“A general fight occurred this afternoon at the Essendon-Carlton football match on the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” the correspondent wrote. “There was an enormous attendance, the grandstand, roofs, and boughs of trees all swarmed with spectators. At one period the crowd became very excited, and a general melee ensued, in which blows were exchanged. Several women were knocked down in the disturbance (and) it was some time before police could restore order”.
The 1908 Grand Final, involving the all-conquering Carlton and Essendon - would be cruelled as a spectacle by an awful cross-wind. History would repeat some 60 years later, when similar conditions triggered an ugly low-scoring scrap between the same two adversaries in the big one.
And in both instances, the Bluebaggers would prevail.
Ably led by Carlton captain Fred “Pompey” Elliott, “Jack’s Heroes” hung on after setting the narrow 11-point win with a 3-1 to 1.3 second term. “Champagne” Charlie Hammond, who would later feature in the 1914 and ’15 Carlton Grand Final victories (and in doing so become this club’s only five-time Premiership player), was imperious in his display as ruckman, with Billy Payne, Alex “Bongo” Lang, Elliott and ‘Mallee’ Johnson also amongst the best.
In the afterglow of the ’08 Grand Final win, Worrall offered an all-too-rare glimpse into the secret of success, which he said was based on the importance of ‘harmony’ between Committee and players through the go-between secretary or coach.
“Footballers are like soldiers the wide world over. They require leading and instructing 9and) there must be discipline,” Worrall was reported saying.
“It is no use telling players what they should not do, unless it can be clearly demonstrated what should be done.”
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