THE 1970 SEASON
The mid to late 60’s were our glory years. However, having been beaten in consecutive A Grade Grand Finals in 1967 and 68 by Old Paradians, legendary coach John Wilson’s resolve to go one better was now quite obsessive. In 1970, the club President was David Prain. We had great leaders on the field, well disciplined, and the team comprised many outstanding footballers.
Although full of confidence and anticipation, the draw for 1970 looked ominous, with rounds 1 and 2 up against the Grand Finalists from the previous year. Beaten by the reigning Premiers, Coburg, in round 1 and a loss to Ormond the next week was not the start we wanted. Fortunately, the season then moved back on track. Wins over Old Paradians, Ivanhoe, Monash plus Collegians, a 2 point loss to MHSOB, and percentage building wins over De La Salle and University Blues – the 6/3 win/loss ratio was probably a good result at the half way mark.
The second half of the season got off to a shocking start with back- to- back losses against Coburg and Ormond. A lucky 5- point win over Old Paradians, and a bad loss against Ivanhoe in Round 13, meant our season was on the line. In rounds 14 to 18, Caulfield played some of their best football of the season, and 5 strong wins was good enough to guarantee another finals challenge.
The first Semi-final was against MHSOB. Trailing at half-time, a tense third quarter had Caulfield just 7 points in front, but a great 6-goal last quarter was good enough – Caulfield home by 37 points. We entered the Preliminary Final against Ormond as underdogs, and although the home and away losses were not by large margins, Ormond’s bad kicking definitely flattered the results. Ormond got away to a great start, were ahead at the half way mark, and by three quarter time held a 4- goal advantage. However, not to be denied, a brilliant 6-goal- to-2 last quarter got us over the line by 4 points, and into our 3rd A Grade Grand Final.
Grand Final Day, September 12, 1970, and the defending champions were the raging favourites. No doubt Coburg was the form side. They had breezed through to the Grand Final by crushing Ormond in the second semi by 35 points. Beattie was the Best and Fairest in A Grade for the second year in a row, and their full forward McFarlane had kicked over 100 goals.
But, Grand Finals are very different. Would Coburg be hungry enough or would Caulfield be more desperate?
Well, history tells us that Caulfield were more desperate, outplaying the favourites all over the ground, and at three quarter time were 39 points in front.Some of our spectators had started to celebrate, but there was another quarter to go. Coach Wilson sensed danger, and implored every player to concentrate for a further 30 minutes. An extract from Monday’s Age, September 14, 1970, best sums up those last 30 minutes,
“Coburg opened the last term with a quick goal, but Caulfield replied with two goals and led by 45 points. Then Coburg unwound a typical finishing burst and kicked goals from everywhere. But although it added eight goals in the quarter it failed by 2 points.”
Goals: Atchison 2, Butcher 2, Lester 2, P. Hore 2, P. McLaughlin, NcNicol, Lane, J. Hore, Allen, Morphet.
Best: Lester, Lane, Barker, McNicol, G. Tootell, Morphett.
My observations? What a finish, what a game, what a Premiership!