Bloods’ 1920s premiership successes (2): the 1925 flag
By Richard Jones
Four years after they’d beaten Eaglehawk to win the 1921 BFL premiership South Bendigo saluted again.
This time they clinched the 1925 flag with a thrilling four-point victory over brand-new club, Castlemaine.
For we footy historians an important fact to note is that Barassi (no initial listed in the Advertiser) played for the Maine.
Was he a member of the extended Barassi family which included Ron Barassi senior and junior? That pair had lived in the Guildford area not far from the Maine.
Unfortunately for the visitors 1925’s Barassi went down injured as the first term wound up. The grand final report variously named him as ‘Barass’ as well as Barassi.
“He came down heavily and was carried off the ground. He was examined by Dr. Cook (a South official) and was found to be suffering from a broken collar-bone,” the Monday Advertiser reported.
That meant the Maine was down to 17 men. The Monday Addy didn’t specify whether the clubs fielded 19th and 20th men nine decades ago although WW1 had been over for seven years.
Castlemaine led at each of the first two breaks. They were ahead 2.2 to 1.3 at quarter-time and then led by two points at the long interval: 4.2 (26) to the Bloods 3.6 (24).
South skipper and centre half-back Hando was very busy early taking three, strong marks although C. Nichols, a quick half-forward flanker, booted both first quarter majors for Castlemaine.
The South Bendigo full-forward Doble “was laid out for a while early in the second quarter and South supporters had a few anxious moments while the trainers were attending to him,” the match reports stated.
“Was he seriously injured? There was relieved applause when he rose and joined in the play again.”
The busy Nichols scored his own and Castlemaine’s third goal when “he dodged a South back and just managed to get his boot on the ball before it rolled through goal.
“But Gemmell, Castlemaine’s centre half-forward, was still free-kicking Hando and two in succession spoiled promising Castlemaine moves towards goal.”
The reporter oberved that although the Maine was down to 17 men they were holding South well before forward pocket player Truesdale scored a “fine goal for South with a beautiful, steady drop kick.”
But just as happens in today’s footy an incident just before half-time sparked the crowd again.
“Just before the bell a Castlemaine player went down in a crush. Viewed through field glasses from the press box it seemed an ordinary collision,” the match writer noted.
“However, a section of the big crowd seemed to think it was a piece of foul play and as Hando came off the field he received a curious reception.
“One half of the crowd in the vicinity cheered him wildly – the other half hooted him angrily.”
Then after appearing the slightly better team in the first half, particularly considering the team was playing one man short, Castlemaine faltered.
“South improved considerably in the second half, adding four goals to two, and gradually wore down Castlemaine by sheer strength and weight of numbers,” the Addy report said.
Final scores: South Bendigo 7.2 (44) def C’maine 6.4 (40). Gate takings: 527 pounds (a BFL record). Central umpire: Wickham.
“Long before the game began the grandstand was packed and the outer ground filled rapidly.
“The special trains were all comfortably filled, those from Kyneton and Castlemaine being particularly well-patronised.
“And hundreds of patrons came by motor car. The roar of excitement as the game got under way could be heard in Quarry Hill,” the excited reporter wrote.
A week after clinching the ’25 premiership South Bendigo had grabbed another important trophy.
This time the Bloods downed an extremely inaccurate Maryborough to win the Provincial Premiership Cup.
Final scores: South Bendigo 11.12 (78) def. Maryborough 8.26 (74).
The Princes Park Pies registered 11 more scoring shots than South but couldn’t get over the line.
Then grim pickings awaited the Bloods. They would not win another senior BFL flag until 1950 --- a quarter-of-a-century down the track.
Still to come: Fifties premiership seasons under The Fox