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AFTER 24 YEARS IT'S "EAT 'EM ALIVE!"
Fred Swift bows out with a flag
Monday, 25th September, 1967, The Age.
By Percy Beames
Richmond captain Fred Swift does not believe in half measures. The 29-year-old full-back came off the field on Saturday as Richmond's 1967 premiership captain, and promptly announced his retirement from League football.
In his only season as Richmond captain, Swift now quits the League scene as the Tigers' most successful leader over the past 24 years.
The win 16.18 to 15.15 ended a Richmond premiership drought that has dogged the club since 1943.
But while Richmond took the premiership, Geelong emerged from the Grand Final as a team equally deserving of this coveted football honor in the eyes of the 109,392 crowd.
Geelong matched Richmond in skill, clever teamwork and fighting spirit to produce such a top-class Grand Final that is was almost unfair that one team had to lose.
Only one thing marred the day - the reporting of two Geelong players.
The umpires alone seemed to read unnecessary roughness into the incidents.
Geelong full-forward Doug Wade was reported by field umpire Peter Sheales for striking Graeme Burgin, of Richmond, with the clenched fist.
Full-back Roy West has to face a charge laid by goal umpire B. Grant of striking Richmond forward Royce Hart.
West played his last League game on Saturday. The Geelong full-back conducts a hotel at Stawell, and he intends to play with the local club next season.
Richmond's premiership win goes much deeper than efforia produced on the field by players on Saturday.
The first seeds of this premiership were sown in 1964 when the late Len Smith changed the pattern of Richmond's teamwork.
Switch to MCG
Then came the big switch of headquarters to the MCG, and once they had settled in the Tigers concentrated on securing big, fast recruits to suit the football needs of the big ground.
As Saturday's win proved, the Tigers have succeeded well, and the two prime forces in topping off the team are coach Tom Hafey, a quietly spoken but fiercely determined man, and untiring secretary Graeme Richmond.
When something had to be done, they simply set out to get results in the shortest possible time; and if tough decisions had to be made they were tackled without any show of sentiment.
Neville Crowe lost the Richmond captaincy this season; then there was the disciplinary action in stadning down Bill Barrot after he had criticised the club, and finally the bold decision taken to regroup the team late in the season.
Swift was a case in point. Late in the season the slectors decided the full-back position was not being filled to their satisfaction, so Mick Erwin was dumped and Swift, a half-forward flanker and ruck rover, took over.
Swift's success against Carlton in the second semi-final, and again in holding crack Geelong forward Doug Wade to four goals on Saturday, proved the wisdom of the move.
Swift showed coolness and steadiness all day, particularly when he marked a kick from Geelong rover Bill Goggin close to the line minutes before the siren.
Geelong was 10 points down at the time, and Swift covered a lot of distance with surprising speed to get to the ball and hold a mark. Had he failed to get there it would have been a goal.
Spurred on by that success, Geelong might have built up another frenzied effort to have carried out another last-minute attack.
Some Geelong players, and particularly captain Polly Farmer, were emphatic that Swift did not save the goal.
Farmer declared that Swift marked the ball after it had passed the goal line, but whether he did or not no one is ever going to know.
The goal umpire said not, and as far as Richmond and Swift are concerned that is all that matters.
The great thing about the game was that it was climaxed by a last quarter of continuous, nerve-wracking excitement as both teams struggled desperately to get on top.
It began with Richmond leading by two points. Then four times the sides were level, and more than once each won and lost what looked like being deciding advantages.
In the end it was not anything specific that decided that Richmond was to take the premiership.
The Tigers got the run of the ball at the right time, umpire Sheales saw fit to penalise Geelong in one or two decisions and a couple of telling kicks went through for goals.
When goals were hard to get 6 ft. 5 in. John Ronaldson kicked two magnificent ones, yet Geelong's last four scoring shots, not counting Bill Goggin's marked kick, produced four points. It was as simple as that.
To that stage Ronaldson had done little all day, and it was ironic that his first goal, from about 50 yards out, almost from the boundary line, was meant to be a kick to position.
He tried to land the ball somewhere in the square to give one of the high flyers a chance to take a mark, but the kick kept going and went through.
His second goal, seven minutes later, was from an angle just as acute.
Then rover Kevin Bartlett bounced out of a pack, blindly but perfectly, and with no one between him and the goals, popped the ball through virtually to sew up the game for the Tigers.
But the point that must not be overlooked is that Richmond had the determination to come back hard and grasp its chances.
When a side does this no one can rightly begrudge it its good fortune.
It is also well to remember that the Tigers were never behind at the end of any quarter of the match.
The big thing that counted all day for Richmond was that in midfielder Bill Barrot, it had a brilliant kick winner who never ceased to keep the Geelong defence under pressure.
Richmond also had an outstanding forward in Royce Hart, and once it settled down, was able to depend on a fairly formidable defence.
1967 GRAND FINAL SCORES AND STATISTICS
Field umpire: P. Sheales.
1967 Richmond Premiership Side
B: R. Dean F. Swift T. Jewell
HB: G. Burgin M. Perry G. Strang
C: F. Bourke W. Barrot R. Clay
HF: J. Northey P. Guinane B. Richardson
F: J. Ronaldson R. Hart W. Brown
R: M. Patterson A. Richardson K. Bartlett
I: J. Perry M. Green
Richmond: Ronaldson 3, Hart 3, Bartlett 3, Brown 3, Guinane, A. Richardson, B. Richardson, Barrot.
Geelong: Sharrock 4, Wade 4, Goggin 3, Andrews, Bynes, Eales, Ryan.
Richmond: Barrot (B.O.G.), Hart, Bartlett, Patterson, Brown, A. Richardson, M. Perry, Swift, B. Richardson.
Geelong: Polinelli, Goggin, Farmer, Sharrock, Closter, Ryan, Newland, West.
Richmond: A. Richardson, burst blood vessel in foot, by J. Perry, in last quarter.
Geelong: Hynes, knee, by Graham, in last quarter. Andrews, by Scarlett, in last quarter.
D. Wade (Geelong) by field umpire P. Sheales for striking G. Burgin (Richmond) with the clenched fist during the first quarter; R. West (Geelong) by goal umpire B. Grant, for striking R. Hart (Richmond) during the first quarter.
|Dean || 14|| 3|| 6|| - |
| Swift || 8|| 5|| 1|| 2 |
| Jewell || 10 || 3 || 3|| 2|
| Burgin || 5|| 1|| - || 1|
| M. Perry || 10|| 3|| 1 || -|
| Strang || 11 || 7|| 1 || -|
| Clay || 11 || 2|| 1|| 2|
| Barrot || 26|| 7|| 3 || 3|
| Bourke || 9|| -|| 2|| 1|
| Northey || 7|| 2|| 1|| 1|
| Guinane || 5|| 2|| 1|| 4 |
| B.Richardson  || 14 || 4|| 1|| 1|
| Brown || 15|| 3|| 7|| 2|
| Hart || 13|| 7|| 1|| -|
| Ronaldson || 6|| 1 || 4 || 2|
| Patterson || 13|| 3|| 3|| 6 |
| A.Richardson|| 12|| 2|| 2|| 1|
| Bartlett || 16|| -|| 3|| 1|
| J.Perry || 2 || - || -|| -|
| Green (DNP) || -|| -|| -|| -|
| RICHMOND|| 207|| 55|| 42|| 29 |
| GEELONG|| 223|| 74|| 29|| 42 ||
|Royce Hart - That Mark!|
Captains and Coaches
Richmond coach TOM HAFEY said: "The biggest thing I have to do now is to stop any over-confidence creeping into the club.
"I don't want Richmond to go down like St. Kilda and Hawthorn after they won premierships. It is very imprtant we go right on with the job now," Hafey said.
"I'd say both coaches died a thousand deaths out there today." he said as he started to unwind from all the tension, the thrills and the win.
"Why did we win? .. Well every player had his eyes set on the flag and nothing else was going to stand in the way. The players weren't going to lose this."
He added: "When the siren sounded I was close to tears. A premiership with Richmond - you just don't know how it feels."
Hafey, who played 65 games with the Tigers in the 1950's won premierships with Shepparton before returning to Richmond last year as coach.
Hafey said he did not think the real thrill of victory had hit him yet.
FRED SWIFT (captain): "it's the biggest thrill of my life. It really makes it worth while playing football after today's win.
"It was close, and at times I thought we might not win. But every player pulled his weight and I have never felt so happy.
"I'll never forget the thrill of running around the ground holding the premiership cup. It's a thing you dream about - but today it came true."
From the Grand Final
By Ron Carter
Giant Richmond follower Pat Guinane was as excited as anyone at the Tigers' premiership success but he made a straight-from-the-shoulder remark. A strict teetotaller, Guinane said: "I'm still not having a drink. I'll be able to remember our Grand Final celebrations tonight, but a lot of people won't."
One thing Guinane will not want ot remember...that shocking kick for goal after his great final-quarter mark. His point levelled the scores ... a goal would have put the Tigers ahead.
Suspended Richmond follower Neville Crowe rushed on to the field to hug and congratulate his team after their premiership win. One of the first players Crowe embraced was John Ronaldson, the ruckman who got his Grand Final chance because of Crowe's suspension. Ronaldson got only six kicks for the match, not nearly as many as the Tigers' best players like Barrot, Brown and Bartlett. But how he made four of those kicks count. His one kick in the first quarter - it was a miskick - went to Royce Hart who goaled ... his single kick in the second quarter was a goal ... and his two kicks in the last quarter went through for goals. The out-stretched fingertip mark by Ronaldson on the run near the boundary line in front of the MCC members' stand in the last quarter was a great feat alone, but the long drop kick goal which followed really brought the house down. "I didn't mean to kick a goal. It was not a delibrate shot. It just kept going." Ronaldson said.
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