Preliminary Final, 1957
Melbourne vs Hawthorn
Saturday 14 September
Melbourne win by 68 points
Goalkickers: Frank Adams 3, Robert B Johnson 3, Geoff Tunbridge 3, Athol Webb 3, Ron Barassi 2, Geoff Case 2, Trevor Johnson 2, Ian Ridley 2, Ian McLean 1, Don Williams 1
Don Williams (95th game)
In their first ever finals series Hawthorn had won their knockout semi-final easily, giving them momentum coming into the preliminary final - but Melbourne had stormed home from a long way back to nearly topple Essendon in their semi final so they had claims too, especially with a shrinking injury list. However, the Hawks held a psychological advantage after two wins over Melbourne for the seaosn, including on the MCG.
There were two changes at the selection table, with Laurie Mithen and John Lord back in the side at the expense of Terry Gleeson and Jim Sandral, with Ian Thorogood dropping to the bench. An experiment of using Bob Johnson at centre-half forward was ended and he was sent back to the starting ruck. Hawthorn made no change to their side.
The Demons kicked with a strong wind in the first term but were restricted to four goals - the first taking 18 minutes to come - and just as it looked like the Hawks would take the advantage Melbourne booted seven into the wind in the second quarter to take control. Their general play had been poor in the opening term before they came good and stormed to a huge win. Their troublesome forward line fired, with goals coming from all angles.
Hawthorn had gone into the game hoping that their two half-forward flankers would make a difference but both were shut out of the game. Their centre line was also beaten comfortably and John Kennedy failed to hold Bob Johnson as he had the last time the two teams played. Ron Barassi was surprisingly thrown into a back pocket to match up against Kennedy and he totally blanketed the Hawthorn champion, who was further hampered by a broken hand suffered early in the match.
When Hawthorn had their chance with the wind they ran into a rock solid defence and only booted three of their own. The second quarter onslaught broke them and while they tried hard in the third the damage was done. From midway through the second to the third quarter, Melbourne kicked nine unanswered goals, setting up a 42 point lead at the last change. Hawthorn goalled first in the last quarter but their charge wasn't sustained, conceding six goals to two to end the game.
Best were Ridley, Williams and Dixon. Beckwith (groin) was replaced by Thorogood and Adams (leg) by Brenchley in the last quarter. Melbourne lost the free kick count 24-15 but won the marks 62-44.
After the game Hawthorn complained that an MCC attendant had stopped his players from watching the last moments of the Seconds final to get an idea of how the ball was bouncing. They alleged that after Hawthorn coach Jack Hale took them back out again the attendant called police to move them on. Melbourne administrator Bert Chadwick was forced to issue a statement denying that his side had anything to do with the ruling.
B: Beckwith, Marquis, Fenton-Smith
HB: Williams, Lord, Carroll
C: McLean, Mithen, Dixon
HF: Tunbridge, T. Johnson, Case
F: Barassi, Webb, Ridley
Foll: Wilson, R. Johnson, Adams
Res: Thorogood, Brenchley
Em: Gleeson, Sandral, Dunsford
Webb 4.2, Adams 3.1, Tunbridge 3.1, Ridley 2.3, Case 2.1, T. Johnson 2.0, R. Johnson 2.0, Barassi 2.0, McLean 1.1, Williams 1.0, Rushed 0.3
Newspapers show 'outs' as being Gleeson and Thorogood, but that Thorogood played on the bench and Sandral was dropped from the reserves.
Age - 17/09/1957
Age - 18/09/1957
Football Record Grand Final 1957