Grand Final, 1958
Collingwood vs Melbourne
Saturday 20 August
Collingwood win by 18 points
Goalkickers: Frank Adams 2, Ron Barassi 2, Peter Brenchley 1, Neil Crompton 1, Robert B Johnson 1, Ian McLean 1, Ian Ridley 1
Having smashed the Pies by 45 points in the wet Semi Final, it seemed almost inevitable that the Demons were going to win their fourth straight flag. They had beaten Collingwood nine times in a row in finals games, and before the Pies beat North Melbourne in the preliminary final, they'd won just two of their last six matches. The Sun newspaper labelled them "the hottest favourite since Phar Lap."
Melbourne hadn't lost to the Pies for more than three years, and that had been at Victoria Park. They had also won the last nine matches against them on the MCG. Melbourne also started with an almost full-strength lineup, with the injured Clyde Laidlaw out and an unlucky Geoff Case who missed for the first time all year after he had contracting measles or chicken pox (reports differ) during the week. Peter Brenchley was a surprise selection despite having played with the Seconds since Round 3.
Grand Final week started with controversy when The Sun published player numbers in the newspapers and the VFL forced the teams to switch their numbers - Ron Barassi wearing #2 for the one and only time in his senior career that he wasn't in number 31.
The match seemed like it was going to script when the Demons booted three goals to none to open the match and they held a handy lead at quarter time, but with the Demon players getting sucked into violent skirmishes Collingwood wrested control of the match back. Two goals in two minutes sent them into half time two points ahead. Murray Weidmen and Barry 'Hooker' Harrison engaged in fights, while their 16 teammates took control of the game.
The Demons were clearly rattled, not helped by two major brawls breaking out in the start of the third quarter, and Collingwood smashed them with 5.3 to 0.2 to take a 33 point lead. In wet, slippery conditions no team was going to reel in that lead - and the hottest Grand Final favourites in many years were finished. It was Collingwood's first finals win against Melbourne since 1937.
Melbourne held their opponents goalless in the last term, but the damage had been well and truly done in the middle two as the Pies played the conditions perfectly and engineered the downfall of the Demon forward line. Collingwood also made a number of positional changes after the semi-final defeat which gave them an advantage in the rematch. That coupled with fierce desire to win the ball and the defence of their own club's four premierships in a row record were the difference.
Legend has it that Norm Smith usually wore lucky green socks but as his wife Marj hadn't dried them he had to wear red socks on the day instead. After the game Smith said: "We have no regrets. On the day you were by far the better side. I feel the Collingwood boys wanted victory a little more than we did" and he failed to point blame at umpire Nash.
Best were Barassi, McLean and Johnson. Ian Ridley suffered a broken nose and was replaced by Crompton in the last quarter. Brenchley was replaced by Gleeson, also in the last quarter.
Ron Barassi was reprimanded for striking Murray Weideman in the face during the third quarter - the first Melbourne player to be reported since the 1954 Semi Final.
The Governor-General Sir William Slim attended the match, along with Victorian Governor Sir Dallas Brookes.
Team (brackets show the alternative number they played in)
B: John Beckwith (c - 1), Peter Marquis (7), Colin Wilson (10)
HB: Keith Carroll (11), Don Williams (12), Ian Thorogood (20)
C: Ian McLean (15), Laurie Mithen (19), Brian Dixon (16)
HF: Geoff Tunbridge (24), Trevor Johnson (3), Peter Brenchley (6)
F: Bob Johnson (8), Athol Webb (5), Frank Adams (17)
R: Dick Fenton-Smith, (4) Ron Barassi, (2) Ian Ridley (23)
S: Terry Gleeson (14), Neil Crompton (25)
Coach: Norm Smith
Adams 2.4, Barassi 2.0, Ridley 1.1, Brenchley 1.0, R. Johnson 1,.0, McLean 1.0, Crompton 1.0, Tunbridge 0.2, Webb 0.1, Rushed 0.2
Age - 17/09/1958
Age - 20/09/1958
Age - 22/09/1958
Age - 22/09/1958
Football Record Grand Final 1958
Age - 19/09/1958