Carlton defeated Collingwood by a club record finals margin of 88 points at the MCG. Soapy Vallence kicked 11 goals in Horrie Clover's last game.

Semi Final, 1931

Venue: M.C.G.Date: Saturday September 19, 1931
Result: Win by 88 pointsUmpire: EllingsenCrowd: 51,140
Goalkickers: H.Vallence 11, V.Arthur 3, M.Crisp 2, A.Clarke 2, C.Davey 1, J.Kelly 1.
Best: H.Vallence, V.Arthur, F.Gill, A.Clarke, H.Clover, C.Davey, M.Crisp, F.Gilby, J.Green.
Reports: Injuries: F. Gilby (bruised ribs) H.Clover (knee, during third quarter)

Game Review

Spearhead Harry Vallence led this massive charge against Collingwood with 11 goals from Full Forward. Vallence's 11 goals at the 'G remains a Carlton record at the MCG, a feat he managed twice in his career (see also Preliminary Final, 1932 ).

The Blues went into the game with a point to prove, having been belted by Collingwood to the tune of 61 points in Round 16. A rumour had circulated after that match that Carlton had thrown in the towel during the match, and while the source of the rumour was never proved, the Blues assumed that it was started by someone at Collingwood. This was used as motivation by the players in this match, and we played excellent football.

Collingwood won the toss and started strongly, but there inaccuracy in front of goal was costly. After The Pies kicked 4 behinds to open the game, Vallence marked and kicked truly for Carlton. By the first break the Blues led by 6 points, and they wouldn't be headed for the rest of the day. During the second quarter the Blues defence got on top of Collingwood's forwards, and our 5 goal to nil term opened up a match winning lead.

The Magpies coaching staff threw their team around for the start of the third term, but they couldn't make any inroads on Carlton's lead. The Magpies weren't helped by injuries, by the end of the match Collier had been replaced on the field, and Tatham, Edmonds, Murphy and Coventry were restricted by injury. This may explain the Blues fantastic last quarter, kicking 9 goals - including 6 for the quarter to Vallence. And it could have been even better. With the last kick of the game, Vallence hit the post from a long way out.

Carlton set numerous records in this game. At the time it was the highest score in a finals game, the highest last quarter score in a final, and the 88 point winning margin was also a record. It remains Carlton's greatest ever winning margin in a final some 77 years later (as at November 2008).
This was Collingwood's greatest defeat since entering the V.F.L. in 1897.

Shock Tactics Too Much For Collingwood In First Semi-final - By "First Ruck"

"Well, if there were stipendiary stewards in football," said an enthusiastic follower of the game as he left the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Saturday, "Carlton would have to answer questions about reversal of form."

The remark was jocular, of course, and significant merely of the wonderment that was felt of the great majority of the vast crowd of 40,000 people as they watched Collingwood, a team which is generally supposed to reach its highest standards in semi-final and final games, being to made as look as cheap as dirt by a side they had treated in exactly similar fashion three weeks previously.
It is safe to say that not even the most ardent supporters of Carlton expected them to suddenly strike such magnificent form as to be capable of beating Collingwood by nearly 15 goals. On Friday last, Colin Martyn (Carlton's captain) expressed the opinion that Carlton would win because in their recent games they had shown themselves capable of finishing strongly.

Tall Scoring

Well, they confounded everybody, not only by winning, but breaking records in doing so. When Richmond beat Collingwood in the semi-final on the M.C.G. in 1929, the winner piled up a score of 18 goals 15 behinds and won by more than 60 points. Carlton kicked 20 goals 10 behinds to Collingwood's 5.12 last Saturday, and won by 88 points, the greatest margin ever recorded in a V.F.L. semi-final.
There is not much that can be said about last Saturday's match. It was too one sided. Carlton were the heavier side, averaging approximately 12.13 to Collingwood's 12.3; they were faster and more determined on the day, and their condition was superb.
It was unusual to see a Carlton man behind in the race for the ball. It was unusual to see a Collingwood man taking the ball from an opponent in the air, and Collingwood's forwards were worried exceedingly by Carlton's defence. Carlton's marking was epic in its sureness and in the manner in which the men were flying for high marks. On a dry ground, the Blues were playing as they had never played at any other time this season. They looked a team of champions.
In front of goal, Carlton could not go wrong. Their accuracy was uncanny. Horace Clover, stationed centre forward, was proving once again what a tower of strength he is in that position. He was the medium through which the ball went to Harry Vallence time after time. And Vallence? His 11 goals 4 behinds from 16 shots tell a story that is tragic as far as it concerns the Collingwood defenders. In many games this season, Collingwood's backs and half-backs have made victory secure by bustling the opposing forwards out of position. Last Saturday it was the other way about. Up to half time, Carlton had crossed the goal line nine times for eight goals; Collingwood ten times for one goal.

Big Injured List

After the match there was a lot of talk among Collingwood about Carlton's methods, and the fact that Collier, Tatham, Harris, Edmonds, Froudw, and Gordon Coventry all were injured was pointed to a showing that "stopping" tactics had been used that were not legitimate. Central umpire Ellingsen* came in for a lot of criticism for not being more severe on those who indulged in rough stuff.
Ellingsen awarded 65 free kicks against Carlton and 43 against Collingwood, but Collingwood complain that he did not exercise proper control in the early stages when Carlton were most vigorous. Taking the game by and large, however, there was little that could be complained of.
Collingwood expected to win. They believed they had improved to such an extent that a fifth consecutive premiership, which would have constituted a League record, was a big possibility. It was their misfortune to met Carlton on a day when the Blues were invincible."
(Referee 23 Sept 1931 p14)



Collingwood Routed

Record Performances

Vallence Kicks Eleven Goals

By Old Boy

"Carlton literally smashed its way to victory against Collingwood in the first semi final match of the Victorian Football League. It was played on Saturday on the Melbourne Cricket-ground, in the presence of 52,140 people, who contributed 2,495 pounds at the turnstiles. The scores were: - Carlton 20-10; Collingwood, 5-12 The figures show a decided increase on the corresponding match of last year; when the returns were: - Attendance: - 47,895; receipts 2314 pounds 12 shillings. In view of the depression the figures were most satisfactory, and the slashing victory of Carlton should give renewed interest to the remaining matches. The ground was in good order, but a strong northerly swept the arena. It favoured the side attacking the railway goal, but was very gusty and uncertain. This fact made the Carlton performance the more extraordinary.
It was in every way a remarkable match, and the more one recall the incidents of the play the more inexplicable it all seems. That Carlton should have won it not altogether surprising, but that it should have reduced the Collingwood machine to a mere conglomeration of ineffective parts, that it should have made the mighty "magpies" look like a lot of "sparrows," left the vast crowd agape with surprise, and caused such consternation in the ranks of Collingwood supporters that they forgot how well their men had served them in the past, blamed their opponents for adopting the very methods that Collingwood had so often used to its own advantage, and were blind to the virtues of the "blues. "Three weeks before Collingwood had administered a thrashing to Carlton with the scores 20-15 to 10-14, and the lessons of that match were taken seriously to heart by the wise men in the Carlton executive.

Carlton Turning Point

In that game the Collingwood players inspired by tradition, had a set plan, and they carried it out to the letter. They began from the first bounce of the ball. The decided to run the Carlton off their legs. They were first to the ball and they left Carlton standing. In the Carlton room after that match on August 29 I saw Dan Minogue (the coach), Dave Crone (the president), Pat Cain (the secretary), Ray Brew (the captain), and other Carlton leaders dejected and amazed. They appreciated to the full the superiority of Collingwood, and they acknowledged it without stint. In their dejection, however, there was no note of despair. They refused to accept the result as conclusive proof that their men were inferior, and they set themselves to re-establish the moral of the side. When however, a week later Footscray defeated their men, and on the next Saturday St.Kilda led them until half time, their confidence waned. The came the turning point, and in the Carlton dressing-room Dan Minogue (the coach) gave an address that fired up the imagination of every Carlton player, and Ray Brew (the captain), who had to retire owing to injury, inspired them with an appeal to unity, purpose, and determination. The "blues' took the field in the second half against St.Kilda determined to force a victory, and they succeeded. They swept the opposition aside with such elan that the match and with it a place in the final four was fairly snatched from the burning, and they gained their first objective - a position in the finals.

Lesson Learned

The lesson of the debacle at Victoria Park, and of the first half failure against St.Kilda had been learned. The team knew that determination must be the watchword of every side worthy of the premiership, and on Thursday evening, at a players' meeting in the Carlton dressing-rooms, Dan Minogue made a speech which set every Carlton heart tingling and prepared the men for that final rally in the dressing- room on Saturday before the match, which sent eighteen Carlton players into the field determined, as one man, to fight for the honour of their club and their colours. Minogue urged them to go to it from the bounce of the ball, to stick to their men, to be first to the ball, and to remember that if the Collingwood machine were allowed to function the defeat at Victoria Park might be repeated, and Carlton once might be swept aside. There was too, in the hearts of the Carlton men bitter resentment at suggestions that they had not done their best in that game at Victoria Park. They knew only too well how Collingwood's early dash had made their own play ineffective, and they made no secret of their intention to break the Collingwood system ere it took control.
Carlton won because of its superiority in pace, force, in the air, and in system. Having broken Collingwood's machine-like precision and though playing against the wind, having established a lead in the first quarter, Carlton found everything going its way. Its defence was impregnable, and its attack extraordinary in its efficiency and precision. In fact, its shooting for goal was uncanny in its accuracy. its men seemed able to score form any angle and at any distance and it may be safely said that it will be a long while before we see such a performance again. And as so often happens, one side seemed to be able to do nothing right, and the other nothing wrong.

Umpire Criticised

That Carlton obeyed the instructions of their coach to the letter was admitted on all sides, but I fancy that the men did slightly more, and in the early stages of the game went beyond the spirit of the laws of the game. There were instances in the first quarter, and also later, when Carlton, in its desperation and in excess of zeal, bowled over opponents after they had marked or after they had disposed of the ball. Ellingsen, the field umpire, who usually gives the men their heads, gave then undue latitude in this respect. In this he erred. No one who knows the game desires to see the umpire interfering or being too technical, but on Saturday, with the game beginning with such force, it would have been better if the umpire had been stricter in his control. A warning word to one or two players would have been salutary. Some of his mistakes, too, were extraordinary - once when Edmonds nearly had his head pulled off in front of goal and no notice was taken of the offence, and again when Vallence, in kicking a remarkable goal, was alowed to run nearly 25 yards without bouncing the ball. These were costly errors and inexplicable.

Collingwood Injuries

The Collingwood dressing-room was like a casualty clearing station after the game. In the first few minutes of the game C. Dibbs, the full back, twisted his knee and was practically useless. Soon after F. Froude met with two injuries - a bruised thigh and a sprained ankle - each caused after he had marked the ball. H. Collier had his thigh bruised, and left the field in the first quarter after a collision with his club mate Edmonds. H. Cheswass took his place. G. Tatham, after being moved from the wing to forward, had to be carried off the ground with a sprained ankle. In the last quarter Syd Coventry, who was playing heroically in defence, had his thigh injured, and was practically useless afterwards. Gordon Coventry received a blow from a pair of knees in the back. Don Harris had torn thigh muscles, H. Edmonds had a twisted ankle, Frank Murphy a strained groin, Rumney a bruised thigh, and Makeham was covered with bruises. it was pitiable to see some of them, notably Froude, Dibbs, Edmonds, Syd Coventry, Harris and Tatham, attempting to play on despite such injuries.

Collingwood Player Reported

H. Westcott, the Collingwood defender, was reported by a goal umpire on a charge of having struck H. Vallence, the Carlton forward in the first quarter.

In The Dressing-rooms

There was a scene of unbounded enthusiasm in the Carlton dressing-room when the president (Mr. Dave Crone) congratulated the team and referred to its wonderful performance. He was followed by the captain (Colin Martyn), who paid a special tribute to Ray Brew, who had to retire owing to injury, and Dan Minogue (the coach) who declared himself to be the proudest man in Melbourne, as he had shown how his team could come back after its defeat at Collingwood. Senator Guthrie, on behalf of Geelong, also congratulated the winning team.
Collingwood supporters were very dejected and disappointed, and the players, most of whom were more or less injured, were downcast. Mr. H. R. Curtis (the president), in a speech, regretted the injuries to the players, and criticised the field umpire for having failed to control the game properly."
'Old Boy' - Reginald W. L. Wilmot, former Brighton and Essendon player - wrote for newspapers for 60 years.
(Trove: Argus 21 September p11)

Carlton Avenged An Insult

In 1937 Carlton coach Dan Minogue recalls this Semi Final and how his team responded to the drubbing they received by the Magpies just a few weeks earlier.

Free Kicks

110 free kicks awarded.
Per Quarter.
Coll. 16, 19, 18, 14. Total 67 (including 17 for forcing the ball out of bounds)
Carl. 13, 9, 11, 10. Total 43 (including 18 for forcing the ball out of bounds)
Kelly 6; Arthur, Davey, Kelleher, Morrisey, Martyn, Green, Huxtable, and Gill 3 each; Clarke, Crowe, Egan, and Little 2 each; Crisp, Clover, and Vallence 1 each; Total 43


Per Quarter.
Carl. 18, 19, 16, 30. Total 83
Coll. 12, 15, 13, 15. Total 55
Davey, Vallence 9 each; Clover, Crisp, Martyn 7 each; Clarke 6; Arthur, Crowe, Johnson 5 each; Gill, Kelly 4 each; Egan, Green, Huxtable, Morrisey 3 each; Gilby 2, Little 1. Total 83.


Vallence 11.3 (hit the post once), Arthur 3.2, Clarke 2.2, Crisp 2.1, Davey 1.1, Kelly 1.0, Crowe 0.1

How Goals Scored

Snaps: 11.5, Marks 7.5, Frees 2.0

Carlton's Scoring

First Quarter: Behind, Goal, Goal, Goal
Second Quarter: Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal
Third Quarter: Goal, Goal, Goal, Behind, Behind
Final Quarter: Behind, Behind, Goal, Behind, Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, Behind, Goal, Goal, Behind, Goal, Behind, Goal, Behind.

"The Carlton record of 11 goals in succession without a behind is equal to the tally in 1906 by Carlton against Fitzroy, and has only been exceeded twice in a League match - 13 by Collingwood against Richmond in 1929, and 12 by Essendon against Collingwood in 1911. The Carlton score of 9.7 is the record for a fourth quarter. The Carlton margin of 88 points is the largest in a semi-final match. H. Vallence's 11 goals surpasses the record in a semi-final. Vallence's score is also the highest ever made in a match in the second round." (Argus September 21)

Clover's Last Game

Carlton great Horrie Clover played his last game when Collingwood full back Jack Reagan accidentally fell across Clover's leg and damaged his knee during the third quarter.

Soapy slips eleven through in Semi

Before the Semi-Final clash, the score stood at one win each between Carlton and Collingwood for the season. The Blues were aggrieved by accusations that they had not done their best in the second game, which Collingwood won by 10 goals on a very wet ground spangled with pools of water. The Semi was quite different. Stung into action, Carlton reduced the Collingwood machine of ineffective parts, made the Magpies look like sparrows, and left the crowd of 52,143 agape with surprise. Harry Vallence kicked 11 goals a Finals record, including six in the last quarter. The last kick of the day by Vallence hit the post. Carlton's 20.10.(130) was also a record Finals score, as was the margin of 88 points. Collingwood managed a miserable 5.12.(42). First year player Creswell 'Mickey' Crisp played well, but this was balanced by the injury to veteran Horrie Clover, who might not play again. - 100 Years of Australian Rules Football.

Vallence's Great Record

"With 72 goals to his credit at the end of the home-and-away matches, Harry Vallence, Carlton's full-forward , topped the list of goalkickers up to the semi final rounds, and signalised the most successful season's football he has experienced since he came to Carlton from Bacchus Marsh five years ago.
But Saturday's performance set the seal on his reputation and made him a hero for the match against Collingwood, for his tally of 11 goals set a new record for goalkicking in a League semi-final or final.
Previously, the record was held by Gordon Coventry with 9."
(Referee September 23 p14)
To the great delight of the Carlton fans the previous record holder was playing at the other end of the ground and witnessed his 9 goal achievement being surpassed.


B: 8 George Morrissey 21 Frank Gill (vc) 15 Maurie Johnson
HB: 9 Eric Huxtable 14 Jack Green 6 Fred Gilby
C: 7 Joe Kelly 2 Colin Martyn (c) 28 Eric Little
HF: 12 Creswell 'Mickey' Crisp 1 Horrie Clover 30 Vin Arthur
F: 27 Alf Egan 22 Harry Vallence 31 Ansell Clarke
Ruck: 17 Charlie Davey 10 Denis Kelleher 23 Jim Crowe
19th Man: 19 Alec Doyle
Coach: Dan Minogue


Sporting Globe September 19

Left," Mickey" Crisp, Harry Vallance marks, Charlie Davey waits on the right.


Image: Herald Dec 07 1931


Most Carlton Goals in a Final: Harry Vallence, 11 Goals
50 Games: Ansell Clarke, Jack Green and Denis Kelleher
Last game: Horrie Clover
Biggest Winning Margin in a Final: This remains Carlton's biggest finals win

Round 18 | Preliminary Final
Contributors to this page: blueycarlton , Bombasheldon , Jarusa , PatsFitztrick , molsey , timmyd , WillowBlue , kkk , camelboy , steve and admin .
Page last modified on Friday 09 of April, 2021 00:13:17 AEST by blueycarlton.

Online Users

172 online users