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  1. #1
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    1924 — A flag to remember

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    The redevelopment of Whitten Oval will be in full swing in 2022, and preparations are well under way.

    As part of those preparations, parts of the Western Bulldogs' Heritage Collection have been removed from display and placed into temporary storage. One of those items is nearly a century old and is a special reminder of one of the most important phases of the Footscray Football Club's history.

    An enormous flag, measuring 3.9 metres long by 1.8 metres high, has been displayed behind glass in the corridor leading from Barkers Café to the players' hub for many years. It is a pennant which commemorates Footscray's win in a match billed as the Championship of Victoria.

    The match, organised by none other than Australian singing icon Dame Nellie Melba, was staged to raise funds for limbless soldiers, of which there were many as a result of terrible injuries sustained in the First World War which had ended just six years earlier.

    Pitted against each other for the 'championship' were the VFL premiers of the year, Essendon, and the Victorian Football Association (VFA) premiers Footscray. At that time the VFL was seen by most as a stronger competition than the VFA, but many Association fans weren't so sure. Here was a chance for those fans to argue their point.

    Played at the MCG, the game attracted an excellent crowd of 46,100, with more than £2,800 raised towards Nellie Melba's appeal.

    The match was close for the first half with the highly-fancied Essendon holding a two-point edge over the Dogs at the long break. The Bulldogs kicked two goals to nil in the third term to take a 12-point lead into the final quarter, but most expected the Dons would finish strongly to claim victory.

    In fact, the opposite scenario unfolded. The underdogs came out snarling in the fourth quarter and rattled on four goals to one to cause a huge boilover. The Bulldogs ran out 28-point winners, 9.10 (64) to 4.12 (36) to claim the title.

    Although the 'Championship of Victoria' title was unofficial, Melbourne's daily newspaper The Sun News Pictorial recognised the importance of the victory by awarding a champions pennant to Footscray.

    In later years doubts about Essendon's commitment to victory in that match were raised, including allegations of match-fixing, but few who watched the match doubted the Dogs were deserved winners.

    As well as winning the flag, Footscray was awarded entry into the VFL, along with North Melbourne and Hawthorn. It was a fitting reward for an era of brilliant, dominant VFA football.

    The last 91 years have not been kind to the flag, and when it was removed in preparation for the Whitten Oval redevelopment, it was showing signs of its age, including evidence of insect infestation.

    A club-appointed conservator has undertaken an assessment of the flag, and it has been placed safely in storage, ready to undergo repair and restoration for display in the new Bulldogs Museum that will be incorporated into the revamped VU Whitten Oval facility at the completion of redevelopment.

    The flag will stand as a reminder of one of the Club's finest eras. The championship win was the culmination of a six-year period in which the Bulldogs played in every Grand Final, winning four of them, in 1919-20 and 1923-24. It was a period of dominance which paved the way for Footscray's entry into the VFL in 1925.

    As we approach the 2022 season and beyond, we mark the centenary of that great period, and will use the achievements of all those years ago as a driving inspiration to create a new parallel period of success 100 years later as the Western Bulldogs.

    With hard work and an ounce of luck, the Bulldogs will be able to display an array of new premiership cups and pennants to go with the Club's unique 1924 Champions of Victoria flag.
    FFC: Established 1877

    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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  3. #2
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    Re: 1924 — A flag to remember

    Our club is 145 years old this year - a bloody long time. Compare that to the EPL clubs who are not much older and even younger.
    FFC: Established 1877

    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  4. #3
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    Re: 1924 — A flag to remember

    Essendon should have done the right thing and handed their VFL flag over to us … oh wait, it’s Essendon. Whatever it takes.
    The Angels have the phone box. Don't blink!

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  6. #4
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    Re: 1924 — A flag to remember

    What are your memories of this game BAD?

  7. #5
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    Re: 1924 — A flag to remember

    The talk about match fixing in that 1924 Championship match is frogshit. Nobody mentioned their suspicions until nearly 10 years later when one of the ex Essendon players was looking to publicize his memoirs he'd written as a series of articles in the Sporting Globe. We beat Essendon fair and square.

    The accusations against us over the 1922 VFA Grand Final against Port Melbourne are more accurate though.
    "Is it about a bicycle?" he asked.

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