One Hundred Years Ago: Round 4, 20th May, 1911

If you were in any doubt, violence in football is nothing new. As an example, we revisit the 1911 VFL season, and a controversial incident that ended up in the law courts.

One Hundred Years Ago: Grand Final, 23rd September, 1911

  Essendon had been the outstanding team of the year. They’d had the better of Collingwood in both previous encounters this season, including an historic 85 point thrashing of the Magpies in round 4. They were firm favourites to wrap the flag up in this game. But Collingwood coach George Angus had reason to suspect [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: 2nd Semi Final, 16th September, 1911

  All available evidence suggests that Jack Worrall was a man of practical methods. A plain-speaking disciplinarian who proved a model for most successful coaches who followed. His famous recommendation to his players that ‘football and booze don’t mix’ suggests a man of temperate habits and firm resolve. The teams he coached were renowned for [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: 1st Semi Final, 9th September, 1911

  The area just south of the Yarra was one of Melbourne’s most populous from the 1840’s. In the gold rush days  it was known as Canvas Town, after the huge tent city that was temporary home to thousands on their way inland to seek fortune. Then it was called Emerald Hill in honour of [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 18, 2nd September, 1911

The scandals of the VFL in this period seem wild and woolly by today’s standards, but it must be said they don’t look out of place with the general conduct of Melbourne society at the time. Both state and city were in many ways still recovering from the most controversial period in their history, when [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 17, 26th August, 1911

  Fitzroy players would have woken on the day of Round 17 aware of the task ahead of them. Whilst most would still have jobs to attend to in the morning,  their minds would have been contemplating how they might defeat top side Essendon to keep their finals hopes alive. That Collingwood, their bitter local [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 16, 19th August, 1911

The VFL was more prepared to make allowances for interstate football one hundred years ago than it would ever consider today. The 50th jubilee of the codification of the games’ rules had seen a grand festival of football held in Melbourne in 1908 under the nominal auspice of the Australian Football Council. With nationalist fervour [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 15, 29th July, 1911

  Any hope that St Kilda might resolve the internal conflict of the previous weekend soon dissipated as the following week unfolded. The committee stuck fast to their position in relation to withdrawing dressing room passes. At Tuesday training the players voted unanimously that ‘the indignity to which Messrs Eicke and Hogan had been subjected [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 14, 22nd July, 1911

  Even before the VFL era had begun, the Australasian newspaper had formed the following opinion of the St Kilda football club: “There are 2 classes of men who play football. With one the pleasure of participating is more than sufficient recompense for defeat: the other class thinks that a win is above everything else. [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 13, 15th July, 1911

Even at this early stage in the VFL’s existence, football had insinuated itself through all levels of Melbourne society, managing to simultaneously exemplify and transcend  class divisions within the city. For a clear example of this you needed to look no further than the Essendon and Collingwood clubs as they prepared to face each other [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 12, 8th July, 1911

A ‘grey, windless, foggy afternoon’ was the setting for round 12, the coldest football match-day recorded to this time. The temperature wouldn’t rise above 7.1 °C (44.8 °F) as six clubs began the day within close proximity of a top four position. 20,000 spectators ignored the conditions and flocked to Brunswick St to watch fourth [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 11, 1st July, 1911

A long time after 1911, a young Bob Dylan sang “when you got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose”, as a young man would. There’s no evidence Bob had ever heard of Collingwood when he wrote that line, but it pretty well explains much of the motivation behind the founding of the Collingwood Football Club, [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 10, 22 & 24 June, 1911

Though King George V had ascended the throne after his father’s death the previous year, his official coronation was held on Thursday 22nd of June in 1911. The VFL took advantage of the public holiday to stage two games to commence the second half of the season. The Argus believed that ‘altogether the idea of [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 9, 17th June, 1911

  The Saturday of round nine dawned fine and still, a rare occurrence in the June of this particular year. But the effect of recent rain on the football grounds of Melbourne was plain for all to see. This round of games would be played on quagmires. The Lake Oval handled the wet better than [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 8, 10th June, 1911

‘Football in the Mud’ was the headline The Argus chose for round 8 of 1911, and the weather was the dominant theme for more than just VFL fixtures. The constant rain was certainly causing havoc and confusion in the Geelong District League where communications went badly amiss for previously undefeated Chilwell. On the advice of [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 7, 5th June, 1911

Monday the 5th of June 1911 was the 46th birthday of King George V, necessitating the footballers of the Victorian Football League to drag their weary bones out of bed and play a second round of football games in the space of three days. It goes without saying that there was no AFLPA back in [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 6, 3rd June, 1911

It will surprise many that Richmond, the club that wears “Captain Blood’ as a badge of honour, initially regarded itself as a bastion of the ‘right and proper’ way to play the game. Furthermore, the colour of their jumper wasn’t originally yellow and black. What will not surprise is that they have long possessed a [Read more]

NMFC 1871: Just for recreation’s sake

Reverend Shinboner goes back through the annals of North Melbourne Football Club’s history, reliving one season from each decade, starting with 1871. The club was just about to embark on their third winter of football. The suburb: North Melbourne, known as Hotham at the time, was a largely industrial suburb with some 13,500 residents, significantly more than [Read more]

One Hundred Years Ago: Round 5, 27th May, 1911

On the Friday evening prior to Round 5, a joint conference of VFL and VFA representatives had met to discuss the control of football in Victoria. They produced the startling recommendation that the two organisations should amalgamate into one controlling body, appointing a board with equal representation for both parties. This offered the prospect that [Read more]

One hundred Years Ago: Round 3, 13th May, 1911

A perfect autumn day greeted footballers and barrackers alike as they travelled to their appointed grounds for the third round of the 1911 season. Increasingly, Melbournians benefited from the Saturday half-holiday, freeing them to pursue the leisure of their choice. More and more were choosing football. It’s doubtful the sunshine made the streets and gutters [Read more]