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1971 MFC ANNUAL REPORT

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Once again, we open the time capsule. This is the MFC Annual Report for 1971. The club chairman was Dr. D. G. Duffy:

ANNUAL REPORT 1971

In presenting the Annual Report for season 1971, we are very pleased to report a year in which our Club has been lifted considerably. In 1970, we were successful in winning only six matches; in 1971, we almost doubled that score, winning eleven, drawing one and losing ten. For the greater portion of the year, the team occupied a position in the final four and. judging by the number of complimentary letters received by your Committee, our members were quite obviously pleased with the team's performance.

In reviewing the year, we had a magnificent start, winning eight out of our first nine matches; however, the team was not helped by a spate of wet Saturdays which continued for many weeks and did not fit in with our style of play, which is suited more to dry weather conditions rather than the heavy grounds we had to endure.

The team at all times displayed great spirit and could always be relied upon to provide a great fighting effort; but despite these qualities, gradually slipped out of calculations for the final four to finish seventh on the league ladder.

The team entered into the Night Football competition as one of the contenders for the night flag but far from favourites. Carlton and Fitzroy both more favoured to claim the title of the best team outside the four, were defeated by our side, which displayed football of magnificent quality and left us all most confident to face season 1972.

The wonderful improvement of the team is in no small manner due to the great work carried out by Ian Ridley.

When Ian was first appointed, he brought with him a freshness of approach which, coupled with his own dedication, soon conveyed itself to all our players. He campaigned vigorously for a pre-season training trip to be held in Adelaide, and this set the pattern for the year to follow. In Adelaide, the players, working under Physical Fitness Advisor Laurie Prosser. Ian Ridley and New Assistant Coach Bernie Massey. gave everything to their task, it was a great delight to be associated with so many young men determined to achieve fitness for their own and the club's sake and this early fitness undoubtedly did much towards helping us win the early matches referred to above. It is the intention of the Club to conduct another pre-season training trip in-1972 and if the results are as successful as those of 1971. then the money will be very well spent indeed.

We realize that we have to improve our side even more to become a top contender for Premiership honours and we have set about recruiting players of height and strength to assist Peter Keenan, who has almost had to carry our rucks single handed. We believe we have succeeded very well in this direction. We have secured five players. all over 6 feet 4 inches in height who possess the necessary strength. They have come from interstate and our own country zone, and we feel very confident that in a department previously lacking, we will no longer be worried by this weakness.

It is problematical as to whether the country district scheme will continue in season 1972. This can only benefit our club who, through its recruiting officers, had been, prior to zoning, one of the most successful clubs in country wide recruiting. Ken Carlon, our chief recruiting officer, now a member of our Committee, again has completed a year of wonderful value to us. Each week, Ken and his boys are busy travelling through our zoned area and often interstate, to endeavour to obtain the "best recruits wherever they may be. The Club owes a great debt to Ken, more than is realized, and we are very grateful to him for the time and enthusiasm he places at our disposal. Backed up by former player Bill Deans, and together with John Osborne and Allan Mackay. our areas, both country and metropolitan, were very well covered and no player has been overlooked.

Our Reserve XVIIT. although not as successful as in season 1970. did a grand job and was prevented from gaining a position in the final four, due to the abnormal injuries the senior side suffered. Each week Bernie Massey was called upon to provide players for the senior XVIII. Towards the end of the season. Bernie finished with more players from the Under 19's in his team than Reserve XVIII players but always they gave him great support and it was unfortunate that Bernie's good coaching was denied the reward it deserved, because of these recurring injuries.

Our under 19 team had a magnificent year which culminated in a Premiership on the M.C.G. to this very good side. Coach Brian Gray, a former Collingwood wingman. has been a great success with this team. His patience, understanding and quiet but thorough approach, has won him the respect of all sections of the Melbourne Football Club and particularly the players under his control. The great talent of the under 19 side will be seen more clearly in the years ahead, as we are sure that this team will provide players of above average ability to our Senior XVIII.

Our Under 17 team was also successful in winning a Premiership in this competition and the same remarks could well be applied to this team as have been to our Under 19's. Coached by Gordon Duff, he had a most difficult situation to overcome in the final rounds, and showed the wav to his team most admirably. Gordon deserves our praise for his splendid coaching. This team, along with our Under 19. feature in this report on other pages.

We are confident of our future, not only with the players we have recruited, but. the players yet to come to our senior side from these two junior eighteens.

It is very pleasing also to record that, after a neck and neck struggle, with Paul Callery that player Greg Wells was awarded our Best and Fairest Medal. Greg and Paul were very vital members of our team each Saturday and their play inspired team mates around them and thrilled the thousands who came to see us play. Two of the most popular players to represent our club, we extend thanks and congratulations for the wonderful year they both enjoyed. It is fitting that only one vote separated them in the Best and Fairest Medal. They were pressed closely by captain Frank Davis who was third Best and Fairest. Frank had a magnificent year. His leadership and example are of great value to our team. He has the respect of all and we are very fortunate to have such a modest and dedicated young man as leader of our team. He is most excellently supported by Barry Bourke, whose determination, despite many very painful injuries each Saturday, deserves the highest commendation. We are most grateful to Barry for his efforts on our behalf.

Similar tribute must be paid to Stan Alves and John Townsend. two of our older players who, week after week, turn in excellent games for our Club. They are truly great Melbourne players and will always be reckoned in the history of our Club as two of the best players ever.

Mention can be made to the wonderful improvement evident in Ray Biffin who. at the finish, was regarded by many as the best full back in the V.F.L. Ray is the first to give credit for this to Ian Ridley but we salute the spirit that kept Ray going when many doubted his ability to make it. He is a fine clubman and a very valuable member of our team.

Reference has been made to the great play of Peter Keenan who, week after week, in an almost single handed effort, took on all the big names of the V.F.L. and generally defeated them. His was a great performance, one for which we thank him most sincerely.

One must also remember the other trophy winners in Tony Sullivan, who placed a seal on a great season with us by winning a place in the Victorian team. Tony. recruited from St. Patrick's College. Ballarat. has proven to be one of the greatest players produced by a great football school. Graham Molloy and Gary Hardeman were both brilliant players who contributed a great deal each Saturday to our success. We are fortunate to have such talented players at our disposal.

On the finance side, our Club enjoyed a considerably better financial season. This is entirely due to the success of the team. Until we are restored as a final four side, our financial situation will only be difficult. Team performance governs gate receipts and we look forward with confidence to an improvement in this direction in Season 1972. We suffered a financial loss in season 1971 amounting to $7,493.80.

OUR COMMITTEE

Dr. D. G. Duffy again presided as Chairman of the Football Club for season 1971. It is pleasing to record that Don's determination to have his team move up the ladder was achieved to a great degree in the season just completed. Don is particularly anxious to keep abreast of all that is happening within his club and demands maximum effort from all sub-committees. Over the past few years, these sub-committees have been meeting two and three times a week in an endeavour to improve the club's position.

Our Committee in 1971 comprises the following:

Representing M.C.C Committee: Dr. D. G. Duffy, Dr. D.P. Cordner, Mr. T.C. Trumble.

Representing M.C.C Members: Messrs. K. Carlon, R.S. Geary, F.V. Hughes, A.L.V. King, C. McLean, N. J. McMahen, J. R. Mitchell, G. W. Patterson.

Representing M.F.C Members: Messrs. J. P. McGrath, G. A. Lenne.

Representing Reserve XVIII: Messrs. R. Read, R. Miller.

Co-opted Member: Mr. G.M. Swan.

Although reference has been made to the contribution made to our club by Mr. A. L. V. King, it certainly deserves repeating once again. Mr. King has been a member of our Committee since 1938 and his invaluable work, pre-season in controlling our membership ticket sales and our reserved seat sales prior to the finals series is a most onerous position. When you also take into consideration the fact that Mr. King acts as our delegate with the Victorian Football League and the many sub-committees that he occupies with that body, makes his task one that many would hesitate to accept. Mr. King must surely be one of the hardest working administrators in the State.

Mr. B. J. Dixon and Mr. I. R. Porter were forced to retire from our committee as members. Brian accepted the position as coach of the North Melbourne Football Club and as a consequence, was called upon to vacate a position on the Committee he had occupied for a number of years. His place was taken by Mr. K. Carlon, our recruiting officer and we were pleased to see Ken occupy this position. Mr. Ivan Porter, a former player and a member of committee for many years was also forced, through pressure of business to vacate his seat on Committee which was in turn filled by Mr. G. W. Patterson. Bill has proven to be an administrator of great value and his pleasant personality plus his keen outlook and enthusiasm makes him a most valuable member of our Committee.

We hope both members will serve our Committee for many years to come.

We were pleased to welcome Mr. Bob Miller who had been co-opted previously to our Committee, as a fully fledged member representing our Reserve XVIII. Bob is a former player, a member of the Law Faculty at Monash University; a young man who will bring to our table the benefit of his youth and his football experience. We are very fortunate to have Bob with us.

COACH AND ASSISTANTS

While reference has been made previously to the splendid work of Ian Ridley as coach of our senior XVIII, it is not nearly enough to convey the extent of our appreciation of Ian's value as coach.

When Ian was first appointed, after advertisements had been called for, there were many who thought that Ron Barassi would undoubtedly return to Melbourne and coach our team. There were many who doubted lan's ability to rise to the occasion as senior coach. How wrong he proved them all to be. When one sums up the characteristics that helped to make Ian the successful coach that he undoubtedly is, the characteristic above all that probably means more to players than, anything else is his complete honesty in his approach to the game, backed up by his outstanding ability as a speaker, in which he is second to none, he possesses a keen football brain that does not panic under pressure; a white hot fury when speaking to his team, all combine to produce this fiery successful little coach. Small in size but always great in heart, Ian, who joined the Club in 1954 and played 130 matches in which he kicked 302 goals and played in five Premiership teams has the background to rank with the greatest of coaches and undoubtedly will. The fear is that his business commitments, another field in which he has been outstandingly successful, may cut across the time he can give to football and our Club. We hope this does not happen for many years and that he will continue to coach our team in the same dedicated manner he is showing at the moment. To his wife, Judy, we must also say thanks, as she is the mother of five children, all very young and the demands on her are very considerable and we thank her for allowing Ian to continue in this exacting position with us.

Bernie Massey, a former playing member of our club, acted as Assistant Coach to Ian and was coach of our Reserve XVIII. Bernie. whose coaching experience was gained under Norman Smith, and later, in his own right as successful coach of Port Fairy, has reason to be pleased with his performance as our Reserves coach in his first year. Our first XVIII was so heavily hit by injuries that continual demands were made on Bernie and his players. As a result, his team's performance faded away towards the end of the season and Bernie's team failed to make the final four. Bernie enjoyed the confidence and respect of his players and at all times was a most able assistant to Ian.

Brian Gray our under 19 coach, who first joined us in 1970, in a short space of time, has justified his appointment. This year, in winning the Premiership, despite the several demands of the senior XVIII, Brian took the team almost undefeated throughout the season. They were on top of the ladder for almost the entire year and the team, by its performance in the final series on the M.C.G.. brought great credit to our Club. The manner in which this team moves the ball about leads us to believe that many players will come from its ranks in the years ahead. The same remarks can well be applied to our under 17 coach Gordon Duff, who in his first year, won a Premiership. A measure of Gordon's success can be seen in the way that the Under 17's stuck to their task in the Grand Final which was a very hard game to win.

Our coaching group this season would not be complete without reference to the work carried out by Laurie Prosser, our fitness advisor who set the pattern this year by travelling to Adelaide at his own expense to inspect the areas over which the team was later to train and to attend to so many details that assured the success of this trip to follow. Laurie co-operated with Ian Ridley to the utmost and his dedication and enthusiasm won the respect and admiration of all members of our list. We hope that he can find the time from his studies to continue with us for many years to come.

Phil Rhoden was another who contributed a great deal and his special coaching in the art of kicking was of great benefit to many of our players.

Special reference must be made to the outstanding contribution of our Reserve XVIII Committee in the manner in which it has carried out its duties. Under the guidance of its Executive Committee Messrs. Ray Read, Bob Miller, Noel Parkhill, Bill Rodriquez and Harold Stevens, we were fortunate in having such a fine group of men to look after the interests of our junior players.

They have all spent many hours this year attending to the interests of our youngsters. Special praise must be paid to Mr. Bill Rodriquez who has been a great success as Reserve XVIII Secretary and we compliment him on all that he does on our behalf. With Noel Parkhill as Reserve XVIII Manager and Steve Stevens, who deserves a great deal of credit for the Premiership that the under 17 team carried off this year, we are most grateful. Steve's vision of what was likely to happen in the Grand Final was as great a contribution as his best player on the day. Congratulations to all these men for a job well done.

To all other members of the Reserve XVIII Committee, we give our thanks and we hope that you can continue with the good work in 1972.

CONGRATULATIONS

We were very pleased to report that the Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Sir Henry Bolte, K.C.M.G., consented to act as our Number One ticket holder for season 1971. Sir Henry set the pattern at our Pre-Season Dinner when he stole the show with a very entertaining and witty assurance to our players. He took the opportunity of attending our rooms on many occasions and was a most interested visitor. We look forward to his continuance in this role for many years to come.

Congratulations go to the Hawthorn Football Club Committee and Coach John Kennedy for an outstanding performance in winning the 1971 V.F.L. Premiership. The obvious determination and dedication of all players on the Hawthorn List is a warning to all other teams that they will not surrender their position lightly. The commando pattern set by John Kennedy has to be overcome and can only be done so by hard and untiring effort.

Commiserations yet again, must go to Collingwood who appeared likely winners, but, as they have done in so many years, failed in the last moments of the game.

Congratulations are conveyed to Ian Stewart of the Richmond Football Club for his win in this year's Brownlow Medal, Ian is one of the most brilliant players ever to have played our game and his selection justifies the efficiency of the umpires in this regard.

Congratulations must go also to Bruce Brown who, as winner of the Gardiner Medal, the Best and Fairest award in the Reserve XVIII, brought great credit to our Club. Bruce has been a most successful footballer, having been associated with a Premiership club in almost every side in which he played and is no stranger to winning Best and Fairest medals. We hope that he can, go on with our club to become a regular member of our senior XVIII.

Congratulations go to our interstate representatives in Frank Davis. Gary Hardeman and Tony Sullivan. They were three worthy representatives who represented our Club with distinction.

Congratulations have been made elsewhere to Greg Wells, who won the Best and Fairest award for season 1971. Along with our other trophy winners, he deserves praise for a magnificent effort in a most interesting year.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Our Social Committee again made a great contribution to the happy and successful running of our Club. This Committee, which was reorganized some two years ago. still continues to function in the same efficient manner and with Mr. Geoff Swan acting as Chairman in this section, was responsible for raising a great deal of finance which has been placed at the disposal of our Club.

This hard working Committee continues to show great enthusiasm and dedication and we must render thanks to these people for the successful running of this sub-committee.

Special thanks must be made again to Mr. Dudley Phillips and Mr. Bert Andrews, both of whom continued to give great financial support to our Club. Nothing is too much of a trouble for them and Bert, as a seller in the Special Effort, is unequalled. We are most grateful to him.

Our thanks go to these members who comprise our successful Social Committee:

G. M. Swan (Chairman), Mr. L. Black, Mrs. J. Black, Mr. B. Bourke, Mrs. P. Bourke, Mr. K. Buchanan, Mr. F. Davis, Mrs. P. Davis, Mrs. L. Gibb, Mr. J. Hull, Mrs. M. Keane, Mrs. M. Lenne, Mr. L. Keen, Mr. R. McHutcheson, Mrs. G. Massey, Mr. D. Phillips, Mrs. J. Ridley, Mr. W. Spurrell, Mr. W. Thompson, Mrs. J. Thompson.

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Quality stuff. More please.

A few highlights from the 1971 Yearbook:

We opened the season at the MCG against the Swans (then known as South Melbourne). Score: Melbourne 24.21.165 defeated South Melbourne 7.18.60. I'm prepared to cop a similar result forty years down the track in round one. 

Tallest player on the list was "Crackers" Keenan at 6'5". We also had Glenn Honey at 6'4" but he didn't get to play a game. Smallest was Paul Callery at 5'5" who was runner up in the B & F. 

Trophy Winners were -

Seniors:

1st Greg Wells (Keith "Bluey" Truscott Memorial Trophy)

2nd Paul Callery (Sid Anderson Memorial Trophy)

3rd Frank Davis (Ron Barassi Memorial Trophy)

Tony Sullivan (Special Trophy in memory of Ivor Warne-Smith)

Outstanding Service - Peter Keenan, Graham Molloy & Gary Hardeman

Most Improved - Ray Biffin

Bruce Brown won the Gardiner Medal (VFL reserves) and the club reserves B & F. He was the son of famous Herald sports journalist Alf Brown.

The Under 19 team won the premiership beating Essendon 18.15.123 to 16.14.110. Looking at the team photo, quite a few members of the team went on to play AFL. Ross Brewer (121 games, 196 goals - later with Collingwood and Richmond), John Cumming (4 games, 0 goals), Peter Dilnot (5 games, 3 goals), Geoff Harrold (2 games, 0 goals), Stephen Kerley (43 games, 3 goals and a terrific player who left too early to play in SA), Ian McGuinness (2 games, 1 goal), Kevin Moore (8 games, 1 goal), Laurie Queay (2 games, 2 goals), the late Kim Smith (4 games, 3 goals who later became a VFA legend) and Peter Williamson (27 games, 16 goals).

My favourite picture from the annual report is the team photograph of the Under 17s who won the flag in the Metropolitan League beating Port Melbourne 12.4.76 to 8.14.62. Robert Flower was in the team but didn't play that year because of clearance issues so he acted as team runner and won the Best Clubman award. He was best and fairest in the Under 17s in the following year. The only other player from the team to make the seniors at Melbourne was Neil Chamberlain (17 games, 10 goals) who also won the Gardiner Medal in 1975.

Flower started in the seniors in 1973 and played what was then a record 272 games  (179 goals) by the time he retired in 1987.

One of the obituaries was E. C. H. "Bully" Taylor, a former Committe member, an originator of the "coterie", club historian and Match Committee member. He was also a master and coach at Melbourne Grammar School. 

I could go on but I've just written about looking forward, not back  so that's enough of 1971 from me ... for now.

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