Round 16, 2018

Queensland Australian National Football League Team in Hobart, Tasmania, 1924, Image no 28014-0001-0001, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Two exciting matches in the last round were won by two points – and while this is good for footy – it was somewhat anxiety inducing for Saints (W), Demons (L), Doggies (W) and Cats (L) supporters.

There was, however, some comic relief in watching twelve doggies doing star jumps and vertical leaps behind the player on the mark as the Cat’s Harry Taylor was preparing to kick for goal after the siren to win the game. The star and vertical jumps morphed into jubilant group hugs as Taylor failed to kick the goal from 40 meters out and the Doggies won (last two minutes here or if you’re short of time see key moments here).

There was some discussion about umpiring and whether there was an infringement on the protected area (there wasn’t) but this made us think of the 1924 Australasian Football Council meeting when it was decreed that ‘one man only be allowed to stand on the mark when a player is kicking for goal’ (Argus, 9 August 1924, p19). Mr Moffatt (West Australia) moved that law 8 be amended, and Mr Dawes (South Australia) seconded it as he ‘said the game was turned into a circus by reason of the fact that an unlimited number of players were allowed to stand on an opponent’s mark’ (Barrier Miner, 11 August 1924, p4).

Incidentally, other proposals at the same Australasian Football Council meeting included putting a cross bar between goal posts, awarding 5 points for a goal and 3 points for a ball hitting the post but these ‘lapsed for want of a seconder’ (Argus, 9 August 1924, p19). But, as we all know, this penchant for continual attempts at rule changes continues unabated into the current moment!

Given we haven’t looked at the Football Record for a while, and we’re missing “Chatterers'” take on our game – we’re heading to round 16 of the Record to see what was happening in the 28th season of the VFL, which was ultimately won by Essendon under the leadership of captain coach Syd Barker.

In terms of the local competition at the start of round 16, the third last round of the season, Essendon and South were on top of the ladder and there was debate as to which other two teams would be in the top 4 – Fitzroy was third, ‘[hoping] to at least stick there’ with Geelong, Richmond and ‘Collingwoodians’ all waiting ‘to squeeze into that fourth possi’ (p3).

In Round 16, the Magpies were playing Geelong in Geelong and “Chatterer” employed an evocative turn of phrase to describe getting to the game: ‘Quail have their periods of migration. And to-day Magpies migrate. They started early this morning some flying through Footscray, Laverton, Werribee and so on in motor cars, motor vans, and on motor bikes. The main body travelled by train’ (p3). This match saw ‘the blue and white hoops’ against ‘the black and white bars’ who were both ‘battling hard for fourth place’ on the ladder (p3). In their previous meeting in Geelong, it was reported that ‘Geelong gave the Birds a trouncing 9-18 to 3-8’ (p5), and it turned out they did it again.

There was national footy being played in 1924, and the Victorian players had just returned from the Australian National Football Carnival in Hobart. Victoria won the competition and it was said that ‘Our gallant lads … have proved themselves the boys of the bulldog breed which has made Victoria’s name as champions of the Southern Seas’ (p3). In the final match of the tournament Victoria beat South Australia, and ‘went so far ahead’ in the third quarter that ‘South has no more hope of catching them than they had of flying’. Ultimately, ‘the Vics cantered home easy winners’ (p7).

The Victorians were said to all agree that they ‘had a royal time in Hobart’. They were taken to ‘practically all the beauty spots near Hobart’. The team was also taken to Mt Wellington twice where they ‘heartily indulged’ in ‘snowballing’. Travel on roads and river made the trip ‘most enjoyable’ and one that those who were there, were unlikely ‘to soon forget’ (p13).

“Chatterer” was glowing in talking about Victorian footy, but brutal in describing the state of football played by the Queensland team: ‘There is no need to waste space in telling how easily the Queenslanders were defeated in each of their games’. Some more space was, however, used and it was said that ‘The games against Queensland were little short of burlesque football’ and that football in the state required improvement (p9).

We hope that none of our team’s playing style will fall into burlesque territory, but a little around the end of a close game can make one giggle, especially if your team wins!

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