Carlton defeated Collingwood by 10 points at Princes Park in the violent precursor to the "Bloodbath". Collingwood had led by 45 points in the final quarter.

Preliminary Final, 1945

Carlton 1.0 6 4.7 35 6.9 45 13.12 90
Collingwood 5.2 32 6.4 40 11.7 73 12.8 80
Venue: Princes Park
Date: Saturday 22 September 1945
Result: Won by 10 points
Crowd: 41,305
Goalkickers: L.Collins 4, K.Baxter 3, R.Savage 2, K.Hands 1, R.McLean 1, J.Mooring 1, M.Price 1.
Reports: Fred Fitzgibbon (Striking Len Hustler) - 4 Matches
Umpire: Sawyer
Best: V.Brown, J.Clark, B.Chitty, J.Baird, R.Savage, R.McLean.

Game Review

This game was considered by many of those fortunate enough to witness both the Preliminary Final and the infamous 'Bloodbath' Grand Final, to be the more violent of the two games.

Collingwood won the toss for the rooms (as is traditional during finals) and Jock McHale controversially selected Carlton's home rooms - thus further antagonising an already volatile and violent Carlton line-up. Magpie ruckman Len Hustler started off proceedings by laying out a number of Carlton's highly-regarded defenders. This, coupled with some skillful play saw Collingwood jump to an early lead.

Click to expand
Click to expand
Bob Chitty led the 'eye for an eye' onslaught as Carlton fought back (in more ways than one). Punching, elbowing, kicking, toe-to-toe slugfests, slinging and jostling were rife during the entire match, according to revered Argus critic Percy Taylor. Carlton seemed pre-occupied with the violence, allowing Collingwood to skip away to a 28 point lead at three quarter time. Collingwood also targeted Chitty's finger which had been damaged through the week (See Below).

Collingwood goaled early in the last quarter, extending their lead to 35 points. Then all hell broke loose when Carlton’s enemy number one – Len Hustler – decked Carlton full-back Vin Brown with a blatant king hit. Carlton’s Jim Clark and Jack Bennett ran in to even up, but real retribution was about to come from an unexpected quarter.

From his wing, Carlton’s Fred Fitzgibbon had seen the entire incident. Enraged, he charged eighty metres into the melee, leapt into the air, and landed a round-arm haymaker to the side of Hustler’s head. Unfortunately for Fitzgibbon, field umpire Sawyer was right on the spot and promptly reported him.

That melee galvanised the Blues. Coach Percy Bentley rang the changes, sending Jim Mooring to join Savage and McLean in the ruck, and Carlton came roaring back into the contest. With Lance Collins starring up forward with four goals, Carlton piled on 7.3 in eighteen minutes, and swamped Collingwood by ten points on the bell.

Afterward, the Magpies issued a statement calling for more protection for ‘real’ footballers while they pondered how their team had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Carlton on the other hand, could look forward with confidence to a Grand Final showdown with the team that had headed the ladder for most of the year – even if the Blues would be without the services of Fred Fitzgibbon. For his transgressions against Collingwood, he was handed a four game suspension by the VFL tribunal.

Carlton folklore has it that this was the game where Bob Chitty played only a few days after severing a finger in an industrial accident to bring up his 100th match in style. Readers may be surprised to learn that it wasn't just folklore...it was true! The Blueseum has been lucky enough to have found an eyewitness account of the week, located through a long-term contributor to this site. For more on the incident and the day, click here.

Going the Knuckle
THE "Bloodbath" Grand Final of 1945 has gone down in history as one the most violent. But by many accounts, the preliminary final between Carlton and Collingwood was even more spiteful. The day before the game, Blues hard man Bob Chitty lost part of his middle finger in a work accident at a munitions factory. He also broke a bone in his foot when kicked during the match. Not only did he play on (and front up again the following Saturday), he also acted as Carlton's enforcer, flattening Pies star Des Fothergill several times. The match was marred by constant brawling - and serial elbowing, kicking and punching - but the Blues got up and went on to defeat South Melbourne in the premiership decider. After the preliminary final, the Collingwood secretary warned that his club might need to play a "bash artist" in future to protect its players. - Herald Sun

Carlton produced a backs-to-the-wall miracle comeback against Collingwood in the Preliminary Final, where all seemed lost again. The Blues were 28 points behind at three-quarter time and playing poorly. After Collingwood scored the first goal of the final quarter to stretch the lead to 34 points it definitely looked over - but a melee developed and this caused something of a transformation in the game. Jim Mooring belatedly went roving, and Carlton kicked seven goals without reply, four to Lance Collins to win this rugged encounter by 10 points. - 100 Years of Australian Rules Football.

Carlton's Recovery

"Next item of interest was a "mix-up" in front of Collingwood's goal, in which at least six players were involved. For a few minutes after this Collingwood appeared to be holding the opposition, but all of a sudden came the deluge.
Collins got a goal following a brilliant mark; McLean got another, and with Mooring now roving, Collingwood appeared to go to pieces, in fact crack right up.
As they did, Carlron came thundering on full of vigor and energy. Savage scored, Collins snapped another goal, and when Mooring dropped the eleventh, Carlton was only two points behind with five minutes of time-off to play. Nothing could stop the Blues now, they were everywhere the ball was and always did the right thing. Collins put them ahead with an easy goal and seconds later, following perhaps the most spectacular mark of the day, Collins settled the issue with the 13th goal.
Collingwood was completely unsettled and outplayed during the last 15 minutes of the game and never once looked like staging a recovery. Yet it would have taken very little to have saved a match which it had in its keeping for 105 minutes out of 120 minutes of actual play."
(Sun September 24 p17)

Free Kicks

Carlton: 10, 13,11, 4 - 38
C'wood: 15, 5, 11, 8 - 39


B: 18 Arthur Sanger 15 Vin Brown 25 Jim Baird
HB: 6 Bob Chitty (c) 23 Bert Deacon 26 Jim Clark
C: 12 Doug Williams 10 Clinton Wines 8 Fred Fitzgibbon
HF: 11 Ron Hines 1 Ken Hands 5 Lance Collins
F: 14 Rod McLean (vc) 21 Ken Baxter 7 Herb Turner
Ruck: 24 Ron Savage 3 Jack Bennett 30 Albert 'Mick' Price
19th Man: 16 Jim Mooring
Coach: Percy Bentley


100 Games: Albert 'Mick' Price

Semi Final | "The Bloodbath" Grand Final
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