A Northern Melee - Carlton defeated Fitzroy by 52 points at Princes Park.

Round 4, 1907

Carlton 3.4 22 4.9 33 7.14 56 10.17 77
Fitzroy 1.1 7 1.2 8 1.4 10 3.7 25
Venue: Princes Park Date: Saturday May 18, 1907
Result: Won by 52 points Umpire: Grogan Crowd: 12,000 (approx)
Best: N.Clark, T.Kennedy, G.Topping, V.Gardiner, F.Elliott, A.Lang, G.Johnson and C.Hammond.
Goalkickers: G.Topping 3, F.Caine 2, F.Elliott 1, V.Gardiner 1, M.Grace 1, T.Kennedy 1, A.Lang 1.
Reports: Injuries:

Game Review

The Argus led the football reports for this round with the headline A NORTHERN MELEE to describe the game between close neighbours Carlton and Fitzroy. The report started off as follows:

A hard, dry ground, with dust flying; a ball which had either too much shape or too little, and which not many players could kick and still fewer mark; most of all, the wrath which seems to boil when Carlton and Fitzroy play football, went far to spoil their game at Prince's Oval on Saturday. The day was hot - so were the players. It might have been called the smash of the day, the crash of the day - it was certainly not the match of the day. Yet 12,000 people went to see it, and were, I should say, much disappointed. If rough play in football means that players were constantly dashing into each other with intent to do 'grevious bodily harm' then this game was rough; for if there was not much hitting of the clean, open and manly kind, that gets the hitter disqualified for a year by the league, there were lots of those sly, curish blows which umpires must see occasionally, but which they never report, and which are the cause of more bad blood than anything else that occurs in football. It was probably the unseen lunges in the thick of the ruck that led to so many vicious charges and wrestling in the catch-as-catch-can style when the presence of a football was not at all essential to a continuance of a bout, which sometimes amazed and sometimes amused onlookers" - The Argus, Monday 20th May, 1907.

The football itself can be best summed up by another quote from The Argus - "To describe the match in a few words, it is only necessary to say that the first five minutes and last ten minutes were Fitzroy's share of it". At the opening Fitzroy goaled through Milne, who managed to get an easy goal after some clever dodging and weaving in the forward line. Fitzroy surged forward again, and desperate efforts from Clark and Hammond were required in the Carlton defence. Carlton's captain, Flynn, also felt it necessary to push himself into the backline to shore up the defence.

The 'claret jackets' couldn't maintain their initial tempo, though and Carlton took control of the game and dominated from here on 'and for a long time Fitzroy were defending a hopeless cause'. As the Blues moved into attack, Frank Caine kicked the first goal, after Mick Grace and Hammond had both missed. Vin Gardiner scored Carlton's second from a free kick, and then George Topping got the third from a low punt kick which was low enough to be spoiled, but the Fitzroy defenders only managed to touch it a foot over the goal line. Carlton's superiority was evident, through their greater height, weight, promtpness and accuracy in passing. Fitzroy didn't help their own cause with their players bunching up and spoiling each other in marking contests.

The Argus lamented the changing face of the game at the time - "This hitting out of the ruck to rovers is spoiling a great deal of the high marking that was once such a breezy feature of this game".

Fitzroy started better at the start of the second term, but could only manage a point for their work. Carlton were also inaccurate, with "the right hand goal post seeming to have a fascination for Topping" with several attempts at goal missing to the outside of this post and one actually hitting it.

The third quarter was all about attack for the Blues, while Fitzroy set up a defence that was more "solid and determined than effective". Topping and Grace got Carlton's fifth and sixth goals respectively, but both forwards missed plenty of other opportunities. Carlton's seventh goal was their best for the day, when Clark picked up the ball in front of the goal in defence, carried it long and chipped it precisely to Hammond, who kicked it accurately to Kennedy on the right wing. Kennedy, who had been at his best during the game, ran into range and scored the goal. The nearest Fitzroy and Carlton then got to goal for the remainder of the term was a poster, with the Blues' point coming through Topping. Fitzroy continued to spoil themselves, Carlton to plunge, and still there were more collisions than apologies. At the last change, Fitzroy with great labour had increased their score by two points, while Carlton's lead had swollen to 46 points.

The last quarter was a non-event, the game having already been decided. Fitzroy played without spirit like a beaten team, and Carlton started to play with Fitzroy. One example of this was an exhibition of pointless passing on the wing, which was "intended apparently to expose the weakness of Fitzroy - to ridicule them rather than gain anything substantial". Elliott kicked the Blues eighth goal after a pass from Topping, and then Caine added the ninth after being well-held by Dawson of Fitzroy for much of the day. Grace and Owens hit the goals posts to score points, and Fontaine scored a long goal for Fitzroy before Bailes got their third and the last of the game.

The Carlton ruck was too strong for Fitzroy during the game, but the two best players for the Blues were Clark at half-back and Kennedy on the wing. Clark's run was evident all day and it demoralised the Fitzroy forwards, while Kennedy's goal of the day was spectacular for "streaming along to goal from his own wing - clever as a hare in his sudden curves" and was listed as the best passage of football for the day. Topping and Gardiner were smart in the forward line, while Elliott, Lang, Johnson and Hammond were praised for their vigorous attack on the football.

The Argus summed the game up as "a reckless game, badly played and just as indifferently umpired".

"Of the match itself, there were few bright patches, but Kennedy, Carlton's artistic wing man, played dazzling and eminently fair football throughout. "Hackenschmidt" Clarke, with his swift and irresistible rushes from the back line, exerted a powerful influence on the game, while the midgets, Gardiner and Topping, were as busy as bees among the forwards." (Referee May 22 p9)

At the end of this round Carlton were in 2nd spot on the ladder with a percentage of 164.5.


B: Norman Clark (vc) Doug Gillespie Les Beck
HB: Alex Lang Jim Flynn (c) Archie Snell
C: Ted Kennedy Rod McGregor George Bruce
HF: Frank Caine Mick Grace Alby Ingleman
F: Dave Gillespie George Topping Vin Gardiner
Ruck: George S Johnson Charlie Hammond Fred Elliott
Coach: Jack Worrall


In: G.Topping, A.Ingleman, D.Gillespie
Out: J.Marchbank, B.Payne, F.Jinks


100 Games (VFL): Ted Kennedy
Debut: Dave Gillespie

Round 3 | Round 5
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Page last modified on Thursday 23 of April, 2015 16:09:25 AEST by blueycarlton.

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