George Topping

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George Topping
George Topping 1908.jpg
Topping in 1908
Personal information
Full name George Thomas Dungate Topping
Date of birth 27 August 1881
Place of birth Fitzroy, Victoria
Date of death 17 November 1958(1958-11-17) (aged 77)
Place of death Brunswick, Victoria
Original team(s) Carlton Juniors
Debut Round 10, 1902, Carlton
vs. St Kilda, at Princes Park
Height 166 cm (5 ft 5 in)
Weight 61 kg (134 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1902–1916 Carlton 125 (153)[1]
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1916.
Sources: AFL Tables,

George Thomas Dungate Topping (27 August 1881 – 17 November 1958) was an Australian rules footballer and umpire in the Victorian Football League.

Playing career[edit]

Originally recruited from Carlton Juniors, Topping made his debut for the Carlton Football Club in Round 10 of the 1902 season. Playing mainly in the forward line he was a good mark and accurate kick with a good sense of where to go to get the ball. His firepower was vital in Carlton's hat-trick of premierships from 1906-08 with totals of 25, 26 and 16 goals in those respective seasons. The following year the Blues were just beaten by South Melbourne in the grand final but Topping had his best scoring year with a total of 36 goals and playing in every match.

The following the season the sides met in round four. It was a spiteful affair with fights erupting at regular intervals. Late in the final quarter South Melbourne defender Bert Streckfuss felled, struck unconscious.

Field umpire, Lardie Tulloch promptly reported Topping, who was escorted from the ground by Carlton supporters who were either showing their support or for his own protection.[2]

At the subsequent tribunal hearing, Topping admitted that he had lost his head and struck Streckfuss in retaliation for Streckfuss's previous elbowing of Andy McDonald. The tribunal took a dim view of the incident and suspended Topping for the remainder of the 1910 season and all of 1911.[3]

There were further repercussions for both Topping and Streckfuss when they were called before the Carlton Court a fortnight later charged with assault. Found guilty, the bench decided to set an example and both were fined the maximum £10, in default three months imprisonment.[4]

Topping returned for a single game in 1912, kicking Carlton's opening goal of the season and two more for the match. During the following week he sustained an injury and was not selected for round 2. Still on crutches in May, he took no further part in the season.[5]

Following an unsuccessful foray into umpiring Topping rejoined the Blues for 1914 kicking three goal against Melbourne in round one. The next week against Geelong he turned awkwardly after taking a mark and dislocated a bone in his ankle. He hobbled through remainder of the game but his season ended with the final siren.[6]

Reappearing in round two 1916 he kicked two goals and the next week against Richmond his final goal in his 125th and last match.

Umpiring career[edit]

Injured in 1912 Topping applied to become a field umpire with the VFL. He was accepted and placed on the senior list. Initially appointed to a number of country matches his first VFL appointment was Fitzroy v. Essendon in round five. He became the 67th field umpire in VFL history. The match seems to have been well enough handled, The Argus only critical of an advantage called back costing Essendon a goal. The Football record noted 'He severely penalised anyone holding the ball when caught.'[7]

In rounds seven and eight - played on the Saturday and Monday - he umpired both Essendon matches with seemingly few issues yet they were his final senior appointments. By July he was reported as back at Carlton having not been a success in umpiring [8] although the Football record intimated Topping missed playing more than he expected noting, "Topping has had a go at field umpiring, and has come to the conclusion that it is better to play than to see that the other fellows play the game according to Hoyle."[9]

Seven years after his last match as a player Topping again applied to join the VFL umpires and again was accepted. This time he stuck at it for longer and, despite not achieving senior matches, was more successful. His 15 VCFL matches in 1922 included two finals - the Heathcote grand final and the Peninsula Football Association second semi-final - and he returned the same total in 1923 with two more finals.

Two matches in 1924 a month apart suggest the possibility of injury ending Topping's career with the whistle. His final totals were 3 VFL and 38 VCFL appointments.


  1. ^ "AFL Tables - George Topping - Stats - Statistics". AFL Tables. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Bad in every feature". The Argus (Melbourne). 30 May 1910. p. 5. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Football blackguardism". The Argus (Melbourne). 2 June 1910. p. 7. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Football rowdyism". The Argus (Melbourne). 9 June 1910. p. 6. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Accidents to players". The Argus (Melbourne). 10 May 1912. p. 9. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Football incidents". The Argus (Melbourne). 8 June 1914. p. 8. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  7. ^ Chatterer (31 May 1913). "Men of the Time". Football Record (6): 23.
  8. ^ "Football". The Argus (Melbourne). 4 July 1913. p. 4. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  9. ^ Chatterer (6 June 1914). "Men of the Time". Football Record (7): 24.
  • Holmesby, Russell (2005). Encyclopedia of AFL players. Melbourne: BAS publishing. p. 726. ISBN 1920910328.

External links[edit]