Grand Final, 1926
Melbourne vs Collingwood
Saturday 9 October
Melbourne win by 57 points
Goalkickers: Robert C Johnson 6, Harry Moyes 3, Stan Wittman 3, Dave Duff 2, Col Deane 1, Richard Taylor 1, Francis Vine 1
First game and First goal
Melbourne had gone 26 years without a premiership before the Fuschias finally broke through for another. They started the week with a selection shock, picking Francis Vine for his first match, called up to replace Bob Corbett who had suffered a broken jaw in the three point Preliminary Final victory. Corbett and Ossie Green had played every match of the season to that point, but with Corbett out Green was also forced to miss for team balance.
Matched up against a Collingwood side they had already beaten in the Semi Final, with Brownlow Medal winner Ivor Warne-Smith in their ranks, they also boasted the first side to have three different players kick 50 goals in a match. It was the first time two league teams had met four times in one season, and for once Melbourne had the advantage with two victories. Including those two they had won just 11 of 55 matches against the Pies.
Heavy rain had fallen before the game but stopped on Grand Final morning, leaving the game to be played in the sun. They had the bad luck of having to use the visitors' change rooms when Collingwood won a toss of the coin but the attempted psychological games by the Pies had little impact. They made the rooms their own by introducing a 'talking' Magpie to watch over players while they warmed up.
Melbourne won the toss and started brilliantly with the breeze. They goalled first through Johnson before a long shot at goal on the run by Taylor bounced luckily through an unguarded goal. Melbourne were faster to the ball and better in the air. By quarter time Johnson had three goals in a 22 point lead.
With their use of the breeze Collingwood hit back in the second quarter. In a fierce, rough quarter they reduced Melbourne's lead with dogged play. Only a controversial goal to Duff which prompted some spectators to shower the goal umpire with orange-peels stopped them in their tracks, and when Johnson kicked another they had restored the quarter time lead. Collingwood rallied at the end of the quarter and reduced the margin to nine points at the long break.
With Syd Coventry thrown to the dangerous Johnson, Melbourne managed to provide multiple facets of attack thanks to Moyes and Duff and it ran the Pies off their feet. Moyes got two of his goals in quick succession at the start of the quarter and another later from a free kick and by three quarter time they'd kicked 7.1 to 1.1 and the match looked over.
Gordon Coventry broke the VFL season goalkicking record in the last term but his side had been buried. At the other end Johnson kicked 6.7 in a best on ground performance. The Australasian newspaper described his performance by saying "He soared in the air like a bird, marked magnificently and uncannily, and kicked six goals". It was his goal three minutes into the last quarter which put the result beyond doubt. The final score of 17.17 was a record score in a Grand Final for its time.
One of the interested spectators was Henry Harrison, first captain of the club in 1859 just days short of his 90th birthday. Also present was 1900 premiership player Dick Wardill.
Wittman and Moyes were also amongst the best.
B: Charlie Streeter, Harry Coy, Jim Abernethy
HB: Bill Tymms, Hugh Dunbar, Ted Thomas
C: Richard Taylor, Ivor Warne-Smith, Jack Collins
HF: Stan Wittman, Bob Johnson, Jimmy Davidson
F: Francis Vine, Dave Duff, Harry Moyes
R: Bert Chadwick (c), Col Deane, Herbert White
Sporting Globe - 09/10/1926
Argus - 11/10/1926
Examiner - 11/10/1926
Table Talk - 14/10/1926
Argus - 19/08/1950
Boyles Football Photos