Semi Final 1954

Semi Final, 1954
Melbourne vs North Melbourne
Saturday 4 September
Venue: MCG
Attendance: 42,166

North Melbourne3.45.77.1211.14.80
Match Statistics

Melbourne win by 30 points

Goalkickers: Noel Clarke 6, Ken Albiston 3, Geoff Case 3, Ron Barassi 1, Geoff Collins 1, Robert B Johnson 1, Bob McKenzie 1


With neither side having played finals football since 1950 there was a scarcity of September experience on offer for either side. The Demons fielded five players who had been there in 1950, with North in a similar position. It was the first time the two sides had ever played a final against each other, but Melbourne went in warm favourites after beating the Shinboners by 33 points in Round 11.

Rain fell during the Seconds curtain-raiser, meaning the ground was slippery for the main event but the sun was shining by the first bounce. North won the toss for rooms, choosing to occupy Melbourne's regular area. The Demons also had Denis Cordner under an injury cloud, he finished the Round 18 game limping, before going to Adelaide on business. While there he trained with Glenelg in an attempt to regain fitness.

In an aggressive game, Bob McKenzie and his opponent were reported for striking each other in the opening seconds of the game. They only stopped trading punches when a goal umpire ran half the length of the ground to separate them, and were both immediately treated for facial injuries. After the biff it was North who steadied better. With the Demons fumbling uncharacteristically North took a three goal lead at one point, but with the better of the play they should have been even further in front.

It took until the second quarter for the Demons to get themselves into the game - when they did they briefly stole the lead before going into half-time marginally behind. After the long break the match dissolved into a violent struggle. Geoff McGivern was knocked out behind play, but the Demons kept their cool in the battle and took a lead into the last change. They kicked seven goals to four in the last to win comfortably. McGiven stayed on the ground and was one of his side's best at centre half-forward. Bob Johnson was also assailed in the last quarter, with a forearm around the head and then a blow to the ribs while he was recovering.

McKenzie was suspended for four matches, with the goal umpire giving evidence that "the two men were standing toe-to-toe throwing punches like no one's business". The players denied punches were thrown, but admitted to jostling. The tribunal didn't accept their version of events.

Peter Marquis was also reported, for striking in the last quarter, and reprimanded. Two North Melbourne players were suspended for their actions during the game, but no charges were delayed for the behind-the-play hit on Geoff McGivern.

The coaches had both been comfortable with the idea of a brutal game, Norm Smith said "I told our boys they must play the ball and take what came", while his counterpart Jock McCorkell said, "Players threaten each other with mayhem during the game, but when it is all over they shake hands."

North's administrators were less generous, claiming their players had been bitten and spat at. Kangaroo president Phonse Tobin demanded an inquiry to investigate the hit on McGivern. Player Jock Lineen wrote to a newspaper to reject claims that he'd struck Geoff McGivern. Lineen never played another league game.

Best for the Demons were McGivern, Clarke and Case. McGivern suffered a severely bruised shoulder, Noel McMahen leg soreness, McKenzie a split lip and Johnson cramp. Christie replaced McGivern, and Adams replaced Johnson.

Above: Geoff Case lies on the ground after a clash.


Argus - 30/08/1954
Age - 31/08/1954
Argus - 31/08/1954
Argus - 31/08/1954
Herald - 01/09/1954
Argus - 01/09/1954
Argus - 03/09/1954
Herald - 03/09/1954
Herald - 03/09/1954
Argus - 04/09/1954
Herald - 04/09/1954
Argus - 04/09/1954
Age - 04/09/1954
Sporting Globe - 04/09/1954
Age - 06/09/1954
Argus - 06/09/1954
Argus - 06/09/1954
Age - 06/09/1954
Age - 06/09/1954
Argus - 06/09/1954
Argus - 06/09/1954
Sporting Globe - 08/09/1954
Age - 08/09/1954
Football Record 1954 Finals
Sporting Globe - 15/09/1954
Sporting Globe - 22/09/1954
Argus - 28/09/1954

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Sunday 31 July 2022 21:20:08 AEST by Supermercado. (Version 34)

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