Explore the History of australian football

QFL suspends competition as does NTFA. University (VFL) disband. TSP suspended.  North Melbourne (VFA): played 14, won 14 - undefeated premiers. Grand final results - VFL: Carlton 11.12 (78) d. Collingwood 6.9 (45); SAFL: Sturt 6.10 (46) d. Port Adelaide 4.10 (34); WAFL: Subiaco 3.3 (21) d.Perth 2.7 (19); VFA: North Melbourne 11.10 (76) d. Brunswick 3.10 (28); TFL: Lefroy 6.12 (48) d. Cananore 3.5 (23); NSWAFL: Paddington 9.5 (59) d.Newtown 5.11 (41); NWFU: Devonport 3.2 (20) d. Ulverstone 2.6 (18).


While Australian forces were doing battle with the Turks at Gallipoli some Australians diverted themselves by engaging in battles of a different sort on home soil. One of the most notorious examples occurred at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 6,752 spectators on Saturday 7th August 1915. The combatants were members of the Melbourne and South Melbourne VFL teams which were vying for a place in the finals. South’s Jim Caldwell stood out of the match as his brother had recently been killed in the Dardanelles. Every member of South Melbourne’s team wore a black armband as a tribute.

At three quarter time of a tense, low scoring game both teams had posted 4.9 (33). During the last term violence erupted, as described in “The Age” of Monday 9th August 1915:

At an exciting period of the football match between the Melbourne and South Melbourne teams on Saturday at the Melbourne cricket ground, Incigneri, one of the Melbourne players, momentarily lost control of himself, and, it is alleged, struck Payne of South Melbourne, with the result that this player was rendered unconscious. Payne, who is a big follower, had been penalised for what appeared from the press box to be a neck hold on Incigneri. The Melbourne player had turned to take his kick, when, either by accident or design, he swung round suddenly, and landed a heavy blow on Payne’s chin. The incident was witnessed by many spectators. The game was certainly exciting at the time - only one point separating the teams - and Melbourne being in the lead with only five or six minutes left. Previously there had not been any display of temper, although the game was always vigorous.[1] Defeat for South Melbourne meant that they had no chance of gaining a place in the first four, and the sight of Payne lying prone on the ground was too much for the team’s already excited supporters. They swarmed on to the ground from all quarters, and there must have been close upon 1,000 of them in the playing arena. Incigneri evidently made himself scarce, but some of the other Melbourne players were attacked, George in particular having a rough passage.The scene, for a senior football match, was probably unprecedented. For ten minutes play was out of the question. Half a dozen policemen and a few soldiers tried to restore order, but without success. Some of the players from both sides had retired into the pavilion, others wrapped in overcoats were running round to keep warm, whilst some youths, gaining possession of the ball, engaged in “practice”. Eventually, Payne revived, and the umpire placed the ball in his hands for a free kick. The ground was then cleared and the game resumed.

In the end, South Melbourne emerged victorious by 7 points, but it was Melbourne who had the last laugh as it was they rather than the southerners who went on to contest the finals. Incigneri, it emerged, had been reported by a steward.[1] He was found guilty and outed for eight games.


[1] A total of 115 free kicks were awarded during the game, more than half of which were for infringements of the holding the ball rule.

[2] Stewards were appointed by the VFL at this time in order to assist the central umpire and to deter rough play.


On Saturday 21st August 1915 at Hobart's Upper Cricket Ground a special challenge match took place between a Tasmanian Football League representative team and a combination drawn from the ranks of the Victorian Imperial Expeditionary Force stationed at Claremont Camp. The Expeditionary Force team comprised top level Tasmanian footballers who had enlisted. A large crowd, somewhere in the region of 5,000 people turned up, and at half time they were treated to a rousing recruitment speech by Lieutenant Robertson of the Administrative and Instructional Staff.

The match itself was of a high standard and hotly contested, with the TFL coming from behind to earn a draw, 7.15 (57) to 9.3 (57).

​1915 Snippets