Grand Final, 1956
Melbourne vs Collingwood
Saturday 15 September
Melbourne win by 73 points
Goalkickers: Stuart Spencer 5, Athol Webb 5, Ron Barassi 3, Robert B Johnson 3, Ian Ridley 1
After having already met in the last round of the home and away season, and in the first week of the finals the Demons had two wins over their old rivals and started the Grand Final as favourites.
The two time premiers out-matched the Pies in skill and ability, and eventually won their third straight flag comfortably - sealing their status as one of the greatest teams in VFL history. Noel McMahen, Denis Cordner and Stuart Spencer were all playing their last matches.
The Pies kicked the first goal and held a slender lead at quarter time, but from then on it was one way traffic. Every Collingwood player was beaten in his position and Melbourne dominated from then on. Denis Cordner dominated the ruck, and Laurie Mithen was brilliant at ground level. The match was over at three-quarter time, but Athol Webb helped himself to three goals in the last term to make the match a rout.
Peter Marquis had such an easy day at full back that he didn't take his first mark until late in the third quarter.
The Magpies won the free kick count 32-24, but were smashed on the scoreboard. Captain Noel McMahen was carried from the field on the shoulders of jubilant fans.
Norm Smith said "we won the premiership with long kicking and because our players showed great courage going into the packs for the ball all day.
When I talk of courage, I don't mean that they players have to go around knocking opponents down. What I do mean is that I expect our players to be prepared to go in and get that ball in any circumsance. Never have they been instructed to 'get' any opponent, but, rather, they have been asked to make the ball the objective all the time
The 'tall timber' is expected to go for the marks, and the little fellows are to hover around and pick up the crumbs. Much has been said about our relief followers and rovers kicking most of our goals during the season. Well what of it. When those chaps are off the ball the are forwards, and, as such, isn't it their job to kick goals. After all, what does it matter who kicks the goals! The ball comes toward goal because of the good work of players farther away, and the player in the best position to kick goals is the player who should be given that opportunity."
He also said "I thought the boys did a remarkable job, all 18 of them were in it all the time. This was a really satisfying premiership, and I'm proud of them."
Stuart Spencer was best on ground with his "powerful" roving. He also added five goals. Ron Barassi and Ken Melville were also amongst the best. Athol Webb also had one of his best games.
Keith Carroll suffered a broken nose and concussion after being struck with an elbow in the second quarter. He was already being operated on by the time the game ended, missing the rest of the match.
Unsurprisingly for such a large crowd the match grossed an all-time VFL record crowd and gate receipts to match - raising 19,718 pounds.
B: John Beckwith, Peter Marquis, Trevor Johnson
HB: Don Williams, Noel McMahen (c), Keith Carroll
C: Frank Adams, Ken Melville, Brian Dixon
HF: Jim Sandral, Clyde Laidlaw, Laurie Mithen
F: Bob Johnson, Athol Webb, Ian Ridley
R: Denis Cordner, Ron Barassi, Stuart Spencer
S: Terry Gleeson, Ralph Lane
Coach: Norm Smith
Argus - 14/09/1956
The Age - 17/09/1956
Argus - 17/09/1956
Argus - 17/09/1956
Football Record - 1956 Finals
Badge image courtesy of grandoldflag.net