VFL Grand Final

1945 VFL Grand Final

The 1945 VFL Grand Final, commonly known as the Bloodbath was the Grand Final in the Victorian Football League in season 1945, played between South Melbourne and Carlton.

Capacity crowd

Played only shortly after the conclusion of the second World War, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was unavailable for use, prompting the game to be played at Princes Park. The crowd of 62,986 is a record for Princes Park, and is almost double its current nominal capacity.

Win from fourth place

Carlton held a two point lead at half time, and won the match 15.13 (103) to South Melbourne's 10.15 (75).

Carlton's 1945 premiership win was the first time since the "Page-McIntyre system" had been adopted in 1931 that a team from fourth place on the home-and-away ladder (i.e., a team that had no "double chance") had won the Grand Final.

South Melbourne would not contest another Grand Final until 1996 as the Sydney Swans .

The "Bloodbath"

The game, played in extremely wet, muddy conditions, is remembered as "the Bloodbath" for its overall continuous violence (on the field and amongst the spectators), and its plethora of crude hits, knock-outs, and brawls (many of which were broken up with the assistance of the police).


The tribunal aftermath

Ten players were reported for a total of sixteen offences.

  • Ted Whitfield (South Melbourne): Charged with using abusive language to goal umpire Whyte, attempting to strike field umpire Frank Spokes, kicking the ball away after a free kick was given against him, and attempting to conceal his guernsey so the goal umpire could not report him. Suspended for 21 matches.
  • Jack "Basher" Williams (South Melbourne): Charged with using abusive language to Carlton's Rod McLean and goal umpire Whyte, and adopting a fighting attitude to goal umpire Whyte. Suspended for 12 matches.
  • Bob Chitty (Carlton): Charged with elbowing Billy Williams (South Melbourne). Suspended for 8 matches.
  • Don Grossman (South Melbourne): Charged with striking Jim Mooring (Carlton). Suspended for 8 matches.
  • Ron Savage (Carlton): Charged with striking Don Grossman (South Melbourne) in retaliation for Grossman having king-hit teammate Mooring. Suspended for 8 matches.
  • "Gentleman" Jim Cleary (South Melbourne): Charged with striking Ken Hands (Carlton) after a mark and attempted striking of Bob Chitty. Found not guilty on attempted striking charge; suspended for 8 matches.
  • Fred Fitzgibbon (Carlton): Charged with one count of melee involvement (despite a 4 match suspension from the preliminary final for having king-hit Collingwood forward Len Hustler, Fitzgibbon ran onto the field and participated in the final quarter brawl until being removed from the arena by police). Suspended for an additional 4 matches.
  • Herbie Matthews (South Melbourne): Charged with throwing the ball away after a mark was given against him. Severely reprimanded.
  • Ken Hands (Carlton): Charged with charging Ron Clegg (South Melbourne). Found not guilty.
  • Keith Smith (South Melbourne): Charged with striking Jim Mooring (Carlton). Found not guilty.

See also


  • Holmesby, R. & Main, J., This Football Century: "The Greatest Game of All", Wilkinson Books, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 1-863-50222-X
  • Rogers, S. & Brown, A., Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results 1897-1997 (Sixth Edition), Viking Books, (Ringwood), 1998. ISBN 0-670-90809-6
  • Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897-1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0

External links

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