History

The following is the foreword to “The Green & Gold” - The History of the Marysville Football Club by William Metcalfe - with acknowledgement to Kinglsey Fiske, MFC player and committee member 1955-1970.

It's more than a game. These are words used now to promote a television show, but football has always been more than just a game, and no more so than in our own little town. From the moment that Fred Barton and his supporters formed the Marysville Football club, football began to play an important part in the life of the Marysville people. Not only was the health and development of the young men who play the game enhanced, but their friends and family were also involved in the fortunes of the footy club.

Money was needed to run the club and so fund raising functions evolved and became the centre of the town's social life. Everybody went to the Saturday night dances. Sometimes a band was employed from out of town but more often local musicians turned out. In the early days there was Barton’s band which included Mrs Barton and son Percy. Later Vaughan King or Percy Barton or Doug Jowett would entertain us. More often Alan and Len Sund would take time off from their sawmill and have us Foxtrotting around the Marysville Hall.

One of the social highlight of the year was the Marysville football club ball. Everyone togged up in their finest, and one of the local girls was judged to be Belle of the Ball.

A book written by Bill Metcalfe on the history of the Marysville football club
(click here) also gives us an insight to the way people lived in the earlier days. Several newspaper reports in the 1930s mention that the start of the game was delayed waiting for the visiting team to arrive. Considering that everyone worked until lunch time on Saturday and then travelled in a 1930s model vehicle over many potholed roads to the game, it is a wonder that they arrived at all. The detail contained in some of the early newspaper reports (almost kick by kick) demonstrates the important status that the local footy held in the community.

On the field Marysville were always competitive but found premierships very hard to win. After five premierships in the 1930s, including three in a row to retain the perpetual Peter Dawson Gold cup, it wasn't until 1959 that the team led by ex-North Melbourne champ Kevin Dynon beat Warburton at Healesville that they won another flag. This was followed by the epic drawn grand final against Healesville and at Warburton in 1960. The replay was another thriller. With Marysville one point ahead, Healesville player Gordon Collis who later went to Carlton and won a Brownlow medal, marked on the point post. The siren rang as he lined up to kick on the tightest of angles. A goal to win a point to draw, again! Neither result appealed to the exhausted Marysville players, but fortune favoured Marysville as the kick slid across the goals and out of bounds giving Marysville the narrowest victory. One more premiership was won in 1973 by the team led by Tony Etheridge.

There were some premierships but many grand finals. In some Marysville were gallant runners up, in a few bitterly disappointed beaten favourites. In 1955 they travelled to Warburton as hot favourites to beat Yarra Junction only to return home beaten by one point. The lavishly set up celebration party at Mary Meadows guesthouse (later El Khana) was a grim affair. The experience caused the committee to dispense with the pre-planned celebrations and even team photos for the next few grand finals.

And another bitter defeat occurred in the 1958 grand final against Warburton at Lilydale. Marysville was six goals up at quarter time and looked like winners.

It is worth noting that in 1958 there were no sophisticated drainage systems or special grass varieties to cover the ground as there is today. The Lilydale ground was a sea of mud from the first bounce. There was no provision for changing the ball during the match, the same ball was used all day soaking up water by the minute. The players could not be taken off for a spell or medical treatment and return to the ground. Each side had 20 players, 18 on the field and two in reserve, the 19th and 20th men. If a player came off the ground he was replaced by the 19th or 20th man but he could not take further part in the game. So injured players limped and tired players did the best they could.

Under these conditions the second quarter of the 1958 grand final got underway. Warburton kicked three goals and were back in the game. Halfway through the last quarter they hit the front and within minutes to go were less than a goal ahead. As the siren went Marysville's centre half forward Neville West marked 40 metres out. His kick for goal carried the hopes of the Marysville supporters but the waterlogged ball fell into the mud short of the goal and Marysville were beaten. Another miserable trip home over the spur!


Extract from the Green & The Gold - The History of the Marysville Football Club by William Metcalfe