Grand Final, 1940
Melbourne vs Richmond
Saturday 28 September
Melbourne win by 39 points
Goalkickers: Norm Smith 7, Ron Baggott 2, Percy Beames 2, Jack O'Keefe 2, Fred Fanning 1, Keith Truscott 1
Ron Barassi 1936
The defending champions had finished the season two games clear of Richmond at the top of the table, but were shocked by the Tigers in the Semi Final. They struggled to a five point victory over Essendon in the Preliminary Final and started the first ever Melbourne vs Richmond Grand Final as the underdogs. Melbourne also lost Dave Baxter, Jack Furniss, Wally Lock and Rowley Fischer to injury from the Preliminary Final team, while Dowsing was dropped.
In response to the rash of injuries, Checker Hughes gave his team a light week of training and was forced to go back to the drawing board for tactics that would get the job done against the Tigers second time around. He set Jack O'Keefe to tag the deadly Richmond captain-coach Jack Dyer in the ruck, and it was a winning move. Dyer had been at his rampant best in the Semi, seriously concussing Norm Smith and injuring several other Demons. Unfortunately for "Captain Blood" the umpire appeared to turn a blind eye to most of the negative tactics deployed against him.
Melbourne left no stone unturned looking for an advantage, having a barber wash and groom the hair of players before the game.
Rain fell throughout the morning and until half time, which was good news for Melbourne who were reckoned to be the better wet-weather team. Winning the toss Richmond chose to kick with what had been the scoring end in the curtain raiser, but their plan backfired. Their task should have been made easier when Ray Wartman was forced to retire from the game with a strained back to be replaced by Ron Barassi Sr, who would ultimately be playing his last game. Not only did O'Keefe negate Dyer - not always with legal tactics - but he managed two goals during the second term and the margin had blown out to 45 points thanks to a late goal where Baggott sharked a ball off a throw in and goalled.
Even after harsh words had been delivered in the Richmond changerooms about the perceived determination of some players they were second to the ball early in the third quarter. The Demons hit the post twice in the third term, but two Smith goals made the lead unassailable and Melbourne's first premiership repeat was confirmed. Jack Titus got his 100th of the season early in the last quarter, but it was too late for the Tigers.
Best were Beames (for the second straight year), Baggott and LaFontaine. Wartman (injured) was replaced by Barassi in the first quarter. Norm Smith was presented with a gold medal by vice-president of the Melbourne Football Club for his performance.
In honour of the victory Keith Truscott penned a new verse for the theme song,
''Now the Tigers they are haughty in the year 1940
But the Demons would not be licked
And we found them ahead at the final bell,
With the spirt of twenty six
The verse was later updated to be the official, but rarely used, second verse of the Demons theme.
B: Richie Emselle, Frank Roberts, Harold Ball
HB: Col McLean, Gordon Jones, Dick Hingston
C: Ray Wartman, Allan La Fontaine (c), Sid Anderson
HF: Maurie Gibb, Ron Baggott, Keith Truscott
F: Fred Fanning, Norm Smith, Alby Rodda
R: Jack Mueller, Jack O'Keefe, Percy Beames
S: Ron Barassi
COACH: Frank "Checker" Hughes
100th goal against
Australasian gives the crowd as 69,061.
Sporting Globe - 21/09/1940
Argus - 23/09/1940
Sporting Globe - 25/09/1940
Sporting Globe - 25/09/1940
Herald - 25/09/1940
Age - 25/09/1940
Age - 27/09/1940
Herald - 27/09/1940
Sporting Globe - 28/09/1940
Age - 28/09/1940
Age - 30/09/1940
Australasian - 05/10/1940
Sporting Globe - 28/11/1940