership trophies awarded to this side were extremely attractive. There are few known to be in collections today, At least one (without the lid) is in the Saints Heritage museum. Families of some players still have them and they are very much a valued memory of the era.



The team is:


Back row, left to right


Jack Bray – 1940-1941, 17 Games. In two seasons Jack was a semi regular player but never sealed a permanent position in the side.


Ken Walker – 1938-1945, 109 Games. 20yrs old in this pic, Walker had broken into the Saints side at 18. He played principally in key positions. Ken represented Victoria on one occasion and won the Saints Best and Fairest in 1942 and 1943. He later captained the side and is a member of the Saints Hall of Fame.


Keith Miller – 1940-1942, 1946, 50 Games. Also a youth at 20 yrs of age Keith was in his first season with the Saints. Miller of course was to become more famous as a Test Cricketer but he was a fine footballer with great skills. He went on to play for Victoria at Full Back in 1946.


Lance Regnier – 1939-1940, 10 Games. Lance played two seasons with the Saints but then left to go to Carlton in 1941. He was originally recruited from Sandringham. At around 6ft 4 he was a tall player for the era.


Norman Raines – 1940-1941, 1943. 18 Games. Recruited from Sandhurst in the Bendigo league.


Walter Roy Fountain – 1938-1943, 1946-1947, 70 Games. The Saints Best and Fairest winner in 1939, Roy as he was known, had played a blinder against Jack Dyer and all comers in the First semi final in which the Saints knocked off the Tigers by 30 points. The Saints faithful nicknamed him “Man Mountain Fountain” recognising his huge frame.


Clarrie Riordan – 1939-1940. 13 Games. Recruited from Kyneton, Clarrie was destined to be a bits player in his two seasons with the Saints.


Ted Cranage – 1940, 4 Games. Ted got few opportunities in his only season with the Saints.


Middle Row, Left to Right


Clarrie Curyer – 1935- 1941, 104 Games. Recruited from South Australia, Clarrie had already represented his home State prior to arriving at the Saints at age 23. He quickly established himself as a regular with the Saints in the Back Pocket.


Les Maskell – 1938 and 1940, 15 Games. After crossing over from Brunswick, Les could never cement a permanent spot with the Saints.


Jack Cliff – 1940-1942, 32 Games. Jack was in his first season with the Saints when this photo was taken; he later became a semi regular contributor to the team over three seasons.


Colin Williamson – 1937- 1946, 165 Games. Colin was recruited to the Saints after playing in two premierships for VFA side Northcote. He was a great defender who gave his all. He later went on to coach the Saints in 1952 but despite tremendous commitment had no success.


Clarrie Vontom – 1939– 1945, 86 Games. Clarrie was in his second year of League footy at age 26, a late recruit by even 1940 standards. He was a courageous rover who had made his name in the Amateurs with Wesley Old Collegians. Highly regarded by all at the club he went on to Captain the Saints in 1944 and 1945.


Alan Killigrew – 1938-1941 and 1943-1945. 78 Games. The great Alan Killigrew was to win the Saints Best and Fairest in 1940 and went on to represent Victoria in 1941. He was small, but a man with great courage. After a terrible illness, which left him partially crippled he was unable to continue in football. After several years coaching in the bush he took on the Saints coaching role in 1956 and was a great influence in the Saints march to the finals at the beginning of the 60s.


Bob Wilkie – 1940-1942 and 1945 – 1947. 117 Games. In his first year 20 yr old Wilkie had displayed his lightning pace and ball skills. War service interrupted his career but he was later to become one of the most influential figures in Saints history. After his playing days he became a regular with the Saints as a committeeman, administrator, coach, and mentor. Along the way, he had enormous influence in getting Alan Killigrew to the Saints and then coached the 3rds and 2nds to premierships.  He was Allan Jeans’ Assistant Coach in 1961 and was even involved in the recruiting side at Hawthorn when Yabby went across to the Hawks in the late 1970s. Bob Wilkie is an unsung and underated Saints legend. The 1940 Lightning Premiership is just another one of his achievements in a magnificent career.


Front Row, Left to Right


Ted Hoppen – 1939-1941, 41 Games. Recruited from the Bellarine Peninsula, Ted played his three seasons in defence.


Ron McLeod – 1940-1947, 39 Games. Ron nicknamed Snowy by all and sundry played 28 Games with the Shinboners before trying his luck with the Saints. His 39 games spread over eight seasons were affected by long periods of war service that limited his opportunities.


Bob Fitzsimmons – 1939-1941 and 1943, 12 Games. Bob played seven games with the Roys before finding himself with the Saints. In four seasons with the Saints he made a few appearances.


Some other significant Saints players of 1940 are listed below. This list of players and their quality assists us to understand why such a team would have been capable of winning the Patriotic cup.


Bill Mohr. Mohr became one of the league’s greatest full forwards; he kicked 101 goals in 1936 (the first St Kilda player to kick more than 100 goals in a season) and was the Saints Leading goalkicker in 1940.


Bill Mohr



Stan Lloyd. Stan was Best and fairest 1n 1938. He played 117 games from 1934-1942.


Doug Rayment. Doug played 100 games from 1934-40.


Alby Weiss. 67 games 1935-1942.


Sam Snell. Sam played 93 games from 1936 to 1945 but after round one in 1940 didn’t play again until 1944. He was a member of the police force thus unavailable during most of the war years. He was a very good Centre half back.


Arthur Robertson. Arthur served in the RAAF during WW2. He was a fine full back who played 74 games from 1936 to 1942. He later played for and coached Sorrento.


Reg Garvin. Reg played 130 games from 1937-1946Originally from Newtown in NSW, Garvin had already represented his state at interstate football by the time he arrived at St Kilda. A follower, he finished equal 4th in the 1941 Brownlow Medal and won the first of his two St Kilda best and fairest awards, the other coming in 1944. For the 1942 and 1943 seasons Garvin was captain-coach. After leaving St Kilda in 1946 he joined Prahran in the VFA where he finished his career.


Jack Kelly. 89 games 1937-1946.


Ron Wilson. 1937-1940, 1945 58 games. He previously played one game with Melbourne. He crossed to the VFA in 1941 to play in a competition that allowed throw passes. He was as a result suspended from the VFL but returned to the Saints in 1945 when his suspension lapsed.


Arthur Rose. 28 games 1937-1940. 1944.


Edward Augustus “Ansell” Clarke. Clarke made his debut for Carlton in Round 7 of the 1929 season. He was appointed captain in 1937. He was the senior coach at the Saints from 1938 to 1940 with 28 wins from 55 matches. He was Captain coach for 1938 and 1939, until he retired as a player in May 1940. He later returned as a player for one final match in July 1940.


Ernest “Ernie” McIntyre.  80 games for the Saints from 1940-1941 and 1943-1948. McIntyre, a ruckman, began his football career at Sandringham in 1939 before crossing to the VFL where he joined St Kilda. A dentist by profession, he played his football as an amateur and didn’t appear at all for St Kilda in 1942 due to Navy commitments. He represented Victoria in an interstate match against South Australia at Adelaide in 1945.


Noted for his sportsmanlike conduct on the field, on one occasion during a game he helped an opponent Don Cordner to his feet and also once applauded another opponent Bill Morris after he took a good mark. This rubbed coach Fred Froude and the St Kilda committee up the wrong way and when McIntyre was relegated to 19th man for a game in 1948 he resigned and switched to Collingwood. He appeared in his first ever final series that year, kicking two goals in Collingwood’s losing Preliminary Final against Melbourne.


He also played two first-class cricket matches for Victoria, as a right-arm fast-medium pace bowler, taking 11 wickets at 16.45. Both his matches were against Tasmania in December 1946 in what was an understrength Victorian team as these were players not taking part in their Sheffield Shield campaign. In the second fixture, at Hobart, McIntyre took 4/52 in the first innings which were his career best figures


Jack Lowry. 53 games 1938-1946. Before he made his VFL debut, Lowry represented Victoria in cricket against Tasmania at the MCG. He scored 62 in his first innings and was run-out for just three in his next.


He started his football career at Prahran, where he was a premiership player and won a VFA Medal in 1937. On the back of this effort Lowry was signed by St Kilda and he made his debut in the opening game of the 1938 season. He spent nine years playing at St Kilda but suffered from constant injuries, restricting him to just 53 senior appearances.



The team of 1940 if all had been available was capable of anything. The Saints of 1939 had made the finals for the first time in many years. They had performed creditably. There were great expectations for 1940 but the world was at war. Nothing was ever to be the same. The Patriotic Cup gave the VFL a glimpse of what a full Saints team was capable of. The 1940 Patriotic Cup is an important part of Saints’ history and the trophies, those that still exist, are cherished by those who still have them.






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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Thanks Allan, it’s always interesting to read accounts of teams and their players from bygone times. Fascinating stuff!

  2. Allan Grant says

    Nice to get a nice comment. Thanks for taking the time to reply

  3. Peter Clark says

    Bill Mohr from Wagga Wagga, one of the greatest VFL/AFL players to come out of the Riverina.
    Enjoyed your report Allan.

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