The Game of the Century

This piece was first posted back in 2016. It is well worth revisiting.


It’s affectionately referred to as the “Game of the Century”, officially it’s the 1965/66 Victorian Cricket Association Final. Northcote, aiming to end 54 years of premiership futility – Cinderella in Green & Gold – versus an Essendon team determined to add a second title to accompany the inaugural flag it seized two years prior. The Bombers dominate the opening day and half and, with their score 9/514, skipper Ian Monks elects to declare his sides first innings closed. Monks’ brilliant century (136) on the first day has set the tone for the run glut. Five sessions in and it appears certain Windy Hill will domicile Melbourne’s summer & winter sporting champs. The declaration is made at the tea break on the second days play, Saturday April 9. Holy Saturday. An omen perhaps?  At this point in proceedings the boys from Westgarth would’ve welcomed any sliver of hope.

What chance a resurrection on the outskirts of the Melbourne CBD? Precious little if the combatants’ previous meeting in early October is any guide. In pursuit of a less than imposing Essendon (211) total Northcote (77) fail miserably, the hosts undone by the brilliance of John Grant (5/24) and Keith Kirby (5/9). When Grant dismissed William Morris Lawry for no score just before stumps on the opening afternoon the game was as good as decided.

But Lawry, fresh from a brilliant Ashes series in which he scored three centuries, has other ideas. At stumps on the second day he and Wayne Robinson have knocked 98 runs from the equation without loss. The chase gathers momentum. The target is reduced and the unimaginable looks, well, imaginable. At 1.50pm on Saturday April 16 1966, the fourth day of the epic encounter, an estimated 4,000 + strong crowd witness what anyone bar the ‘Cotes hardiest of supporters would’ve thought inconceivable a fortnight earlier.

A sweet victory, the sweetest of victories one might say.

Half a century on and the legend of Lawry’s unbowed and unbeaten 282 grows with each passing year. Should the opportunity present itself to ask any Melburnian fortunate enough to have savoured the extraordinary finale to share their memories with you, do so. I guarantee the superannuated septuagenarian will wax lyrically as to how they ventured along St Kilda Road and packed the picturesque Albert Ground just to get a glimpse of the “Phantom” leading his team to the Promised Land.

As the legend grows, history recedes

In the course of my research for this essay that adage/idiom above has crossed my mind. Often. Has this remarkable feat come at a cost? I believe Northcote’s second senior VCA title should be viewed as a season long triumph rather than a miraculous once-in-a-lifetime victory. I haven’t sought the opinions of anyone directly involved in this remarkable “worst to first” achievement. This is an opinion piece, my opinion. Having said that it would be greatly appreciated if I was advised of any errors or omissions in the comments section that follows.

So, without further ado, here are some overlooked factors that helped turn Northcote’s impossible dream to reality.



The steadying hand of Frank Brew

382 runs at an average of 31.83. 32 wickets at a cost of 19.56 per victim. Impressive numbers indeed, but Frank Brew’s influence in the transformation of his team from wooden spooners to winners within twelve months goes further. With Bill Lawry’s Sheffield Shield/International duties restricting him to seven appearances (inc the two finals), 38 year “young” Brew assumed the on-field leadership role in addition to his coaching obligations. While he notched a couple of half centuries two less conspicuous, but just as important contributions, exemplify the determination Brew helped instil within the team. Having slipped to seventh following back to back losses either side of the Yuletide break, a mid-January derby at Victoria Park took on the importance of a mini-final. Chasing a mediocre Collingwood (141) score the push for points appeared doomed when heavy skies engulfed Abbotsford on the second afternoon of the match. In a race against time Brew and Bob Ireland managed to out eke the necessary runs, both batsmen finishing on 19.Within minutes of passing the Pies, thunderous showers swamped the Lulie Street arena.  The significance of the victory was two-fold. A mini- slump was averted, and on an otherwise bleak day across the Melbourne and metropolitan region, the ‘Cotes were the only side to grab points when the other six matches ended in stalemate.

Brew’s men ventured to University for a final round clash with the Students knowing that victory   was essential in cementing a place in the final four. The modest Uni (153) total was proving more difficult to conquer than first thought. At 5/97 Brew, incapacitated by an injured leg, entered the fray.  An hour and a half later with 14 runs next to his name he departed, having inched his side closer to glory. Northcote eventually reached its goal to set up a sudden death final against Richmond the next weekend.

His finest moment of an unforgettable campaign came on the fourth day of the Final.  When Tom Ryan (82) fell with the score at 4/411, Brew strode to the middle of the Albert to join the well-established Bill Lawry.  The experienced pair proceeded to add 94, Brew (47) matching Lawry run-for-run at better than even time. Their partnership snuffed out any flickering hopes the physically fatigued, mentally rattled, Essendon bowlers harboured of mounting a final challenge. Dismissed with just a handful of runs required, Frank Brew’s work was complete. Minutes later Northcote’s first XI premiership total doubled. Brew’s contribution in this truly unforgettable game wasn’t lost on his partner Lawry.

“When Tom Ryan lost his wicket I was a little perturbed. But then Frank Brew came in and won the day”

Ken Walker’s Stellar Season

Entering the 65/66 season Kenneth Victor John Walker had appeared in 52 senior XI matches for the Northcote Cricket Club. Debuting in December 1960, he’d taken 125 wickets at an average slightly in excess of 22 runs, a successful if not quite exceptional return for half a decade of toil. Little did the 24 year old Walker know that he was about to set off on what you could describe as a “career year”. Cutting a swathe through the finest batting line-ups in District cricket, he captured an astounding 57 wickets across the home and away fixture at a cost of 13 runs per victim, taking 5 or more wickets in an inning on half a dozen occasions. His astonishing 11-43 at against Hawthorn East-Melbourne was  the only occasion on which he would claim 10 wickets in a match during his nine season District career.

But the outstanding figures don’t tell the full story. A school teacher by profession Ken Walker spent Monday to Friday educating the youth of Bendigo. As a consequence he was denied the chance to train with his team mates outside of school holiday periods, venturing to the “big smoke” for weekend action alone.

As stupendous as his October-February performances proved, Walker somehow managed to take his game to a higher level in the eliminator at Punt Road. Collapsing in their first innings meant Northcote (82) needed a miracle. Within 50 minutes of taking the new ball the 5ft 7inch (170 centimetres) Walker had turned the game his sides’ way, taking two wickets in both his first and second overs. At the conclusion of the first days play the Tigers title tilt was terminal, Richmond (6/18) Walker (6/4) unplayable. Upon resumption a week later Walker (9/28) picked up where he left off, Richmond (62) never seriously challenging the paltry score. It was the first, and to the present day only, 9 wicket haul in an innings of a VCA/Premier Cricket Final – quarter, semi or decider. Walker was denied a shot at a “ten for” with the run out of Tiger tail ender Les Smith. His tally of 67 wickets (one in the final) placed him second on the aggregate wicket table behind Richmond spearhead Graeme Paterson (73) at seasons end.

Giving youth its head

The decision to blood three first year players in Paul Shanahan, Phil Burn and Tom Ryan, whether by intention or necessity proved a masterstroke by the Westgarth selection committee, with the trio playing pivotal roles in the teams march to glory. Indeed, Shanahan and Ryan saved their best for when the spotlight shone brightest, providing important contributions to the cause during the four day final.

Shanahan managed just six wickets at an average of 40.5 in half a dozen appearances, but it was his 11 over, 2-55 spell in the Cup day defeat of the MCC that gave notice of his capabilities on flat unforgiving Albert Ground centre wicket. And so it proved to be the case five months later. A superb thirty four over/four wicket haul was the stand out effort by a bowler of either team in the run bonanza finale. Sadly injuries sabotaged Shanahan’s promising two-disciple sporting career, limiting him to just 20 First XI appearances for Northcote and 21 matches for Victorian Football League team Fitzroy.

Phil Burn debuted in late October and with the exception of Cup day was an “ever present” in the senior side for the remainder of the season. Batting in a number of positions, Burn’s primary role was to partner Wayne Robinson when Bill Lawry was absent. His season best (67) at North Melbourne helped the team to their highest score of the home and away fixture (8/307 dec). Arguably his most important hand came against University in the final round,  Burn (25) combining with Lawry to add 36 runs for the second wicket. In a low scoring affair the ‘Cotes managed to squeak past the modest goal set by the Students to confirm their inclusion in the business end of proceedings. It’s difficult to imagine a better present upon reaching your “majority” than the one Phil Burn received on April 16 1966 – victory in the season’s ultimate contest.

Tom Ryan’s entry into senior District ranks coincided with a visit to gentile Glenferrie Oval in November. An unbeaten second innings 70 in an otherwise disappointing (team) effort at South Melbourne in late February announced his “arrival” as a first grader. Ryan’s late season salvo cementing his place in the middle order for the remainder of the pennant race whilst  denying the Bloods any chance of outright points which proved vital at seasons end. Ryan couldn’t have picked a more appropriate setting to register his highest score than the Final. Having stumbled from a comfortable 1-206 to 3-219 following the removal of Bob Gosstray & Ian Cowley in quick succession a period of consolidation was required. Ryan (82) helped to do that, and more, sharing a 192 run fourth wicket partnership with Lawry to seize control of the match.

Greater than the sum of its parts

If Aristotle ventured down to the Westgarth Oval between October 1965 and March 1966 he’d have been chuffed at what he saw, a more fitting example of his of his well-worn phrase would’ve been difficult to unearth. I’ve mentioned the contributions of Frank Brew, Ken Walker and the three rookies in the teams’ dramatic “outhouse” to “penthouse” rise up the table. But, to suggest the team’s achievements were due exclusively to the input of the five players referenced would be folly. It’s time we paid tribute to the weekend warriors whose input, whilst not eye-catching in a statistical sense, provided the foundation the team launched its bid long overdue success from.

Wayne Robinson (449/22.45 ave) Partnered either Bill Lawry or Phil Burn at the top of the order. Scored an important half century (60), the first of two for the campaign, in an opening stand of 141 with Lawry in the Cup day win at the Albert Ground. It was the first time the First XI had tasted victory since the previous February.

Ian Cowley (312 runs/17.33 ave) Middle order batsman who scored two half centuries. Registered a season best (53) against Prahran on an afternoon when batsmen on both sides struggled to make an impression. Chipped in with 8 wickets.

Bob Gosstray (377/22.17 ave) Middle order batsman. A half century (51) at Carlton was Gosstray’s best. His valuable (35) effort was vital in the win at Victoria Park on an afternoon that saw his side the only (First XI) outfit take points under bleak Melbourne skies.

Barry Morrison (165/11.00 ave – 36 dismissals Inc 22 catches & 14 stumpings) Overcame a disappointing summer with the willow to deliver when it mattered most. Patient (29) at University preceded a stoic (20) in the knockout final five days later, Morrison’s rear-guard stand at Punt Road was instrumental in providing the attack enough runs to play with.

Mike Mitton (27 wkts/28.11) Provided marvellous support to Ken Walker. Three early wickets at Glenferrie Oval helped skittle Hawthorn East-Melbourne (83) on the first day and set up the push for the subsequent outright points a week later.

Oh, and best we don’t forget

Bill Lawry (714 runs/119.00) A couple of red-ink second inning scores inflated Lawry’s average somewhat. Oh, and there was a useful double ton in April.

Going down to the wire

The evenness of the regular season couldn’t be better demonstrated by the fact that entering the final weekend of matches eight teams were challenging for a top four place. Essendon & Richmond (48 pts), St Kilda (39pts) & Northcote (38 pts) sat in pole position, with only the joint leaders assured of action the following weekend, the Saints and ‘Cotes both needing points to guarantee entry into the serious stuff. Reigning champs St Kilda faced the daunting task of tackling the Tigers at Punt Road, Northcote’s appointment at University tough, but not as formidable.


The other three final round clashes with the potential to impact the makeup of the finals included:

South Melbourne (7th/34 pts) v Collingwood (5th/36 pts) at the Lakeside Oval

MCC taking on Carlton (6th/34 pts) at the Albert Ground

Prahran hosting North Melbourne (8th/34 pts) at Toorak Park


Underlined teams were amongst the contenders entering the Labour Day final round.


And so to the action.


South Melbourne’s (3/277 dec, Derek Southey 106no) stayed in the picture making short work of Collingwood (183, Alan Connolly 5/77) the loss ending the Pies prospects of progressing. Richmond (281, Ron Milne 131) recovered from an early collapse to squash St Kilda (128) the Saints back-to-back bid blown away. Carlton (344, Slug Jordan 113) cruised past Melbourne (170) and Prahran (6/275 dec, Eric Shade 113no) belted a disappointing North Melbourne (162).


Those results meant Northcote needed points – a tie or first innings win – otherwise it would relinquish an invitation to the playoffs.


University (153) found Ken Walker (7/45) too hard to handle. The guests (1/37) held the whip hand when stumps were drawn on the first day with Bill Lawry (17no) set to return to the crease two days later.  But chasing targets big or small, home or away had proved problematic for the boys from Westgarth. Their Monday afternoon assignment would be just as difficult.


Despite a steady start to proceedings the removal of Burn (25) changed the complexion of the game. Runs dried up and Cowley (3/59) exited not long after. Lawry and Bob Gosstray set about rescuing the situation until Gosstray (4/92) fell. When Lawry (5/97) was run out the momentum had swung towards the home team.  Ryan and Walker, household names in mid-60’s Melbourne (for other reasons) came and went and when the injured Frank Brew’s hour and a half vigil ended the guests had slumped to 8/136.


The batting form of their 9 & 10 batsmen would’ve sent the Green and Gold loyalists scattered around the quaint Carlton arena reaching for the antacids. Barry Morrison had struggled with the willow (113/8.75), and despite managing the highest score (38 no) of his career less than a month earlier, Mike Mitton’s raison d’etre was opening the bowling with Ken Walker. But, commeth the hour, commeth the man – or men as was the case. At 4.20pm on Monday 14 March 1966, Northcote Cricket Clubs’ patient 14 year wait for a return to First XI finals action was over. Morrison (29) remained defiant until victory was attained, Mitton (5) the last man out, Northcote (156) dodging a bullet to advance. With the home and away fixture done and dusted the teams advancing to the semi-final stage were:


Richmond (54 pts) Essendon (48 pts) Northcote (44 pts) Carlton (40 pts).


The manner in which the two semi-finals were decided – none of the quartet of contenders  compiled a first innings score in excess of 130 – was in stark contrast to how the decider played out. As mentioned previously, Northcote (82) would’ve considered their total completely inadequate, yet Richmond (62) never came close to challenging. Bill Lawry (102) and Wayne Robinson (74) found the going easier in the second innings when occupation of the crease was all that was required to confirm their place for the championship bout. Runs were almost as scarce at Princes Park, the hosts taking total control by skittling Essendon (9/128 dec). The Blues response with the willow was woeful, their chances for a third VCA crown in a decade scuppered when only three batsmen registered double figures and in a photo finish Carlton (122) fell short. In its second innings the ‘Dons (5/189) played out time with Daryl Foster (90) and John Swanson (66no) the headline acts.


In closing, I thought I’d return to the start of the story:

“Northcote players have practised enthusiastically and the club could be set for its best season for some time”

The forecast is measured, considered, some could argue bland. It’s taken from the Wednesday 29 September 1965 issue of the Northcote Leader. The article doesn’t contain a by-line, the authors identity remains a mystery. Hindsight really is wonderful, so I shan’t criticize the anonymous prophet for underestimating the locals’ chances. The data they had to work with left them little choice. Remember, this was a team that hadn’t played meaningful March cricket (finals) since a third place finish in 1952, hadn’t qualified for a Final in 42 years, procuring its one and only pennant prior to hostilities commencing in the First World War, 1912 to be precise.

In late February members of Northcote’s victorious 1965/66 VCA First XI premiership team met at the Latrobe Golf Club to celebrate the Golden anniversary of the “game of the century”. Congratulations chaps, hope the evening was memorable. Whilst they qualified for this seasons finals the clubs quest for a sixth senior premiership ended with a loss to minor premiers Fitzroy-Doncaster at the quarter-final stage.


  • Fitzroy-Doncaster and Ringwood have qualified for the 2015/16 Premier Cricket Final. The match will be played across the Easter Weekend (March 26 to 28) at the Junction Oval, St Kilda. Fitzroy-Doncaster will attempt to claim their first senior pennant since the 2001-02 season whilst reigning champs Ringwood hope to go back-to-back for the second time in eight years. All the very best to both sides.




To read Roger Lowrey’s comments on this game, click here.






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  1. Shane Backx says

    And outstanding youngsters in the lower grades set to debut the next year. Gary Living, Rodney Malcolm Hogg and Gary John Cosier.

  2. As always Michael, excellent work. A quick Q ?

    Fitzroy-Doncaster seeking their first flag for fourteen seasons, so i’m curious the last time Fitzroy won the flag as a stand alone team. Was t when Doug Rumble was playing ?


  3. Shane
    Gary Cosier & Rod Hogg were part of the Northcote team that went from 14th (72/73) to 1st (73/74). They knocked off the MCC in the Final at the Albert Ground. I have some vague memory of the last session of the first days play of the match being telecast on the ABC.

    Northcote 258 – (Richie Robinson 93) def MCC 244 (Greg Booth 72 – Booth was run out by Fitzroy FC team mate Jim Christou. Rod Hogg 4/69).

    Gary Living missed the second half of the 73/74 season (injury?). He played his last game of District cricket in December 1973, having turned 21 that October.

    Thank you very much for your kind words. Fitzroy’s last pennant prior to the move to Donny at the start of the 86/87 season was in 66/67. The details of the Final are as follows:

    Essendon 161 (I Monks 39, Froggy Thomson 6/72 ) & 177 (Daryl Foster 87, David Ashworth 4/57) lost to Fitzroy 348 (Jack Potter 100, Ron Furlong 99, Keith Kirby 5/133) by an innings and 10 runs

    Doug Rumble debuted for the Roys in 70/71.



  4. cowshedend says

    Brilliant Mic,
    surprised that Lawry fronted up 7 times in that famous year for the ‘cotes’, clubs are lucky to get a couple of games out of state players, let alone those with national duties as well.

  5. Ta Mick. It’s got me thinking about Fitzroy back in the 70’s.

    When the decade started that former VFL umpire Alan Thomson was bowling for them.
    By the mid 1970’s they had blokes like Buzzard and Cullen in the middle order. Culllen was 12th man for the Vics once, the final game of 75-76 when we scored 9-44 declared in our first innings. This was at the G versus Western Australia. If i”m correct Alan Hurst ‘sconed’ Wally Edwards in Western Australia second innings: maybe.
    By the close of the decade the Watts brothers Gary and Leigh were playing for Fitzroy. Gary played a big role in the Vics 79-80 shield win.
    Roger Page, of course, was a constant for the Lions. On a final note did Fitzroy reach the VCA semis in 74-75?


  6. CSE – Many thanks for your feedback, it’s always greatly appreciated. State/International players dropping down to club level is extremely rare in todays cricket, it’s almost as if they are discouraged from representing the local team these days. Frankston Peninsula recruited Matt Wade & John Hastings prior to the commencement of 2015/16. Both played one game, the same game, against Melbourne University in mid February. Regardless of what these two fine servants of Victorian cricket bring you off the field, you’d like to think you could access their playing abilities more than once a year.

    Bill Lawry’s seven appearances for NCC in 65/66 were the most he’d made at club level since turning out for the ‘Cotes on eight occasions in 58/59.

    Glen – Neil Buszard was a magnificent District cricketer and deserved a crack at the next level. A superb baseballer, Buszard won the Helms Award (Best player Claxton Shield tournament) in 1974. Did D K Lillee hit Doug Rolfe (in the head) early in the infamous 9/44 match you referred to? I didn’t travel to Schramms Reserve this season so I’m not sure if Mr Page is still a Lion. At the time of responding Fitzroy-Donny have taken a first innings lead in the Final, so I hope he enjoys the up-coming celebrations.

    Fitzroy finished third in 74/75. A home semi-final against 2nd placed Collingwood meant the Roys required a win to advance. Unable to dismiss the Maggies, the game ended in a draw. The Pies knocked over minor Premier Carlton to take the pennant.


  7. Ta Mic. You may be more atuned than I. Yep i’m thinking DK Lillee sconed Doug Rolfe in our first innings. He certainly sconed “Maxie” Walker @ the WACA earlier in the season. re A Hurst and W Edwards maybe Hurst knocked him over early in the Wes’s second innings. Cullen carried the drinks for us in his only appearance for the state ?

    To my memory R Page was Lions man,; for a long time. There wouldn’t have been too many games involving the Lions without him being present. A true club stalwart.

    Let’s see how the VCA final pans out this year. May the best team win.


  8. David Mitton says

    my old man, played in that game. Unfortunately as the opening bowler for Northcotte he spent 2 back breaking days of toil on what was fairly obviously a pretty flat and slow strip. However despite the lack of help from the pitch, it wold have to be one of his fondest memories, being involved in such an epic game of cricket. Thanks Mic Rees. I have proudly been reading the account of this game to my kids and sharing it with all my facebook friends. Its an amazing story.

  9. As always Michael superbly researched.

    Can i be a pedant , seeking aresponsetomy posting of 26/3? Also perusing the work again i ‘m wondering if Bob Ireland played footy for Fitzroy in the 1960’s ? Fitzroy Football Club, the Lions, they’re but a memory now.


  10. Michael Nelson says

    Whatever happened to David Ashworth from the late 1960’s. If my memory is correct, a promising young player. Aah memories.

  11. citrus bob says

    Great read Mick. Seems that all the cricket lovers come out when needed.

  12. Reading about this never gets old, Mic.
    Great to re-read it again

  13. John Butler says

    Mic, bring back the days of timeless District GF’s and the Shield on telly.

    I know the bean counters have a million reasons why that can’t happen (all of them $), but stuff em, I say. :)

    As always, love your work.

  14. Mic Rees says

    Hello Citrus Bob, Smokie and John.

    Thank you very much for your kind words, they are always greatly appreciated. I had a conversation this afternoon with a gentleman who played VFL football at the same time as Essendon CC captain Ian Monks. Who was it? You’ll have to buy the book.

    Yes John, would love to see the Shield return to our TV screens. Great days weren’t they, racing home from school to catch the last session. The battle for bonus points, cliff hanger finishes (Vic v SA Cup eve ’73 was a doozy) the dulcet tones of Norman Blundell, Graham McNaney and “our” Smokie’s lesser known namesake. Long shot though, ain’t it?


  15. Luke Reynolds says

    Brilliant piece Mic. Sadly it seems WM Lawry is more remembered as a commentator and late career ‘corpse with pads on’ than the obviously brilliant player he was.

    District cricket coverage very hard to come by these days, even compared the 80’s and 90’s when I was growing up.

  16. Rulebook says

    Awesome article Mic totally agree with Smokie this article never gets old.I have sent thru to Gary Cosier and
    Rodney Malcolm Hogg asking for there recollections also asking,Doug Rolfe to confirm,Glen’s question

  17. Mic Rees says

    Good evening Luke and Malcolm – thank you both for your comments.

    Luke – Bugger all coverage of District cricket in the dailys. SEN used to have a Saturday evening program (Stumps?) that dedicated time to Melbourne club cricket. That bit the dust. Paul Amy, author of the marvellous Fabulous Fred – the strife and times of Fred Cook – continues to champion club cricket via his Twitter account. Please consider following him – if you don’t happen to already.

    Rulebook – Very kind of you to pass on the a link to R M Hogg and Mr Cosier. Both were massive in Northcote’s 73/74 triumph (lets not forget Jim Christou’s run out of Greg Booth that turned the game in favour of the ‘Cotes on the final day). Very interested to hear any comments from them. Cheques in the mail. A quick question for you – what sort of coverage does Adelaide club cricket get in the local media?


  18. Hi Mic unfortunately no response from,Gary or Rodney yet,and district cricket scores in the Sunday mail
    while there is a local cricket show on 5aa still not a huge amount on that does tend to be a bit in the messenger but overall now days need to follow each clubs face book pages which some clubs do far better than others thank you

  19. Tony Foster says

    Can anyone confirm that before Northcote commenced the run chase Bill Lawry mustered the troops and said words to the effect of “I’ll make half the runs and you blokes make the rest”?

  20. What was the end result in this VCA season?

    I’m fairly certain Footscray-Edgewater went in the semis, but i really don’t know what happened from that point.

    Mic, Rulebook, have we confirmed Doug Rolfe was sconed in the first innings? I’ve got some memories of reading the Friday Herald that day,and there was decent coverage of the early part of the days play. I’m fairly certain DK Lillee sconed the debutant.


  21. Colin Ritchie says

    Glen, Malcolm Ashwood has sent a newspaper clipping that answers your question above.

    Click on the link

  22. Ta Col.

    I’d had memories of my mum buying the Herald after she picked us up from school, and reading that article. Now you’ve confirmed it.


  23. Luke Reynolds says

    Mic- yes have followed Paul Amy on Twitter for a long time, he is brilliant and right on the ball covering Premier & Sub District footy, VFL and suburban footy. Love his work.

  24. Nice article, Mic. It brought back a pile of memories. And its alternative angle on the final, seen through the prism of the season, makes good sense.
    Most of your account matches my recall of the match, one which Greg Baum has described as “the game that keeps on giving”.
    It was played on a very true track and under sunny skies, unlike the first day of the semi-finals, which followed heavy rain during the previous week. Covers weren’t used then, except, I think, for Grand Finals, which meant good old-fashioned sticky wickets. The toss-winning captains both put the opposition in to bat. Low scores resulted. Northcote survived because of Lawry and Morrison’s batting, and, of course, as you note, Kenny Walker’s superb bowling. The conditions were made for him and he exploited them brilliantly. He had the ball darting all over the place. On the second day of the games, the weather was fine and made life a lot easier for the batsmen. Richmond’s Russell Sincock, as I recall, made a creditable half century on day two, but it wasn’t enough.
    Keep up the good work.
    p.s. I remember, a couple of years earlier, as a kid, watching Essendon play in a District Grand Final on TV. It must have been on the ABC.

  25. Glen – Glad you got closure on the Rolfe incident. It had been troubling you for some time, hadn’t it?A big thank you to Colin and Malcolm for helping out my old mate.

    Luke – Paul Amy is a ripper isn’t he? Glad you’re acquainted with his fine work.

    Tom – It’s quite an honour to receive feedback from one of the stars of “The game of the century”, more flattering considering I’ve enjoyed your work dating back to the sadly, long departed, Cinema Papers. So thank you. I would’ve under sold the NCC if I’d focused on the knockout semi and Final alone. Worst to First inside 12 months. Must’ve been quite a ride. Hope to see you at MIFF… year!


  26. Brilliant stuff guys
    It is probably the most famous district ticket final. I believe too or.legend had it, the Phantom wanted to watch to go for as long as possible which it days until there was a result as he C was a Clingeood supporter and with the VFL season.underway Essendon taking on the Pies early in.the year, Leary was hoping star Essendon.back flanker, Gerry Davis would be unavailable as he played cricket in.tjat final for Essendon
    Who else was in.the Essendon side than Monks and Davis, Kirby, GREG Brown another former Footballer, John Grant, John Swanson and Yom O”neil along with Ken Adams?

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