1987 Exhibition Match vs North Melbourne

1987 Exhibition Match
Melbourne vs North Melbourne
Sunday 18 October
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver
Attendance: 7980

Melbourne 6.38.813.1119.13.127
North Melbourne2.27.713.1016.15.111

Melbourne win by 16 points

Goals - Greg Healy 5, Graeme Yeats 3, David Williams 2, Ricky Jackson 2, Todd Viney 2, Simon Eishold 1, Tony Campbell 1, Dallas Normington 1, Brad Sparks 1, Warren Dean 1

Having qualified to play North after defeating Sydney a week earlier, the Demons temporarily left Vancouver for a two day holiday at Banff in the Canadian Rockies before returning for what was billed as the "World Championship" match. The game was originally scheduled for the Los Angeles Coliseum, but moved on the excuse of recent earthquakes leaving the venue unsafe. Conversely, Coliseum management revealed only 852 tickets had been sold a fortnight before the match was scheduled.

With $30,000 in prize money on the line both teams tried to take the match seriously. With a raft of injuries both ways Melbourne even selected the recently retired Shane Zantuck before VFL officials told them that they would probably lose the game on protest if they played him.

Instead Adrian Battiston, unable to run and David Williams - ill were named in the squad. Fortunately for John Northey he had the Under 19's on tour with the main squad and was able to pick four of their players - Dallas Normington, Cameron Smith, Geoff Allardice and Glen Kiley - to make up the numbers. They had lost Danny Hughes (broken thumb) and Robbie Flower (displaced shoulder) with injuries plus Jim Stynes and Sean Wight who were touring Ireland.

As with the first game the match was played as a 15-a-side contest with no named centreline. The difference was that there were only 7980 fans in attendance, far down from the 35,000 who saw the match 11 days earlier. As well as the drop-off in novelty value from the first game, attendance wasn't helped by the BC Lions playing at home in the same stadium a night earlier.

North Melbourne had travelled from London where they'd beaten Carlton in a spiteful clash known as the "Battle of Britain". The league had spent the week before the second Vancouver clash trying to play down the contest as a violent spectacle, an image not helped by a photoshoot featuring Swan John Ironmonger eating raw meat in a gutter before the first game.

With a still injured Robert Flower acting as the water boy, the teams played twenty minute quarters and with only three men allowed in the centre square. The Demons leapt out to a handy lead at quarter time against a North side who had been up at 5.30am that morning travelling from Los Angeles. North struck back in the second quarter and at the last change the margin was a solitary point before the Demons kicked away in the last.

Ross Oakley and the VFL declared the matches a success, which couldn't be said for the local promoter who bankrolled the two matches. He needed 35,000 for the final just to break even and went home with empty pockets. The match had originally been scheduled for the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Melbourne travelled home having played a record 31 games for the year, their season finally over.

Best were O'Dwyer, Healy and Viney

Team (no centre line due to reduced teams)
B: Chiron, Icke, Allardice
HB: Grinter, Spalding, Lovett
HF: Viney, Dean, Williams
F: Jackson, Campbell, Eishold
Foll: O'Dwyer, Yeats, Healy
INT: Normington, Smith, Sparks, Kiley, Battiston

Vancouver Sun - 08/10/1987
Age - 15/10/1987
Vancouver Sun - 19/10/1987
Age - 19/10/1987
Age - 20/10/1987

Created by supermercado. Last Modification: Sunday 01 October 2023 14:40:05 AEDT by Supermercado. (Version 12)

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