Sport early days memories

Football at Canterbury Road in the Late 50s - Peter Higgins

In the years before Marcellin joined the Associated Grammar Schools, football at Marcellin was a very laid-back casual affair. Over the winter months of second term, a limited number of inter school matches were arranged by the brothers. Almost always on Wednesday afternoons, we played against a variety of schools, many only the once...several on an annual basis. The latter included St Kevins, CBC Parade and Camberwell Grammar (one of the few we could beat) but I can also recall matches against De La Salle, CBC St Kilda, Sale Marist Brothers (we met them at a half-way ground) and of course our annual Sunday treks to Kilmore and Assumption College, a big family day where many parents came along to support the 3 or 4 teams of different age groups.


My year as captain 1958 I believe was notable when Marcellin defeated Assumption for the first time....a major achievement as Assumption had been a great breeding ground for future AFL players. I do recall playing against other league players...Morton Browne (Hawthorn) we worked him out, just kicked the ball to the other side of the ground. But we couldn't stop Brian Beers (Collingwood) who kicked 7 goals as Ruck Rover with just one bounce from the centre of the Camberwell Football Ground. That day we lost 22 goals (plus) to 1.0  A couple of years earlier I do recall the Open Team coming back shattered from a game against St Bedes Mentone when in very windy conditions they lost 2.19 to 5.7


But winning wasn't everything. Quite the contrary! Against De La we were told by Ted at half-time that it didn't matter either way as long as we looked good AND HAD OUR SOCKS PULLED UP!
No boys were allowed to wear short sleeve jumpers as that looked “too tough”. 


Footy training was equally casual. Once a week we would walk or cycle down to Rathmines Road oval after school for our training run, and that's what it was. One or two laps of the oval, kick-to-kick until everyone arrived then circle training - spread round the ground, keep running and kicking onward. Tactics and strategies, setting up set plays, special training sessions for rucks, backs or forwards... never even considered...we just worked it out on the field on game day. Coaching of the football teams was virtually non-existent.


How did we pick the teams? As Captain I certainly was never consulted, my prime task was to toss the coin! I can recall one training session being a short game of Possibles versus Probables.   Other than that we just waited patiently for the teams to be posted on the Notice Board.


Promotion and relegation from outside the squad? Not to my knowledge. The rest of the school was playing Wednesday sport in their four team colours, but I can never recall the squad players joining in to these inter-House matches.