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Reference_ 1941 VFL R02 Geelong v StKilda - First Game at Kardinia Park

Matches



Introduction

In 1941 Geelong played its first match on the new ground, Kardinia Park. The new stadium remains Geelong’s home ground to the current day.

Season and Lead-up


The Move from Corio Oval to Kardinia Park

Corio Oval had been Geelong’s home ground since 1878, nearly 20 years before the advent of the VFL. It had been used as a cricket ground as far back as 1862 when a Geelong and District 22 played an all England 11. The Oval had been part of the club for 63 years.

But in 1941, the Corio Oval became the first major VFL ground to be used by the Army. Its use was as a Military Training Camp. A number of newspaper articles through 1941 detail this:

'Advance parties for the 2nd Cavalry Division camps will enter camp to-day. In the Geelong district the camps are at the Geelong racecourse, Corio oval, and Drysdale.' – Argus 4-Jan-1941 p5

'Comprising men from various parts of Victoria, from East Gippsland to the South Australian border and Riverina, the Second Cavalry Division will go into camp on Thursday for 70 days' training. Last year the division was in camp near Torquay; but this year It will be divided...... The 22nd Field Artillery Brigade will be at Corio Oval. Geelong.' – Argus 27-Jan-1941 p4

'With an aeroplane 'dive-bombing' the arena, exercises held by Cavalry Division Signallers at the agricultural society's gymkhana on Corio oval on Saturday were given a realistic touch' – Argus 28-Apr-1941 p2

From 1942, other grounds would also be used at various times by the Army, such as the Western Oval (Footscray), the Junction Oval (St Kilda), the Lake Oval (South Melbourne) and the MCG.

Geelong had to find a new ground before the season started and so the move to Kardinia Park took place. In 1940 the centrally located 16 year old struggling Kardinia Park Oval Committee’s debts had been liquidated by the local Council (Argus 8-Feb-1940 p11) and needed a tenant and became the partner needed by the club, but there would be many costs in transferring to the new base.

Corio Oval is identified as the 'Cricket Ground' beside the Botanical Gardens - Kardinia Park can also be seen - Tourist map of Geelong 1933 & district compiled by the Tourists' Resorts Committee ; photo-lithographed at the Department of Lands and Survey, Melbourne - Source State Library of Victoria
Corio Oval is identified as the 'Cricket Ground' beside the Botanical Gardens - Kardinia Park can also be seen - Tourist map of Geelong 1933 & district compiled by the Tourists' Resorts Committee ; photo-lithographed at the Department of Lands and Survey, Melbourne - Source State Library of Victoria




A Geelong Player Strike before the Season Opens

To pay for the relocation to the new ground, the club, already in financial difficulty, reduced player payments. This set off a player strike. The Argus 13-Mar-1941 p12 describes the issues:

'When the club began training on Tuesday only one member of the team that represented Geelong last season appeared, and it is unlikely that any more will turn out to-night. The possibility of some of the men joining Association clubs has been suggested.'

'After training on Tuesday. Mr I Gibson, Geelong secretary, issued a statement that the committee had felt unable to grant the request for £3 per match because of the cost of the club's transfer from the Corio oval to Kardinia Park, and also because the club wished to increase its patriotic efforts this season. The players agree that the cost of transferring the club to Kardinia Park would be considerable, but they claim that the committee has not disclosed any sound reason for offering them 30/- a week.'

'Last season the players began on a basis of £3 a week but later, when the club was in financial difficulties, they agreed to a reduction to £1 per week, saying that they were satisfied with the facts put before them. The club ended the year £518 better of then it did the previous year and it is understood that that is what annoyed the players and helped to bring about the present position.'

The strike was resolved before the start of the season but financial difficulties caused 1941 to be a difficult year for the Cats who would end the season in the bottom three, and would not play at all in the VFL competition in 1942-43.

St Kilda's Bill Mohr Retires on the Thursday Before the Game

Bill Mohr - 1938 St.Kilda Personalities Source: Australian Rules Football Cards
Bill Mohr - 1938 St.Kilda Personalities Source: Australian Rules Football Cards

The St Kilda team which travelled to Geelong for the first game at Kardinia Park was without long serving champion Bill Mohr. Mohr had played 195 games for the Saints beginning in 1929. He had played in St Kilda's round One win at the the Junction Oval against South Melbourne and on Thursday night had made his retirement public.

Mohr, was St Kilda Leading Goalkicker from 1929–1940 and the League leading goal-kicker in 1936. He had captained the Saints in 1937 and his career had been acknowledged with a selection in St Kilda's Team of the Century and an inaugral member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Bob Flegg would kick 45 goals in 1941 and become the clubs leading goal kicker in 1941.

Teams

Geelong

The Geelong and StKilda teams were evently matched in age and experience:
  • Geelong's team had an average age of 24y 304d and St Kilda's team an average of 24y 329 days.
  • Geelong's player combined for 882 games experience, St Kilda's combined for 826 games
  • Geelong had 5 players with 10 games of less, St Kilda also had 5
  • Geelong had four players with 100+ League games, St Kilda had three

18 Year old Len Toyne was the youngest player on the ground and 31 year old Fred Hawking the oldest
Lindsay White, who would play over 100 games for the Cats was playing his second game.
Clyde Helmer would play out the season with Geelong and played a few games for Melbourne in 1942. But he would be one of many casualties of the Second World War.

B:Mick GlenisterGeorge GnielNeil Tucker
HB:Stan HowardRupe BethuneJack Butcher
C:Angie MullerFred HawkingLeo Dean
HF:Joe SellwoodJack GrantLen Toyne
F:Clyde HelmerLindsay WhiteVic Nankervis
Foll:George DoughertyColin Graham b1915
Rover:Jim Knight
19thHarry Heard


St Kilda

Future star Harold Bray was playing his second League game
B:Jack RogersKeith MillerCol Williamson
HB:Ted HoppenStan LloydClarrie Curyer
C:Jack KellyJack CliffHarold Bray
HF:Ken WalkerBob FleggAlby Weiss
F:Clarrie VontomLes MeekJack Knight
Foll:Roy FountainReg Garvin
Rover:Alan Killigrew
19thRon Mudge


Reference_ 1941 VFL R02 Geelong v StKilda - First Game at Kardinia Park - Geelong Team
Reference_ 1941 VFL R02 Geelong v StKilda - First Game at Kardinia Park - St Kilda Team


The Game

'The ball was bounced by the mayor of Geelong (Cr R.C. Thear), who is a member of the football committee. The appointments and the state of the ground came in for favourable comment from the crowd.' - The Age 5-May-1941 p10

Kardinia Park, Geelong
Sat, 3-May-1941
Crowd: 8,500

Percy Taylor writing in the The Argus 5-May-1941 p10 described the match:

Finishing much stronger than Geelong, St Kilda in a way was unfortunate to lose by two points to Go Geelong. It was an exciting finish and the game might have been won after the bell. Williamson was awarded a free kick and the bell rang. Williamsons kick within scoring distance was almost grubbed (along the ground) and St Kilda lost a golden opportunity to win. Opportunities however were lost during the whole of the game and St Kilda failed in attack.

Geelong opened up with sparkling football. Playing the long game and relying on high marking it established a four goal lead. St Kilda made a successful move in the second term placing Flegg full forward instead of Meek and results were immediately obtained.

TeamQ1Q2Q3Final
Geelong4.4 (28)7.5 (47)13.6 (84)13.9 (87)
St Kilda0.4 (4)5.7 (37)8.12 (60)11.19 (85)
DifferenceGE by 24GE by 10GE by 24GE by 2

http://afltables.com/afl/stats/games/1941/091519410503.html

Goals
Geelong: White 6, Helmer 2, Knight 2, Dougherty 2, Graham
St Kilda: Flegg 7, Kelly 2, Weiss, Vontom

Match Previews

TEAM CHANGES. (1941, May 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 10. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8170743

Match Reviews

RICHMOND SCRAPES HOME. (1941, May 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 10. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8163272

The Age 5-May-1941 p10
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=WTkTAAAAIBAJ&sjid=OZcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5784%2C2351984

Photos


The Aftermath

St Kilda won the return match at the Junction Oval in R13 by 41 points. Geelong finished 10th and St Kilda finished 11th at the end of the 1941 season both with 3 wins for the year.



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