This weekend we’re marking the Queen’s Birthday round, which drew us instantly to the 1958 Queen’s Birthday Holiday game between Melbourne and Collingwood. This was the game when a crowd of 99,346 fans were present, a figure particularly noteworthy for the fact that it remains the highest attendance for home-and-away games in VFL/AFL history (more game stats here).
Heading to the footy record for round 12 of 1958 – what was the news? ‘Chatterer’ reported that Melbourne, ‘the team with the “mortgage” on the 1958 Centenary pennant’ had just lost to Fitzroy, who were ‘regarded by many tipsters as on the way out.’ But they ‘proved the giant killers’, beating Melbourne 12.16.88 to 6.11.47. (3) The commentary on Melbourne was brutal – ‘Chatterer’ described their game as ‘pathetic’, the defence as ‘completely disorganised’, ‘the centre line non-existent’ and their ‘forwards hopeless’.(3-4) Melbourne were ‘out-paced, out-thought, outrucked and beaten at every stage of the game’. (3)
Not to dwell too much on Melbourne, the Tigers ‘were administering their private shock treatment to Hawthorn’, beating them after a number of losses. (3) The Hawks were said to be ‘up against it’. (6) North Melbourne had beaten St. Kilda ‘without having to fully exert themselves’; the Bombers were reported as playing much better and Geelong were continuing ‘their upward climb’. (4) The Bulldogs had ‘played some excellent games this year. At other times they have failed completely to live up to the promise they showed in their successes’ (5).
Chatterer reported that ‘Today’s round is fraught with interest’ (6) – and we totally agree. In fact, every football round commands our attention and is ‘fraught with interest’!