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FOOTBALL ROMANCE.

PAST AND PRESENT PLAYERS.

ARE THEY COMPARABLE?

By Old Boy.

A source of unending argument between football enthusiasts is as to the respective merits of the teams of today as compared   with those before the war,and it must be       admitted that the old adage, "There were giants in the land in those days," enters   largely into the discussions. A few days   ago an old player said to me that he had   given up going to football for some time.

"I cannot stand it," he said."I do not       think the present-day men are in the same   street as the old players. There is not the splendid kicking or the beautiful running   with the ball. Do you ever see a man Kick off like Ted Rowell used to do for   Collingwood or clear his goal with a dash   which took the ball well past the centre as Joe Pearce used to do for Melbourne? Can you see a man able to stand up to the rushes of Paddy Hickey for Fitzroy or Bill Busbridge for Essendon? Is there a centre   man as clever as Fred Leach of Colling- wood? Has Charlie Pannam, of South Mel-

bourne, anything like the ability of his   father Charlie Pannam of Collingwood? What ruck is there to compare with Henry Young (Geelong) and V.Cumberland (Mel-  

bourne), with Fred McGinis (Melbourne)   as rover? I do not think one of these   has an equal today and as for Albert Thur-     good or 'Dookie' McKenzie, well, all I can say is that such players do not exist today. I would like to pick a team of   men who played in the League before the war, and match it against a team of players in the League today." He mentioned the     following side:-    

BACKS.-J. Flynn (Carlton, captain, E.Rowell   (Collingwood), P. Hicky (Fitzroy).

HALF BACKS.-W.Payne (carlton), H.Gavin         (essendon), W.Busbridge (Essendon).          

CENTRES- C.Pannam (collingwood), F.Leach   (Collingwood), H.Howson(South Melbourne).    

HALF FORWARDS- J. McKenzie (Essendon), A.J.Thurgood (Essendon), P. Trotter(Fitzroy).          

FORWARDS.-C. Baker (St. Kilda), D.   Mc.Namara (St.Kilda), M.Grace (Carlton).    

FOLLOWERS- H.Young (Geelong), V.Cumber-     lan (Melbourne).  

ROVER- F.McGinis(Melbourne).      

This certainly is a wonderful combination of champions but what a number of men   are missed. The first ruck- Young, Cum- berland, and McGinis- were all cham-   pions; and then to follow them there would be Flynn and Busbridge, with Percy Trot-       ter as rover and Mc.Namara and Mckenzie   to relive them. The pace and strength of the side would be commensurate with its skill and it would be a well balanced side, strong at every point.I wonder how     many variations in the side there would be if 20 men sat down to pick a team.

The old player reffered to frankly con-   fessed that he could not speak of the days before the League was formed. He had heard of Jim Wilson and GeoiRo Watson of Geelong of George Robertson, George Coulthard and Paddi Gunn (Carlton) of ' Toppy" Longden and Murdoch Mckenzie of Melbourne of "Dinni'' McKay and   Fred McKnight of South Melbourne of     "Billy" Hannaysee of Port Melbourne

of "Commotion" Pearson and "Jumbo"     Carter of Essendon but he knew them by   repute only. He had opened up a very wide subject in choosing a team of League plyers f rom 1897 to 1914 and it was in-   teresting to look back and think of how many teams one could pick to equal that given above. Yes, truly there were giants   in the land in those days and it is equally certain that 15 years hence the reputation   of such stars of today as Syd Coventry (Collingwood), lvor Warne- Smith (Mel- bourne,Frank Maher (Essendon), Alex     Duncan and "Horrie" Clover(Carlton),   "Horrie" Mason (St. Kilda) Cargie Greeves (Geelong), and Donald Don ( Richmond ) will be surrounded by the romance of years   and will be regarded with tradition and recollection even as the heroes of the past.     An interesting study for the long winter   evenings to come would be to pick a team   from players since the war to meet those who played prior to 1914.    

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