This week we’ve seen the trials and tribulations of Carlton’s Curnow brothers. Clearly they missed our advice last week – that one should ‘follow umpires directions but never touch them in the process!’ And after verdicts and appeals and tribunal appearances, it’s ended up with Ed receiving a one-match ban, and Charlie coughing up $1000, both as penance for ‘umpire contact’ charges.
They’re not the first brothers to play footy, of course. There’s a long history of brothers, as well as fathers, sons, nephews and cousins, playing the game, as well as a new history-starting-to-be-made of mothers, daughters, and nieces. In that vein, we can step back in time to the Aked family, many of whom played. Frank Snr played in Footscray’s inaugural VFL team in 1925 (as well as for Hawthorn), and was known as a ‘good mark and wonderful trier’. His son, Frank Jr, also played for the Doggies. And we can’t forget Arthur Edwards, Frank Snr’s son-in-law, who played for Footscray, and his son Allan (Richmond, Collingwood, and the traditional family club of Footscray). Then there was also Allan’s son Jake (Carlton), and his nephew Shane O’Bree (Brisbane and Collingwood). The broader Aked family’s playing career, then, spans from 1925-2010. Quite a feat!
But in the Aked family’s first year of playing at the highest level, 1925, the footy record in round 9, ‘Chatterer’ himself noted that ‘Football history has to be drawn on… in connection with the match today between St. Kilda and Footscray. What strikes one,’ he told his readers, ‘when looking back to old records is the smallness of the scores in olden times as compared with the big hitting of these days’ (p. 8). One wonders what he would say about the constant discussions of high and low scores these days! Indeed, ‘time brings about changes’, Chatterer explained, ‘as the flapper with red hair a few years ago remarked the other day, when she pointed to her hair, which has turned white’ (p. 9).
And travel times and prices to the grounds on the ‘Fast Electric Trains’ were noted (p.5). For those curious, the longest journey was 18 minutes from Melbourne to Essendon (alighting at Essendon, for a cost of 8d.), while the shortest was 3 minutes from Melbourne to the M.C.C. (for which you should pay 2d. and alight at Jolimont) and Melbourne to Richmond (at a cost of 3d., alighting at Richmond).
Excitement was brewing, for the following week was to be held, ‘at the Melbourne ground’, a State of Origin game between Victoria and New South Wales, with ‘a curtain-raiser between Junior League teams’ preceding the senior match. And for those concerned about missing out, ‘the results of the V.R.C. races (including the Grand National) will, as usual, be shown on the “Record” Scoring Board’ (p. 3).
And our old friend Frank Aked Snr unfortunately didn’t play in round 9 – he didn’t debut until round 10, and then only played rounds 10-13, and 17 that first season – but his team lost by 48 points. Alec/Alex Mutch, a former Collingwood player, umpired the game.
On that note, we leave you to contemplate further the perils of touching umpires, and to wonder what you would choose: in the bargain between paying or not playing, would you rather be Ed or Charlie? (We of course would say Charlie, but maybe some would choose Ed?)