Round 1, 1897
South Melbourne vs Melbourne
Saturday 8 May
Venue: Lake Oval
Melbourne win by 17 points
Goalkickers: Jack Leith 2, Charlie Young 2, Fred McGinis 1, Bert Robinson 1
The first round of VFL competition saw the Fuschias travel down Clarendon Street to South Melbourne's Lake Oval, and against a team they'd been battling for almost 30 years the visitors set up their victory with a strong first quarter. The Reds were three goals in front at the change of ends.
In perfect weather for football the two clubs added a goal each in the second quarter, but despite South's dominance in the third they barely made an impact on the margin thanks to the Reds' fast play and high marking. A late goal to Robinson restored a 10 point lead, and they added two more in the final term to run out comfortable winners. The fourth placed team from the last VFA season had beaten the runners-up for a perfect start to their league career.
Both teams lacked system early, but the first quarter burst and superior passing by foot were the difference. Before the game secretary Hugh McLeod had said he feared his team was too weak to trouble South, but the Reds took to the new conditions and rules far better than their opponents.
At the end South were finishing the fitter side, but they had left themselves too much work to do and the visitors held them to a goalless last term.
Sheahan, Woods and Sutton were Melbourne's best.
B: Norm McLeod, Ned Sutton, Fred Blackham
HB: Alf Wood, Bert Watson, Charlie Goding
C: Fred Sheahan, Austin Lewis, Wally Steele
HF: Henry Mitchell, George Moysey, Jack Leith
Foll: George Moodie, Herbert Fry, Bert Robinson, 'Williams'
Rover: Fred McGinis
Edwin Jenkyn, George Johnstone, Bill McCulloch and Charlie Young are not given positions in the Record's team lists as it omits the full-forward line. 'Williams' is probably McCulloch.
Described as a 'good attendance'. Record describes Moysey as kicking the club's first goal in the competition, but he is not credited with any goals in the official sources.
Age - 10/05/1897
Argus - 10/05/1897
Australasian - 15/05/1897
Record - 15/05/1897