Finals Week 4, Grand Final 2018

South Melbourne Football Club Premiership Team, 1918 from

And so we come to the very end of AFLM season 2018 – a grand final showdown between Collingwood and West Coast.

We’re not sure if it’s an omen, but 100 years ago Collingwood was also in the Grand Final. On 7 September 1918 at the MCG, the Pies (7.15 (57)) lost to South Melbourne (9.8 (62)). This Grand Final took place in the era when the second amended Argus System determined the finals: if the minor premier was in week 3 of the finals and lost the game, they were allowed to challenge for a rematch. Week 3 would then become the Preliminary Final, and week 4 the Grand Final. But if they won in week 3, then that was the Grand Final, and they were the Premier. And so it was in 1918!

In The Football Record for the event, Chatterer noted that ‘on the form shown by both teams this year, the Southeners should win outright to-day’ (p. 4).

But, the match report in The Australasian noted that ‘the match… was easily the best contest in the finals series. The day was “made to order,” the sun shining gloriously, while there was a gentle south-westerly breeze, which slightly favoured the Richmond end. The teams were evenly matched, and victory was not achieved until the last half-minute of play.’ Apparently, ‘South scored the most remarkable victory ever witnesses in a league final. While one cannot help sympathising with Collingwood, who played such a remarkably fine game, one must nevertheless heartily congratulate the winners for their magnificent staying power and pluck, which were fittingly rewarded in a remarkable climax’ (September 14, 1918, p. 23).

Keen readers might be interested in an excellent, but very faded, full page of photos from the day available in The Weekly Times.

For now, ‘Good luck go with both, and may the better men win’, as Chatterer proclaimed in 1918 (p. 4). May we see a game this weekend with luck, pluck, and great skill!

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