THOSE ROY BOYS - Roar34's Further recollections of Jack Dyer | PUNT ROAD END | Richmond Tigers Forum
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THOSE ROY BOYS - Roar34's Further recollections of Jack Dyer

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Mr T.

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THOSE ROY BOYS
Roar34's Further recollections.

Apropos of my posting on the ‘Captain Blood is Dead’ topic on PRE yesterday, I realise there is a part of the story not fully explained. I made mention that Jack Dyer was instrumental in Richmond making it into the 1947 Final Four, and I hold fast to that statement. Time blurs the memory, facts become fuzzy with the juggling of constant reminiscing, but this is how I am sure it happened.

Richmond had made three consecutive grand finals, 1942-4, for one premiership. I was due to turn nine years of age just after the 1943 success. I know I attended and I think the finals were played at Princes Park, the MCG having been taken over for the duration of the war. We were not to know then that the Mighty Tiges had peaked and were beginning a downhill slide. We were going to wander in the football wilderness until Tom Hafey came to our rescue. But we had one last brief flutter at fame, or was it a splutter?

Probably once every decade, a player comes along and earns the title of ‘gentleman’. Silvagni was possibly the most recent (SOS that is); before him, it was probably Geoff Southby. Now, that’s strange – I have just named two gentlemen from Carlton...as my dear old dad would say, that was a contradiction in terms as, next to the (spit!) Black’n’bloody-Whites, he most loved to hate the Blues!

At the time I am talking about, Fitzroy had such a player in Fred Hughson. He was their fullback, captain and – I’m not sure about this – also Fitzroy’s coach. It was common in those days to have playing coaches, though it would be frowned upon these days. Richmond were due to meet Fitzroy right at the end of the home-and-away games, I feel it was the second last game, though it may very well have been the last. Anyhow, the Tiges had to win that encounter to make the finals, and I believe we were playing them at the old Fitzroy ground.

In recent years, Richmond had often played Dyer at full forward, a rather radical move to position your recognised ruckman in such a spot. (This was to rebound on them when the (spit!) Blues played Big Nick at full forward and took what rightfully belonged to us in 1972.) Jack, by then, didn’t have a great burst of speed, and his knees no longer allowed him to leap as high as he once could, but I think he kicked eight or nine goals in a final...there’s one for the statisticians to check on.

What happened early in that 1947 game was pure Dyer heroics. I don’t know if he went on to the ground with prior intention, I could be facetious by saying he had the captain’s and the coach’s approval as he was both, but he ‘collected’ Hughson, and Fred went down. Now, this you did not do. It was one thing to thump the opposition ruckman but deal with one of the game’s gentlemen in that manner! I am sure Jack knew exactly what he was doing. I don’t wish to paint a black picture of the man, he was my idol, he was a god amongst men, but Hughson went down, and he was none too steady when they got him to his feet.

Most teams had a man amongst them who was a hard man, a hitman some would say, an equaliser, a settler of scores. Again I don’t wish to malign the memory of long-ago players, and I hesitate to mention names but two Fitzroy players now spring to mind – (Vic) Chanter and (Bert?) Clay. Anyhow, there was some ‘evening-up’ to be done and certain Roy players spent the rest of the match trying to line good old Jack up for the k.o. And Jack could look after himself, though not big as big men go, and if he did cop several biffs, well, he wasn’t one to complain.

The upshot of it all was while some beefy fellows went looking for Jack, who certainly wasn’t hiding, Richmond went on and pinched the game. I say that as I believe it was not a large winning margin and we possibly wouldn’t have won if Fitzroy hadn’t been distracted.

That guaranteed Richmond a place in the finals and, wouldn’t you know it, we came up against the Royboys – which they weren’t called at that time – and they had their revenge. As I’ve said previously, Fitzroy was known as the Gorillas, and that’s why I came face to face with the Great Man at the Melbourne Zoo. They wanted to get a photo of our Jack studying the gorilla in its cage, as a lead up to the first semi-final. Perhaps, the caption read: Tiger studies Gorilla for Saturday’s match. Wonder if that pic is lurking in one of the newspaper archives?

It was to be twenty years before Richmond made the finals again (1967), making it twenty-four years between flags. On the basis of that old maxim: history repeats itself , our last flag was 1980 and twenty-four years from that is....?
 
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