THE FOOTBALL SEASON.
THE LEAGUE FINALS.
ESSENDON AND COLLINGWOOD
THE ASSOCIATION PREMIERSHIP.
NOTES BY "OBSERVER." ESSENDON WIN AT GEELONG.
The Geelong people, having realised their just de-
sire that one at least of the finals should be played at Geelong, turned out in force on Saturday after- noon to see Essendon meet the local heroes. A fea- ture of the Corio ground on a big day is the ring of vehicles drawn up side by side round the rink, and from which a good view is obtained, while a turn or two round the driving track which encircles the ground seems to be the correct thing at half-time. The attend- ance was an effective answer to all that has been said about Geelong patronage, as something like £100 was taken at the gates. The ground was in first-rate condition, the white English daisies which used to make "Old Mac," of East Melbourne, en- vious, because he could never get them to grow on his turf, still ornamenting the cricket pitches.
Both sides had strong teams and the only thing to be regretted was a stiff south wind, blowing al- most directly into one goal. Geelong had this be- hind them at the start and Essendon expected a hot time, but though Parkin and Quinn were shoot-
ing for goal within a few minutes, they missed their chances, and the Essendon backs cheered by their non success started to play a very fine de-
fensive game, keeping a special eye on James, who seemed to be the only forward man they feared. About the middle of the quarter Essendon, helped mainly by the fine marking of Forbes and Collins, made a rally, which several times brought them within scoring distance against the wind,but though Cleghorn had one easy chance no goals were got. After getting away to the left of the posts several times Geelong finished the quarter with 11 points to 2 and should have made a better use of their advantage in that term. The home team really played their best game in the second quar- ter, when with the wind against them they lead Essendon frequently on the defensive, and with the points 12 to 10 the game had yet to be won. Up to half-time both sides when defending against the wind showed a desire to get the ball as often as possible into the pavilion reserve, but they were told at half-time that the offence would be punished strictly, and it was significant that the ball rarely went out afterwards. In the third quar- ter Geelong again started missing, and as the precious minutes slipped by and the goals would not come. Captain Conway grew manifestly anxious, and ran Thompson out from the back lines to help the forwards, though Burns would, I fancy, have been the better man. Three times James got close to goal with magnificent place kicks, the last of his shots. which everyone declared would not cover the distance, hitting the post near the top, Kearney, with a close snap-shot, also hit the post for Essendon later on.White scored the only goal of the quarter for Geelong, as James was forcing it along, and it closed with Geelong leading by practically two goals. "Not enough." said their somewhat despondent followers, but "Quite enough" was the cry when immediately on be- ginning the last quarter Geelong carried it finely against the wind, and James with one of his place packs scored a really good goal. It was only a crush, though, and an ugly one for Essendon, and thence on the red and black played their finest game, and never again let the Geelong fellows reach their posts, Collins cheered them up by snapping a goal smartly, but Hastings missed an easy chance. Just as it seemed Geelong would hold out successfully, the turning-point of the match came. Cleghorn got fourth goal, and with 12 minutes to play, Geelong had still a six points' lead on behinds. Seven of these minutes precious
to Essendon slipped away, and then Campbell got a place kick a long way out. "Further round, Colin," several of his side shouted eagerly, for it seemed the direction would carry it down the wind, but a magnificent shot put it high up exactly be- tween the posts and with five minutes to play the scores were even. Geelong were not long in sus- pense. Within half a minute. Wright got it, not
quite so far out as Campbell, and another fine place kick gave Essendon a goal and the lead. It was the last score, and as the bell rang the Essen- don fellows and their following cheered wildly in honour of the victory.
Though it was an exciting game, it was not a good one, for Crapp followed the instructions of
the umpire committee and exacted penalties for every slight infringement—which, in a game of that character were bound to be numerous. If then the game was spoiled by over-umpiring, until the free kicks became irritating in their frequency, the committee and not the umpire were to blame, and whether this was the case I leave it to the spectators to say. That the umpire was fair, and punished both sides with equal rigour, was a negative consideration. It could hardly be said that Essendon played the better game—for Geelong against the wind in the second quarter played the finest football of the match, and even their failure is the ruck would not have lost them the match but for their faulty shooting. Their ruck badly needed strengthening all through, for Young was playing nothing like his usual game, and Joe M'Shane suffering from an injured thigh and using his left foot to kick, was nothing like the tremendous power he has been in other games of the season. The Essendon ruck, on the other hand, played finely, more especially when Vautin was turned loose after half-time, for his dazzling rushes and hare-like turns made a wonderful differ- ence. It was Essendon's ruck play in the latter stages, and their splendid defence all through, that brought them out winners, for on the centre line they were beaten from start to finish. In excuse for Geelong's bad goal kicking, and many pro- mising runs on both sides that ended in a fiasco, it should be explained that the ball was too long, and made remarkable side shoots when it should have gone straight ahead. In picking out a few men as worthy of special mention. Martin, Anderson, Vautin and Forbes were the four who shone for Essendon. Anderson not only watched and baulked James repeatedly, but did a lot of fine play for himself, while Martin was consistent all through, and repeatedly saved Essendon's goal. Forbes worked hard in his characteristic way, and was always most prominent when the game looked most critical. The remarkable thing about Vautin's play was that played he seemed useless, but on the ball he was the best man on the ground. Kearney worked in his own hard unselfish way from start to finish and Collins's high marking and generally sound play were much admired, while he got two of the goals. Barry played a clever dodging game. and though others on the side did well, these were
the pick of the twenty. The Geelong centre line was very fine, for although both M'Callum and Brockwell were almost at their best, M'Guire was still better while Campbell was manifestly out of form, he did a lot, however, to check M'Callum. Brockwell made several good runs, but the finest of the day was credited to Burns, who carried it from his own goal over the half-line—and many times during the game the veteran got Geelong out of an awkward fix. Parkin and James M'Shane were the best of the Geelong followers, but Rankin as rover was not up to the form he has frequently shown this winter. The three other most useful men on the side were Flynn, Conway, and Holligan the Geelong captain, especially, quite astonish- ing his townsmen with his safe marking.
COLLINGWOOD BEAT MELBOURNE.
It is not going too far to say that on Saturday. Melbourne and Collingwood furnished the game of the season, and there was a fair crowd to see it. the gate being £173/14/, including £19/10/ from the collection boxes in the reserves. As the crowd there was a very large one, it would be interest- ing to know on the authority of the turnstiles what was the average contribution per head. The teams were about equally affected by absentees.
ln the game itself, the traditions of both teams were completely overturned, for Collingwood did all the work in the first half, and Melbourne, who generally want a good start before they are seen at their best, played grandly in the last half, with a discouraging pile of points to be wiped off. The ominous thing for the Reds was that Collingwood, playing against the wind in the first quarter, best there by three points, and getting the wind be- hind them, scored four goals to Melbourne's one,
two of the goals, it is but fair to note, being got after Fry had, through the recurrence of his old injury, been obliged to leave the ground, and while Wardill was also absent in search of a new uniform. his jacket having been form to shreds. Scores of 6-5 to 2-2 at half-time was rather a desolate prospect for Melbourne. Thus far it had been a great game, desperate in its intensity, with lots of the cleverest football and the style in which both sides picked their men showed discipline and judg- ment of the best kind. In the case of two of the goals—those scored by M'Ginis and Dowdell—it
looked as though the players had really tried to place the ball to their own men nearer goal, and
got it further than they expected. Collingwood
thought they should have had one more goal from
a dribble, but it was manifestly touched on the
goal line, and not behind it. In the second half. Melbourne started with great dash, and, playing a faster game than Collingwood gradually wore
the Magpies down. It was a fine manly exhibition on the part of the Reds, and it was hard luck in- deed for them that a few points had yet to be cleared away when the last bell rang, and Colling- wood, heartily thankful for a "let off." had won their first game on the Melbourne Cricket-ground. It was such a game as one might watch for a week
without tiring, the one discernible fault a ten dency to crowd on to the ball- being easily ex-
cusable in so exciting a struggle. That Melbourne had the best of it all through the second half is shown in that they got 2-3 to 1-3 in the third quarter, and three goals bare as against Colling-
wood's 1-1 in the last term.
With a fine exhibition of combined play it often happens that the individual is in subjection, but this was not the case on Saturday, What could
be finer for example, than Moysey's handball. which helped Melbourne distinctly to two of their goals. Once Moysey and Sholl exchanged it from
hand to hand a half-dozen times- the Collingwood men powerless to stop them- and, finally. It went still without a check them Moysey to Leith, via Robinson and Young, and closed with a fine goal. M'Lead made one beautiful run, carefully shep-
hered by M'Ginis and others, and another series of exchanges between Monahan, Condon, Kaye, and Gregory was amongst the prettiest bits of the day. Collingwood had again reason to congratu-
late themselves on finally discovering Hailwood's true position in the ruck, where both his weight and skill were a tremendous force in the first half. All things considered, though, Sime was about the cleverest man Collingwood had on the ground, for through his opponent, Sheahan, was the faster of two filrers, the Magpie had dodgy twists in flight that were most puzzling, Pannam, on the other flank, whipped Watson unmistakably, and there was some slashing play about the centre, where Strickland's dash and unvarying accuracy in playing out to his own men were fine, indeed, but not so fine as the repeated dashes of Lewis, who played the best placed game on his side, and was second only to M'Ginis to general efficiency. Condon, contrary to custom, played his best game in the first half, but, like several others on the side, was unable to carry it through to the finish. Indeed, the unmistak- able fact that the Collingwood men had then been outlasted somewhat modified the joy of their sup- porters in the victory. Little Dowdell was as clever as a kitten, always in the thick of it, ever
doing something smart and daring, and getting
two of the goals scored by his side. Of the backs Dow and Monaban did excellent work, and Proud- foot was even more safe than usual. Smith and Gregory were also valuable players. Melbourne missed Moodey from their ruck, especially when Fry had to abandon them; but the splendid work of the other followers, notably M'Ginis, Moysey,
and Wardill, was good enough for any ruck that over stripped. Both M'Ginis and Wardill took the
risks in sticking to the ball as long as there was a chance, but suffered for it very slightly in free kicks as compared with the general benefit to their side. A great factor in their play was Leith's success as a goal-kicker, for he scored four of the seven goals, and his kicking was, indeed, fine. Robinson, as usual, played a most determined game, while fine work was done on the half-back line by Herring, Healing and Wood, and yet fur- ther home, by M'Leod. Young was also very smart forward. M'Coy is again to be congratu- lated on the nice judgment and accuracy with which he umpired the game.
PORT MELBOURNE THE PREMIERS.
The association season is practically over, for in beating Richmond so decisively on Saturday Port Melbourne gained a position from which, they cannot possibly be displaced, and, as events have so long indicated, they are the un-
mistakable premiers of the V.F.A. How they stand in relation to league teams is a problem which they themselves are very anxious to put to the test, and may do so in a game with South Melbourne for the benefit of M'Kay's widow and children. Port Melbourne, at any rate, are willing to cry off their last match against Brunswick to play this or any other game that may be arranged with the same object. The Ports in their game against Richmond excelled, as usual, in quick passing, high-marking, and above all, in the smart work done by their forwards. Up to half-time Richmond played a very fair game, but afterwards they had nothing to do with the issue-and once the ball got past their half-backs a goal for the Ports followed almost as a matter of course. In connection with this part of the game the most remarkable feature was that Mor- ton, who for the first time in his long career played as a forward, got six goals, while Daly scored three, and by the time the season closes will probably have bagged 50 goals for his side. Cullen, who has just returned from West Australia, showed his old form, but M'Gee was absolutely the pick of the side, with Monagle, Pollock, and Freame, as usual doing a let of good work. Parker maintained his place as the best man of the Richmond team, other noticeable players being Bahen, who did remarkably well on the wing, Ryan, Clarke, Watson, and Backhouse. There was a disturbance at the finish in which some of the crowd took part, but I am not sufficiently familiar with the details to say exactly where the blame
OTHER ASSOCIATION GAMES.
In the game between Williamstown and North Melbourne victory went to the better side, for, ex-
cept in the third quarter, the Williamstown men showed the better game. The play then was par- ticularly good, though at other times too rough to be altogether a pleasant spectacle. Up to half- time the home team had walked over their op- ponents completely, a fact that did not in any way improve the northern temperament. For the winner, Worroll was the best man on the field with Warren, Fagin, Scott, Riley, W. Hall, M'Wil- liams, Barnes and Guthrie all playing good foot-
ball, Gibbs got three goals for the winners and Dyson two. For the losers, Graham, H. Launder, Williams, Grierson, E. Launder, Quilligan, Mont- gomery, Rolent, and Taylor did best. At Foots- cray the home team and Brunswick played a good close game, in which the goal-kicking of both sides was under the average in accuracy.
THE LEAGUE FINALS.
1st 2nd 3rd
Match. Qtr. Qtr. Qtr. Final. Pts. Essendon .. .. .. 0-2 1-1 1-1 5-5 35 Geelong .. .. .. 1-5 1-6 2-11 3-11 29 Collingwood .. 1-4 5-5 6-8 7-9 51 Melbourne .. .. 1-1 2-2 4-5 7-5 47
1st 2nd 3rd Match. Qtr. Qtr. Qtr. Final. Pts.
Port Melbourne . .. 2-4 5-4 8-7 13-9 87
Richmond .. .. .. .. 2-1 3-2 3-3 3-3 21 Williamstown .. .. 4-3 5-4 9-6 9-7 61 North Melbourne. 0-0 0-2 1-2 2-5 17 Footscray .. .. .. .. 0-1 0-4 1-6 3-10 28
Brunswick .. .. .. 0-4 1-5 1-7 2-8 20
POSITION OF TEAMS.
Club. Won. Lost
Port Melbourne .... 15 2 Footscray .. 11 0 North Melbourne .. .. li 0 Williamstown . 8 8 Brunswick.*. 3 14 Richmond. 2 11
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Results of matches played on Saturday :-Albert- park v. Fitzroy Juniors-Won by Albert-park, 3 goals 8 behinds (26 points) to 3 goals 5 behinds (23 points). Albion United v. Richmond City-Won by Richmond City, 9 goals 4 behinds (58 points) to 2 goals 5 behinds (17 points). West Melbourne v. Collingwood Juniors-Won by West Melbourne, 2 goals 3 behinds (21 points) to 2 goals 2 behinds (20 points), Royal-park Crescent v. Preston-Won by Royal-park Crescent, 3 goals 8 behinds (26 points) to 3 goals 5 behinds (23 points).
POSITIONS OF CLUBS TO DATE.
Name of Club.
Fitzroy Juniors .. . Montague Juniors..
West Melbourne . Albion United Richmond City
Collingwood Juniors Hawthorn
Royal-park Crescent Preston ....
FOOTBALL FOR STAKES.
A football match at Strahan to-day excited much local interest, and brought 500 spectators from Zeehan. The King and Queen clubs contested for a prize of £100, either cash or a trophy of equal value. The Queen won by 5 goals 5 be- hinds to King's 1 goal 6 behinds.
The football match, Wellington v. Auckland, was won by the latter to-day by 11 points to 3. This is the first time for 20 years that Wellington has been beaten on its own ground in an inter- provincial match.