2010 – A Century since Collingwood’s Third Premiership

2010 – A Century since Collingwood’s Third Premiership

By Mountains Magpie

This year we celebrate 100 years since Collingwood won their third premiership. Australia was a very different country to that which we enjoy today. At the beginning of 1910, Edward 7th was the King of Great Britain. He died on 6th May and was succeeded by King George 5th. Our first series of notes and coins was issued in 1910 and we were still a year away from our first stamps. Alfred Deakin was our Prime Minister at the beginning of the year, to be replaced by Andrew Fisher in April.

At the beginning of the season South Melbourne were reigning premiers, having defeated Carlton by 2 points in the previous years’ Grand Final. Carlton had won the previous 3 flags, becoming the first team in the VFL to achieve the hat-trick.

Collingwood’s first and last match of 1910 were against the Blues, with their round 1 match held on Saturday, 30th April at Princes Park. After a low scoring first quarter, Carlton kicked 5 goals to 2 in the second to open up a four goal lead at the long break. The final margin was 28 points in Carlton’s favour, 9.9.63 to 5.5.35 with Dick Lee being Collingwood’s only multiple goal scorer with 3 majors.

Round 2 was scheduled for 7th May but these matches were postponed for a week following the King’s death. So on 14th May at Victoria Park Collingwood met the premiers. The Magpies held a slender 3 point lead at three-quarter time and kicked 7 goals to 1 in the last to run out 41 point victors. Percy Wilson kicked for goals and Lee and Tom Baxter 3 apiece. Collingwood 13.9.87 South 5.16.46

At Victoria Park for round 3, Collingwood smacked St Kilda by 73 points, holding the Saints goalless in the second half. Lee kicked 6 goals with Baxter and Dave Ryan 2 each. The result lifted Collingwood to 2nd on the ladder (behind Carlton) with a healthy percentage of 167.7 Collingwood 13.13.91 St Kilda 2.6.18

In round 4 at the East Melbourne ground, Collingwood kicked themselves out of the game to lose to Essendon by 2 points. Down by 10 points at the last change, Collingwood held Essendon to a single goal but kicked 1.8 to go down 6.7.43 to 4.17.41 with Lee kicking 2 of the 4 goals.

Back at Victoria Park for round 5, Melbourne managed just 4.4.28 to Collingwood’s 10.16.76 and again it was Dick Lee leading the charge with 3 goals with Ryan chipping in for 2, Collingwood sitting 3rd on the ladder behind Carlton and Essendon.

Round 6 was played against Fitzroy at Brunswick Street with the Magpies running out 29 points to the good after kicking 5 goals straight in the first quarter. Ryan and Lee kicked 3 goals each with Wilson kicking 2. Collingwood 11.14.80 Fitzroy 7.9.51

Richmond were at home at Punt Rd for the round 7 match with Collingwood holding on for an 8 point victory. Lee kicked 4 goals and Marshall Herbert 2 in this match. Collingwood 6.9.45 Richmond 5.7.37

Back at home, Collingwood overcame a 2 point deficit at three-quarter time to pip University by just 4 points. Herbert kicked 3 goals and for the first time this year, Lee was held goalless. Collingwood 6.10.46 University 6.6.42 After round 8, Collingwood still sat in 3rd place on the ladder.

Round 9 found Collingwood at Corio Oval where they lost to Geelong by 22 points, 10.9.69 to 6.11.47 with Lee kicking 3 goals. At the halfway mark of the season Collingwood were equal with Geelong on 24 points, two games behind Carlton and Essendon. This match was the first of 97 consecutive games in which Lee kicked at least a goal, a streak that lasted until round 9, 1918.

Round 10 and Carlton made in two from two for the year, this time at Victoria Park, winning 6.15.51 to 2.10.22 to leave the Magpies clinging to fourth position on the ladder by percentage only.

In their biggest win over Collingwood until 1987, the premiers at home at Lake Oval ran out easy Round 11 winners, 13.17.95 to 4.9.33 leaving Collingwood in 6th position, a game and percentage out of the finals. Lee kicked 2 goals for the Magpies.

At the Junction Oval for Round 12, in a must win game, Collingwood squeezed past St Kilda by 10 points, Ryan and Lee kicking 2 goals each for the winners. This lifted Collingwood to 5th, still a game outside the finals.

In a remarkably low scoring affair, Collingwood defeated Essendon in the round 13 clash at Victoria Park 5.13.43 to 2.9.21 after trailing at three-quarter time by 5 points. Lee kicked another 2 goals for the winners. Collingwood were back in the four, ahead of Geelong on percentage only.

On to round 14 and the Magpies made in 3 in a row with a 9.12.66 to 7.6.48 win over Melbourne at the MCG. Les Hughes kicked 3 goals and Lee 2, the win seeing Collingwood half a game inside the four, in third position.

Back at home for Round 15, Collingwood had a 2 goal win over Fitzroy, 7.12.54 to 6.6.42 with 3 goals to Ryan and 2 to Lee. This round was split over two weekends thus giving the Magpies a two week break.

Round 16 saw Collingwood at home again, this time accounting for Richmond by 27 points, 8.13.61 to 5.4.34, giving the Magpies five wins in a row. Lee kicked 3 goals and Paddy Gilchrist 2 (in his 4th game of his debut season) for the winners.

Winning form is good form and the Magpies made it 6 on the trot against University at East Melbourne in Round 17. Baxter and Bob Strachan (in his penultimate match for the club) kicked 3 each and Lee 2 in the 16 point win, 10.15.75 to 9.5.59 leaving Collingwood 2nd on the ladder, ahead of Essendon on percentage but 3 games behind certain minor premiers Carlton.

At Victoria Park for Round 18 and the last match of the season before the finals, Collingwood again won by 16 points over Geelong, 4.13.37 to 2.9.21. Lee and Baxter shared the spoils with two goals each.

In the first semi final, the MCG played host to Essendon and Collingwood. In front of a crowd of 23,998 the ‘Same Olds’ were no match for Collingwood who stretched their run to 8 consecutive wins. The game was over by three-quarter time with Essendon having just 2 goals on the board to Collingwood’s 9. The Magpies ran out winners by 58 points, 14.11.95 to 5.7.37 with Lee kicking 6 and Gilchrist 4 goals.

This took Collingwood to the preliminary final and another fortnight off. They would face South Melbourne after they defeated Carlton in second semi by 2 goals. Carlton, with the right of challenge as minor premiers, progressed to the Grand Final and awaited the winner.

The preliminary final was a very close match, Collingwood prevailing by just 11 points, 8.7.55 to 6.8.44 in front of 44,301 fans. Lee and George Angus each kicked 3 and Gilchrist 2 goals to put the Magpies into their first Grand Final for 5 years.

Chasing their 10th consecutive win and the premiership, Collingwood faced off on a hot and windy day against arch rivals Carlton (who hadn’t played for 3 weeks) on 1st October at the MCG, funnily enough in front of less people than the previous week, with 42,790 in attendance. The Magpies got the early jump and at quarter time led 4.3.27 to 1.2.8 but switched to defensive play in the second stanza, even moving Lee into the back line. Collingwood managed just 1.0 for the second quarter with Carlton kicking a wasteful 1.4 leaving the Magpies holding to a 15 point lead at the long break.

Both teams were carrying injured players by the third term with Carlton playing their best football for the match. Their forwards let them down however and Collingwood outscored them 3.2 to 2.3 for the quarter leaving Collingwood 20 points to the good at the last change.

The reputation of this match was sealed in the last quarter with frayed tempers finally exploding into an all in brawl in front of the old Harrison Stand which resulted in 4 players being reported, two from each side. There were further skirmishes throughout the remainder of the match but Collingwood held on to win the match, and their third flag, 9.7.61 to 6.11.47 with Lee capping a great season with 4 goals in the decider. Some of Collingwood’s favourite sons played in this match, including Ted Rowell, Les Hughes, Percy Wilson and the immortal Jock McHale.

Collingwood’s Jack Shorten was suspended by the tribunal for all of the 1911 and half of the 1912 seasons. He returned in round 10 of 1912 and played the last 9 games of the year and retired after the 1913 season. Tom Baxter was suspended for the 1911 season but this sentence was quashed on appeal. Dick Lee kicked 58 goals for the season, equalling his own record set the year before.

1910 was Collingwood’s only triumph over Carlton in a Grand Final and after 4 subsequent attempts in 1938, 1970, 1979 and 1981 the Magpie fans eagerly await the opportunity to redress this imbalance.

No side has been able to win the flag in the centenary year of a previous premiership but 2010 is shaping up as the best chance of any team since Collingwood in 2003.