Grand Final 1957

Grand Final, 1957
Melbourne vs Essendon
Saturday 21 September
Venue: MCG
Attendance: 100,324

Match Statistics

Melbourne win by 61 points

Goalkickers: Ron Barassi 5, Ian Ridley 4, Athol Webb 3, Robert B Johnson 2, Geoff Tunbridge 2, Geoff Case 1



The 1957 Demons hadn't been as dominant as they had in previous years, losing five times throughout the year. However in an even season it was still good enough for the minor premiership, and even though Essendon beat them by 16 points in the Semi Final, they thrashed finals debutantes Hawthorn by 68 points in the Preliminary Final to earn a second crack at the Bombers.

Melbourne went in with the same lineup as for the preliminary, but with John Beckwith (groin) and Frank Adams (knee/leg) both under injury clouds. Captain Beckwith was given a secret training run on the Thursday night before being picked, and Adams had to kick on his wrong side all night due to the pain his right foot was causing him. After a Saturday morning fitness test both were eventually passed fit and played, but Beckwith remained unsure if he could play and almost pulled out before being convinced to play by club doctor Don Duffy.

They had been accused of over-confidence in their first meeting with Essendon, but any hint of cockiness this time around had been replaced with steely determination. Ron Barassi booted the opening goal after 16 seconds and by the end of the first quarter they had put on six goals, playing through rain that started to fall after the second. The third goal came after a defensive blunder allowed Ridley to kick off the ground, and even when Essendon's defenders and centreman got the ball away from their goal their forwards were playing poorly.

Melbourne's backmen were on top, and the Bomber forwards didn't help the cause by often crashing into each other trying to get to the ball. It took 17 minutes to register their first of two goals for the quarter. In contrast to the Semi Final, Melbourne teamed perfectly while a number of Bombers were out of touch.

At half-time the margin was 35 points and the match was all but done. A Norm Smith plan to have his forwards draw Essendon players in then handball over the top to a team mate saw six goals for the day come through players running into an open goal. The Demons opened the second quarter with Barassi's third and fourth goals, then Robert Johnson added another to make the margin 42 points. Essendon took another 19 minutes to get their first of two goals for the quarter.

Melbourne didn't add another after the early blast, but despite their injury problems and the loss of Keith Carroll with a thigh injury during the second quarter - the damage had already been done. The Bombers broke even in the third term to leave themselves an outside chance of a comeback, but stopped cold in the last and went down by 61 points. They conceded five goals to nil.

Essendon's rucks had been one of their strengths throughout the year but they were stopped by Bob Johnson and Dick Fenton-Smith, who picked a great time to play his best game for the club so far. Another Bomber advantage from the Semi Final that failed to translate to the big game was their dominant half-forward flankers. Essendon were poor, never attempted to impose physicality on the Demons and limped to a disappointing loss.

The Demons won the mark count 65-58 but lost the free kicks 26-12.

For the second time in the club's history Melbourne had won three flags in a row, the first club ever to achieve the feat twice.

Best were Barassi, Robert Johnson and Fenton-Smith. Carroll (thigh) was replaced by Thorogood in the second quarter and Adams (leg) by Brenchley in the last. It was the second year in a row Carroll went off injured in a Grand Final, but unlike 1956 he was at the ground to see the final siren this time.

Speaking after the game, Smith admitted he'd cried immediately after the game. He paid tributes to doctor Donald Duffy, saying "he's a terrific doctor; we own a lot to him", and (Jim Cardwell)). He said "we won the premiership not because we were a better side, but because we were a better combination. John Lord had his jumper taken from the rooms after the game but got it back after the theft was mentioned in the newspaper.

B: John Beckwith (c), Peter Marquis, Dick Fenton-Smith
HB: Don Williams, John Lord, Keith Carroll
C: Ian McLean, Laurie Mithen, Brian Dixon
HF: Geoff Tunbridge, Trevor Johnson, Geoff Case
F: Ron Barassi, Athol Webb, Ian Ridley
R: Bob Johnson, Colin Wilson, Frank Adams
S: Ian Thorogood, Peter Brenchley
Coach: Norm Smith

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Adams 0.1, Barassi 5.2, Case 1.2, Fenton-Smith 0.1, R. Johnson 2.2, T. Johnson 0.1, Ridley 4.0, Tunbridge 2.1, Webb 3.2

Age - 21/09/1957
Sporting Globe - 21/09/1957
Football Record Grand Final 1957
Age - 23/09/1957
Age - 23/09/1957
Herald - ??/09/1957 ("Off the Ball with Alf Brown")
Sports Novels, November 1957

1957 Premiership

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Saturday 15 February 2020 14:43:44 AEDT by Supermercado. (Version 20)

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