Semi Final, 1946
Melbourne vs Footscray
Saturday 7 September
Melbourne win by 18 points
Goalkickers: Jack Mueller 4, Jim Mitchell 3, Ernie O'Rourke 3, Alby Rodda 3, Norm Smith 3, Len Dockett 1
The Demons formed a guard of honour for Brownlow Medal winner Don Cordner as he ran onto the field, but Footscray got the jump with the breeze and were the better side early as they tried to win their first ever VFL final.
The two sides lined up with contrasting styles - Footscray's determined defence and wide play initially cancelling out Melbourne's high marking game. The Tricolours got the first two goals of the game before Alby Rodda kicked Melbourne's first in farcical circumstances - kicking on the run the ball dribbled onto the end of his boot and rolled towards the goal onto evade players from both sides and roll through.
Footscray held an eight point lead at quarter time, but would probably have been behind were it not for their strong defence. After having the best player Olliver collected and in the hands of trainers early in the quarter after a collision with a Melbourne follower. He returned with one good arm and by the time he was back on the field the lead was down to three points.
Fanning fumbled several marks and was sent to play on the ball to try and calm him down and the sides traded the lead before two goals to Mueller and one to Smith gave the Demons a 13 point lead. They added two more for eight in the half and a four goal lead at the long break.
Footscray struck back in the third, Olliver returned to his best and Melbourne were outclassed as they continuously failed to find targets on the half-forward line. They had gone from 24 points in front during the quarter to one behind going into the last term. Norm Smith had a shot for goal after the three quarter time siren. His kick went out of bounds and was strongly marked by a police constable, much to the crowd's delight.
After two missed chances early in the last quarter Jack Mueller goalled to restored Melbourne's lead. Footscray retook the lead and held it until the last two minutes. For much of the quarter the game had been played on the grandstand side of the ground with neither side threatening to score.
Two minutes into time-on the wounded Olliver had the chance to seal the match, but failed to score from an easy shot before a Fred Fanning hit-out ended in Norm Smith kicking a goal to drag the margin back to 1 point. Jim Mitchell won the ball out of the centre and goalled again to put Melbourne in front before O'Rourke and Dockett added goals to seal the match.
Col McLean was Melbourne's best. In a backline where every player was a winner the Age said McLean was "most conspicuous with his great dashing ground play and solid, reliable marking. Repeatedly he showed remarkable judgement in intercepting well meant Footscray passes to initiate Melbourne attacks". Jack Mueller and Ted Cordner were also amongst the best.
The win booked the Demons a Preliminary Final berth.
B: Deans, McGrath, D. Cordner
HB: McLean, T. Cordner, Lock
C: Bowman, Dockett, Bickford
HF: Byfield, Fanning, Mitchell
F: Dullard, Smith, O'Rourke
Foll: Mueller, Rule, Rodda
Res: Irwin, F. Kennedy
Sporting Globe - 04/09/1946
Age - 06/09/1946
Sporting Globe - 07/09/1946
Sporting Globe - 09/09/1946
Age - 09/09/1946
Weekly Times - 11/09/1946
Football Record Week 2 finals 1946