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1930's

Excerpts from The North Story, by Gerard Dowling

1930
Record: 1-17, 51.8%
Ladder Position: 12th
Leading Goalkicker: Bob Matthews (29)

By 1930 the world had reached the depths of the Depression, a path of misfortune that was reflected in many ways in the turn of events for the North Melbourne Football Club. Through lack of employment and a resultant transfer of players elsewhere, the club lost no fewer than seven of its most experienced and talented players.

In these circumstances it is hardly surprising that all North could achieve was one victory, over St Kilda, out of the 18 scheduled for the season. Poor performance on the field was matched by the club's dire financial straits.

To add to the gloom, 1930 saw the passing of the legendary Syd Barker. He died on 23 March, and to honour his memory the North Melbourne Football Club unveiled a memorial plaque.

1931
Record: 0-18, 50.8%
Ladder Position: 12th
Leading Goalkicker: Johnny Lewis (25)

In its seventh year in VFL competition the club committee set about rebuilding the team. As a result of intensified recruiting, it unearthed many new names who were moulded into one of the youngest sides in the League.

During the course of the year there was an added and unexpected source of encouragement; it came from the Geelong Football Club that went on to win the premiership for the year. After their game against North at Arden Street, the visiting club donated their share of the gate receipts to the home side - a truly unselfish and sporting gesture.

1932

Record: 8-10, 97.1%
Ladder Position: 8th
Syd Barker Medal: Jack Patterson
Leading Goalkicker: Tom Fitzmaurice (62)

The year 1932 was the club's best League season to that date, with eight wins out of 18 and a jump up the ladder from 12th to 8th. Patience, foresight and hard work were beginning to pay dividends.

Recruitment areas were always a bone of contention. On 1 July, 1932, Essendon relinquished its rights in Kensington and most of Flemington, giving a heartening advantage for the Northeners.

1933

Record: 7-10-1, 85.2%
Ladder Position: 8th
Leading Goalkicker: Tom Fitzmaurice (60)

This year saw the North Melbourne players appear once again in the royal blue and white stripes, a uniform that their successors have proudly worn to this day. This came about after a successful application to the League by the club.

With seven wins and a draw out of 18 games played, the club managed to retain their place on the ladder attained the year before. The highlight of the year however was their defeat of Collingwood on King's Birthday - the first of the three newcomers to do so.

1934

Record: 0-18, 66.4%
Ladder Position: 12th
Leading Goalkicker: Tom Fitzmaurice (63)

North's marked improvement in the past two seasons had given good grounds for optimism. But the side turned in one of its most disappointing seasons ever; North failed to win any of its 18 contests, and they plummeted to last place.

On reflection, it would seem that an important factor contributing to North's downfall was the undue reliance placed on the services of old, tired players, coupled with a failure to continue the infusion of new blood into the side.

1935

Record: 1-17, 65.1%
Ladder Position: 12th
Syd Barker Medal: Wally Carter
Leading Goalkicker: Johnny Lewis (23)

The year proved critical for North Melbourne. The committee was faced with the heavy task of stabilising club finances. North found itself with a debt of 1,200 pounds, quite a considerable sum in those days. This financial burden as well as the team's complete lack of success placed the club in grave jeopardy.

North decided to invoke the aid of the VFL, and made application for financial assistance. The League considered the matter and decided to advance North Melbourne 500 pounds on the condition that the committee raise a similar amount. Certain members of the committee therefore guaranteed a bank overdraft of 500 pounds.

This accomplished, the committee was able to liquidate the remaining 200 pounds owed before the 1935 season began. During the season, the club was able to repay 100 pounds to the league and to reduce the overdraft by 120 pounds.

1936

Record: 4-14, 75.9%
Ladder Position: 11th
Syd Barker Medal: Charles Skinner
Leading Goalkicker: Dudley Cassidy (48)

This was a satisfactory year from many points of view, but particularly from that of performance. Following an intensive campaign for new players during the summer, North unearthed a most promising batch of young players.

A win late in the season against Richmond was particularly satisfying, as it was the first time under the auspices of the League that North Melbourne had been able to eclipse its former Association rival. They chalked up four wins for the season out of 18, and gained 11th place on the ladder.

1937

Record: 3-15, 64.2%
Ladder Position: 12th
Syd Barker Medal: Wally Carter
Leading Goalkicker: Stewart Anderson (18)

In 1937 the team scored only three wins and lost the rest of its 18 matches, concluding the year in 12th place. The results are not surprising when it is realised that it was probably the club's worst ever year for serious injuries.

In a win against Carlton, no less than five players met with serious injury. Included among them was the captain, Claude Gaudion, who sustained a severe leg injury which forced his retirement.

1938

Record: 6-12, 74.7%
Ladder Position: 9th
Syd Barker Medal: Jock Cordner
Leading Goalkicker: Sel Murray (88)

As the 1938 season approached, there was an atmosphere of interest and excitement not witnessed since the club's opening year in the VFL. One particularly encouraging feature was the interest shown by businessmen in the district, combined with an easing of the employment position.

With Keith Forbes guiding the team as captain-coach, the tally of wins for the season reached six. At the end of the home and away matches, the team had climbed to ninth place, just one behind their previous best.

1939

Record: 6-12, 91.3%
Ladder Position: 9th
Syd Barker Medal: Sid Dyer
Leading Goalkicker: Sel Murray (78)

1939 was very much a repetition of its predecessor; the club occupied the same position with the same number of victories and defeats. However, one of those victories was quite a breakthrough.

It was North's defeat of Geelong, the first time that North had been able to find Geelong's measure since their historic League debut at the Corio Oval 14 years earlier.