Round 1, 2018

Football Record, v 7 no 1, 11 May 1918, p 1, from the State Library of Victoria

And so it is that time of year – the AFLW’s season is coming to a close, and the AFL men’s is beginning. This coming weekend sees the final of the AFLW’s, and it’s looking like a bit of a period of success for Brisbane and the Doggies, across both forms of the game! Hopefully the lights and available seating at Ikon Park prove to be up to the grand occasion.

For those with a AFLW team – you can now focus your attention on the men’s game, and for those with no women’s team to follow, it’s time dust off your scarves, look up the fixtures, join a tipping competition, and head to a game.

For those in Melbourne 100 years ago, this fateful moment of the first game of the season came not in March but on May 11, 1918, they played a shortened season due to the War. St Kilda and Essendon returned to the League (having not played the previous two years), and in the Footy Record our old friend ‘Chatterer’ announced the beginning of the season with a reminder that ‘It helps to Cheer at the Time when Cheer is Wanted’ (p. 3). This was a time, the Record told us, to ‘win the world’s premiership’ (p. 10). Membership sales across the clubs were up, and footy’s future looked bright (p. 11).

But while we start this year with Richmond the reigning premiers, in 1918 they began as reigning wooden spooners and were not doing so well, particularly against Carlton. When asked if he was playing that season, Bernie Herbert, Richmond’s star ruckman, retorted ‘I’m going to play… until we beat Carlton, if I live to a hundred before we do it’ (p. 4). ‘Chatterer’ exclaimed in response that this ‘startling record’ ‘would be like looking at Father Time running amok after he had thrown away his scythe and hour-glass’! It didn’t take that long for the Tigers to beat the Blues – they won by 5 points the following week in Round 2 at Princess Park.

Fingers crossed for all of us that we don’t need to live to a hundred to see our teams attain success!

Good luck to all for season 2018.

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