Round 9, 1909
Melbourne vs Collingwood
Saturday 26 June
Goalkickers: Vin Coutie 3, Jim Fitzpatrick 3, Harry Brereton 1, Len Norman 1, Jack Smith 1, Jack Strong 1
A massive crowd, possibly the biggest in league history to that point, showed up for a game that had received an immense amount of hype. Seats in the shed were removed to accomodate 8,000 more standing patrons. Fans were treated to a baseball match as a curtain-raiser. Admission was 6d, with an additional 1/- for entrance to the grandstand. Even the Governor of Victoria and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court were present.
With more wet conditions, following on from similiar on the previous Saturday, the Australasian said Poor McCutcheon, the caretaker of the ground, has aged perceptibly during the past month, and now onder, for he has in front of him a Herclulean taks, compared with which the Augean stable business were but a trifle. His chances of finding a suitable cricket pitch and grassed arena for the summer season were considered slim to none.
Recognising that it would not only be the biggest match in years but that conditions would be terrible, Honorable Secretary JA Harper sent a postcard to his players before the match which read Our coach insists that every man should train on Thursday, so as to adapt himself to the muddy condition of the ground. On Saturday bring any spare togs and an extra pair of boots.
True to the blockbuster nature of the game the two teams played out a thrilling draw. Even though the match was played on a wet, mudheap - which might not have been helped by the baseball match - and Melbourne shot away to a four goal lead at the last break. Just when the Magpies seemed dead and buried they rallied to kick a goal just before the final bell and draw level.
Earlier the two sides had traded goals, four in a row to start the game without a miss despite the weather. With the scores locked at two apiece Melbourne then took control, booting three in a row including one on the bell to Strong from a difficult angle. The teams had combined for seven goals straight to open the match.
Two goals each in the second quarter helped the Reds extend their lead by a point, and after the break Melbourne continued to be the better side. They extended their lead by a further six points and Collingwood's chances looked shot.
An early goal cut the margin, but when Len Norman registered a steadier it looked like Melbourne were going to get home. There was too much time though, and Collingwood's forwards began to overwhelm the defence. After the goal was kicked to level the match the ball did not even make it back to the middle of the ground before the bell was rung to end the match.
Best were Strong, Norman and Smith.
The Australasian claimed a crowd of 30,000, while The Argus said 25,000. Some reports say Norman kicked the tying goal just before the bell.
Argus - 25/06/1909
Punch - 01/07/1909
Australasian - 03/07/1909