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Dyer's Grand First Quarter


Brilliant play in the first quarter of the VFL preliminary final at St Kilda

on Saturday enabled Richmond to lead by 50 points to five. They staved off some later rallies by Essendon to win by 21 points, and thus quali- fied to meet Fitzroy in the grand final this week.

RICHMOND ... 8.2 10.5 15.9 16.12 (108) ESSENDON ... 0.5 5.7 7.9 12.15 (87)

Rarely has a higher standard of play been seen in a first quarter in second-round games. Clapping on the pace, and with the ball the ob- jective all through, Richmond played a strong, concerted game. With Dyer the spearhead after the first few minutes, the strong captain coach played one of the finest games in his career to kick four of the eight goals scored and take a hand in at least three others. He showed dash, cleverness, anticipation, and good marking to outwit the opposition, and, with Merrett darting in and out of the packs to lead attacks from the wing, and the rucks functioning well, the bombardment was so in- tense that Essendon wilted.

So strong and purposeful was Rich- mond's play that the game may be said to have been won in the first 15 minutes. Essendon, which seemed to be without a plan of campaign, recovered later, and in the last three quarters, in two of which they had the breeze, they scored 12-10 to 8-10, but one had the impression all through that Richmond were In


When Essendon scored four quick goals in the last quarter to be only four goals behind, supporters began to hope that victory might still be snatched, but Richmond took up the slack, only one more goal being scored from that point. Neverthe- less, Richmond began to lapse into errors in various positions. They gave away free kicks by foolish play, and short passing on their back line was far from "textbook" football.


Apart from the individual brilliance of Dyer, who kicked nine goals, Rich- mond's success came from a win- ning ruck (except in the last quar- ter), splendid wing play, and the safe and at times dashing defence. All six men in defence shone at vari- ous times, their marking and their anticipation driving back attack after attack.

Essendon were most unfortunate in that Bushby, their strong ruck man, on whom they relied for drive from the ruck, hurt his ankle in the first quarter. Although it was stated that Coward was fit, it was obvious that he was favouring his ankle, and Merrett, his opponent, had a field day. Buttsworth hurt his hip early In the game.

Randall (Richmond) was violently sick at half-time, following a severe knock. He played fairly well from that point. Scott and Jones suf- fered from cramp, but were only temporarily out of the game. It is probable that the team will not be altered for the grand final.


Waldron, Dyer, and Merrett could almost be bracketed as best player because of their influence on the game all day. Because he never made a mistake, marked splendidly, and constantly set his team into at- tack with perfect passing to position, No 1 place goes to Waldron. Dyer comes next because of his remark- able success as full forward, his con- trol of the team generally, and his capacity for being in the right place at the right time, whether it was ruck, back, or forward. Merrett was as spectacular as he was useful. Perkins was another defender who turned- many attacks. Smeaton, Burge, Wilson, Maguire (second half), and P. Cook were probably best of the others, among whom there

were no passengers.

Griggs, in the centre for Essendon, was their most conspicuous player, although he roamed considerably from his position. Hird was fast and determined in defence. Rey- nolds, Cassin, Lane (after that fatal first quarter), Betson, Bushby, and Plummer were best of the others.

Hawkins must be complimented on his work as umpire. He was quietly efficient in controlling the game, and his mistakes were few.

Goals: Richmond: Dyer 9, Burge 3, Randall 2, Bawden, Wilson. Es- sendon: Reynolds 3, Powell 3, Bush- by 3, Hutchison, Smith, McIvor.