1922 VFA season

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1922 VFA premiership season
Teams 10
Premiers Port Melbourne
(3rd premiership)
Minor premiers Footscray
(6th minor premiership)
1921
1923

The 1922 Victorian Football Association season was the 44th season of the Australian rules football competition. The premiership was won by the Port Melbourne Football Club, after it defeated Footscray by two points on 23 September, in a controversial Grand Final which several of its players were offered money to throw. It was the club's third VFA premiership.

Association membership[edit]

Following the closure of the East Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1921, the Essendon (Association) Football Club disbanded and left the Association, due to the Essendon (League) Football Club moving into its home ground. North Melbourne had disbanded midway through the 1921 season as it tried to capitalise on Essendon's (L.) move, but reformed at the end of the year and resumed its place in the Association, albeit missing many of its best players which had left the club when it disbanded.[1]

To replace Essendon (A.), a new senior club based in Geelong was admitted to the Association. The new club was administered by the Geelong & District Junior Football Association, and was called the Geelong Football Club; it was typically called Geelong (Association) or Geelong (A.) when required to distinguish it from the Geelong Football Club affiliated with the Victorian Football League. The Geelong (A.) team played its matches at Kardinia Park (at the time, Geelong (L.) played at Corio Oval).[2]

These changes were seen as a rare strategic victory for the Association over the League. The Association had managed to gain a slightly stronger foothold over inner city Melbourne by forcing Essendon (L.) into the outer suburbs; and it had then established a club in Geelong, which had been previously been served by only a League team, in the hope of attracting some Geelong-grown talent towards the Association.[2] The victory would be short-lived, as North Melbourne was admitted to the League after three years and Geelong (A.) was out of the Association after six years.

Before the season, Footscray, Prahran and Williamstown all applied to join the League;[3] and Camberwell, Coburg and Geelong West all applied to join the Association.[4] All six applications were rejected.

Premiership[edit]

The home-and-home season was played over eighteen rounds, with each club playing the others twice; then, the top four clubs contested a finals series under the amended Argus system to determine the premiers for the season.

Ladder[edit]

1922 VFA Ladder
TEAM P W L D PF PA Pct PTS
1 Footscray 18 16 2 0 1539 809 52.5 64
2 Port Melbourne (P) 18 14 4 0 1421 1035 72.8 56
3 North Melbourne 18 12 6 0 1179 996 84.5 48
4 Williamstown 18 10 7 1 1246 1016 81.8 42
5 Brunswick 18 10 7 1 1369 1167 85.2 42
6 Hawthorn 18 10 7 1 1304 1126 86.3 42
7 Northcote 18 7 10 1 1287 1336 103.9 30
8 Brighton 18 6 12 0 1100 1273 115.7 24
9 Geelong 18 2 16 0 935 1620 173.3 8
10 Prahran 18 1 17 0 829 1827 220.4 4
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pct = Percentage; (P) = Premiers, PTS = Premiership points Source[5]

Finals[edit]

Semi Finals
Saturday, 2 September Port Melbourne 13.14 (92) def. Williamstown 8.3 (51) North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (crowd: 14,500) [6]
Saturday, 9 September Footscray 6.12 (48) def. by North Melbourne 10.8 (68) North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (crowd: 12,000) [1]
Preliminary Final
Saturday, 16 September Port Melbourne 9.12 (66) def. North Melbourne 5.8 (38) North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (crowd: 13,500) [7]


1922 VFA Grand Final
Saturday, 23 September Footscray def. by Port Melbourne North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (crowd: 20,000) [8]
0.2 (2)
4.7 (31)
5.7 (37)
 8.10 (58)
Q1
Q2
Q3
 Final
6.2 (38)
7.2 (44)
9.6 (60)
 9.6 (60)
Umpires: McKinnon
O'Brien 4, Samson 2, Holden, Outen Goals Taylor 3, Barfoot, Dobrigh, O'Brien, Rees, Stanford, Walton

Grand Final bribery scandal[edit]

Four Port Melbourne players, George Ogilvie, Bill Rudd, Bill Walton and captain Gus Dobrigh reported to the club that they were separately offered large sums of money, as much as £100, to play dead in the Grand Final to fix the result in Footscray's favour.[9]

Additionally, Mr Sinclair of the Port Melbourne club reported that he had received a telephone call from a man in the lead-up to the match who claimed to be a Port Melbourne supporter, asking for details of Port Melbourne tactics, but the man had left a false telephone number[10] and Sinclair also reported that he had received an unusually large volume of requests for wagers on Footscray to win the match.[11] All four players refused to throw the match, and Port Melbourne won by two points.

Port Melbourne referred the matter to the Association, who investigated and charged three men – all connected with the Footscray Football Club – with attempted bribery:

  • Club President George Sayer and player Vern Banbury were both alleged to have attempted to bribe Dobrigh, Rudd and Walton in the lead-up to the match.
  • Player Matthew O'Donohue was alleged to have attempted to bribe Ogilvie on the field during the Grand Final.

Both O'Donohue and Sayer were found not guilty, with the Association ruling that Sayer had no involvement, much less knowledge, of the attempted bribery, while no witnesses could corroborate the allegation against O'Donohue. Banbury was found guilty and suspended from the Association for life.[12][13] Banbury is considered to have acted on his own accord, without any direction from the club, with Footscray itself found not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Notable events[edit]

  • On 5 August, Hawthorn set a new record for the highest score in Association history. Hawthorn scored 30.31 (211) against Prahran.[14]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Old Boy (11 September 1922). "The Association – amateurs triumph". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 5. 
  2. ^ a b J.W. (3 December 1921). "Football – turning the tables". The Australasian. CXI (2905). Melbourne. 
  3. ^ J.W. (19 December 1921). "Football". The Australasian. CXI (2903). Melbourne. p. 988. 
  4. ^ J.W. (28 January 1922). "Football – Victorian Association clubs". The Australasian. Melbourne. p. 158. 
  5. ^ Old Boy (28 August 1922). "The Association – final four fixed". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 14. 
  6. ^ Old Boy (4 September 1922). "The Association – first semi-final". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 12. 
  7. ^ Old Boy (18 September 1922). "The Association – Port Melbourne succeed". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 12. 
  8. ^ "The Association – Port Melbourne premiers". The Argus. Melbourne. 25 September 1922. p. 6. 
  9. ^ "Football "Squaring" – serious allegations". The Argus. Melbourne. 25 September 1922. p. 11. 
  10. ^ "Football Squaring – Association inquiry". The Argus. Melbourne. 3 October 1922. p. 10. 
  11. ^ "Football "Squaring" – Association meeting". The Argus. Melbourne. 26 September 1922. p. 19. 
  12. ^ "Victorian Football – the charge of bribery". The Mercury. Hobart, TAS. 28 October 1922. p. 7. 
  13. ^ "Football scandal". The Independent. Footscray, VIC. 18 November 1922. p. 2. 
  14. ^ "Prahran's debacle". The Argus. Melbourne. 7 August 1922. p. 12.