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AFL: Your club's All Australian contenders

AFL.com.au have cast their eyes over all 18 clubs to canvass the contenders for this year's 40-man squad.

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2:07pm Aug 21, 2019

1950's

Excerpts from The North Story, by Gerard Dowling

1950
Record: 13-5, 123.4%
Ladder Position: 2nd
Finals: Defeated in the Grand Final
Syd Barker Medal: Les Foote
Leading Goalkicker: Jock Spencer (86)

The 1950 season is one that North Melbourne's supporters recall with great satisfaction. It was the first season North played as the 'Kangaroos'. In its 26th season in the VFL a North senior team contested a Grand Final for the first time, and that was certainly a source of much rejoicing by all North Melbourne supporters.

However, Essendon, ably captained by Dick Reynolds, proved too good for North Melbourne. North just could not recapture the brilliance of their resounding 17 point win over Geelong in the preliminary final the previous week. The Herald writer Alf Brown aptly summed it up:

"North go down after gallant battle before huge crowd"

 


1951
Record: 7-11, 85.4%
Ladder Position: 9th
Syd Barker Medal: Jock Spencer
Leading Goalkicker: Jock Spencer (57)

From the outset of the 1951 season it appeared that the players had not recovered from the psychological let-down which defeat in the previous year's Grand Final had brought in its path. They had put everything into the attempt to win their first VFL pennant, and their failure to pull it off brought a deep and bitter disappointment.

They seemed unable to recapture that enthusiasm and fanaticism which had driven them to such great heights in 1950. The team could manage, in all, only seven wins and 11 losses. As a consequence, the club slid from second place to ninth.

1952
Record: 9-10, 96.8%
Ladder Position: 7th
Syd Barker Medal: Jock McCorkell
Leading Goalkicker: Jock Spencer (51)

A factor that was to hasten the decline of the North Melbourne Football Club was the tragic loss of the club's superb president, Frank Trainor. His death in October had widespread repercussions on North's subsequent history, and though his indifferent health had given him a warning, the club was still unprepared for his death at 57.

For the committee he had headed for 15 years it was a bitter blow. A man of great judgment and leadership, he had planned and executed the rise of the North Melbourne Football Club from the lowliness to which they had fallen to a place of recognition among the 12 League clubs.

Sadly, Trainor died without a heir-apparent, and there was no-one who could assume undisputed leadership of the club at the time.

1953
Record: 9-9, 107.8%
Ladder Position: 7th
Syd Barker Medal: Jack O'Halloran
Leading Goalkicker: Gerald Marchesi (49)

By the close of the home and away matches for 1953, North Melbourne had failed to make the finals. They had nine defeats and nine victories for the season, and had retained seventh position on the ladder.

Fifty years earlier, the North Melbourne Football Club had won their first VFA pennant. So the Past Players Association held a reunion to celebrate the anniversary. The special guests on that occasion were the surviving members of the historic team which in 1903 had defeated Richmond on the East Melbourne ground.

1954
Record: 11-6-1, 99.6%
Ladder Position: 3rd
Finals: Defeated in the Semi Final
Syd Barker Medal: John Brady
Leading Goalkicker: Jock Spencer (38)

At the end of the first season under Phonse Tobin's presidency, the Kangaroos concluded the home and away matches in third place. Of the 18 matches that they had played, they had won 11 and drawn one. This tally included two winning sequences, the first four games of the season being won and four out of the last five as well.

Having waited four years to recontest a final series, North Melbourne faced Melbourne in the first semi final of 1954. The outcome of this match was a disappointment for North. The team did not play up to expectations, and it was a game marred by rough incidents. Melbourne ran out 30 point winners.

1955
Record: 3-15, 76.3%
Ladder Position: 11th
Syd Barker Medal: Bob Brooker
Leading Goalkicker: Jock Spencer (68)

From fourth place with 11 wins and a draw in 1954, North was a dismal 11th the next year with only three victories out of 18 to its credit. Best performances for the year had come from Bob Brooker, Jack O'Halloran and Kevin McMahon, who filled first, second and third places respectively in the Syd Barker Medal.

1956
Record: 3-15, 69.6%
Ladder Position: 12th
Syd Barker Medal: Jack Edwards
Leading Goalkicker: Jock Spencer (40)

Charlie Gaudion saw the club hit rock bottom in his first year as coach, when his team could only manage 15 defeats and three wins. Being last was a distinction the club had managed to avoid since the days of the war in 1940.

1957
Record: 8-10, 95.1%
Ladder Position: 8th
Syd Barker Medal: Brian Martyn
Leading Goalkicker: John Dugdale (37)

The team showed a noticeable improvement in 1957, rising to eighth by winning eight of its 18 engagements. Good performances from men like Martyn, Brady, Doolan, Dwyer and Aylett, as well as the first appearances of Keith Robertson, Mick Gaudion and Brian Cahill, and the acquisition of Peter Schofield and Bob Wiltshire from Moorabbin, augured well for the future.

1958
Record: 11-7, 92.7%
Ladder Position: 4th
Syd Barker Medal: Allen Aylett
Leading Goalkicker: John Dugdale (57)

With 1958 the North Melbourne Football Club experienced a brief return to the status it had enjoyed some years earlier. After winning just one of their first five encounters, they contradicted this form by unwinding a winning streak of six successive victories. With a total of 11 victories from 18 contests to give them fourth place, North met and defeated Fitzroy in the first semi-final.

Unfortunately, in the preliminary final against Collingwood, a six goal last quarter was in vain as North Melbourne were defeated by 20 points.

1959
Record: 10-8, 89.3%
Ladder Position: 6th
Syd Barker Medal: Allen Aylett
Leading Goalkicker: Peter Schofield (47)

After 10 games had been played, North had eight wins to their credit and looked to be set for another appearance in the finals. Then disaster struck the side and they only won two of their remaining eight engagements, to finish in ninth place. A severe penalty from the Tribunal to Noel Teasdale and critical injuries to several players crippled the side.