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Snake_Baker

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Rivals: The true origin of the Marshmallow Wars
Nick Bowen
Jun 28, 2018 6:20AM

MADE POSSIBLE BY

IT WAS a top-of-the-table clash no one had seen coming at the start of 1993.

North Melbourne had endured a tumultuous pre-season, sacking their coach Wayne Schimmelbusch just three weeks before round one following a catastrophic 147-point pre-season loss to Adelaide.

Essendon looked to have entered a rebuilding phase after missing the finals in 1992, but youngsters such as James Hird, Gavin Wanganeen, Mark Mercuri, Joe Misiti and Steven Alessio had quickly taken flight at AFL level and helped lift the 'Baby Bombers' to second place on the ladder after the opening 14 rounds.

Under new coach Denis Pagan, North had opened the season even more impressively.

With Wayne Carey emerging as one of the competition's best players, and Wayne Schwass, John Longmire, Mick Martyn, Anthony Stevens and Glenn Archer all thriving under their former under-19s mentor, the Kangaroos sat on top of the ladder.

Carey (second from right) soaks in another victory with 1993's flying Kangaroos. Picture: AFL Photos



How they billed it

As round 15's AFL Record pointed out, North Melbourne's 9-4 record included four narrow losses.

Two had been by a single point, including a comeback defeat the previous round by lowly Fitzroy. It had left the Roos smarting.



The opening rounds

With Carey, Longmire and Adrian McAdam on song in attack, the Roos piled on seven goals in the opening term to take a 19-point lead into the first break.

The Bombers hit back over the next two quarters, riding dominant performances from Paul Salmon, Michael Long and Mark Thompson to build a 10-point advantage by the final break.

Going into the last quarter, Kevin Sheedy's men appeared to have all the momentum.

The moment

North opened the final quarter with a four-goal-to-one run that put it four points up halfway through the term.

Carey then took it upon himself to kill off any fight remaining in Essendon.

As Schwass pumped a long ball inside the Roos' forward 50, Carey launched himself on to Tim Watson's back and marked at full stretch, as Derek Kickett trained in vain to spoil from behind.

'The King' had taken a brilliant pack mark two minutes earlier but missed his set shot. This time, he made no mistake from just inside 50m.

Carey's goal seemed to suck the life out of the Bombers. Over the next 10 minutes, the Kangaroos ran rampant, piling on another four unanswered goals to win by 38 points, a margin that belied what had been a fiercely waged contest.



The heroes

Carey was a colossus, especially in the last quarter where his dominance of Watson in the air turned the contest. The Roos skipper finished with 20 possessions, 13 marks, 4.1, three Brownlow votes and the AFL Record's Man of the Week award.

But he had plenty of support. Longmire was too strong for young Dons full-back Fletcher, plucking 10 marks and kicking 6.4, while Martyn was almost impassable in defence and earned one Brownlow vote.



Valiant in defeat

The Bombers threw everything at the Kangaroos and were close to breaking them in the third term. No Don gave the Roos more headaches than Salmon, who finished with 21 disposals, 14 marks, 18 hit-outs and two goals to deservedly receive two Brownlow votes.

The moment they don't replay but should

Mark Roberts had been quiet until the final quarter, but the North utility helped power his team's irresistible surge to victory with several line-breaking runs.

The best of them came with 12 minutes remaining on the clock, when he beat David Grenvold to a loose ball inside the Roos' defensive 50m arc and took off.

Charging straight through the corridor, he took three bounces, burning off Chris Daniher and Sean Denham before baulking Salmon and launching a long bomb deep into attack, which Carey marked brilliantly.

The Roos skipper missed his set shot from 35m, but that's no excuse to forget Roberts' inspirational play.

Mark Roberts (l) savours the Roos' 1996 flag with Kangaroo teammate David King. Pictures: AFL Photos


What happened next?
The Kangaroos won the battle, but the Bombers ultimately won that year's war.

Rebounding from their round 15 loss to clinch the minor premiership, the Dons then overcame a qualifying final loss to Carlton and a 42-point half-time deficit to Adelaide in the preliminary final to clinch the club's 15th premiership.

The 'Baby Bombers' had delivered well ahead of schedule, but Pagan's young North team ran out of gas, losing three of its remaining six home and away games before bowing out of the finals via a week one thrashing from West Coast.

It was premiership glory for the Baby Bombers ...




... but elimination final heartbreak for the Roos. Pictures: AFL Photos





Sugar and spice: the Marshmallow Wars are born

Talk to any North fan who savoured so many successes in the 1990s, and that final quarter onslaught would rank among the most exhilarating half hours of footy in memory. That it was over the club's fiercest rival made it that much sweeter.

This pulsating clash sparked the most compelling rivalry of the next decade, with North gaining the upper hand initially, winning six of eight games from 1993-98.

Towards the end of that stretch, Sheedy told his players North thought they were soft, then publicly questioned whether North officials Greg Miller and Mark Dawson had soft underbellies.

"He'd be a pink marshmallow, Dawson," Sheedy said. "Miller would be a white marshmallow. That's about where I see those two softies."

It was a brilliant media stunt that drew bumper crowds, and saw Sheedy being pelted with marshmallows after the Roos' 1998 Qualifying Final triumph.

Sheedy would later claim the marshmallow line was a stunt to help North draw a crowd. Picture: AFL Photos



The Bombers emphatically put paid to any continued talk of softness, winning the teams' next six clashes while memorably dishing out the Roos' greatest ever finals loss in the 2000 first qualifying final (125 points) and staging the greatest ever comeback (69 points) in round 16 the following year.

Each team won two premierships in this era but unfortunately never squared off on Grand Final day, the Bombers' two one-point preliminary finals losses in '96 and '99 denying fans a grand final befitting one of the AFL's great rivalries.
 

Luke72

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The EFC historian confirms that the failed 1921 NMFC/EFC merger would have resulted in the merged entity eventually being called "North Melbourne"

"We almost ceased to exist"

Smug bastards, listening to them talk about how they filled the team with North players loaned in good faith with the impending merger, and how those players won them two premierships was too much for me. I was already aware of the history but I had to turn it off before I punched something. I will go and take a dump on the doorstep of Windy Hill as part of an ongoing dirty protest
 

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big_e

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New podcast series from Adam Collins, Daniel Brettig and Shannon Gill on the 1993 AFL season, called The Greatest Season That Was: 93.

The first episode is about NMFC: https://omny.fm/shows/the-greatest-season-that-was-93/episode-2-north-melbourne

Just a month out from the 1993 season North Melbourne were in tatters, the so-called next big things had stalled. A bad 1992 and now a 147 point thrashing in the Pre-Season Fosters Cup by the Crows saw coach Wayne Schimmelbusch sacked with just weeks until the season proper started. So how did a club that had no money, no coach and no captain turn it all around within 6 weeks to be top of the AFL ladder and the new glamour team of 1993 . We talk to North Melbourne football supreme Greg Miller about the events of 1993 and how its legacy turned North Melbourne into the team of the 90s.
 

RobZombie

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New podcast series from Adam Collins, Daniel Brettig and Shannon Gill on the 1993 AFL season, called The Greatest Season That Was: 93.

The first episode is about NMFC: https://omny.fm/shows/the-greatest-season-that-was-93/episode-2-north-melbourne
This podcast is fantastic. The Greg Miller interview is a must listen. The stuff recruiters got away with back then boggles the mind in the context of the current day.

The following ep on Fitzroy with Robert Shaw is just as good (ping Horace). Plenty of North-relevant content in there too. The Blakey-McCarthy trade, how they paid for Zanotti (Stibbard gets a run), McCarthy playing on Carey. Also Doc Wheildon and the crossed lines with the coaches box phones.
 

Hojuman

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This podcast is fantastic. The Greg Miller interview is a must listen. The stuff recruiters got away with back then boggles the mind in the context of the current day.

The following ep on Fitzroy with Robert Shaw is just as good (ping Horace). Plenty of North-relevant content in there too. The Blakey-McCarthy trade, how they paid for Zanotti (Stibbard gets a run), McCarthy playing on Carey. Also Doc Wheildon and the crossed lines with the coaches box phones.

Was on the 59 tram many years ago RZ and stopped at Vic. Market Elizabeth st. right near the now gone Stork Hotel.
Bloke got on the tram quite a few seats away from me. Was quiet and kept to himself, but stank, and l mean stank like a brewery.

One Doc Wheildon.
 
Last edited:

Grogg

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Was on the 59 tram many years ago RZ and stopped at Vic. Market Elizabeth st. right near the now gone Stork Hotel.
Bloke got on the tram quite a few seats away from me. Was quiet and kept to himself, but stank, and l mean stank like a brewery.

One Doc Wheildon.
Rhys Jones old pub. Used to drink there back in the day and the place was crawling with what some might call "colourful characters".
 
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Moderator #992
Was on the 59 tram many years ago RZ and stopped at Vic. Market Elizabeth st. right near the now gone Stork Hotel.
Bloke got on the tram quite a few seats away from me. Was quiet and kept to himself, but stank, and l mean stank like a brewery.

One Doc Wheildon.
Good old Doc. In 1992 I was attending a Quit function at a club in Lygon St with my best mate who played NBL basketball, and who was speaking at said event alongside Doc who was playing for the Quit sponsored Fitzroy.

Nek minnet I head out for a gasper and Doc follows, asking "can I bot a Winnie Blue off you please mate?"

Had a chat and a few gaspers with him for ages before he was called in to speak of the benefits of quitting. The ironing wasn't lost on me. Top bloke was Doc.

Edit: I must add that he was one very loose unit was Doc.
 

Snake_Baker

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Considering this weeks events re: Gaff, it's a good time to revisit the story of Fred Rutley

When Fred Rutley got life.

North Melbourne defeated Geelong at the Corio Oval in North Melbournes first VFL game in Round One 1925, this had so far been Geelong's only loss for the season and the ladder leaders were keen to avenge that defeat.


North Melbourne selected a team on Friday that included Curly Linton on the half back line. (Both Argus and the Age newspapers)

The difference between the selected side and the actual side that played was that Fred Rutley came in for Linton. The reason for the change is not mentioned in the match report on Monday and as Rutley kicked three goals, he may have played up field.




Tim Trevaskis - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards



Dave Walsh - 1926 Craig and Hales Footballers and Racehorses- Source:Australian Rules Football Cards


The Game


Arden St, North Melbourne
Sat 1-Aug-1925
Crowd: 10,000

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
North Melbourne 3.0 (18) 6.1 (37) 8.2 (50) 9.5 (59)
Geelong 4.8 (32) 7.11 (53) 16.16 (112) 22.22 (154)
Difference GE by 14 GE by 16 GE by 62 GE by 95

Goal Kickers

Geelong: Hagger 5, Todd 4, Leahy 3, Rayson 3, Fleming 2, Warren 2, Chambers, Hall, Rankin
North Melbourne: Rutley 3, Wood 2, Johnson, Lindsay, Lynch, Trevakis

Excerpts of Argus Match Review
Old Boy – The Argus 3-Aug-1925 p16
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2150381

(The following excerpts of the match review have had some formatting added)

The ‘Worst Game for years.” Is the description of the match, Geelong v North Melbourne played at North Melbourne on Saturday. The incidents were so outstanding and disgraceful that in addition to the inquiry which the independent tribunal will have to make because of the reports by the umpires, the League should go fully into all the circumstances. It was freely rumoured on Friday that trouble was brewing and as results proved, rumour seems to have been well founded.

Never in the experience of good judges have so many spiteful and vicious acts been witnessed in a match. Players were sent down in a cowardly fashion after they had kicked the ball. Other acts of foul play included tripping, charging, chopping players as they ran past, and deliberate punching – in fact, it appeared as if the rules were totally ignored. Scott, the field umpire, utterly failed to stop the roughness and allowed the play to get out of hand.

Just before half time a spectator in the grandstand threw a large stone at Coghlan, a Geelong player which hit him on the leg behind the knee, necessitating attention from the trainers. No effort was made to discover the man who threw it. So incensed were some members of the Geelong Committee at half time that they declined an invitation to partake in refreshments with Northern Officials.

(Note -An all in brawl involving team officials occured at the start of the third quarter. Rutley would receive his ban as the instigator of the fight)

It was hoped that wiser counsels would prevail during the interval, but if anything, when the game was resumed there was more viciousness than before. Men were sent reeling to the ground from elbow digs and other spiteful acts. No mercy was shown and in one torrid encounter in the last quarter C.Rankin, the Geelong captain, went down, badly hurt. Efforts to get him on his feet being futile, he was carried off the ground in an unconscious state. For some time after the match he was feeling the effects of the knock which, in his case, may have been due to an accidental blow.

The whole game was seething with so much roughness that it was a relief to most of the onlookers when the final bell rang. Rankin, the Geelong captain, has made an almost complete recovery from his injuries, but several of the players are complaining of injuries.

At the conclusion the various umpires announced their intention of reporting four North Melbourne men and two Geelong players. Altogether 17 charges will be laid as follows



    • W.Russ (North Melbourne), for allegedly striking C.Rankin (Geelong)
    • T.Trevakis (North Melbourne), for allegedly striking G. Smith (Geelong)
    • F.Rutley (North Melbourne), for allegedly striking and kicking F.Fleming (Geelong), and attempting to kick S.Hall (Geelong)
    • H.Johnson (North Melbourne), for allegedly attempting to kick S. Thomas (Geelong)
    • A. Coughlan (Geelong) for allegedly elbowing T.Linday (North Melbourne), and striking H.Johnson (North Melbourne)
    • S.Thomas (Geelong), for allegedly elbowing J.Woods (North Melbourne) and T.Linsay (North Melbourne)
As might have been expected in a fierce game such as that played at North Melbourne, there were many injuries. The North Melbourne casualty list is.



    • H.Johnson injured mouth. Four stitches inserted
    • W.Russ, twisted knee
    • J.Woods, injured arm
    • T.Trevakis, strained leg
    • J.Lewis, Bruised hip.
On the Geelong side



    • A.Coughlan was injured by a stone thrown by a spectator, described by a North Melbourne supporter as ‘a bit of a pebble’.
    • C. Rankin, the Geelong captain, was carried off the ground unconscious in the last quarter, and was very shaky when he left the ground.

Match Previews
Club Notes. (1925, July 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2149147

The Age 31-Jul-1925 p7
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=yBIRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=_NcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7206,3032023

Match Reviews
WORST GAME FOR YEARS. (1925, August 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 16. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2150381

The Age 3-Aug-1925 p7
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=yhIRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=_NcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6853,3294055

The Tribunal

The Age 6-Aug-1925 p10

A blow by blow record of the tribunal meeting can be read in the Age. The sentences were heavy and reflected how much the match had got out of hand.

Coughlan (Geelong) - Guilty - Suspended for the remainder of the 1925 season and all the 1926 season
Thomas (Geelong) - Guilty - Suspended for the remainder of the 1925 season and all the 1926 season

Rutley (North Melbourne) - Guilty - Suspended for life
Russ- Guilty- Suspended for the remainder of the 1925 season
Trevakis (North melbourne) - Guilty - Suspended for three weeks
Johnson (North Melbourne) - Charge not sustained

The Age 6-Aug-1925 p10
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zRIRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=_NcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7092,3711631

The Aftermath

Geelong's loss of two quality players would have certainly affected the teams chances in the finals, especially in Geelong's 10 point loss to Collingwood in the Grand Final.

One of the odd outcomes is the comment on suspended Geelong player Stan Thomas's wikipedia page, "Following his retirement, Thomas joined the coaching staff at North Melbourne and coached them for one game in the 1926 season."

Fred Rutley who was suspended for life was eventually allowed to return to North Melbourne in 1930 when he played four more games for the club. Rutley's suspension of five years, where he missed 89 games, is by far the longest suspension of a player in the VFL for an on field incident.

Rutley's suspension ended on 25 July 1930 by the motion of the Geelong Delegate at the League Meeting.

FOOTBALL. (1930, July 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 17.
Retrieved May 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4102074
 

kangaroo7

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Geelong player Coghlan injured by a stone thrown by an Arden St spectator.

Those were the days!

The offender was eventually tracked down:


08 05 Reward.JPG



09 08 Stone thrown.JPG



There was a huge outcry by Geelong supporters when Coghlan and Thomas were given their long suspensions. 500 people attended a protest meeting, but all appeals and protests fell on deaf ears and the suspensions stood. Thomas would never play for Geelong again. Coghlan resumed in 1927 and played a further six seasons. Despite the setback Geelong did win the premiership that year--their first. They lost only two matches in the home and away rounds--Round 1 against North and Round 14 to StKilda. When news of their loss to StKilda came through to Arden St (where North had just defeated South) a great cheer went up, such was the ill-feeling.Geelong lost their semi-final to Melbourne but, as minor premiers, had the right to challenge the Final winners--Collingwood. Geelong won by 10 points.

When the two teams met the following season, there was concern about lingering ill-feeling, and each captain told his team to give the other three cheers. Any ill-feeling seems to have disappeared quickly and in 1931, after they played North at Arden St,Geelong went so far as to hand over their share of the gate receipts to North who were in dire financial straits by then. North would not defeat Geelong again until 1939.
When Geelong were forced to withdraw from the VFL for two seasons during the war, it was North who lobbied hard to re-admit them.
 

muttley45

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The offender was eventually tracked down:


View attachment 540194


View attachment 540196


There was a huge outcry by Geelong supporters when Coghlan and Thomas were given their long suspensions. 500 people attended a protest meeting, but all appeals and protests fell on deaf ears and the suspensions stood. Thomas would never play for Geelong again. Coghlan resumed in 1927 and played a further six seasons. Despite the setback Geelong did win the premiership that year--their first. They lost only two matches in the home and away rounds--Round 1 against North and Round 14 to StKilda. When news of their loss to StKilda came through to Arden St (where North had just defeated South) a great cheer went up, such was the ill-feeling.Geelong lost their semi-final to Melbourne but, as minor premiers, had the right to challenge the Final winners--Collingwood. Geelong won by 10 points.

When the two teams met the following season, there was concern about lingering ill-feeling, and each captain told his team to give the other three cheers. Any ill-feeling seems to have disappeared quickly and in 1931, after they played North at Arden St,Geelong went so far as to hand over their share of the gate receipts to North who were in dire financial straits by then. North would not defeat Geelong again until 1939.
When Geelong were forced to withdraw from the VFL for two seasons during the war, it was North who lobbied hard to re-admit them.
Based on Gordon, the Tinsmith Umpire, and his own mother's evidence, Fred was a bit stiff to get found guilty, i wonder if the bench were Geelong residents too.
 
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