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1974 - A RETROSPECTIVE by Whispering Jack

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At the start of every year, we go back in time four decades. 1974 was a bleak year indeed ...

For season 1974, former South Melbourne champion Bob Skilton took over the coaching reins at the Melbourne Football Club from Ian Ridley. The club was already in free fall having lost their last eight games of 1973 to finishing in 10th place but the carnage continued and it lost the first nine games before winning against Fitzroy on 8 June, 1974 ironically against the same club that it beat before its long losing run began eleven months earlier.

Melbourne tasted victory only two more times for the season - including another win over the Lions - and finished a game and a half adrift at the bottom of the table.


Coach: Bob Skelton

Captain: Stan Alves

Finishing Position: 12th

Best and Fairest: Stan Alves

Leading Goal kicker: Ross Brewer (40)

Best First Year Player: Gary Baker



Premiership Season

Round Opposition Result

1 Carlton LOSS

2 St. Kilda LOSS

3 Geelong LOSS

4 Richmond LOSS

5 North Melbourne LOSS

6 Collingwood LOSS

7 South Melbourne LOSS

8 Hawthorn LOSS

9 Footscray LOSS

10 Fitzroy WIN

11 Essendon LOSS

12 Carlton LOSS

13 St. Kilda WIN

14 Richmond LOSS

15 Geelong LOSS

16 North Melbourne LOSS

17 Collingwood LOSS

18 South Melbourne LOSS

19 Hawthorn LOSS

20 Footscray LOSS

21 Fitzroy WIN

22 Essendon LOSS


Richmond 17 5 0 129.3 68

North Melbourne 16 6 0 138.8 64

Hawthorn 15 7 0 125.4 60

Collingwood 15 7 0 104.6 60

Footscray 13 8 1 108.8 54


Geelong 11 11 0 93.4 44

Carlton 10 11 1 105.8 42

Essendon 10 12 0 97.6 40

South Melbourne 9 12 1 83.7 38

St. Kilda 7 15 0 88.7 28

Fitzroy 4 17 1 71.3 18

Melbourne 3 19 0 77.1 12

PLAYING LIST [Number, Player, Games, Goals]

1. Gary Baker 20 24

2. Robert Flower 18 22

4. Tony Sullivan 18 0

5. John Clennett 14 6

6. Ross Brewer 22 40

7. Graham Osborne 7 2

8. Peter Keenan 15 8

9. Stephen Kerley 10 0

10. Carl Ditterich 19 22

11. Greg Wells 22 26

12. Mike Collins 9 3

14. Neil Chamberlain 9 2

15. Stan Alves 21 11

17. Denis Clark 18 4

18. John Tilbrook 11 15

19. Ray Biffin 19 1

21. Graham Molloy 3 0

22. Charles Pagnoccolo 1 0

23. Shane Fitzsimmons 5 4

24. Wayne Delmenico 9 0

26. Graham Scott 8 4

27. Greg Wood 11 4

28. Tony Dullard 17 5

29. David Murray 6 0

30. Peter Williamson 14 14

31. Billy Barham 9 13

32. Dennis Payne 1 0

33. Gary Hardeman 20 11

34. Mal Owens 12 3

35. Steven Smith 17 12

37. John Reid 2 0

38. Peter Slade 15 4

39. Kevin Moore 8 1

40. Neil McMullin 7 1

42. Peter Keays 7 1

42. Ted Carroll 2 1

43. Frank Giampaolo 12 5

54. Mike Power 2 0


Best and Fairest Trophy (M.C.C. Trophy and Keith "Bluey" Truscott Memorial Trophy) STAN ALVES

Runner-up Best and Fairest Trophy (Sid Anderson Memorial Trophy) CARL DITTERICH

Third Best and Fairest Trophy (Ron Barassi Snr. Memorial Trophy) GARY HARDEMAN

Special Trophy donated in the memory of the late Ivor Warne-Smith and awarded for outstanding service GREG WELLS

Special Trophy donated in the memory of the late Dick Taylor and awarded for outstanding service TONY SULLIVAN

Best First Year Player GARY BAKER


Best and Fairest (Stan Brownbill Mem­orial Trophy PETER WILLIAMSON

Second Best and Fairest IAN McGUINNESS



Best and Fairest JAMES AHERN

Second Best and Fairest PHILIP FRIEDMAN


Best Clubman RAY POTTER

Equal Highest Votes in Morrish Medal PHILLIP FRIEDMAN*

Played in Senior, Reserve and Under 19 Teams, 1974 MICHAEL POWER

[* PHILLIP FRIEDMAN who originally lost on a count back was subsequently awarded the Morrish Medal - ed]


Best and Fairest STEVE HILTON

Second Best and Fairest ROBERT SANTAGADA



Round Player Charge Sanction

Round 6 Sam Allica (runner) Abusive Language 8 matches


Former players Roy Dowsing and JP "Shane" McGrath passed away in 1974.


After posting a profit of $4,382 in 1973, the club announced a loss of $24,137 attributed largely to the senior team's poor on field performances.


In presenting the Annual Report for Season 1974 we record a drop from 10th position in 1973 to wooden spooners in 1974, the last of the twelve clubs who make up this competition, a position that is hurtful and humiliating to all concerned. Not since 1951 has the team found itself in this position and we are most unhappy in it. When one remembers the greatness that once was Melbourne, and reflects on some of our performances this Season, we are saddened.

Without any desire, other than to pinpoint our failure, the lack of players has been the major cause in our downfall.

Over the past few years in many matches played by our team, we have found something to console ourselves. Sometimes a performance that gave us hope to believe that our team might well go on and be a Final Five contender, but injuries have intervened and our newer players did not perform as well as expected, and our older and talented players failed to perform as we knew they were capable of performing. Too much was left to too few, and basically it has become quite obvious that in the players who comprise our final list, we do not have the necessary depth in talent to succeed. Therefore, it is quite simple, we have to recruit better players, and at a much faster rate than we have been doing after the past few years. Despite the inbuilt difficulties one is bound to experience in an operation of this type, we can honestly report to you that every endeavour is being made to overcome our shortage of recruits.

Broadly speaking, recruits are available from four areas, the first from interstate. In this category in 1973 we signed Peter Carey and Michael Graham, two outstanding players from South Australia. Numerous interviews have been conducted with these two players and we hope to successfully conclude their transfers. Carey is an outstand­ing Centre-Half Forward and will mean a great deal if recruited, whilst Michael Graham who starred in the championship match against Rich­mond would be equally valuable to us. In 1974 we signed a young Full-Forward from Tasmania in Peter Hamilton, and we are holding our final 'Form 4' to use on an even more attractive interstate player in the near future.

We can and will obtain players from our country zone, which we are canvassing to limit, but the talent in the abundance we need does not appear to be coming through at this stage, but we are doing every­thing to cover our areas. The same remarks can be applied to our metropolitan zones, and never in our Club's history have they been covered so intensively. If the youngsters are there we will present them to our selectors in due course.

We conducted a Clinic on the M.C.G. this year over a three day period on which we had young stars from all over Australia billeted with good supporters of our Club. As a result the talent we unearthed will play a part in helping our Club up the ladder. Listed below are the names of some of the recruits that we anticipate seeing in action during the 1975 practice games:

Mark Alves Utility Edithvale/Aspendale

Murray Black Half Back Nagambie

Peter Carey Centre Half Forward Glenelg

Ian Cordner Centre Half Forward University Blacks

Geoff Delaney Half Back Seymour

Michael Graham Wing Sturt

Gary Guy Centre Carrum

Peter Hamilton Full Forward Ulverstone

Marty Lyons Half Forward Sandringham

Peter O'Keefe Half Back Seymour

Francis O'Keefe Half Forward Seymour

Ross Perrett Rover University Blacks

Bruce Reid Full Forward Romsey

Barry Tippett Rover Shepparton

David Warming Full Forward Xavier

Chris Woodman Ruckman Shepparton United

These are plain statements of fact, and we can only ask for your support and patience. We are doing all we can to ensure that our position at the moment will not occur again. However, we have to operate within the limits laid down by our country and metropolitan areas, and at the moment die players are not there in the numbers required to rapidly lift us from the bottom of the ladder, so under the constitutional confines laid down by the Victorian Football League, we can only ask for your patience whilst we set about our task of recovery.

It was hard on Bob Skilton to face a situation as outlined in his first year. Bob could not have tried harder to lift the team and made a great impression on players and officials alike, and we sincerely trust that his efforts may be rewarded to a greater extent in 1975.

Another new face on our coaching scene for 1974 was Reserve Eighteen and Assistant Coach Roy Simmonds. We were privileged indeed to recruit Roy to Melbourne, but similarly with our First Eighteen it failed because basically its players lack talent. As with Bob Skilton, if Roy is to succeed then he requires more players. We can only thank Bob and Roy for their dedicated and friendly approach to their respective tasks, and encourage them to further apply them­selves in 1975.

This year saw the introduction to the Club of Ivan Moore as Administration Manager. With the pending retirement of Secretary Jim Cardwell, your Club saw fit to appoint Ivan to succeed and work with Jim over the remaining months he has with the Club. Ivan has brought with him a fresh approach to the Club which will prove of great benefit in the years ahead, we are fortunate to have his enthusiasm and cheerfulness working in our Club's interests. All this backed up by a sound knowledge of football administration makes him a most wel­come addition.

Brian Gray again acted as Coach of our Under 19 team, which finished in seventh position. This team's performance was dictated very often by the demands of the Reserve Eighteen, and with a heavy crop of injuries troubling our reserve and senior Eighteens, the Under 19's were continually called upon to help out, with a consequent loss of performance by our Under 19's which accounted very often for this team's display of both brilliant and at times disappointing football.

The Under 17's again competed successfully in their competition and were again in the Final series finishing in Third position. The team was again coached by Gordon Duff who has enjoyed great success. We are hoping still of course that the V.F.L. will introduce a fourth Eighteen competition in the not too distant future, which we feel will be of considerable benefit to all Clubs.

Our Best and Fairest awards were conducted in public at the M.C.G. As in 1973 with Carl Ditterich, it was obvious from the outset in 1974, Stan Alves was to be the winner of the M.C.C. Medal and that is how the voting progressed. Stan Alves became a runaway winner and the happy crowd at this function were delighted to be the first to congratulate him on his well deserved award. Stan has been a grand sportsman for Melbourne and a great example to all who play football. Young players could do well to model themselves on Stan, both on and off the field, he is well qualified to have his name appear on the Honour Board of the Melbourne Football Club as Best and Fairest player.

Runner-up Best and Fairest was Carl Ditterich, and in winning this award Carl again showed the tremendous value he is to our team. The confidence Carl inspires in players around him cannot be measured and we are indeed fortunate to have him playing with us in the manner that he has done. In winning our Best and Fairest in 1973 and now second Best and Fairest in 1974. Carl has shown what a great acquisi­tion he has been to Melbourne.

Third Best and Fairest was that outstanding player Gary Harde­man. This year Gary distinguished himself by being Runner-up for the Brownlow Medal to Keith Greig of North Melbourne, and it was not until the final few votes that Gary failed to win this illustrious award. A great team player, Gary set an example of endeavour and deter­mination to all his team-mates.

Fourth Best and Fairest was Greg Wells who slightly departed from his form in 1973. but on occasions provided brilliant and exciting football for supporters.

Fifth Best and Fairest was ever dependable and reliable Tony Sullivan, whose consistent play on the Half-Back line won him the admiration of all.

Best First Year Player in 1974 was Gary Baker, who was origin­ally secured on a transfer from Footscray. We are certain the judgment of the Club will be vindicated by the form of Gary Baker, who is destined to play many years with the Melbourne Football Club.

Our Club did not have a very good financial year, details of which are given elsewhere in the report, and we can only hope that with the easing of the demands being made on Clubs by the Victorian Football League, in its desire to develop V.F.L. Park, Waverley at an almost unbecoming rate will be somewhat slowed down. Only then will all V.F.L. Clubs be able to improve their Club finances to any degree.


Special thanks must be conveyed to Stan Alves and Gary Harde­man who were our leaders on the field. Stan by his tremendous enthusiasm plus the magnificence of his play was an inspiring leader, there were many weeks when one felt that Stan most certainly would be unable to play, and yet he would train on the Thursday with such enthusiasm and purpose that the Selectors would have no hesitation in nicking him. It has been a long season for Stan who has been troubled by many painful injuries throughout the year, and yet Saturday after Saturday played inspiring football. It was obvious to most of us that Stan Alves had won our Best and Fairest award long before the season finished.

In Vice-Captain Gary Hardeman we have another player who set a splendid example to the rest of his team-mates. Continually moved from his favourite position of Centre-Half Back, Gary at all times showed no disappointment, but went about his task with cheerfulness and with dedication. He won his usual place in the Victorian Team and distin­guished himself yet again by being in the best players in the interstate matches. He was Runner-Up in the Brownlow Medal in 1974 after being third in that award in 1973. Gary has shown himself to be one of the greatest players to have played football with the Melbourne Football Club.


Dr. Duffy again presided as Chairman of the Melbourne Football Club for Season 1974. Again he was not to enjoy the success that his efforts should provide. The Committee that he led worked continually throughout the year, and the time and effort that they expended deserved greater success on the field, however, this was no to be. The Committee must receive criticism, and we expect it, but it would be infinitely better for the Club if those critics were to put their words into action and nominate for position in the onerous and demanding situation.

During the year the following Sub-Committees operated Finance and Executive with Dr. D. Duffy as Chairman, the Match Management Sub-Committee with Mr. J. R. Mitchell as Chairman, the Business Sub-Committee with Mr. Neil Lockwood as Chairman, Recruiting with Mr. Ken Carlon and the Selection Committee with Rev. P. K. Melville, whilst our Entertainment and Organisation was under the control of Mr. Geoff Swan.

The work of these respective Sub-Committees must be mentioned. The Business Sub-Committee were continually meeting arid were called upon to raise a considerable amount of finance on behalf of our Club. They co-ordinated the Entertainment and Organisation Sub-Committee and it was rare indeed for this Group not to meet weekly, sometimes twice a week throughout the season.

Our Match Management and Selection Committees that operate together were continually reviewing the team's performances and the number of times they were called to meetings were very considerable.

The Recruiting Officers and Chairman Ken Carlon were ever on the alert, covering metropolitan and country areas in a continuous search for recruits, and we are certain the effect contributed by each individual made it all the more disappointing to see so little result from their very considerable efforts, which deserve a better reward.


(Meetings held during year15)

K. Carlon 15

D. G. Duffy 11

D. Ferguson 13

R. S. Geary 15

A. L. V. King 15

G. A. Lenne 12

N. Lockwood 14

J. P. McGrath 13

C. McLean 14

K. Melville 14

R. Miller 8

J. R. Mitchell 13

G. W. Patterson 10

P. Rhoden 14

G. M. Swan 9

Secretary 14

Administration Manager 15


We are again pleased to report that the Right Hon. Sir Henry Bolte, K.C.M.G. consented to act as our Number 1 ticket holder for 1974, and that our Number 2 ticket holder was again the Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne, Cr. Allan Whalley.

We are pleased to record the support of these two gentlemen and we are very proud to have them associated with our Club.

Our congratulations on winning the Premiership of the V.F.L. must go again to the Richmond Football Club and to its Coach Tom Hafey and its enthusiastic and hard working officials in President Ian Wilson and Secretary Allan Schwab. The completely professional approach of Richmond was seen to its greatest advantage in the Final Series when it dominated the matches played and won in a most decisive manner against North Melbourne in the Grand Final. The team followed the pattern of 1973 when it reached even greater heights in defeating Sturt in the Australian Championships played in Adelaide. The manner of its victory and the performance of every player led to it being com­pared to our championship teams of 1955/56/57 and it does bear comparison as its players showed tremendous discipline and control in their performance, which reflects greatly on the wonderful ability of its great Coach, Tom Hafey.

Congratulations must also go to North Melbourne, its hard work­ing Executive and its wonderful Coach, Ron Barassi, for their success in finishing Runners-up to Richmond in 1974. When one also considers that this team won its second Brownlow Medal with Keith Greig, who receives our congratulations, it can be seen what a great year North Melbourne Football Club has really had.


General dissatisfaction must follow the poor showing of the Mel­bourne Football Club in the season just completed. For despite changes in Committee, Coaching Staff and Training List we were again unsuccessful.

Our future is entirely dependent upon the acquisition of players of sufficient calibre to win matches and the sooner this is accomplished the better.

Lack of success on the field is reflected in crippling financial loss to the Club and great difficulty is experienced in essential fund raising activities.

The M.F.C. Committee has striven throughout the year to meet this problem and I wish to express my thanks to all those who have tried so hard to "lift" the Club, whether they be players, staff members, Committee or loyal Melbourne supporters.


Once again we were fortunate in the strength of our Reserve Eighteen in 1974. The Reserve Eighteen who controls our Under 19 and Under 17 teams were held by Noel Parkhill as Chairman of this Committee and who also acted as Manager of our Reserve Eighteen, ably supported by Mr. W. A. Rodriquez, who in a completely satis­factory manner occupied the position as Secretary of the Reserve Eighteen and Manager of the Under 19's.

Mr. Stevens was again Manager of our Under 17 grade team and although the team finished third in its section it gave hope to senior officials in the talent of some of its players. Gordon Duff as its Coach again proved satisfactory in every respect.

Our Under 17 team suffered badly by the demands made of them by the Under 19 team.

The Best and Fairest winner of the Reserve Eighteen (Stan Brownbill Memorial Trophy) was young player Peter Williamson. We feel that Peter could in a short time be a regular member of our senior Eighteen. Second Best and Fairest was Ian McGuinness and Outstanding Service trophies were won by Shane Fitzsimmons, Peter Keenan and Neil Chamberlain. Our Under 19 Trophy winners were Best and Fairest James Ahern, who played many games with the Reserve Eighteen whilst Phillip Friedman, who tied for first in the Morrish Medal for Best and Fairest of the Under 19 Competition, had a splendid year. Outstanding Services Trophies were won by Chris Munday and Greg Woods while the Best Clubman Trophy was won by Ray Potter. A special award was given to Michael Power who achieved fame in that he played with the Under 19, Reserve 18 and Seniors, all in the one season, a very commendable effort. Our Under 17 Best and Fairest was won by Steve Hilton with Robert Santagada runner-up, a position he has occupied for two years in succession. Outstanding Service Trophies were won by Geoff Osmand. Peter Gabron and Ian Sutton,


It is recommended that Life Membership be conferred upon two members of our very excellent staff, and they are Dudley Phillips and Graham Simpson. Dudley Phillips has been associated with our Social Committee for over fifteen years and has been a tireless worker on our behalf, nothing has been a trouble for Dudley to perform, and his loyalty and assistance to our cause fully entitles him to this honour.

In Graham Simpson we have an official who has been associated with our Club as Property Steward of great efficiency for over fifteen years. He originally began with our Reserve Eighteen and after a short time transferred to senior training ranks. He is truly deserving of this award, and we thank both these gentlemen for the service they have rendered to our Club.


The Committee has much pleasure in awarding Five Year Service Certificates to:

Peter Keenan Graham Molloy


Our Social Committee again made a great contribution to the happy and successful running of our Club. The Committee still func­tions in the same efficient manner and Geoff Swan and Dudley Phillips deserve thanks for the enthusiasm and dedication they show and the time they devote to social activities on our behalf, it leaves us heavily in their debt.

Special thanks must be conveyed to Mr. Bert Andrews who still continues to be an outstanding worker for our Club. We are grateful to the following members who comprise our successful Social Com­mittee:

Mr. G. Swan (Chairman) Mrs. J. Alves Mr. S. Alves Mr. L. Black Mrs. J. Black Mr. K. Chalmers Mr. G. Hardeman Mrs. J. Hardeman Mrs. L. Gibb Mrs. M. Keane Mrs. M. Lenne Mr. R. McHutcheson Mrs. R. McHutcheson Mrs. G. Massey Mr. D. Phillips Mr. W. Spurrell Mrs; J. Parkhill Mr. W. Thomson Mrs. J. Thomson


Mr. L. Amalfi

Mr. A. E. Chadwick

Mr. S. Edwards

Mr. H. Ebling

Mr. D. Ferguson

Mr. D. Heywood

Mr. F. V. Hughes

Mrs. E. Hunter

Mr. A. E. Langley

Mr. D. H. Knight

Mr. J. Lewis

Mayne Nickless Ltd.

Melbourne Cricket Club

M.F.C. Social Committee

Mr. C. S. McCutcheon

Mr. R. Steele

Mr. N. O'Donohue

Sir F. Richardson

Mr. G. Sheppard

Mr. R. Seddon

Mrs. M. Taylor

Mr. T. Taylor

Taylor Ferguson & Co. Pty. Ltd. Mr. C. Weickhardt


Our financial results for Season 1974 presented a very dismal picture. This year saw a loss to the Club of $24,137. Our receipts for the year were $163,824 and our expenditure $187,961. Once again it is emphasised that one can only expect a good financial return when the team is successful. It is vital that we should establish ourselves as a Final Five contender before our financial position can materially alter.

An amount of $7,040 was credited to the Melbourne Football Club Provident Fund for Season 1974. This represents a payment of $16.00 per match.


The Redlegs were again a prominent feature of our social life at Melbourne and assisted the Club to a very considerable degree.

The after match functions conducted by this fine band of indivi­duals were a great attraction to players and supporters alike and arc a vital part of our entertainment at die Melbourne Cricket Ground.

They are led by a most capable Chairman in Mr. Tom Jackett with Mr. David Jones again acting as Hon. Secretary and Mr. R. B. Church continuing hi his role as Hon. Treasurer. This hard working Committee comprises the following personnel:

Mr. Ian Dunlop

Mr. Glen Harwood

Mr. Murray Morris

Mr. Ken Rollason

Mr. David Rosback

Mr. Rudy Werner

Mr. Richard Seddon

Mr. Vol Heath

To this band of gentlemen we again express our sincere thanks. Your efforts were much appreciated by players and officials alike.


It is with deep regret that we report the passing during the year of Mr. J. P. "Shane" McGrath and Mr. Roy Dowsing.

Shane, a former champion full-back of the Club, played 117 games with the Demons from 1940 to 1950 in a career which was interrupted by World War II. He was a member of the Melbourne Premiership sides of 1941 and 1948 and served as a member of our Committee from 1954 until his death on 1st November, 1974. To his wife Mary and his children, Paul, Mary-Ann and Margo, we extend our Club's deepest sympathy.

Roy Dowsing was also a former player of the Melbourne Football Club and participated in matches from 1939 to 1947. Roy later acted as Assistant Secretary of the Club From 1948 to 1957; at the time of his death he was an active member of the Former Players' Association. Sympathy is also extended to members of his family.

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