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).
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.