(late, breaking) Round 21, 2017

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Our journey this year is almost at an end and whether you’re working out if your team has a mathematical chance of playing finals or have already painted your front fence in team colours – we couldn’t help but reflect upon retirements (see ABC’s ranking of the 2017 retirees).

This makes us hark back to 1914, when our University team ‘retired’ from the league (Exit University, Argus 17 October 1914, p22). As would be expected from academics, Professor Baldwin Spencer said that there had been ‘careful consideration’ but the ‘only course for the club was to withdraw’ from the league. While there were some good players, it was ‘beyond’ the University to ‘maintain a high standard’ of play, and also examinations came in the middle of the season. The Argus reported Spencer saying the University didn’t want to ever re-enter the league ‘but wished to thank that body for the kindness and courtesy the club had always received. (Applause.)’

So to the footy record of 1914 we head for all the latest news. The 21st round of football was a preliminary final and played on 19 September 1914. South Melbourne had defeated Geelong, and Carlton defeated Fitzroy in the semi-finals on the previous two weekends, and that week South Melbourne faced Carlton at the MCG. ‘Chatterer’ declared that there was ‘A man’s sized job ahead of South’ and the ‘Carltonians are fast and clever’ (p3). South were up to the job (as their present-day counterparts were against Adelaide on Friday night) and defeated Carlton by 19 points.

There is much present day discussion about the Match Review Panel and seemingly inconsistent penalties. The questions of whether one should keep the studs of their boots up or down is a new one and we agree with Bob Murphy, Jordan Lewis and Jack Riewoldt: we always ensure our studs are down. In light of this it was the Footy Record’s reports of player behaviours that caught our eye. One incident involved St Kilda’s Billy Schmidt who was charged with striking L Fairbairn (Geelong). Schmidt denied the charge, he said it was only a bump, but Schmidt was disqualified until 20 June 1915. This was to be ‘a warning to players to control themselves on the field’ (‘Rough Football’ The Argus 3 September 1914 p9). The complaints about Schmidt did not end there, however, with the Steward of the match, D. J. Wheeler following up and saying that he had been called ‘a mongrel’ by Schmidt (p6). The Argus reported that the League and tribunal said they would ‘protect the officials. We will not have them insulted by players or anyone else’(‘Rough Football’ The Argus 3 September 1914 p9).

We are pleased to report that we haven’t been advised of any bad language or name calling – or ‘bumps’ – amongst any readers out there. 

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