Reference_ 1944 VFL R06 Richmond v Footscray and St Kilda v Essendon - The D-Day Draws



On Sunday the 4th of June 1944 US Forces liberated Rome and on Tuesday the 6th of June 1944 Allied forces made the long anticipated D-Day landings in France. Unlike today, when images are beamed instantly around the world, news of these momentous events took time to reach Australia. The first pictures from the D-Day beaches began arriving on Friday and on Saturday as the League football season continued.

The Saturday football crowds had a big day. Everyone must have been discussing the events in Europe. But two of the League six games ended in draws. This was a rare event. It had happened twice in the low scoring period prior to the first world war and would not happen again for 33 years until Essendon/Richmond and StKilda/South Melbourne on the 5th of May 1977.

The Age 10-Jun-1944 p1 - AAP Photo - Photographer Unknown
The Age 10-Jun-1944 p1 - AAP Photo - Photographer Unknown

Season and Lead-up

Football had been vastly affected by the war. The MCG was in use by the Army, Geelong had dropped out of the League competition in 1942-43 and the VFA had closed its doors completely and would not restart until 1945.

Draw Number 1 - Richmond v Footscray


Richmond played five players (Bower, F.Cook, K.Cook, Curren and Mooney) with 10 or less Senior games. But Dyer, Harris and Smeaton each had over 100 games. Dick Harris at 32 was the oldest player on the field.

B:Keith CookRon DurhamJack Scott
HB:George SmeatonLeo MaguireBill Perkins
C:Leo MerrettArthur MooneyBert Edwards
HF:Ray BowerKevin CurranFred Cook
F:Bob BawdenBrian Randall
Dick Harris
Foll:Jack DyerBill Morris
Rover:Max Oppy
19th 20thRoy QuinnBrian Randall

(Taylor listed at FF in Friday team lists, AFL Tables has Randall in the team instead)

Laurie Taylor was in the 2nd AIF during the war and possibly unexpectedly made unavailable, with Randall elevated to the team in his place.


George McLaren and Jack Sutton were playing their first game for Footscray
Footscray played 6 players (Esse, Henderson, G.McLaren, Sutton, Weldon and Wood) with 10 Senior Games or less. Only Arthur Olliver had played over 100 league games. George McLaren at just over 19 was the youngest player on the field

B:Tom TribeBert McTaggartRon Grove
HB:Pat HandLen McCankieHerb Esse
C:Jim MillerAlan CollinsGeorge McLaren
HF:Harry HickeyAlf BenisonBill McTaggart
F:George TribeBill WoodJoe Weldon
Foll:Don HendersonArthur Olliver
Rover:Joe Ryan
19thJack Sutton

Reference_ 1944 VFL R06 Richmond v Footscray and St Kilda v Essendon - The D-Day Draws - Richmond
Reference_ 1944 VFL R06 Richmond v Footscray and St Kilda v Essendon - The D-Day Draws - Footscray

The Game

Argus 12-Jun-1944 p9 - Photographer Unknown
Argus 12-Jun-1944 p9 - Photographer Unknown
Richmond (1st on ladder) and Footscray (6th on ladder)

The Richmond Footscray game was the highest scoring draw to date in the VFL and held that recrd until 1968 when Hawthorn and South Melbourne drew on 126 points. Since the 1970’s average scoring per game has risen and there have been a number of draws with higher scores,to date the record drawn score in Essendon v Carlton in 1993 with 132 points.

Percy Taylor writing in the Argus (12-Jun-1944 p9):
Footscray, after a poor first half, in which they indulged in blind kicking, were slow and inaccurate, and apparently had no set plan of campaign, were revitalised after the interval. Resorting to long kicking and with winning ruck and centre line, they made the pace, and with good forward work kicked nine goals to three to convert a deficit of 15 points to a lead of 27 points at three quarter time. Richmond fought back solidly in the last term. Dyer went to full forward, where he did his best work for the day. Bunching the play, they levelled scores just before the bell with a goal from Harris.

In the Argus 'Did You See...' column on the same day (12-Jun-1944 p9), Did You See:
  • Harris kick the goal that levelled the scored at Richmond, but only after two kicks? The first went out of bounds, but he was given another kick when the man opposed to him went over the mark.
  • Merrett’s dash round the wing for Richmond and long shot on the run go right through the centre, only to be nullified by his having forgotten to bounce the ball in his 20 yard run?
  • Jack Dyer’s quick thinking when, after the ball had fallen from the hands of the pack in the goalmouth and all other players thought it had gone through for a behind, he saw it was inches inside the line and quickly tapped it through for a goal?'

Punt Rd
Sat, 10-Jun-1944
Crowd: 22,000

Richmond5.3 (33)10.7 (67)13.8 (86)19.11 (125)
Footscray3.6 (24)7.10 (52)16.17 (113)18.17 (125)
DifferenceRI by 9RI by 15WB by 27Drawn


Footscray: G.Tribe 4, Benison 2, Weldon 2, Wood 2, W.McTaggart 2, Olliver, McLaren, Groves, Hickey, Ryan, Miller
Richmond: Curren 4, harris 4, Morris 3, Dyer 3, Bowers 2, F.Cook 2, Mooney

Best Players (Argus)
Footscray: Olliver (whose marking and ruck work made him best on ground), Hand, A.McTaggart, G.Tribe, Miller, Collins, Weldon and McLaren (first game)
Richmond: Morris, Bawden, F.Cook, Bowers, Curren, Durham (first half), and for their influence in the last quarter recovery) Dyer and Harris.

Draw Number 2 - St Kilda v Essendon

St Kilda

St Kilda played six players (Armour, Biddy, Geddes, Gracie, Kerley, Lambourn) with 10 or less League Senior games. Gordon Geddes played his first League game. Reg Garvin and Col Williamson were the 100 games. 33 year old Sam Snell was the oldest player on the field.

B:Reg GarvinKen WalkerCol Williamson
HB:Chris LambornSam SnellBill Butler
C:Jack KellyJim MacBethBob Bibby
HF:Alan KilligrewErn McIntyreJack Connelly
F:Wal ArmourSam LoxtonJim Hall
Foll:Ray GracieDon Kerley
Rover:Clarrie Vontom
19thGordon Geddes


Essendon had four players (Finn, Kennedy, Randall and Syme) with 10 or less League games. Kennedy and Randall were playing their first senior games. 18 year old Ray Finn was the youngest player on the field. Jack Cassin and Elton Plummer were the hundred gamers for Essendon.

B:Elton PlummerSid SilkNorm Betson
HB:Bob FlaniganWally ButtsworthAllan Hird
C:Ernie CowardLaurie DearleBill Hutchison
HF:Murray DimbleLes Griggs(Abbott)
F:Ron KennedyGordon LaneNoel Smith
Foll:Percy BushbyJack Cassin
Rover:Ray Finn
19th + otherBob SymeAlan Randall

Abbott listed on Half Forward Flank on Friday team lists but did not play

Cassin (possible broken finger) replaced in the first quarter by Randell

Reference_ 1944 VFL R06 Richmond v Footscray and St Kilda v Essendon - The D-Day Draws - St Kilda
Reference_ 1944 VFL R06 Richmond v Footscray and St Kilda v Essendon - The D-Day Draws - Essendon

The Game

The Age 12-Jun-1944 p4 - Photographer Unknown
The Age 12-Jun-1944 p4 - Photographer Unknown
Essendon (4th on ladder) and St Kilda (7th on ladder)

Percy Taylor writing in the Argus (12-Jun-1944 p9):
The St Kilda-Essendon match might have been won by either side had there been a better display of forward work. StKilda’s speed and clever scouting were predominant in the first half , but thereafter they lapsed. This enabled Essendon, which appeared to be playing below it’s usual form, gradually to reduce St Kilda’s lead. With two minutes to play Smith kicked Essendon’s ninth goal, which reduced StKilda’s lead to one point. At the bounce of the ball there was a vigorous en-masse and the point gained 10 seconds before the final bell.

When rain came at St Kilda about 1,500 people rushed from the outer ground and took shelter in the members reserve. It had previously been arranged that the dividing fence would be shifted alongside the cricket reserve, leaving the old wooden stand in the outer. This work should be complete by Saturday.

In the Argus 'Did You See...' column on the same day (12-Jun-1944 p9), Did You See:
  • Armour, St Kilda, kick a left foot punt for goal when on the boundary line near the behind post, and within on minute McIntyre repeat the performance from the opposite side of goals?

Junction Oval
Sat, 10-Jun-1944
Crowd: 19,000

St Kilda5.3 (33)9.7 (61)9.8 (62)9.17 (71)
Essendon3.3 (21)5.10 (40)7.14 (56)9.17 (71)
DifferenceSK by 12SK by 21SK by 6Drawn


St Kilda:Armour 4, Loxton 2, Connellt, Vontom, McIntyre
Essendon: Smith 3, Lane 2, Kennedy, Dimble, Dearle, Griggs

Best Players (Argus)
StKilda: Williamson, McIntyre, Garvin, Kearley, Walker, Kelly
Essendon: Bushby, Coward, Flanigan, Plummer, Smith, Hutchison,

The Aftermath

There would be two more draws in 1944, as Essendon and Fitzroy drew in Round 9 and St Kilda and Hawthorn would draw in round 15.

Footscray was involved in one draw in 1944 but played many close games during the season:
  • Defeated Collingwood by 8 points in R3
  • Defeated Fitzroy by 5 points in R5
  • Defeated South Melbourne by 9 points in R7
  • Defeated Melbourne by 2 points in R9
  • Defeated Carlton by 3 points in R11
  • Defeated North Melbourne by 4 points in R15
  • Lost to Fitzroy by 2 points in R16
  • Defeated Carlton by 1 point in R18

Essendon, Richmond and Footscray would all make the final four in 1944, but Fitzroy would defeat Richmond at the Junction Oval to take the 1944 premiership

Friday League Teams
No heading. (1944, June 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 12. Retrieved May 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page628194

Monday Match Reviews
LEVELLING UP OF LEAGUE TEAMS. (1944, June 12). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 9. Retrieved May 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11807547


What's New

More Articles

Ken and Michael are proud members of the Australian Football Heritage Group (AFHG)
This site is an independent creation. Site content and views expressed are personal and are not endorsed by the AFHG.

Read our comments regarding Sharing Your Football Memorabilia - Donating Items to your Club


Boyles Photos by Year//Interesting Games
1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

Outside Football

General links to footballers' occupations and links to other sports.
Links to Outside Football