1944 VFL season

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1944 VFL Premiership season
Aruthven.jpg
Premiership player Allan Ruthven
Teams 12
Premiers Fitzroy
(8th premiership)
Minor premiers Richmond
(5th minor premiership)
Matches played 112
Highest attendance 43,000
Leading Goalkicker Medallist Fred Fanning (Melbourne)
Brownlow Medallist Not awarded
1943
1945

Results and statistics for the Victorian Football League season of 1944.

Influence of World War II[edit]

The wartime travel restrictions that had forced Geelong into recess the previous two years were relaxed, and Geelong rejoined the competition.

Premiership season[edit]

In 1944, with Geelong competing again, the VFL competition once again consisted of twelve teams of 18 on-the-field players each, plus one substitute player, known as the 19th man. A player could be substituted for any reason; however, once substituted, a player could not return to the field of play under any circumstances.

Teams played each other in a home-and-away season of 18 rounds; and, as had been the case in 1926 and 1927, matches 12 to 18 were "irregular", with 12 to 17 being the "home-and-way reverse" of matches 1 to 6, and match 18 the "home-and-way reverse" of match 11.

The determination of the 1944 season's fixtures were greatly complicated by the fact that, although the Western Oval and the Junction Oval were now available to the VFL, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Lake Oval were still appropriated for military use and, because of this, Melbourne was sharing the Punt Road Oval with Richmond as its home ground, and South Melbourne was sharing the Junction Oval with St Kilda as its home ground.

Once the 18 round home-and-away season had finished, the 1944 VFL Premiers were determined by the specific format and conventions of the "Page-McIntyre system".

Round 1[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Melbourne 14.8 (92) Richmond 19.18 (132) Punt Road Oval 15,000 6 May 1944
Footscray 15.23 (113) Geelong 8.7 (55) Western Oval 9,000 6 May 1944
Fitzroy 11.16 (82) St Kilda 10.13 (73) Brunswick Street Oval 9,000 6 May 1944
Hawthorn 9.14 (68) Essendon 15.16 (106) Glenferrie Oval 12,000 6 May 1944
North Melbourne 9.11 (65) Collingwood 14.17 (101) Arden Street Oval 6,000 6 May 1944
South Melbourne 13.10 (88) Carlton 9.7 (61) Junction Oval 20,000 6 May 1944

Round 2[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Geelong 9.11 (65) South Melbourne 11.18 (84) Kardinia Park 8,000 13 May 1944
Essendon 17.18 (120) Melbourne 16.4 (100) Windy Hill 12,000 13 May 1944
Collingwood 11.17 (83) Fitzroy 19.17 (131) Victoria Park 15,500 13 May 1944
Carlton 18.16 (124) Hawthorn 9.14 (68) Princes Park 11,000 13 May 1944
Richmond 18.11 (119) North Melbourne 15.9 (99) Punt Road Oval 15,000 13 May 1944
St Kilda 12.17 (89) Footscray 10.14 (74) Junction Oval 15,000 13 May 1944

Round 3[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Fitzroy 16.11 (107) North Melbourne 11.16 (82) Brunswick Street Oval 12,000 20 May 1944
Essendon 16.14 (110) Richmond 22.19 (151) Windy Hill 21,000 20 May 1944
South Melbourne 9.10 (64) St Kilda 7.10 (52) Junction Oval 20,000 20 May 1944
Hawthorn 22.12 (144) Geelong 13.13 (91) Glenferrie Oval 8,000 20 May 1944
Footscray 16.9 (105) Collingwood 13.19 (97) Western Oval 11,000 20 May 1944
Melbourne 12.5 (77) Carlton 14.8 (92) Punt Road Oval 15,000 20 May 1944

Round 4[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Geelong 10.9 (69) Melbourne 22.10 (142) Kardinia Park 8,000 27 May 1944
Collingwood 11.18 (84) South Melbourne 12.18 (90) Victoria Park 13,000 27 May 1944
Carlton 13.17 (95) Essendon 14.9 (93) Princes Park 18,000 27 May 1944
St Kilda 9.12 (66) Hawthorn 11.7 (73) Junction Oval 10,000 27 May 1944
North Melbourne 15.14 (104) Footscray 9.16 (70) Arden Street Oval 10,000 27 May 1944
Richmond 14.13 (97) Fitzroy 7.9 (51) Punt Road Oval 29,000 27 May 1944

Round 5[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Melbourne 10.13 (73) St Kilda 13.8 (86) Punt Road Oval 8,000 3 June 1944
Essendon 17.14 (116) Geelong 11.14 (80) Windy Hill 7,000 3 June 1944
Carlton 16.12 (108) Richmond 14.8 (92) Princes Park 28,000 3 June 1944
South Melbourne 10.12 (72) North Melbourne 10.13 (73) Junction Oval 15,000 3 June 1944
Footscray 8.15 (63) Fitzroy 8.10 (58) Western Oval 9,000 3 June 1944
Hawthorn 8.9 (57) Collingwood 10.13 (73) Glenferrie Oval 11,000 3 June 1944

Round 6[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Fitzroy 14.7 (91) South Melbourne 10.17 (77) Brunswick Street Oval 20,000 10 June 1944
Collingwood 10.9 (69) Melbourne 15.9 (99) Victoria Park 10,000 10 June 1944
North Melbourne 21.16 (142) Hawthorn 17.11 (113) Arden Street Oval 10,000 10 June 1944
Richmond 19.11 (125) Footscray 18.17 (125) Punt Road Oval 22,000 10 June 1944
St Kilda 9.17 (71) Essendon 9.17 (71) Junction Oval 19,000 10 June 1944
Geelong 5.10 (40) Carlton 13.25 (103) Kardinia Park 8,000 10 June 1944

Round 7[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Footscray 9.13 (67) South Melbourne 8.10 (58) Western Oval 15,000 17 June 1944
Fitzroy 14.13 (97) Hawthorn 7.10 (52) Brunswick Street Oval 10,000 17 June 1944
Collingwood 12.21 (93) Essendon 9.10 (64) Victoria Park 10,000 17 June 1944
North Melbourne 15.20 (110) Melbourne 12.10 (82) Arden Street Oval 12,000 17 June 1944
Richmond 25.23 (173) Geelong 9.2 (56) Punt Road Oval 10,000 17 June 1944
St Kilda 6.12 (48) Carlton 15.13 (103) Junction Oval 23,000 17 June 1944

Round 8[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Geelong 9.13 (67) St Kilda 13.14 (92) Kardinia Park 7,000 24 June 1944
Essendon 21.18 (144) North Melbourne 8.12 (60) Windy Hill 16,000 24 June 1944
Carlton 17.12 (114) Collingwood 12.11 (83) Princes Park 21,000 24 June 1944
South Melbourne 11.11 (77) Richmond 17.10 (112) Junction Oval 25,000 24 June 1944
Hawthorn 9.10 (64) Footscray 14.18 (102) Glenferrie Oval 12,000 24 June 1944
Melbourne 7.10 (52) Fitzroy 10.17 (77) Punt Road Oval 13,000 24 June 1944

Round 9[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Richmond 11.18 (84) St Kilda 7.11 (53) Punt Road Oval 16,000 1 July 1944
Footscray 8.15 (63) Melbourne 8.13 (61) Western Oval 13,000 1 July 1944
Collingwood 15.12 (102) Geelong 9.13 (67) Victoria Park 6,000 1 July 1944
South Melbourne 15.12 (102) Hawthorn 11.11 (77) Junction Oval 12,000 1 July 1944
Fitzroy 12.11 (83) Essendon 11.17 (83) Brunswick Street Oval 17,000 1 July 1944
North Melbourne 11.15 (81) Carlton 7.10 (52) Arden Street Oval 16,000 1 July 1944

Round 10[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Melbourne 10.10 (70) South Melbourne 9.13 (67) Punt Road Oval 10,000 8 July 1944
Hawthorn 11.9 (75) Richmond 13.16 (94) Glenferrie Oval 11,000 8 July 1944
Geelong 13.9 (87) North Melbourne 21.14 (140) Kardinia Park 6,500 8 July 1944
Essendon 14.16 (100) Footscray 8.13 (61) Windy Hill 13,000 8 July 1944
Carlton 11.15 (81) Fitzroy 6.15 (51) Princes Park 17,000 8 July 1944
St Kilda 17.11 (113) Collingwood 6.9 (45) Junction Oval 10,000 8 July 1944

Round 11[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
North Melbourne 11.20 (86) St Kilda 7.11 (53) Arden Street Oval 10,000 15 July 1944
Hawthorn 7.10 (52) Melbourne 22.25 (157) Glenferrie Oval 10,000 15 July 1944
Fitzroy 25.29 (179) Geelong 8.8 (56) Brunswick Street Oval 7,000 15 July 1944
South Melbourne 7.15 (57) Essendon 15.16 (106) Junction Oval 18,000 15 July 1944
Richmond 16.17 (113) Collingwood 9.13 (67) Punt Road Oval 15,000 15 July 1944
Footscray 13.8 (86) Carlton 12.11 (83) Western Oval 17,000 15 July 1944

Round 12[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Essendon 19.18 (132) Hawthorn 3.7 (25) Windy Hill 8,000 22 July 1944
Collingwood 13.11 (89) North Melbourne 10.10 (70) Victoria Park 11,000 22 July 1944
Carlton 10.14 (74) South Melbourne 8.12 (60) Princes Park 15,000 22 July 1944
Richmond 17.8 (110) Melbourne 9.15 (69) Punt Road Oval 19,000 22 July 1944
Geelong 11.11 (77) Footscray 14.17 (101) Kardinia Park 7,000 22 July 1944
St Kilda 12.16 (88) Fitzroy 8.14 (62) Junction Oval 14,000 22 July 1944

Round 13[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
North Melbourne 11.21 (87) Richmond 14.2 (86) Arden Street Oval 22,000 29 July 1944
Footscray 14.15 (99) St Kilda 11.10 (76) Western Oval 13,000 29 July 1944
South Melbourne 8.30 (78) Geelong 8.8 (56) Junction Oval 7,000 29 July 1944
Melbourne 11.12 (78) Essendon 14.14 (98) Punt Road Oval 11,000 29 July 1944
Fitzroy 12.17 (89) Collingwood 4.14 (38) Brunswick Street Oval 13,000 29 July 1944
Hawthorn 10.2 (62) Carlton 13.28 (106) Glenferrie Oval 11,000 29 July 1944

Round 14[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
St Kilda 7.12 (54) South Melbourne 10.19 (79) Junction Oval 8,000 5 August 1944
Geelong 11.20 (86) Hawthorn 9.7 (61) Kardinia Park 7,000 5 August 1944
Collingwood 8.12 (60) Footscray 15.9 (99) Victoria Park 9,000 5 August 1944
Carlton 4.14 (38) Melbourne 8.6 (54) Princes Park 10,000 5 August 1944
North Melbourne 11.12 (78) Fitzroy 15.11 (101) Arden Street Oval 14,000 5 August 1944
Richmond 11.17 (83) Essendon 12.15 (87) Punt Road Oval 26,000 5 August 1944

Round 15[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Hawthorn 12.16 (88) St Kilda 12.16 (88) Glenferrie Oval 6,000 12 August 1944
Footscray 12.6 (78) North Melbourne 11.8 (74) Western Oval 16,000 12 August 1944
Fitzroy 16.10 (106) Richmond 7.14 (56) Brunswick Street Oval 22,000 12 August 1944
Melbourne 8.21 (69) Geelong 8.8 (56) Punt Road Oval 4,500 12 August 1944
South Melbourne 16.10 (106) Collingwood 8.22 (70) Junction Oval 7,500 12 August 1944
Essendon 6.9 (45) Carlton 14.20 (104) Windy Hill 20,000 12 August 1944

Round 16[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
North Melbourne 6.12 (48) South Melbourne 13.16 (94) Arden Street Oval 7,000 19 August 1944
Fitzroy 13.14 (92) Footscray 12.18 (90) Brunswick Street Oval 20,000 19 August 1944
Collingwood 18.20 (128) Hawthorn 7.14 (56) Victoria Park 5,000 19 August 1944
St Kilda 13.13 (91) Melbourne 7.10 (52) Junction Oval 8,000 19 August 1944
Geelong 10.12 (72) Essendon 13.19 (97) Kardinia Park 8,250 19 August 1944
Richmond 11.16 (82) Carlton 8.16 (64) Punt Road Oval 38,000 19 August 1944

Round 17[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Hawthorn 12.12 (84) North Melbourne 15.19 (109) Glenferrie Oval 5,000 26 August 1944
Footscray 5.14 (44) Richmond 9.15 (69) Western Oval 26,500 26 August 1944
Essendon 28.21 (189) St Kilda 12.11 (83) Windy Hill 8,000 26 August 1944
Carlton 23.28 (166) Geelong 8.12 (60) Princes Park 7,000 26 August 1944
South Melbourne 8.13 (61) Fitzroy 17.14 (116) Junction Oval 16,000 26 August 1944
Melbourne 11.17 (83) Collingwood 15.12 (102) Punt Road Oval 8,000 26 August 1944

Round 18[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Essendon 17.24 (126) South Melbourne 6.8 (44) Windy Hill 11,000 2 September 1944
Collingwood 10.8 (68) Richmond 15.18 (108) Victoria Park 14,000 2 September 1944
Carlton 13.10 (88) Footscray 12.17 (89) Princes Park 34,000 2 September 1944
St Kilda 12.10 (82) North Melbourne 16.15 (111) Junction Oval 7,000 2 September 1944
Melbourne 14.27 (111) Hawthorn 6.13 (49) Punt Road Oval 4,000 2 September 1944
Geelong 10.10 (70) Fitzroy 15.15 (105) Kardinia Park 8,000 2 September 1944

Ladder[edit]

1944 VFL Ladder
TEAM P W L D PF PA  % PTS
1 Richmond 18 13 4 1 1886 1438 131.15 54
2 Fitzroy (P) 18 13 4 1 1678 1280 131.09 54
3 Essendon 18 12 4 2 1887 1408 134.02 52
4 Footscray 18 12 5 1 1529 1430 106.92 50
5 Carlton 18 12 6 0 1656 1259 131.53 48
6 North Melbourne 18 10 8 0 1619 1614 100.31 40
7 South Melbourne 18 9 9 0 1358 1402 96.86 36
8 Melbourne 18 7 11 0 1521 1481 102.70 28
9 St Kilda 18 6 10 2 1358 1502 90.41 28
10 Collingwood 18 7 11 0 1452 1629 89.13 28
11 Hawthorn 18 2 15 1 1268 1914 66.25 10
12 Geelong 18 1 17 0 1210 2065 58.60 4
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points for, PA = Points against

Finals[edit]

Semi finals[edit]

Home team Score Away team Score Venue Crowd Date
Essendon 14.17 (101) Footscray 8.4 (52) Junction Oval 24,542 9 September
Richmond 10.10 (70) Fitzroy 11.15 (81) Junction Oval 32,000 16 September

Preliminary Final[edit]

Home team Score Away team Score Venue Crowd Date
Richmond 16.12 (108) Essendon 12.15 (87) Junction Oval 38,000 23 September

Grand final[edit]

Main article: 1944 VFL Grand Final

Fitzroy defeated Richmond 9.12 (66) to 7.9 (51), in front of a crowd of 43,000 people. (For an explanation of scoring see Australian rules football).

Awards[edit]

Notable events[edit]

  • Geelong resumed its place in the VFL competition.
  • Although the lifting of wartime rail and road transport restrictions removed one impediment to Geelong's immediate return to the VFL competition — the club's committee had paid the ₤100 annual affiliation fees to the VFL in 1942 and 1943 out of their own pockets in order to keep Geelong "in the game" — the VFL claimed that Geelong Football Club owed the VFL ₤1,000 and that it would not consider its application for readmission until the debt was repaid, which was raised amongst the committeemen and supporters. After an extended and heated meeting, with matters such as the extra costs to each of the other eleven teams associated with their travel to Geelong and Geelong's perceived lack of competitiveness due to its depleted playing list (the reality of this concern is attested by the fact that Geelong only won 7 of its 57 games in seasons 1944, 1945, and 1946) influencing the VFL delegates, a majority (but not a unanimous majority) of the delegates voted in favour of Geelong's readmission.
  • The late arrival of the train from Melbourne delayed the start of Geelong's first 1944 home match for more than an hour.
  • The VFA and the VFL actively discussed the prospects of merging the two competitions. There was groundswell support for a common set of rules and common control over the game, after the upheaval which had followed the Association legalising throwing the ball and ceasing to recognise the validity of VFL transfer clearances in 1938. However, a major sticking point was the VFL's rejection of any promotion and relegation between the two competitions, and the talks eventually failed.[3]
  • The Round 13 match between North Melbourne and Richmond is the only match in which a team has scored three goals fewer than its opponent, but scored enough behinds to win the match. In the same round, South Melbourne defeated Geelong by 22 behinds, the largest winning margin between teams which kicked the same number of goals.
  • Richmond won the minor premiership by the narrowest margin ever, after finishing level on premiership points with Fitzroy, but ahead on percentage by only 0.06%pts – in absolute terms, a single extra point at any time during the season could have changed the outcome.
  • Fourth place on the ladder was decided directly by the Round 18 match between Carlton and Footscray, who were placed fourth and fifth on the ladder at the start of the round. Scores were level when the final bell went – a draw was enough for Carlton to make the finals – but Footscray's Harry Hickey had a kick after the siren from 50m which only just travelled the distance, and went through off hands for the winning behind, which saw Footscray reach the finals.[4]
  • Richmond's centreman Jack Broadstock was reported for having "kicked or intended to kick" Fitzroy's half-forward flanker Noel Price in the Second Semi-Final, and he was suspended for eight weeks. The Richmond First Eighteen were so incensed at Broadstock's suspension that they decided to forfeit Preliminary Final match against Essendon. It was only after Richmond President Harry Dyke told them that he would field the Second Eighteen rather than forfeit the game that the senior players agreed to play.
  • Fitzroy won its eighth and last premiership at the Junction Oval on a hot, blustery day, in which many spectators walked long distances to and from the venue on account of a tram strike.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Hogan, P., The Tigers Of Old, The Richmond Football Club, (Richmond), 1996. ISBN 0-646-18748-1
  • Maplestone, M., Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872-1996, Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8
  • Rogers, S. & Brown, A., Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results 1897-1997 (Sixth Edition), Viking Books, (Ringwood), 1998. ISBN 0-670-90809-6
  • Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897-1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Fitzroy seconds' pennant". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). 25 September 1944. p. 9. 
  2. ^ "League seconds". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). 22 September 1944. p. 13. 
  3. ^ Percy Taylor (13 April 1945). "Wrangling must stop". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). p. 13. 
  4. ^ Rodgers, Stephen (1992), Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results, 1897–1991 (3rd ed.), Ringwood, VIC: Viking O'Neil, p. 312