In This Round…Round 5

By Tom Briglia

On the Thursday of each week of St Kilda’s season, we take a stroll down memory lane and take a look at memorable clash in St Kilda history from the upcoming round.

St Kilda vs North Melbourne, Round 5, 1933
St Kilda 4.4, 7.10, 9.17, 13.19 (97)
North Melbourne 3.5, 6.10, 7.13, 11.17 (83)
Crowd: Est. 13,000 at Junction Oval, 2.10pm Saturday, May 27

Legend has it that the St Kilda crest – the club’s logo, and found on the left breast of the jumper – originated on this famous day in the history of the club.

Though Russell Holmesby, who co-authored the St Kilda history book The Point of it All, says there is earlier photographic evidence of the existence of the crest than this day, it was this superbly brave performance by the Saints that embedded the crest into the club’s history.

For it was emblazoned on a “Badge of Courage” ordered by the St Kilda committee, to be given to players who took part in the match. It created a noble meaning for the crest; a symbol that represented the courage and spirit of a club that had tasted little success.

The Saints finished with only 15 men on the field on this day; the St Kilda Football Club was winless and grounded by infighting at the time, and the Shinboners went out to inflict more pain on the club – both physically and morally – with fierce tackling that reached a head in the second quarter: St Kilda captain Clarrie Hindson had broken his fibula and champion forward Bill Mohr had two ribs broken before half-time.

At the long break the Saints led by a goal, but five players were receiving treatment in the rooms, with a number of players ginger from North’s toughness at the man.

In the third quarter, Jack Anderson was knocked unconscious, Bill Roberts felled twice and Roy Bence concussed by friendly fire and carried off.

Despite a melee in the centre of the ground in that term, the Saints extended their lead to 16 points. An early burst in the final term by the Saints yielded two goals, much to the crowd’s rapture. By game’s end two of the 15 Saints still on the ground were badly injured, with ruckman Matt Cave requiring stitches for a gash near his left eye, and Jack George having to prop himself up in the forward pocket after damaging his ankle.

When the siren sounded, the Saints had won by 14 points. The ecsatatic home crowd rushed onto the field and carried the St Kilda players from the ground.

The versatile Stuart King and George Chapman had filled the scoring hole left by the injured Mohr to guide the Saints home, kicking four and three goals respectively.

The crest has since been synonymous with the club and strengthened the tie between St Kilda and the “Saints” nickname – and probably enough to ward off the period in the 1940s where St Kilda were known as the Panthers.

It was also the basis for the “cross” jumper design worn as a pre-season, home, and then away jumper from 1996 until 2002, including the 1996 pre-season premiership, 1997 Grand Final and 1998 pre-season Final teams, as well as the training jumpers worn in 2009 and, more subtly, 2010.

Most importantly, the crest itself has appeared on every match-worn St Kilda jumper since.

Links and References

“Heroic players make telling point”, Tim Lane, The Age, April 11, 2010, with extracts from The Point of it All (1992), by Jules Feldmann and Russell Holmesby

“Saints earn a badge of courage”, 100 Years of Australian Football, Penguin Books, 1996, p140

“History of the St Kilda Shield”, at West of Moorabbin

The Saints Central St Kilda Encyclopaedia

Other installments of “In This Round”:
Round 4 – Collingwood vs St Kilda, Victoria Park, 1993
Round 3 – St Kilda vs Collingwood, Waverley, 1997
Round 2 – St Kilda vs Carlton, Moorabbin, 1989
Round 1 – St Kilda vs Geelong, Telstra Dome, 2004
NAB Cup Grand Final – St Kilda vs Carlton, Waverley, 1996
NAB Cup Semi-Final – Essendon vs St Kilda, Telstra Dome, 2008
NAB Cup Round 2 – St Kilda vs Carlton, Waverley, 1995
NAB Cup Round 1 – Collingwood vs St Kilda, Telstra Dome, 2006