1951 PREMIERSHIP REVIEW - DIAMOND VALLEY FOOTBALL - SEPTEMBER, 1951
Clear-Cut Premiership to Montmorency (FIRST SINCE JOINING LEAGUE IN 1925)
Early in the season experienced observers hailed Montmorency's prospects as second to none and, apart from minor fluctuations, the black and whites confidently proceeded with the this-is-our-year complex. They took the premiership in clear-cut fashion last Saturday -- their first in 25 years' membership of the League -- and there was nothing ungrudging in the congratulations given by the whole fraternity of district football.
Montmorency reached the semi-final in 1947. Phil Ryan, their Captain-Coach, has proved an all-round superior tactician, taking them into runners-up place last season, and leading them right to the top in 1951.
MONTMORENCY: P Ryan (C), Denmead, Reid, Townsend, Thompson, Johnston, W Ryan, Barnett, Hooper, Mackey, Farrell, Dingle, Smith, Bakewell, Gillberg, McKenzie, Stephens, Hibbert: 19th Merrifield: 20th Clayton
EPPING: Milburn (C), Waters, Smethurst, Wilson, Pratt, McKimmie, Wood, Scott, J Adams, Lewis, Pilkington, Lehmann, C Adams, Brazil, Taggart, Ellis, Wrest, Clark: 19th Witt: 20th Roche
UMPIRE: R NUNN
THE PLAY : Under a dull sky with no breeze conditions were almost ideal at Warringal Park. As usual, players under the opening excitement were "toey" and often misjudged the flight of the ball. McKenzie, on the wing, gathered in the hit-out and Mont. were underway when Bakewell punted first single from a free. Ryan returned and Gillberg raced out to mark. His kick was short, but Bakewell snapped a single. Johnston returned the kick-off and Gillberg smartly produced first goal from a left-foot snap. Epping's first move was originated by Scott, and Adams forwarded to Waters leading out, to raise one flag. Taggart returned the kick-off for a behind and next took Wilson's hit-out for another from a long snap. Taggart to this stage was the outstanding man afield and from one of his weaving runs put Brazil in possession for a score-leveling goal. W Ryan was prominent in clearing dashes and Hooper carried on round the river wing. From behind the pack the allert Gillberg marked and from his shot Reid marked and did everything necessary for maximum reward. After a behind by Reid, Epping paid the penalty for leaving Gillberg unguarded and up went Mont's third goal.
Tempers became frayed when Taggart caught the ball, was grassed vigrously and was in the trainer's hands. Players were wrestling one another. Mont. was assuming command. After three singles a kick out of the pack was snapped by Johnston for a goal, taking Mont's lead to 13 points. Thompson increased this by a goal after receiving an excellent pass from Dingle. Montmorency 5 7 42, Epping 1 2 14.
Dashing defence by Denmead and Smith kept play fairly even for a time. Milburn carried Epping into attack and Smethurst took a hand pass from Brazil to snap a behind. A free to Gillberg raised both flags. Pilkington dodged to find Brazil, whose long kick veering across the goal was marked in remarkable fashion by Waters in falling. A one flag acute angle shot resulted. When Mckenzie was caught with the ball, Pilkington shot for another behind. The Blues were now having more of the play, but their forward work broke down against Barnett, Denmead and Smith combining in defence with superior understanding. Stephens sent Mont. forward where Thompson outmarked Milburn, and Gillberg, freed, shot accurately. Hibbert to Farrell to Dingle was bright play which Gillberg finished with a single. Twice Denmead tore down the centre and Farrell fired truly. Milburn stopped next move and his kick just missed-Epping could not get desperately needed goals. When Stephens played to Reid for another major, Mont. was in half-time command by 49 points. Montmorency 9 8 62, Epping 1 7 13.
Montmorency began where they left off and, despite strong resistance by Lehmann, Reid clapped on a goal. Adams eluded two opponents in the centre to transfer to Pilkington, whose shot was astray. Denmead turned attacks in grand style with long drop-kicks. Pilkington was roving well, but the Blues were badly missing Taggart (replaced by Witt). Thompson was sparkling at half-forward and Mont. danced attacks through him. Three goals were shot in as many minutes (Farrell two from clever scouting, P Ryan marking Thompson's kick for another). Mont. had now complete command. Lehmann, Pratt and Milburn were trying desperately to stem the onslaught but could do little against opponents' superiority in the ruck, across the centre, and everywhere yards faster to the ball. Pilkington made a dash down the centre to Waters, but again the forward was off the target. Adams marked the kick-off, but Smith transferred play for Thompson to register two singles. Gillberg did better to obtain the possible after receiving a pass from a smart rover in Farrell. Lewis racing down the centre had a flying shot but missed the main opening. Townsend at the other end made no mistake in directing a kick off the ground. The Black and Whites were masters in almost every position : Montmorency 15 13 103, Epping 1 10 16.
Epping battled from an impossible position, with Milburn superior in the air. Reid smartly goaling, increased Mont. surplus to 96 points - easily a League final record. An Epping spurt by Wilson gave Brazil opportunity to mark and score a belated goal. Mackey, McKenzie, Farrell transferred for irresistable reply. The Blues came again, Lewis and Waters paving the way for Pilkington to raise both flags. The crowd was moving, but players did not relax, Scott, Pratt (defence), Wood (Wing), butteressing Epping's dying efforts. Gillberg, after a single or two outpointed opponents to gain "one of the best." McKimmie marked for the Blues' third goal for the quarter - in contrast with earlier forward inaccuracy. Shortly before the end Gillberg, marking from Thompson, excelled again to bring his match kicking to 7. 6, notably contributing to victory. With the board showing at siren sound Montmorency 19 16 130, Epping 4 10 34, Mont. supporters gleefully bore their players shoulder high from the arena.
Best for the Premiers: Farrell, Gillberg, Denmead, W Ryan, Thompson, Stephens (but actually there was not a passenger in the colours).
Goals: Gillberg 7, Farrell 4, Reid 4, P Ryan, Townsend, Johnston, Thompson.
Epping were best served by Milburn, Lewis, Pratt, Clark, Wilson, Adams, Pilkington.
Goals: Brazil 2, Pilkington, McKimmie