Saturday 20th April, 2024

Footscray Videos & DVD’s

Today football enjoys saturation coverage. Every game of the round will be shown in its entirety and a video of that game can be purchased within hours of the final siren.

You can buy the whole season if you like, I imagine a few Western Bombers fans may have done this in 2000, the season in which they only lost one game, (and who was it against again?)

It was not always this convenient though. To buy football videos that showed the entire match, was almost exclusively restricted to Grand Finals. Today almost all Grand Finals from 1961 onwards can be bought and in DVD as well. The only missing ones are 1962,1963 and 1964. This is a most unfortunate situation especially the latter two as 1963 and 1964 are both Geelong and Melbourne’s last premierships. It would still be annoying for Essendon fans that 1962 is not around, but at least with 1965 being amongst the mix, this may ease the frustration somewhat for all you Western Bombers fans.

I have purchased many football videos (both Footscray ones and non-Footscray) with this now progressing into DVD’S. Prior to 1997, a Footscray victory meant, I would ring up the ‘Name A Game’ company early the next week and purchase the video of that game (should it have been available of course) Even after 1996 I have still bought a few individual games in particular the last game at home against the West Coast in 1997.

However for non-full game videos about us the material is rather sparse. Below is a listing of the Footscray videos that I have in my collection.


Yet To Be Made

Well sorry to disappoint but there is no such video. There is a history video for Collingwood, Essendon, Geelong, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Richmond and St Kilda.

However Carlton, North Melbourne and us are yet to have this honour bestowed upon us. I believe that a Carlton history video may be in the pipeline but I can be reasonably confident that one for us is light years away.

I have in my collection, the history videos of all the above clubs and this has now extended to the history DVD (with the exception of Melboune as I am yet to see their history offered in DVD as is the case with the others.) I should point out that these histories are often from the war onwards so they are strictly speaking not complete history videos at all.

Funnily enough I am not completely distraught about a history of Footscray Football Club Video/DVD not being produced. My reason for this is that I don’t think it would be much chop anyway. I envisage a history of us going for around 60 minutes and the content containing nothing rare, new, exciting or interesting. In a nutshell the producers would only trot out the usual Footscray stuff.

There is so little video footage of Teddy Whitten, so to reach the 60 minutes or so, I envisage that everything possible they can find connected to Teddy will be included. I have no problem with that except for these two reasons. Firstly they will only trot out all the material we have seen before, such as highlights from Teddy s 300th game against Fitzroy in 1969, his final stand against Hawthorn a year later with his famous “You’ve got to inspire me with this last quarter effort” speech, the whacking of Rod Olsson of Hawthorn (who later got revenge on us as Geelong coach in the 1976 Elimination Final.) Teddy’s sad final farewell at the MCG in 1995 (which was for a Victorian game NOT a Footscray one) would probably also find its way in. Secondly because with all the Teddy footage (guessing at 15 minutes) will mean that only 45 minutes now needs to be researched for, which can easily be made up from the last ten years. They would probably also spend 10 minutes of the 60 going into all the gory details of the infamous 1985 Qantas flight. Throw in also lengthy detail about the Brad Hardie / Mick Malthouse saga.

Hopefully though a history video is compiled and I am happily misguided in my beliefs on what content (or lack of content) would be in it. I do really want a history of Footscray, I just hope there is new content and doesn’t harp or needlessly mention irrelevant action. Do we need reminding of a certain Geelong player who has got the ‘monkey off his back’ and then showing Geelong’s coach Malcolm Blight jumping all over his charges after that defeat? I bet Rohan Smith punching the ground after the other that defeat will be in there. Add Lee Matthews two goals’, during the final quarter of the original that defeat in 1985 . I would accept them showing the Geelong final of 1976 because at least it is rare. This is the main reason I bought the history of Geelong video “Cats 50 Years” and then the DVD of it when it came out later on. There are a couple of highlights from it, so the $60 or so it cost me to view Larry Donahue, Bryan Cousins and others is I guess worth it.

However should anyone decide to produce a Footscray history video/DVD, just show Richard Osborne’s goal that put us in front, then let the narrator (what odds it will be the President of the Eastern Magpies as the narrator?) mention how Geelong kicked a goal after the siren to defeat us. No need to hear for the millionth time Sandy Roberts talking about ‘getting the monkey off the back’ On any other video, be it a Geelong one or a general one- fair enough, but with ours, no need- been there, seen that.

Now here is the real list of videos in which we are the subject matter. These are genuine because I have them in my collection. Should you know of one or more that I have not included, please either e-mail or write to this site. It clearly means that I don’t have it.


Herald 1954 Premiers

Under an hour or so look at the 1954 Grand Final. This is in colour and although only going for around 45 minutes it is well worth getting hold of. There is cohesion, in the sense that although not a full match, the highlights are in chronological order. The great asset of this video is that it is in colour (yes I did write COLOUR, buy it and see for yourself) despite television arriving in Australia just in time for the 1956 Olympics and it wasn’t until 1975 that colour television actually came in. Yet the 1974 Richmond v North Melbourne Grand Final is in colour, funny how different it is to the 1973 G.F. that looks completely different despite being only one year apart. You can be amazed at the crowd, 80,000 jam packed into the MCG with its reduced capacity with people inside the fence and up to the actual boundary line. If the Olympic Stand had of been completed before this game, the crowd would easily topped the 100,000 mark. The presentation and narration of the game is from the late Ted Whitten senior and the conclusion to his introduction is magnificent. You will laugh at that, well I definitely did. Yes Teddy on that day we certainly did.


Every Dog Has It's Day

Dealing with the 1989 Footscray Fightback. Has an interesting scene where Simon Beasley has an argument with a couple of aggrieved fans. Narrated by Kevin Hillier.


The Hawk

A player profile of Doug Hawkins was made in 1991. Very enjoyable has many interviews and would be interesting to non-Footscray fans. Happily has a fair amount of football action. The narration is from the current President of the Eastern Magpies Football Club.


Diamond Dogs

This is a review of our 1992 season. Doug Hawkins taking us through the campaign. Towards the end Doug announces how Chris Grant is a Rolls Royce.


Hot Dogs

This is a review of the 1994 season with Rolls Royce answering the questions. The narration is from Craig Willis. Sadly my video of this is on the blink.


Year of the Dogs

Made as a motion picture, shown at the cinema originally. I saw it at Highpoint the day it came out on its second showing. You can’t really go wrong with fly on the wall type productions. A review of the eventful1996 season, featuring two loyal fans Pat and her daughter Jenny. As we are all aware 1996 was a disaster for us and this movie reinforces the frustration, anxiety, annoyance and disappointment of a season to remember with disdain.

There is though also humour, warmth, happiness and the odd angry shout. Listening to the Coach and President of the time namely Alan Joyce and Peter Gordon dropping the magical word adds to its drama. I feel sad when I see Terry Wallace in this video his enthusiasm and passion were great. When you watch this now considering the acrimonious way he and the club parted company you don’t know what emotion you should feel.

The story is not 100% correct as in the Collingwood game at the MCG, our heroes (which are Pat and Jenny not the players) are shown sitting in the Whitten Stand, not at the MCG where the game was played. You will also note the scene where Pat and Jenny are filling out a questionnaire and interestingly both mother and daughter place the name Footscray as being of number one importance. I wonder what their opinion is now, considering that their wishes were not adhered to?

I still love Terry Wallace’s comment about an injured Rohan Smith- “Tell Bubba to stay on, he’s got 6 months to get over it”

Unfortunately it has an unhappy ending. Steve Wallis last match ends in a defeat by less than a kick and the final scene describes the new boards introduction of Western Bulldogs and Optus Oval at a family day. On a large noticeboard the benefits of us moving home to help the Northern Blues pay off their new Legends Stand is stated (although they don’t word it that way).


Fabulous Footy Flashbacks

This was one of the footy flashback series. There were two videos, the first hosted by Rex Hunt and the second by Leigh Matthews. Not all clubs had two made though and yes that applies to us. We have only the first one, no seconds for us. Why I don’t know? Was it believed that Footscray fans wouldn’t buy nostalgia videos to sufficiently demand a sequel? Or was it because they don’t have enough Footscray material safely recorded in their vaults? You can have your own guess.

Anyway this video is in some ways disappointing. There are 3 games shown and they are –

Essendon v Footscray Round 9 1964 from Windy Hill
Richmond v Footscray Round 5 1983 from MCG
Footscray v North Melbourne First Semi- Final 1985 from MCG

The first game against Essendon commences at the start of the last quarter with us 30 behind. We are kicking to the right hand end in this featured last quarter with Don Hyde and Jim Taylor commentating and the special remarks from Keith Drinan. The coverage continues for a while as we bridge the gap to 12 points.

Then Rex Hunt returns and interrupts the action. However I have used the wrong word in this case. Replace interrupt with conclude the action from Windy Hill as he moves along to the second game. I am left wondering as to whether we got up and won, or whether Essendon hold on and claim the points. There is no mention of the result at all after this. If you can take the suspense no longer, well I will tell you now what happened. We did NOT win or draw, which begs to ask why this game was figured in OUR video. If it was in Essendon’s series, fair enough as they won. Surely there must have been some other Footscray game from the 1960’s somewhere in the vaults that could have been selected instead of a run of the mill loss?

The second game is from 1983 against the previous years’ Grand Finalist Richmond. It was on an Anzac Day Monday with the commentators Bobby Skilton and Sandy Roberts. This time happily we went on and won. As is with the previous game the last stanza is shown. In that quarter we kick two goals and they kick four. The last quarter is exciting but I wish they could have shown the first quarter. For those too young, ie born after 1978, were not there or who have forgotten, the quarter time score was –

Richmond 0 .3.3
Footscray 10.3.63

Why couldn’t they have whacked that on instead? Do you remember Jimmy Edmond kicking five goals in that first quarter to the Punt Road end?

Nevertheless there is one other point worth noticing from this game. If you have a reasonable attention to detail, you will witness a girl in the crowd wearing a Footscray jumper receiving a vicious punch to the head. It occurs in the ground floor area of the old Southern Stand, in the forward pocket to which Richmond was kicking. Simon Beasley kicks the first of our two goals for the quarter from a strong mark. Straight from the restart the Tigers go forward and Michael Rolfe(he later played with us in season 1986) of Richmond kicks the ball to a leading Brian Taylor the Richmond full forward. Taylor marks Rolfe’s kick on the outer side and subsequently goals. As he is walking back his opponent our Chris Hansen joins him strolling back to the left of the picture. You will then see a girl wearing a Footscray jumper cop a punch from someone wearing a white top, (possibly a male person) which knocks this girl over and also out of the picture. It happens right in front of the MITSUBISHI sign (the word Mitsubishi was in capital letters) and the Footscray girl was standing up from her seat right behind the letter I (the second I). Her attacker was in front of the letter S (the second S). Oh well this poor girl could at least say her team won as Mervyn Keane of Richmond kicked a long goal after the siren to reduce the margin from eight points to two.

The next game was our first win in a final since the 1961 Preliminary Final triumph over Melbourne. Again the last quarter is on display in this 1985 First Semi Final against North Melbourne. Perhaps I am being a little picky here, but I wish they could have shown the third quarter. If they had then you would have seen Simon Beasley’s 100th goal and the devastating burst we put on just after it. Remember Allen Daniels smother and goal straight after the re-start from the slight delay after Beasley’s 100 th goal celebrations?

Well the last quarter was pretty good and Brian Royal chops North up. This game was the best of the three displayed on this tape.

1997 WOOF

(The Year That Put The Bite Back In The Bulldogs)
The 1997 season’s review

1997 Woof


(Western Bulldogs 1998 Season Highlights) This is review of our 1998 season. The front cover shows Tony Liberatore being chaired off our feared Optus Oval home ground by Caesar (sorry Jose) Romero and Paul Dimattina.

Doggies 98

Best of the Bulldogs 1983

This video came out in 1984 and showed selected highlights from games in 1983. It was more than likely not sold in general retail outlets. It is a rare video and I doubt whether many people have actually seen it. I have just recently learned what its title is.

What makes the situation worse is that we bought it as a BETA tape. Now remember when VCR players came out in over 20 years ago? Well there was two brands to select from, either VHS or Beta. Our household bought a Beta as my father had heard on good authority that Beta was the better one. Supposedly Hollywood directors and producers preferred Beta to its alternative. Well we all know that VHS went on to corner the market and so many people have never heard of Beta these days! So everything we taped or hired up till late 1989(when I bought my first VCR) was in Beta. I was always taping the football from 1984 onwards (that is when we bought the video recorder) We got the video cassette recorder in June of that year just after the game against Carlton at Princes Park as Optus Oval was known then. This was the Vas Vassilou game, for those ignorant of what this means- he was one of the field umpires in this game and I will leave it at that till I introduce a chapter about umpires that crucified us in games.

After that never ending build up I should finally mention what it was like I will confirm that it was magnificent. The first game shown was extended highlights from the round two victory over reigning premiers Carlton. The commentary was from Peter McKenna and Jack Edwards. The majority of the action was from the second quarter where we are kicking to the Barkly Street end. For those who don’t know their Barkly Streets it is the left hand end on the television.

They move on to small highlights from the following weeks victory over Melbourne. Brian Royal kicks the sealer in the last quarter to the Barkly Street end. In this match Doug Hawkins was reported near the first bounce and subsequently suspended for three weeks for whacking Chris Connolly the present coach of the Fremantle Dockers. So Doug was to miss our stirring wins over Hawthorn and Richmond in the next two rounds This match was the first time that the then Melbourne coach Ron Barassi lost in a game at our home since 1970.

Now it is over to round four and Hawthorn at Princes Park. This was just brilliant with most of the final quarter being covered.

This fixture saw us defeat the team who would go on and claim the 1983 premiership and the last quarter was Robert Groenewegen’s finest hour. We kick to the Robert Heatley stand end and he boots 3 goals for the quarter all from distance and one a snap with his left foot. The goal that clinched the match for us came from Terry Love. The commentators were Lou Richards and Peter Landy calling from the old press box wing at Carlton. I was standing there that day and a big contingent of boisterous Footscray fans were directly in front of the platform where they and the Channel 2 blokes were perched. These noisy Footscray fans frequently broke into the theme song during this last quarter that was drowning out Peter Landy and Lou Richards’ commentary. This prompted Peter Landy to remark that it was like Liverpool at F A Cup time, (This was not a good comparison because the FA Cup was in those times the trophy Liverpool found the most difficult to win despite winning the League title regularly) Later these blokes started singing some song to the tune of ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Today’ It was a brilliant victory and a sensational atmosphere.

The next game was the following week against Richmond that is discussed above in the Fantastic Footy Flashbacks.

Fitzroy at Waverley follows this some weeks later in a game with no commentary just vision. Simon Beasley had a picnic this day yet was still reported. He was to receive no suspension though happily.

The final game is away at Moorabbin and like the Fitzroy match above has no audio. It is the game where we get up by 6 points after St Kilda led at three quarter time by 39 points and they were coming home with the breeze!

It was a great finish with defender Chris Hansen levelling the scores from a long way out and the winner scored by Ian (Racoon) Williams just on the siren kicking to the Nepean Highway goal which is to the right hand end. I didn’t go to this match unfortunately, at home listening on the radio. This was the last time that I missed a game of ours till the 1987 season (excepting the Swans in Sydney.) Very similar this game to the Saturday May 01st 2004 victory over the Universal Kangaroos in Canberra.

Ted Whitten Special

This was a television special, which was shown on Channel Nine a few weeks before Ted’s death. The presenter was Lou Richards (or should it be Lew Richards as I ask in another chapter?) who anchored this show. It contained interviews with Dr Allen Aylett, Ernie Sigley, Jack Collins, Don Whitten and Ted junior with some rare footage. One of the games was a match at home with South Melbourne in 1963 and the action from this match is at the scoreboard end (never liked referring to it as the Geelong Road end) I’m sure I read somewhere that Teddy had the tape of this game at his house. Evidently it was discovered many years later, I wonder if this tape is still around and if so if it can be reproduced?

Michael Williamson also is interviewed and he talks of Whitten as a humanitarian recording Teddy’s presence in times of need. Featured is the famous car ride around the MCG with Ted junior and his 3 grandchildren driven by former Footscray Football Club administration employee Stephen Smith.
As it was a Television special, you would have to have taped this off the telly. We did at my place but missed the start, how much was missed I don’t know for sure. You can see Teddy advertising Jonco footy shorts and describing how comfy they are.

If you can get hold of this I am sure you would enjoy it.

Premiers 1961 – Hawthorn Hawks

Hawthorn Premiers '61

I have both this as a video and later as a DVD and this is the DVD picture. It is the full game of the 1961 Grand Final, our last and Hawthorn’s first. This is the first Grand Final shown in its entirety and we are fortunate that it is around when considering how the 1962,1963 and 1964 Grand Finals are not available. The commentators are Michael Williamson, Bert Deacon, Geoff Raymond and Reg Hickey. It is in Black and White with the exception of the old style Channel 7 colour insignia in the bottom right hand corner, which was added to the original film some years later. The game is only of academic interest to us basically after the first quarter, as Hawthorn wrest control. You will notice how Ted Whitten is described as a ‘Mr Football.’ I often wondered what year he was given this tribute. I therefore find out that it was sometime before the 1961 Grand Final.