1945 VFL Grand Final

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1945 VFL Grand Final
Carlton AFL icon.svg
AFL Sydney Icon.jpg
South Melbourne
15.13 (103) 10.15 (75)
1 2 3 4
CAR 2.4 (16) 7.5 (47) 12.9 (81) 15.13 (103)
STH. M 0.5 (5) 6.9 (45) 8.10 (58) 10.15 (75)
Date 29 September 1945
Stadium Princes Park
← 1944 VFL Grand Final 1946 →

The 1945 VFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the South Melbourne Football Club and Carlton Football Club, held at Princes Park in Melbourne on 29 September 1945. It was the 49th annual Grand Final of the Victorian Football League, staged to determine the premiers for the 1945 VFL season. The match, attended by 62,986 spectators, was won by Carlton by a margin of 28 points, marking that club's seventh premiership victory. The game is well remembered for its extremely rough and violent nature, and has commonly been referred to as The Bloodbath.


Played only shortly after the conclusion of the second World War, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was unavailable for use, prompting the game to be played at Princes Park. The crowd of 62,986 is a record for Princes Park, and is almost double its current nominal capacity.

Win from fourth place[edit]

Carlton held a two-point lead at half time, and won the match 15.13 (103) to South Melbourne's 10.15 (75).

Carlton's 1945 premiership win was the first time since the Page-McIntyre System had been adopted in 1931 that a team from fourth place on the home-and-away ladder (i.e., a team that had no "double chance") had won the Grand Final.

South Melbourne would not contest another Grand Final until the 1996 AFL Grand Final, by which time the club was known as the Sydney Swans.

The "Bloodbath"[edit]

The game, played in extremely wet, muddy conditions, is remembered as "the Bloodbath" for its overall continuous violence (on the field and amongst the fans), and its plethora of crude king hits and brawls (many of which were broken up with the assistance of team officials and the police). The Melbourne tabloid newspaper The Truth called it "the most repugnant spectacle League football has ever known", with ten players reported for a total of sixteen offences.[1]

Tribunal outcomes[edit]

South Melbourne[edit]

  • Ted Whitfield was charged with using abusive language to goal umpire Les Whyte, attempting to strike field umpire Frank Spokes, kicking the ball away after a free kick was given against him, and attempting to conceal his guernsey so goal umpire Les Whyte could not report him. He was suspended for 21 matches (all of 1946 and the first two games of 1947).
  • Jack "Basher" Williams was charged with using abusive language to Carlton's Rod McLean and goal umpire Les Whyte, and adopting a fighting attitude to Whyte when he went to report him. Suspended for 12 matches.
  • Don Grossman was charged with striking Jim Mooring after Mooring had been awarded a mark. Suspended for 8 matches.
  • "Gentleman" Jim Cleary was charged with striking Ken Hands (Carlton) after a mark, and attempting to strike Bob Chitty. He was found not guilty on attempted striking charge, but suspended for 8 matches on the striking charge.
  • Herbie Matthews was charged with throwing the ball away after a mark was given against him, and was severely reprimanded.
  • Keith Smith was charged with striking Jim Mooring, but was found not guilty.


  • Bob Chitty was charged with elbowing Billy Williams. He was suspended for 8 matches.
  • Ron Savage was charged with striking Don Grossman in retaliation for Grossman having king-hit teammate Jim Mooring, which sparked a final-quarter brawl. Suspended for 8 matches.
  • Fred Fitzgibbon was charged with one count of melee involvement; despite serving a four-match suspension from the preliminary final for having king-hit Collingwood forward Len Hustler, he ran onto the field during a final-quarter brawl and fought with Ted Whitfield before being ejected from the arena. Suspended for an additional four matches.
  • Ken Hands was charged with charging Ron Clegg, but was found not guilty.


B: Arthur Sanger Vin Brown Jim Baird
HB: Bob Chitty (c) Bert Deacon Jim Clark
C: Doug Williams Clinton Wines Herb Turner
HF: Alec Way Ken Hands Lance Collins
F: Rod McLean Ken Baxter Jim Mooring
Foll: Ron Savage Jack Bennett Mick Price
Reserve(s): Charlie McInnes
Coach: Percy Bentley
South Melbourne
B: Brian Kelly Jim Cleary Don Grossman
HB: Bob Matlock Jack Williams Jack Danckert
C: Ted Whitfield Herbie Matthews (c) Billy King
HF: Vic Castles Ron Clegg Keith Smith
F: Alan Linden Laurie Nash Bill Williams
Foll: Jack Graham Jack Dempsey Reg Richards
Reserve(s): Ron Hartridge
Coach: Bill Adams


Team 1 2 3 Final
Carlton 2.4 7.5 12.9 15.13 (103)
South Melbourne 0.5 6.9 8.10 10.15 (75)



  • K Hands 3
  • M Price 3
  • K Baxter 2
  • J Mooring 2
  • J Bennett 1
  • B Chitty 1
  • R McLean 1
  • R Savage 1
  • C Wines 1

South Melbourne:

  • V Castles 3
  • A Linden 2
  • L Nash 2
  • K Smith 2
  • R Richards 1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gibson, Jane (2 September 2006). "Day the Blood-Stained Angels were born", The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 14 July 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Holmesby, R. & Main, J., This Football Century: "The Greatest Game of All", Wilkinson Books, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 1-86350-222-X
  • 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]