Grand Final 1939

Grand Final, 1939
Melbourne vs Collingwood
Saturday 30 September
Venue: MCG
Attendance: 78,110

Match Statistics

Melbourne win by 53 points

Goalkickers: Percy Beames 4, Alby Rodda 4, Les Jones 3, Harold Ball 2, Jack Mueller 2, Keith Truscott 2, Ron Baggott 1, Allan La Fontaine 1, Norm Smith 1, Ray Wartman 1


Statistical categories led:
Highest score in Grand Final

Melbourne thumped the Pies by 92 points earlier in the season and beat them in the Semi Final, meaning they started as red-hot favourites when the sides met again in the Grand Final. Collingwood's Ron Todd kicked 11 goals against St Kilda in the Preliminary Final, and with more than 100 for the season he loomed as the Pies' best chance to spring an upset.

The two sides had vastly different preparations, Collingwood occupied Melbourne's usual dressing rooms after winning a coin toss, and while they quietly deliberated before the game, Melbourne's adopted rooms featured players singing songs and playing the piano. Melbourne was so full of energy that they entered the ground three minutes before the umpires, having completed their warmup before Collingwood appeared.

At first, it looked like this tactic had backfired. Collingwood won the toss to kick with a slight wind, and took advantage with six first quarter goals. Jack Mueller was given the all-important task of quelling Todd. It was the only positional change from the side selected on Thursday night. It looked grim for Mueller when Todd marked easily against him in the opening minutes, but his kick was rushed through for a point.

The Pies got the first goal through a free kick, while at the other end Melbourne's attack was breaking down. They were unsettled, and their initial attacks via the wings were unsuccessful. It took a goal out of nowhere to get them off the mark, with Percy Beames snapping on the run. Mueller was soon swung into the ruck, and not long after Todd opened his account with Collingwood's second. They had the initiative in the early play, kicking the third. Mueller drifted forward but was beaten three times in quick succession in aerial duels. Melbourne's next goal also came through open play, with Smith punching the ball over an opponent's head to Alby Rodda, who sidestepped an opponent to kick a goal.

In a high-scoring opening term it wasn't long until the Pies had another, Todd kicked his second high into the guttering of the grandstand where it was stuck, forcing the umpires to source another ball. They continued to attack from the restart, forcing the Demons to adopted spoiling tactics. It briefly slowed Collingwood's scoring power, but at the price of having the ball camped at their end of the ground. Against the play, Beames reduced the gap to seven points, after a free kick for a push in the back. It didn't stop the Pies for long, they finished the quarter on 6.5, three goals ahead. Melbourne should have had at least one more goal, Les Jones, Mueller and Rodda all missed gettable shots in the last few minutes.

Immediately after the break, Harold Ball was the next to miss an easy goal for the Demons. Finally the same player broke the run of behinds with a goal. With Mueller now dominating in the ruck, the game swung back in Melbourne's favour. They were lucky to get the second of the quarter. Smith marked in front of goal and handpassed to Rodda, who lost the ball running before regathering and snapping from a difficult angle. The lead was back to just over a goal before Collingwood kicked a steadier.

There was a short break when umpire Coward fractured his elbow in a collision with players and had to be replaced by emergency umpire Blackburn. This cost Melbourne a goal, Beames rushed the ball through while Coward was injured but his replacement refused to pay it, bringing play back to where his colleague had been felled. Play resumed four minutes later, and it took Melbourne another five minutes to get the ball back to where they had it at the time of the injury. Beames missed another chance, spraying a set shot from 35 yards. Around the same time Collingwood had to use their 19th man, with Woods exiting after a shoulder injury.

Unable to get their nose in front, Melbourne seemed rattled. They were making mistakes all over the ground, and their field kicking was poor. Despite this, the open game still left them opportunities to score. Smith and Keith Truscott were the next to kick behinds, while Beames put the ball out of bounds on the full. After missing so many easy shots, Les Jones reduced the margin to eight with a free kick from a difficult angle. This coincided with the game turning in their favour, Smith got another goal that dragged the margin back to less than a kick, before a scrap instigated by a rough bump on Todd, and a Collingwood boot striking Gordon Jones while he was on the ground. Some reports suggested the opponent jumped with both feet onto Jones' head. While the other players were busy jostling, Fothergill grabbed the ball and kicked his side's ninth.

Todd got another one soon after, and all Melbourne's good work earlier in the quarter had been undone. Then, in a flash, they were in front. What was described as "one of the most exciting quarters seen in a Grand Final for years", ended with a flurry of Melbourne goals. First Allan La Fontaine, then Ray Wartman and Truscott in quick succession to grab a four point the lead.

Their late collapse spooked Collingwood, who returned after the break with a number of positional changes. Once a quick thrust at goal was defused by Alby Rodda in the defensive square, Melbourne began a run that ultimately won the game. They dashed down the other end for Mueller to goal. Beames, and Mueller again added more and Collingwood was in disarray. Their defenders battled hard but were overwhelmed. Everything was going right for Melbourne, even a pair of miskicks ended in Ron Baggott marking for their 14th goal.

With their premiership chances ebbing away, the Pies were inspired by centurion Todd. He kicked two in a row, including one from 70 yards, that cut the margin back to 17 points. They might have had another, at the end of the quarter they missed a shot on goal, and had the ball in a promising position when the three quarter time bell went.

Needing to overcome a three goal deficit, the Pies moved Todd to centre half-forward for the start of the last quarter. Their first attempt to play through him was foiled by Richie Emselle, and they never fired another shot. Once Collingwood was reduced to 16 men by injuries they slowed to a walk. A seven goal to one avalanche brought up the then record Grand Final score, a scarcely believable result when their attack was in such a poor state early in the game.

Best for Melbourne were Beames, Roberts and Anderson. Smith kicked 1.6 and Alby Rodda 4.5. O'Keefe replaced Wartman (injured) during the last quarter.

The premiership victory celebrations involved a dinner, then a drive through the suburb of Collingwood, before returning to the MCG for a dance.


Beames 4.3, Rodda 4.5, L. Jones 3.3, Ball 2.1, Mueller 2.1, Truscott 2.2, Baggott 1.0, La Fontaine 1.0, Smith 1.0, Wartman 1.1.

B: Richie Emselle, Jack Mueller, Rowley Fischer
HB: Dick Hingston, Gordon Jones, Frank Roberts
C: Ray Wartman, Allan La Fontaine (c), Sid Anderson
HF: Les Jones, Ron Baggott, Keith Truscott
F: Harold Ball, Norm Smith, Alby Rodda
Foll: Ron Kimberley, Jack Furniss , Percy Beames
19th: Jack O'Keefe
COACH - Frank "Checker" Hughes


Herald - 26/09/1939
Herald - 27/09/1939
Herald - 29/09/1939
Herald - 29/09/1939
Herald - 30/09/1939
Herald - 30/09/1939
Sporting Globe - 30/09/1939
Weekly Times - 30/09/1939
Sporting Globe - 30/09/1939
Age - 02/10/1939
Age - 02/10/1939
Sporting Globe - 04/10/1939
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/180248181|Sporting Globe] - 04/10/1939
Australasian - 07/10/1939
Weekly Times - 07/10/1939

1939 Premiership
Boyles Football Photos

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Monday 08 March 2021 00:54:47 AEDT by Supermercado. (Version 32)

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