Carlton defeated Collingwood by 12 points at Victoria Park. "Duncan's Match"

Round 9, 1927

Venue: Victoria ParkDate: Saturday June 25, 1927
Result: Win by 12 pointsUmpire: LewisCrowd: 33,000
Goalkickers: H.Clover 3, H.Carter 2, M.Johnson 2, T.Brewis 1, M.Connell 1, T.Downs 1, H.Dunn 1, G.Gough 1, L.Johnson 1, H.Vallence 1.
Reports: Injuries:


One of the most famous games in Australian Rules history, this clash will always be remembered as "Duncan's Match".

A magnificent contest was dominated by one player - Alex Duncan, the Carlton centre half-back, who was credited with anywhere between 33 and 45 marks for the afternoon, and treated the 33,000 in attendance with an unprecedented display of aerial prowess.

Collingwood, not generally known for magnanimous gestures towards the opposition were impressed enough to have the ball suitably mounted, inscribed and presented to the Blues' champion.

Perfect weather conditions greeted the players at Victoria Park, there was a slight breeze blowing with the sun hidden behind cloud cover. A large crowd of 33,000 attended which was 16,000 more than attended the next highest crowd which was at the Essendon vs South Melbourne match.
The Blues kicked towards the railway end with the breeze slightly favouring the river or Trenerry Crescent end.
Collingwood right away went forward and four times in the opening minutes Alex Duncan marked to repell each attack. Fred Gilby then took the Blues forward, but Horrie Clover mis-kicked. The home side then scored a goal with the ball bouncing over the head and out of the reach of Maurie Beasy. George Gough had a shot and missed. Tommy Downs then booted the Blues first goal from a very acute angle. The Magpies then dominated and kicked four quick goals with Alex Duncan intercepting some of the attacks. Carlton responded with Alex Duncan and Horrie Clover breaking away to pass to Les Johnson who bought up Carlton's second goal. Collingwood instantly replied. Defenders Poulter of Collingwood and Alex Duncan thrilled the crowd with their high marking. Harvey Dunn, combined with Les Johnson who passed to Harold Carter who scored the Blues' third major. Carter again, this time from a free kick goaled. At the end of an accurate first quarter the Blues trailed by 13 points, 4.0 - 6.1
The 'Woods attacked from the start of the second term and Alex Duncan once again held them out. With Fred Gilby playing well the Blues attacked but could only score 3 three successive behinds. Then out of a pack of players emerged Maurie Beasy with the ball, he passed to Joe Kelly onto Harry Vallence, then to Harvey Dunn who received a free kick and goaled. This was soon answered with Collingwood bringing up their seventh major. Norm Collins brought the ball into the forward line and Harry Vallence as well, but Maurie Connell twice kicked poorly. Les Johnson then goaled. However, Connell soon atoned with a nicely angled goal which gave the Blues a 2 point lead. The Carlton barrackers were delirious but this was short lived as the home team scored another goal just before half time. The Blues were behind by at the long break by 4 points, 7.5 - 8.3
Collingwood went forward and Jim Watson gave away a free which resulted in a goal. From the ball up Ted Brewis sent the ball into the Blues forward line where Horrie Clover goaled. Twice full back Jim Watson repelled attacking moves, but the Magpies scored another major. Les Johnson gave away a free on Carlton's forward line and the ball was rushed down field and another goal was added to the Collingwood tally, and then the twelfth goal was soon registered by the home side. The margin was now out to nearly four goals and with the 'Woods in full flight, their supporters hopes were high. Just when the game was in their grip, the Blues slammed on 3 quick goals. Harry Vallence was interfered with in a contest and received a free straight in front and didn't miss. Maurie Johnson dashed down the ground and with a long kick put the ball through. Magpie Syd Coventry tried a short pass near the boundary and Horrie Clover cleverly intercepted it and marked. He went back and threaded the ball through the goals. At the other end Alex Duncan repulsed many of Collingwood's attacks. At three quarter time the Blues were behind by a solitary point, 11.7 - 12.4
The Blues went straight into attack and Harvey Dunn from a scrimmage, cleverly tried to back-kick the ball through, but just missed. Once again Maurie Johnson ran down from the wing and speared a pass in the direction of Ted Brewis. Brewis was awarded a free and he made no mistake, the Blues had regained the lead. Carlton then added two more behinds, before the 'Woods added one themselves. The Blues were running hard and playing through one wing where Harry Vallence, Joe Kelly, and Maurie Connell found space and were superb. Attacking through Norm Collins and Frank Donoghue the Blues found George Gough who marked and went back and coolly put another goal on the scoreboard. Collingwood replied with another goal and there now was just one straight kick between the teams. Still dominating the wing area, Harry Vallence and Maurie Connell combined to send the ball high into the Blues' forward area. A pack of players developed where the ball was to land and the Carlton captain and coach Horrie Clover rose from the pack and took a brilliant mark, Horrie went back and kicked the sealer. Collingwood desperately tried to attack in remaining few minutes but Fred Gilby and Alex Duncan held them at bay. The Blues victorious by 12 points, 14.11 - 12.5

"Duncan has played many fine games for Carlton, and has also been a tower of strength in interstate teams, but he has never been seen to better advantage. His marking was superb, his judgment faultless, and his kicking splendid, while his dash turned many attacks. On his play this year he is easily the best half-back in the game.
Clover, Connell and Gilby were probably the next in order of excellence.
The captain handled the team well and set a good example to his team by his fine position play and accurate kicking.
Connell was a hard worker throughout the game, and was a particularly serviceable link in the wing chain in the last quarter.
Gilby does his work quietly and without fuss, but his steadiness and reliability are factors of value in the team.
L. Johnson one of the new players, is improving with each match, and played a hard and useful game.
Vallence was a tower of strength in the vital last half.
M. Johnson fully justified his inclusion, and Collins (in the last half), Kelly, Dunn, Donoghue and Downs were the best of a fairly even combination."
(Trove: Argus June 27, p6)

Jack Worrall

"It was a thrilling encounter - fierce, fair, and forceful - in which high marking, dash, and determination were leading phases. The sides were so even in all the attributes of the game, and the play was so fast, that team work was never so prominent a feature as would otherwise have been the case. Seeing the highly trained young men racing for the ball singly and in seried formation, battling for possession like fiends, and springing into the air like bouncing balls of india rubber, with undiminished pace, and with no thoughts of surrender, presented a spectacle that no other game of football is capable of. That mighty assemblage was worked up to a high pitch of excitement, and it is no wonder that the incomparable Australian game is so popular with the multitude, for how could it be otherwise? With everyman intent upon victory, imbued with the love of club and pride of youth and strength, spurred on by the stimulus of more than 30,000 throats screaming approbation or disfavour in every moment of play, it is scarcely to be wondered at the men of both sides rose to the occasion gallantly, giving of their best. It was a mighty struggle, and while it would be almost too much to hope for, may we see another before the curtain falls and the summer game of cricket holds the interest of the people."

"Never in my long experience have I ever seen such a brilliant individual performance as Duncan's, his aerial work being simply perfection. It would be interesting to know how many times he marked the ball. Every effort was meritorious, while many were hair-raising. Nothing could stop him. He sailed over everybody, the certainty with which he held the ball evoking roars of approval, both from friend and foe, and from that large army who follow the best game, the best sports of all. His drop-kicking was on par with his marking, and he only lost the ball on one occasion."
(Trove: "J.W" Australasian July 02, p38)

At the end of this round Carlton were in 5th spot on the ladder with a percentage of 119.5.


B: 6 Fred Gilby 33 Jim Watson 21 Frank Irwin
HB: 18 Frank Donoghue 32 Alex Duncan 11 Maurie Beasy
C: 7 Joe Kelly 2 Norm Collins 15 Maurie Johnson
HF: 22 Harry Vallence 1 Horrie Clover (cc) 16 Harvey Dunn
F: 5 Les Johnson 14 George Gough 28 Tommy Downs
Ruck: 29 Maurie Connell 20 Ted Brewis 25 Harold Carter (vc)
Coach: Horrie Clover

Round 8 | Round 10
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