Resource The NMFC History thread

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kangaroo7

Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
1,881
1,592
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
1874 (Cont.)



1. St Kilda (23 May)

In the first match played by both these teams as seniors, North and St Kilda played out a 1-1 draw at Royal Park, where North played most of their home games. The ground was slippery from recent rain and North won the toss and had first use of the wind. H.Thurgarland kicked a goal for North after ten minutes, but StKilda levelled the score in the second half. Best for North were Fuhrhop, Mclean, Dellit and Robertson. Constant crowd invasion was a problem.



2. Melbourne (30 May)

North met the Melbourne team for the first time ever at Richmond Paddock, where Melbourne played their home games. It had been raining in the morning and the ground apparently was in a deplorable state. The match did not start until 3.30, Melbourne being the cause of the delay, apparently waiting for two of their players to arrive. One of them did half an hour later and Melbourne played with nineteen men. North played badly at the start, their kicking and marking wretched, and not keeping their positions. But some players improved as the game went on. Melbourne managed to score a goal before half-time. North had a chance soon after but missed. In the second half it was all Melbourne, but good defensive work by Dobson and Dellit, and the slippery state of the ground, prevented more goals. A second goal by Melbourne was disallowed as it was kicked after time was called. Best for North were Robertson, McLean, Pattison and Dellitt. “Scrimmage”, sports writer for the North Melbourne Advertiser, said that Melbourne would be wanting sadly in manliness it they insisted on playing the return match, which was scheduled in another four weeks, at their ground again. Why North agreed to this when the fixture was made is a mystery.



3. East Melbourne (6 June)

North played junior team East Melbourne at the Royal Park. Some of East’s players did not turn up and the teams agreed to play seventeen a side, although some accounts report it was 18-16 in favour of North. It was another wet and windy day. Fuhrhop won the toss and elected to give East Melbourne the wind advantage in the first half. North were clearly the better team, but East Melbourne put up a plucky performance. No goals were scored until late in the second half when Thompson, one of North’s smallest men, marked a few yards out and kicked the only one.
North’s best were Fuhrhop, McLean, Dellit, Robertson and Hassett.

On the same day, the second twenty played StKilda’s second twenty at StKilda. North had scored a goal in the first half with the wind. Just as halftime was called, there was a heavy downpour of rain and the North Melbourne captain refused to continue the game. StKilda protested saying that the match between StKilda and Carlton first twenties on the adjacent ground had not been stopped. But the North captain, I. Paterson, was not moved and the team left the ground.


4. Brunswick (13 June)

North met the newly formed Brunswick team, who played with twenty-three men, at the Brunswick end of the Royal Park. The North Melbourne Advertiser reporter blasted the club for their slow start to matches and failing to heed their captain’s instructions and keep their places. Despite this North obtained a goal before half-time through Sutcliffe, and missed several other chances. Best players were James “Tiger” Gardiner, Pattison, Thompson, Fuhrhop and McLean.
 

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kangaroo7

Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
1,881
1,592
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
1874 (Cont..)


5. Carlton (27 June)

North were scheduled to play its return match against Melbourne this round, but declined to play because they wished the match to be played at Royal Park as the first match had been played at Melbourne’s ground. The condition of the Melbourne ground may have been a factor. North quickly arranged a game with Carlton, who were unaware that North had refused to play Melbourne and said later they would not have agreed to play had they known.

Both teams arrived a few players short. Healey, Raper and Thurgarland did not turn up for North and substitutes had to be found. Carlton were also short of players and played two or three short. Carlton, undefeated at this stage, were heavily favoured to win, but did not perform as well as expected and North put in an improved performance to hold them to a draw. The North players marked and held their feet on the slippery ground better than their opponents. The match was marred by spectators continually encroaching on the playing area. Best for North were Robertson, McLean, Fuhrhop, Dellit, Sutcliffe and Gillman.


6. St Kilda (4 July)

North traveled to StKilda for the return match against them. StKilda had first use of the light wind and two tries for goal were stopped by North defender Power. North then had a good deal of the game but could not score. In the second half, North took the ball down to the StKilda goal where, after some resistance, Sutcliffe managed to mark and goal. Two further shots by Thomson and Robertson were not successful. North held their advantage until the end. Best for North were Hassett, Byrne, McGibbon and Gardiner.


7. Albert Park (17 July)

North had played Albert Park the previous year as a junior team, thus having twenty men to their opponent’s eighteen, and lost by a goal. Now they faced them on even terms at Royal Park. The ground as usual was wet, but around two thousand turned up to see how North would go. North had two shots for goal in the first half, but did not allow enough for the wind. In the second half, North kept the ball near the Albert Park goal until, about fifteen minutes from the end, Sutcliffe got the ball from a scrimmage and put it through. North kept the ball in attack until the end.


7a. Kardinia (8 August)

After three weeks without a senior match, North sent a mixed team down to Geelong to play the local Kardinia team. Under the leadership of Patterson, North, playing with only nineteen men, won the toss and had first use of a slight wind. According to the local Geelong Advertiser, the ground consisted of sand hummocks and miniature lakes and here and there dangerous looking chasms. Why such a piece of ground had been chosen was incomprehensible and did not help the players. There was a much better ground nearby.
Unexpectedly, the Kardinians dominated the game for the first forty five minutes, after which a rush by North gave Sutcliffe a chance to score, but the ball was swept away again and kept at the other end until half-time. Kardinia dominated again in the second half until, after fifty minutes, North refused to continue the game, saying that five o’clock was the agreed time to finish. The locals were upset at this and had the right to claim the match, although it did not count in North’s official matches.


8. East Melbourne (15 August)

North played their second match against East Melbourne at the Melbourne ground in front of a large number of spectators. Although only twelve of their players turned up, East had the better of the game in the first half but could not score. Then, just before half-time, North worked the ball close to their opponents goal and scored. East Melbourne equalised after missing several chances. But Sutcliffe scored again for North to win the match. Best for North were Fuhrhop, Sutcliffe and Hassett.

9. Brunswick (22 August)

North had an easy win over Brunswick at Royal Park scoring two goals to none. Byrne and Gillman were the goalkickers.

North seconds played West Melbourne seconds and, although the match was reported as a draw, North claimed that they had kicked a goal. West claimed it was scored after time had expired, but North claimed it was kicked a minute before. The final decision is not known.


10. St Kilda (29 August)

For the third time of the season, these two teams met, this time at the Royal Park. The first match was a draw, the second a hard-earned win to North. But this one was a clear cut win to North. Having the wind in the first half, many easy chances were missed by North and no goals were scored. In the second half, however, two goals were kicked by James Robertson. Sutcliffe, the goal sneak did not play or there may have been more goals. Hassett, Fuhrhop, Patterson and Mclean were North’s best.
 

kangaroo7

Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
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Melbourne
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North Melbourne
1874 (Concluded)


11. Carlton (5 September)

The match against Carlton at the Royal Park ended after twenty minutes. North had drawn the previous encounter and was confident of doing well again against the undefeated Carlton. But both teams brought much jealousy and animosity into the game. This had existed between the two for years, being adjacent to each other and recruiting their players from the same area. And it quickly surfaced in the rough way both teams played.
After twenty minutes of butchery, a dispute arose between Carlton player Blanchard and North player Traynor. The umpire, seeing that his decisions were no longer respected, walked off the ground. The Carlton team followed suit, called off by their captain Donovan, who feared there would be an all-in brawl between players and spectators. Whilst most blamed North Melbourne for the abandonment, Carlton were notoriously sore losers and no doubt contributed.
On the same day, a fight ended the StKilda-Albert Park match at half-time, and junior teams Carlton Imperial and West Melbourne brought their match to an end over some disputed point.
Carlton announced that they would not play North again, and would request the other senior teams not to.



12. Albert Park (12 Sep)

The match at the Albert Park ground resulted in a win for Albert Park, who managed to score a goal. The match from beginning to end was played in a very friendly manner, with not one single altercation.
This was the last match played by the senior team for the year. They played a scratch match the following week, Then the week after that the second twenty had arranged to play Kardinia at Royal Park, but the Geelong-based side failed to turn up, possibly as a result of their previous match against North being terminated early.

North finished fourth of the five metropolitan senior clubs. Their leading goalkicker was R. Sutcliffe with four. Carlton did not follow through on their threat not to play North again, but Melbourne did. Taking exception to a letter sent by North’s secretary at the end of the season, Melbourne wrote to North at the beginning of 1875 as fixtures were being arranged asking North to retract certain statements made. North refused.

In 1875 there would be further ill-feeling with Carlton and Carlton Imperial and their reputation and that of their fans was not good. With three senior teams now refusing to play them, their position was difficult. This and other factors led to an amalgamation with Albert Park in 1876.





J Robertson.jpg





1874 Table.jpg
 
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kangaroo7

Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
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Melbourne
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North Melbourne
1912

THE LONG, LONG SEASON


After their 1910 premiership win, North again made the finals in 1911, but were eliminated in the semi-final by their Grand Final opponents Brunswick, who had their revenge on North by beating them in all three of their encounters that year.

As the club prepared for 1912, it was perceived as not as strong as the past two years. The “big four” who had been lured from Carlton for the 1910 season were all gone. Fred Jinks left to coach Port Melbourne for the 1911 season. “Mallee Johnson left after 1911 to coach the newly admitted Melbourne City team. Charlie Hammond was cleared to Northcote just after the 1912 season began. Frank Caine was cleared to Essendon (VFL) a few weeks later.

North had also lost two good men in former Geelong player Gibney (to Brighton 1911) and McCann (retired). Gibney sought a clearance back to North before the start of the season, but Brighton refused. But the local area had a way of turning out good new players and the club had good recruiting officers who kept a lookout for players far and wide.

Besides players, North had also lost their dynamic Secretary Andy Curran. At the beginning of the 1911 season, Curran had dared to speak out about the problem of rising professionalism and clubs hypocritically paying players secretly. He recommended one governing body to control the game, payment to players, and players migrating to other clubs. The VFA, however, considered this an act of disloyalty and banned Curran from serving as the club’s delegate to them. North resented the VFA’s action and reappointed Curran as their secretary, as well as giving him a 1910 premiership medal along with the players. But he left at the end of 1911, ending up at Prahran.

Long serving President George Prendergast stood down, no longer able to find sufficient time away from his political career. At the 1912 Annual Meeting in March, he supported open payment to players and regretted that some of North’s residents were not supportive of the club and, in fact, purchased membership tickets from other clubs. Cr Clement Davidson was elected new President

The season would feature a sensational opening winning streak, an amazing finals series and a heartbreaking incident that would cause a promising young player to leave the club.

TO BE CONTINUED...
 

Snake_Baker

The one true King of the North
Apr 24, 2013
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Arden Street Hill
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1912

THE LONG, LONG SEASON


After their 1910 premiership win, North again made the finals in 1911, but were eliminated in the semi-final by their Grand Final opponents Brunswick, who had their revenge on North by beating them in all three of their encounters that year.

As the club prepared for 1912, it was perceived as not as strong as the past two years. The “big four” who had been lured from Carlton for the 1910 season were all gone. Fred Jinks left to coach Port Melbourne for the 1911 season. “Mallee Johnson left after 1911 to coach the newly admitted Melbourne City team. Charlie Hammond was cleared to Northcote just after the 1912 season began. Frank Caine was cleared to Essendon (VFL) a few weeks later.

North had also lost two good men in former Geelong player Gibney (to Brighton 1911) and McCann (retired). Gibney sought a clearance back to North before the start of the season, but Brighton refused. But the local area had a way of turning out good new players and the club had good recruiting officers who kept a lookout for players far and wide.

Besides players, North had also lost their dynamic Secretary Andy Curran. At the beginning of the 1911 season, Curran had dared to speak out about the problem of rising professionalism and clubs hypocritically paying players secretly. He recommended one governing body to control the game, payment to players, and players migrating to other clubs. The VFA, however, considered this an act of disloyalty and banned Curran from serving as the club’s delegate to them. North resented the VFA’s action and reappointed Curran as their secretary, as well as giving him a 1910 premiership medal along with the players. But he left at the end of 1911, ending up at Prahran.

Long serving President George Prendergast stood down, no longer able to find sufficient time away from his political career. At the 1912 Annual Meeting in March, he supported open payment to players and regretted that some of North’s residents were not supportive of the club and, in fact, purchased membership tickets from other clubs. Cr Clement Davidson was elected new President

The season would feature a sensational opening winning streak, an amazing finals series and a heartbreaking incident that would cause a promising young player to leave the club.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Okay, this one will test even the great K7.

Were any of the "big four" still playing when "The Invincibles" began their historic run, and therefore missed out?
 

kangaroo7

Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
1,881
1,592
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Okay, this one will test even the great K7.

Were any of the "big four" still playing when "The Invincibles" began their historic run, and therefore missed out?
Johnson went to Melbourne City as their first captain in 1912. The following year he went to Prahran for a season. No record of him playing after that.

Jinks played at Port Melbourne 1911-12. He was suspended for a year towards the end of 1912. No record of him playing after that.

Caine went to Essendon (VFL) where he played from 1912-14.

Hammond went to Northcote in 1912, spent 1913 out of football then returned to Carlton where he played from 1914-18.

So Caine and Hammond were still playing in 1914.
 
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kangaroo7

Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
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Melbourne
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North Melbourne
1912 (Cont.)



ROUND 1 ---PRAHRAN

North traveled to Toorak Park for their opening match. The VFA this year had reduced sides to sixteen men. Three new junior players lined up for North—Dibbens, Hogan and McKay. Of the three only McKay would make a future impact. Syd Barker had been elected captain and Charles Hardy vice. Trailing for most of the match, inaccuracy prevented North from hitting the front until seven minutes from the end. A six goal last quarter was too much for the home team, but supporters were surprised at North’s fast finish. Hardy was best on the ground, popping up everywhere, and Elliott kicked two splendid angle goals while teammates missed much easier shots. Speakman’s grand kicking out from full-back was a feature. Corrigan, a last minute inclusion, also starred.

NORTH MELB 10.14-74 d PRAHRAN 9.4-58



ROUND 2 ---FOOTSCRAY

Around 7,000, including the Lord Mayor of Melbourne and his wife, came to North Melbourne to see a good, fast match. Syd Barker had been injured in the Prahran match, so Hardy led the team in his absence. Two more new players, Lanigan and Grierson, were given a run. Heron also came into the side. With the wind in the first quarter, North kicked six unanswered goals. Footscray got eight in the second quarter, but North managed to get two against the breeze to lead narrowly at half-time. Despite the wind changing, North kicked away again and outscored Footscray six goals to two in the second half. Syd Barker’s brother, George, formerly of Essendon (VFL) and who had crossed to North last year, kicked six goals. Hardy, Speakman, Williamson, Corrigan, Roach, Jones and J. Johnson were North’s best. New player Grierson also made a good showing.
NORTH MELB. 14.12-96 d FOOTSCRAY 10.12-72


ROUND 3---BRUNSWICK

Around 5000 spectators gathered at the Brunswick ground, anticipating a good game. Syd Barker returned to the side in the only change. It was hard to distinguish the two sides as both wore stripes. The new numbering of players also was of no help as no reference cards were given to spectators, and some North players were wearing no number at all. The match was close until three quarter time, after which North went away. North made far better use of the wind outscoring Brunswick four goals to one in the second and last quarters. Hardy, S. Barker, Speakman, Pemberton and Grierson were among North’s best players

NORTH MELB. 10.9-69 d BRUNSWICK 6.7-43


ROUND 4---NORTHCOTE

Northcote, having merged with Preston this year, were hoping to put up a better showing than in previous years. But they were no match for North at the NMRR, which incidentally was being improved by the City Council. An afternoon tea house was fixed under the press box, and a telephone was to be installed and turnstiles erected. Former Fitzroy player, Furness, came into the side at the expense of Elliott.
With the wind in the first quarter, North kicked six goals (from eleven shots) to one. The wind changed in the second quarter, robbing Northcote of much of its advantage. They also suffered injury to two of their men, one of whom had to leave the field. But North were too strong in defence and had far more scoring opportunities, although their accuracy did not improve until the last quarter. Pemberton was North’s best, holding Northcote star Joe Johnson. Other good players were Roach, Jack Johnson, Rawle, Jones, Heron, Corrigan and Williamson.

NORTH MELB. 14.22-106 d NORTHCOTE 2.5-17
 

Snake_Baker

The one true King of the North
Apr 24, 2013
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1912 (Cont.)



ROUND 1 ---PRAHRAN

North traveled to Toorak Park for their opening match. The VFA this year had reduced sides to sixteen men. Three new junior players lined up for North—Dibbens, Hogan and McKay. Of the three only McKay would make a future impact.
It was foretold.

1621389314419.png
 

kangaroo7

Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
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1912 (Cont.)


ROUND 5---BRIGHTON

Ground improvements continued as club president Cr Davidson, at his own expense, erected a refreshment room for the ladies committee to cater for patrons. Meanwhile North traveled to the Brighton ground, a portion of which was under water. Charles Hopkins was back in the side for the first time since 1910, when had he received a life suspension over a bribery scandal. This was later reduced to one year. Elliott also returned after a week out. North were too good for the local team despite the bad weather. After the third quarter, with a forty point lead, Barker changed his men around, giving the back men a chance forward. This allowed Brighton to add three goals to one and reduce the winning margin to twenty-six points. S.Barker (now in top form), Hardy, Williamson, Treloar, Heron, Speakman, Roach and Jones were best for North.


NORTH MELB. 10.11-71 d BRIGHTON 6.9-45


ROUND 6---PORT MELBOURNE

North were the only undefeated team in the VFA—and they had no coach! The team traveled to the Port Melbourne ground with McKay back in at the expense of Grierson. The match was exciting and hotly contested all day. Port, led by Fred Jinks, gave North a good contest, but missed some very easy shots. North got two quick goals in the last quarter to seal the win. Best were Hardy, S Barker, Pemberton, Corrigan, Elliott, Rawle, Speakman and Treloar.

NORTH MELB 8.85-56 d PORT MELB 5.13-43


ROUND 7---WILLIAMSTOWN

The Round 7 matches were played two days after Round 6, on the Monday King’s Birthday holiday. North hosted Williamstown, with Grierson replacing Rawle in the team. The game was close until three quarter time, after which North put on a six goal burst to stun the visitors. Williamstown kicking 1.6 in the third quarter did not help them. Best for North were Heron, S. Barker, Grierson, Pemberton, Treloar, McKay, Roach and Williamson (five goals). G.Barker was unlucky, having a goal disallowed in the first quarter although the ball was touched well behind the line, and hitting the post in the second quarter

NORTH MELB. 12.5-77 d WILLIAMSTOWN 7.13-55


ROUND 8---ESSENDON

Essendon was then the electorate of Victorian Premier William Watt (Vic.Liberal), whereas North Melbourne was held by Opposition Leader George Prendergast (Labor), emphasising the cultural differences between the two suburbs. Essendon had won the premiership in 1911 and was a very formidable team thanks largely to the arrival of former St Kilda star David McNamara in 1909. At 6’4” he was an imposing player, particularly at centre half forward. A crowd of around 10,000-the largest ever seen at the Essendon ground- were treated to a thrilling, see-sawing match. Inaccuracy cost North a bigger lead, but they held a slight advantage until three quarter time. When the last quarter came, players from both sides slowed down due to the hectic pace and the long grass and weeds on the arena, and play became more strenuous. Six times the lead changed hands and only in the dying minutes did North regain the lead with a fine goal by Elliott and hung on to win by four points. Johnson, Hardy, S Barker, Pemberton, Jones, Roach and Elliott, who kicked five goals and played out the match with a strained foot. McNamara starred all over the ground for Essendon, Barker being unable to stop him, and almost won the game for them.

NORTH MELB. 11.16-82 d ESSENDON 12.6-78


ROUND 9---MELBOURNE CITY

No team had ever gone through the first round of fixtures undefeated before, but North would do this with a win over bottom team Melbourne City. Speakman, Roach and Rawle were out for North, their places being taken by Hopkins, Hogan and Everest. As expected, North had no trouble with the newly formed team, winning by sixty-six points. But they failed to take the chance to increase their percentage substantially, easing right off in the last quarter. Footscray, in third place after this round, had a higher percentage than North and had kicked several high scores. This would have its consequences when the final four was decided.

NORTH MELB. 12.17-89 d MELB. CITY 3.5-23



1621465222468.png



This was the state of things after the first round of fixtures were completed, that is, every team having met once.
 

Snake_Baker

The one true King of the North
Apr 24, 2013
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Just brilliant.

K7, if you find the time a piece on the first rules committee (1877?), including our role in it would be great.

We need to let more folks know what a pivotal player North was in the formation of the game.
 

Whippet1

Senior List
Jul 3, 2006
212
124
Northcote
AFL Club
North Melbourne
1621486521570.png
Haven’t seen this one before. Pinched from the Lost History of Melbourne Facebook page with the following blurb.
Track at Arden Street Football Ground North Melbourne in the early or mid 1960's. North Melbourne Football Club moved to the Coburg City Oval and the lease for the dog track at Arden Street was supposed to be for 40 years but there were problems with the contract and North Melbourne Football Club returned to Arden Street after 8 months.
 

Bertie22

Senior List
Apr 22, 2018
151
926
AFL Club
North Melbourne
View attachment 1132423Haven’t seen this one before. Pinched from the Lost History of Melbourne Facebook page with the following blurb.
Track at Arden Street Football Ground North Melbourne in the early or mid 1960's. North Melbourne Football Club moved to the Coburg City Oval and the lease for the dog track at Arden Street was supposed to be for 40 years but there were problems with the contract and North Melbourne Football Club returned to Arden Street after 8 months.
What a great photo...wonder who the player is? Ken Dean??? I have witnessed dog races at Arden Street aged about 8. I think it was a charity event that family friends took me to. And I remember that brick building with the neon sign. During VFL matches, if you were a small kid you could jump the inside fence onto the track and crouch behind the wire fence. if you didn't block someone's view, no one hassled you.
 

Hojuman

조수미 사랑해요
May 20, 2012
14,761
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Seoul
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North Melbourne
What a great photo...wonder who the player is? Ken Dean??? I have witnessed dog races at Arden Street aged about 8. I think it was a charity event that family friends took me to. And I remember that brick building with the neon sign. During VFL matches, if you were a small kid you could jump the inside fence onto the track and crouch behind the wire fence. if you didn't block someone's view, no one hassled you.


Is that McCauley side or Arden st. side Bertie ?
 

Bertie22

Senior List
Apr 22, 2018
151
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Is that McCauley side or Arden st. side Bertie ?
Hoj, it is the McCaulay Rd side, otherwise known as the Gasometer wing to some. That is almost the spot from where my dad and I used to watch the games, later to be in this shadow-



1621504914622.png


If you note the earlier photo posted by Whippet 1, there is the old 'stand' at the city end that had the original scoreboard on top.
 

Grogg

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 24, 2012
6,841
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Womb with a view
AFL Club
North Melbourne
What a great photo...wonder who the player is? Ken Dean??? I have witnessed dog races at Arden Street aged about 8. I think it was a charity event that family friends took me to. And I remember that brick building with the neon sign. During VFL matches, if you were a small kid you could jump the inside fence onto the track and crouch behind the wire fence. if you didn't block someone's view, no one hassled you.
Looks like Twinkle Toes to me.
 

Snake_Baker

The one true King of the North
Apr 24, 2013
81,029
153,081
Arden Street Hill
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Essendon Lawn Bowls Club
What a great photo...wonder who the player is? Ken Dean??? I have witnessed dog races at Arden Street aged about 8. I think it was a charity event that family friends took me to. And I remember that brick building with the neon sign. During VFL matches, if you were a small kid you could jump the inside fence onto the track and crouch behind the wire fence. if you didn't block someone's view, no one hassled you.
I'd have a stab at Gerald Eastmure, Bert.
 

Bertie22

Senior List
Apr 22, 2018
151
926
AFL Club
North Melbourne
I'd have a stab at Gerald Eastmure, Bert.
It could well be him Snake. Gerald Eastmure was before my time starting to watch North but I looked at old photos and Gerald fits the profile. I guess it depends when the photo was taken. Looks a bit tall for Twinkle Toes as suggested by Grogg, but I really have no idea. I would love to know who it is!
 

kangaroo7

Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
1,881
1,592
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
What a great photo...wonder who the player is? Ken Dean??? I have witnessed dog races at Arden Street aged about 8. I think it was a charity event that family friends took me to. And I remember that brick building with the neon sign. During VFL matches, if you were a small kid you could jump the inside fence onto the track and crouch behind the wire fence. if you didn't block someone's view, no one hassled you.
Yes remember sitting on the track quite often. Sometimes we'd play end to end on the track to the annoyance of specators.
 

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