THE FOOTBALL SEASON.
A DAY OF SURPRISES. NOTES ON THE GAMES.
THE LEAGUE MATCHES.
DASH BEATS DISORGANISATION.
"A team of cripples, with not the slightest chance if winning," was the opinion of many Essendon men as to their own prospects at Fitz- roy last Saturday. In addition to Forbes and Officer, both gone in the ankles, they found at the last minute that neither Vautin nor O'Loghlen could, with any claim to wisdom, take part in the match, and with half a dozen good men miss- ing it did look a hopeless undertaking for Essen- don. Two things have to be considered, however, and admitting Essendon weaker than usual, they forgot to reckon the from of the other side, who had Cleary and M'Micheal, their captain and vice- captain, still looking on, and Banks leading them once more. When Essendon started by getting first goal with a long angle shot by Thur- good—a relative of their famous goal-kicker of other years—the spectators thought it a flash in the pan, and declared that Fitzroy would come with a rush in a minute. The rush was delayed rather more than a minute—so long, indeed, that the descendants of Cyclops, who haunt the local press-box, found the Essendon Ulysses putting their eye out in "the same old" emphatic fashion. Up to three-quarter time Essendon had been doing most of the work, and doing it in the best style, so that for two-thirds of the time the play was in the Fitzroy ground. Yet all along one had the impression that Fitzroy was really the stronger twenty, but was playing badly. On this last point three could be no mistake. They seemed altogether disorganised, were fumbling far more than was excusably and putting in a great amount of hard work to little purpose. With Fitzroy it was a case of plug-plug-plug, which one of Essendon's old meteoric dashes more than counterbalanced. With an advantage of 35 points to 9 at the last change Essendon had the game is hand, but they either made the common mistake of suddenly converting a brilliant attack into a defence, or were run to a standstill by their earlier excretions. At any rate, they were soundly beaten in the last quarter, and during that stage,
at any rate, Fitzroy showed the form expected of them. With a little lack they would have re- duced the difference in points quickly, for four successive shots went in the same spot, just a yard outside goal. Essendon got one useful hint—as well as a gallantly won, if unexpected, victory— viz., that it is unwise to change wining tactics.
Some teams—like the combatants in the greater game of international politics—must be agressive to be effected, and when Essendon adopted the Gladstonian policy of simply seeking to hold what they had gained, they dropped in an instant form brilliancy to modernity. Hood, again, um- pired a good game, and in a few matches has shown himself indisputably the right man for the
Essendon rejoiced in once more having their game little follower, Gus Kearney, with them, and the game has not left him behind, for he was one of Essendon's three best men from start to finish- the other two being, in my opinion. An- derson and Kinnear. Anderson has that quality possessed by M'Ginis, of Melbourne, more than any other player I know of always finishing up with a fine long drop-kick. Kinnear was a deter- mined little worker all through. Wright, as usual, was a better man at the start than the finish ; and George Stuckey made many fine dashes, which in the attacking stage, told greatly for the side. Waugh was another of Essendon's light heeled clippers, who showed that brain is mostly a match for muscle. He and Thurgood each got two goals. Martin showed admirable form back just when Essendon most needed him. Darcy back, and Salkeld, Barry, and Cleghorn were useful men to their side. Fitzroy's defence was the more even of the two- so strong, indeed, that looking back at the game one wonders at the result. Reid was playing a sure and fast game; Banks re- liable as usual; while Muirhead. Hickey, and Dalton were a fine half-back line while they were kept together. Muirhead I look upon as one of the best little men in the Fitzroy team-an un- tiring worker. If Fitzroy backs were strong, their forwards were all to pieces, Kiernan being, perhaps, the one exception D. Moriarty played a good game in the centre, where Fitzroy were generally beaten, and in their ruck the best work was done by M. Grace and Sloane.
FIRST DEFEAT FOR COLLINGWOOD.
When South Melbourne found themselves so much at sea in the opening game of the season, they talked wildly about going back to old rules. That topic exhausted, it occurred to them that if the game couldn't be made to suit South Melbourne, South Melbourne might be made to suit the game. There they were on safe ground, and their captain had a much easier task than would have awaited Mr. Sloss had he determined to induce the V.F.L. to revert to little marks and suicide. After being routed by Melbourne and just squeezing home team Carlton, South Melbourne have adapted the mesives to the new conditions so throughly that they are once again the formidable South, feet of foot and shrewd of head. This shows good management somewhere-and I dare say more than one aid lead contributed to it. When they met Collingwood on Saturday it was a fine interesting game for three quarters, though in the last stage little better than a catch-as-catch-can wrestling bout. The umpire, a young fellow named Smith, had not the moral away so essential in a grand where many men adept in the art of umpire-blaming were engaged, and I wonder that the league entrusted it to a novice.
With a faster and firmer umpire Collingwood thought they might have done a bit better, at the same time they admit that even on goals did not in this case mean even on merit, and that the North well deserved to win by them advantage on behinds. The only objectionable feature in the match was the conduct of the mode of howling maniacs who call themselves Southern
supporters. As a fact, they support nothing but the conviction that, uncontrolled, they would in time make it impossible for decent people to attend football matches. Their conduct towards the umpire especially made it very difficult for that un-
fortunate official to do his work.
Those who contributed mainly to South Mel- bourne strength in the centre. Howson, and Waugh, the last-named having a very counterable position, for Strickland had to leave him un- guarded so often when rounding up players that the popular Foddie did a lot in his own neat way. Howson was simply the cleverest place man on the ground. Taking it all though, Gibson was perhaps the South's most strongest man in the ruck, but Purdy gave great help at the outset, and Pleas in the later stages. M'Kay's marking was very fine in this he gave all hands a lead- and Windley roved with that consummate coolness so effective with him. Blackwood's mark- ing was the best thing froward, and D. Adamson was the pick of a bounce of good back men. Those of the Collingwood team who were strongest against Geelong were nowhere at South Melbourne. Condon and M'Donald played very effectively to- gether, at times the last-named chiefly doing the helping, while Condon did not always miss his op- portunity wisely. His judgement, though, in going for a high mark, is just about as nice as one sees in football. Little Dowdell brushed up a good deal in the later stages, when, with the players all in a heap, the conditions reminded him, perhaps of last season. Sime was the best of their middle men, and Proudfoot, Monahan, and Wil- liams, though useful back men, were not brilliant, Dow playing the cleverest game there towards the fiish, Hailwood, who has been out of form, showed improvement when tured out in the ruck, and both Tame and Tulloch were useful.
A MODEL GAME.
St. Kilda are not to be despised, despite their poor showing against Southern Queen's Birthday, and before the sheep and goats are drafted at the end of the fourteenth pound they may humble one or two who are now rejoining in their strength. Up to half time they were not in it with fly- ing Melbourne, but afterwards they were very much in it, and gave twenty hilings change for every sovereign the Reds could produce. In the first half the points were 42 to 19 in favour of Melbourne, in the second 31 to 27, and of the Melbourne points a dozen were got in the form of two goals just before the bell rang. Melbourne, now the only unbeaten team in the league, ex- celled, as usual, in those clever exchanges at
which they are transfer, and when Moysey and
Co. were hand tossing it one to another the St.
Kilda fellows were giddy with spinning round so continuously and getting nothing out of their humming top exhibition except a feeling that the elm trees round the ground were running races. The Saints played a slogging game, each one throwing himself into it heart and soul. The sum total was one of the prettiest matches of the
season a model in these qualities of fair play and generosity which lift a game above the aver- age. Could we get football of that was every
Saturday, we might indeed boast of the virtues of Australian rules. In addition to the advantages I have already mentioned. Melbourne were a bit
more clever in the close play. Two men on the side showed exceptional form M'Ginis and Woods- the Tasmanian favouring them with some of his most attractive football, while Wood's daz-
zling rushes from the half-back line greatly mul- tiplied his admirers. Lewis was much too good for Shaw in the centre-the double duty of watch- ing his opponent and his team being a heavy han-
dicap to the St. Kilda flier. Shehan was gene-
rally faster than the clever Matthews in the dart for the ball, though, on the other wing, Mitchell found himself out witted and outpaced by a clever Cumloden boy named Beggs. Moysey, as I have said, played handball to perfection, and if I call little Robinson an effective skiirter, it means some- thing much more complimentary than when Mr. Godfrey Watson applies it to one of his foxhounds. Herring, Moodey, and Young played nicely, but Moysey had the lead in goal-kicking, as he re- counted for 3, while Moysey and M'Ginis got 3 each. Aylwin and Hogan were again St. Kilda's two crack backs, the former being very sure, while Hogan rarely missed a mark and as the Melbourne men sought less to baulk him than heat him in fair soaring. Hogan had every chance to show his powers. The young collegian, M'Grath, also played a useful game. Jennings was clever in the ground play. One of the St. Kilda backs- Phillips- has a record, in that he has only missed one game in 74, the South Melbourne match being his exception. Can any footballer beat that? M'Leod showed an intimate knowledge of all the tricky points of football- and a disposition to talk from bounce to bell. Ahern did some nice mark- ing, and scored 2 goals, and M. Blake, as one of his comrades put it, carried the first goal "with a regular Irish rush," while D. Dunn, R. Stewart, and Hay were all prominent.
GEELONG START WINNING.
The conditions at Geelong being favourable to a good game, were accentuated by the masterly manner in which M'Coy, as umpire, handled it.
The Geelong people were quite charmed with his tact and pace, and, with both sides playing good football in a fine, open-spirited game, the players could be trusted with a high rein. Geelong had a good deal the best of it in the first half, for, with Young, Jos and James M'Shane, and Parkin all playing at their best, the Geelong, followers were a bit too big for the light, active lot who now compare the Carlton twenty. Geelong, how- ever, are still weak forward-otherwise they have shown a better result in goals. After half- time Carlton played a much better gamee, but? lind
not their atro-uctt tmutv doun. The tncn.l liuvi..
already named did good work for Geelong all through, and with them may be bracketed M'Cal-
lum, who was speedy as usual ; James, who both back and forward was in first-rate form, and scored 3 goals ; Flynn, of whose forward play Gee- long are more than enamoured ; Pontin, who maintained his reputation as a safe half-back ; and Conway, who improved on his past games. On Carlton's back lines, Reckie was at his best, and Walton and Lyons gave generous aid. The Blues, too, played a good centre line, where Casey and Armstrong were conspicuous. In the close play Aitken, Breeze, and Hannah worked very hard, and Chapman, a new man in the colours, proved a gain to the side, whether playing forward or on the ball.
THE ASSOCIATION GAMES.
"DOWN WENT M'GINTY."
Port Melbourne have been flattering themselves
with the prospect of going through the season without a defeat, and when a team lull themselves lo sleep with this soothing conviction the awaken- ing is sure to be a rude one. When they met North Melbourne on Saturday they found their strongest move-the handball-repeatedly and effec- tually checked by the smartness of the other side, and, thus baulked, played a bit wildly, and lost their places. Finding unity of one sort ineffec- tive, they went to the other extreme and sought by individual effort to run over or through their opponents, with consequences further disastrous.
The crowning achievement of North Melbourne was in the last quarter, for within 12 minutes of time it was either side's game. Then, with a spirit that should serve them well in future games, the North simply ran over their toes, and in an in- credibly brief space, one of their forwards (Barty)
had covered himself with glory by snapping three goals in quick succession, while a fourth was got from a place kick. The paralysing rally settled the issue beyond all question, and the Ports woke up and rubbed their eyes hard. The result was the more creditable to the North in that they were short of men at the outset, and had to force in a couple of cripples to complete their eighteen. The best man on the side of the winners was, per- haps, Caldwell, whose play on the back lines created a first-rate impression, E Launder, as usual, being a staunch assistant. Next to Caldwell, however, the two best men in the team were play and H. Launder, both of them playing rattling good football. Rutley, Oates, Houston, Quilligan, Montgomerie, Stuckey, and Graham were all useful. Port Melbourne missed their active little forward. Rowan, who was knocked out in the Footscray match. Monagle-a most determined little worker-was about the pick of their team,
assisted by Daly, Powell, and Shannon forward, Hickey on the wing, and Freame back.
THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE.
As invariable happens when Footscray and Wil-
liamstown meet, the crowd was a good one, and the interest keen. Latterly, however, both teams have shown their good sense in dropping the old feeling of personal hostility, while sacrificing little in healthy rivalry-and there was nothing in the game to which one could take exception. It lost interest only in that Footscray was, from the out- set, palpably the stronger twenty. The Williams- town backs were certainly too good for the men who opposed them, but in every other part of the field they were beaten, their centre line especially being quite unable to cope with the fast combination Footscray had placed there. The exception was M'Williams,
who did all that could reasonable be expected of him ; but on the other hand, Footscray's wing
man, Williams, had no rival on the field in a place, and Dick was one of their three best, while a colt named M'Carthy played first-rate football at halfback. Footscray's half-forward line was thoroughly sound, Grundon, Gregory, and Dickins being a reliable lot. Brockwell stood head and shoulders over the rest of the ruck, and Dean played in his usual hard, never-say-die fashion when following. M'Callum was the clipper of the Williamstown backs, Dyson and Riley likewise shining as defenders. They were so strong there that they were able to send Hall on the ball, but he was less efficient than when watching his own
goal. Warren and Fagan had their share of the "strum and drang."
The Brunswick ground is a peculiar one, and
visiting clubs have to study its geographical features closely if they wish to succeed. Richmond would have overcome this difficulty on Saturday, and brought away the points, but for the fact that the ball was always going outside the goal-
posts for them, and just as persistently inside for Brunswick. "Four goals 15 behinds" is a Rich-
mond record that tells its own story, but their kicking was not so hopelessly bad as it looks, for a good many of those behinds were rushed, instead of being the minor outcome of deliberate shots for goal, while two of their tries hit the goal-post. Brunswick, however, did more than shoot ac- curately. They were with Richmond all through in the general play, and their greater weight was used with telling, though legitimate, effect. In
the first half most of the Richmond men seemed partly asleep, and when they woke up the game was lost. The high marking of the winners was another good feature in their play, their tall fel- lows going up for the ball very often, and gene- rally getting it. Johnson and O'Loghlen again played sterling football for the winners, and Hill- yer, who scored three goals, was a useful forward.
Others seen to marked advantage were "the three Macs" -M'Namara, M'Cormack, and M'Donald- Whelan. Gordon, and Sampson. Parker was the best man in yellow and black , but the side lost a good little one in Ryan, who is on the casualty list. Backhouse used his weight and pace with customary effect in the centre, while Harris, Elder, Hayes, and Watson fought valiantly for a lost cause. Hayes and Elder each got two goals.
1st 2nd -3rd
Match Qtr. Qtr. Qtr Final Pts.
Geelong . . . 1-2 4-7 5-í> 5-14 44 Carlton . . . 1-1 1-1 2-2 3-4 22
ASSOCIATION G AUKS
N Melbourne " 0-2 2-2 2-4 C-5 41 Pt. Melbournes « 1-0 2-2 2-5 2-8 20
I ootscriv. ** - 2-1 2-4 2-8 2-10 22 Williamstown. - 0-2 0-2 0-J 0-4 4
_POSITIONS OF IEAGUL CLUBS.
i -Ú 5 S S I
í¿ i3 o ¿ £ £ Melbourne ----_?.?-?»__ 4 0 o 211 lil 1*1 Collingwood,. «-, *»-*, î 1 0 lft» 124 12 houth Melbourne «_-*. t 1 0 1(7 115 12 l_sscndoa *.*.._- J 1 0 107 11» 12 I it/roe., -.__,..-___ 2 2 0 174 1 ii « Geelong,-. _»._-.____, -_, 1 J 0 1>4 174 4 Carlton ._-,---,*,--. 0 4 0 _]r> 211 0 bU Kilda.. « " »... 0 4 0 t>0 -.42 0
POSITIONS OP ASbOCI VTION cruBs
Port Melbourne « »? 1 1 0 1)12 1-0 20 I-ootscraj " « " ft i o ^,i IJ\ 20 North Melbourne « « I î 0 "oil 212 12 »niTunkk M - MM 2 4 0 lio UL h Híchmond « ^. «... 1 i 1 _ti m o W illiamstow a-. - -« 1 4 1 ÎDJ ]D4 ü
VICTORIAV JUNIOR ÎOOIBUL AS'.OCIUION
POSITIONS or CLUBS \ î» io mrr
Atliirt pnrk .. .. H - West MellMiurnt» _» . Alantuirili. Jutnui- ». ]Ia«vi1inrn . ., - . ] 1171-0' Timiors ., -. CSollinirttoo«! Junior- . Alliion Unili-il _. _ . Itiriimollil Cit« .. » Jlojiil park Cres« cut " Tristón »..<»..
Results of matches played on Saturday :- Albert- park v. Collingwood Juniors- Won by Albert-Park, 1 goal 8 behinds (14 points) to 7 behinds (7 points). Albion United v. Hawthorn-Won by Hawthorn, 7 goals 7 behinds (49 ponts), to 3 goals 2 behinds (20 points). Fitzroy Juniors v.
Royal-park Crescent-Won by Fitzroy Juniors, 4 goals 8 behinds (32 points0, to 2 goals 1 behind (13 points), Richmond City v. Montague Juniors- -Won by Montague, 5 goals 8 behinds (38 points),
to 3 goals 2 behinds (20 points). West Melbourne v. Preston-Won by West Melbourne, 12 goals 6 behinds (78 points), to 2 goals 2 behinds (14 points).
SCENE AT A MATCH.
BROKEN HILL, Sunday.
Another football match yesterday ended in a dis- graceful scene. A team of Victorian residents was playing a South Australian team, and at the be- ginning of the fourth quarter the scores were even. The crowd then rushed the ground, pressing the players so much that they left the field in a body. During the game several players came to blows.