27 September, 1975, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia
What a pathetic performance. Half the game over. We’ve been thrashed ... One thing is to be beaten, another thing is to be beaten the way you blokes have been beaten. Nick, you’re in the forward pocket this time ...
Now look, one bloke went out on the flank and battled against three, and I don’t know what in the name of fortune you’re doing, there's only one thing in football and that's to get in and fight for the ball.Fight for the bal!! You're a disgrace to the name of Moncrieff, the way you’re not fighting. All the year, if you fight for the ball you’ll get a few. If you hope you won't.
Bomber, a player can be beaten for half a game and come back in the second half. Now you've got to get your eye on the ball and use your tremendous ability to get the ball. At first when you get it you'll have to kick it because you haven't had many kicks. Get it and kick it and don’t expect anything else. Get the ball and kick the ball and kick it long.
How many times have North Melbourne kicked out, and the rover, or the ruck-rover has been completely on his own? There’s the indicator, there's the barometer of the way you're playing. Not enough puff to run there and stop the pass. And then you wonder why it goes bang, bang, bang, up the ground. No, throw it on to your team-mate further on.
'We're so far into the mess that we have to be desperate to get out of it. And we will not get out of it with kick-and-mark football. Knock the ball towards our goals and anybody who takes a mark, handball on, handball on, one handball and kick the cover off it.
Have you got that? One handball and kick the cover off it. I wonder how many blokes are prepared to go totally with me and take the risk. It couldn’t be worse than it is. It's disgraceful out there running along pushing blokes after they get rid of the ball, running over the, over the mark, on the, on the back line and giving them fifteen yards on the back line. Get the ball, if you take a mark, you've got the ball under control. We've been through it fifty times. Go back, have your kick.
I've seen Matthews on his own over there, but nah, don’t kick it to him, don’t handpass it, run on and kick it, over the man on the mark, and give it to him if it's on. Better still if there's a man coming past give him the ball. If it goes wrong, it goes wrong, at least you’re doing what I asked and at least I'm responsible. But I'm not responsible for the gutless, witless display that's going on out there. I don’t know how you can, you can, face one another and carry on as you're carrying on out there.
Now positively, ruckman up and knock the ball with us, with us, all the time, right? Anybody who takes a mark take the risk and hand-pass, and players without the ball you must have the initiative to come past, but don’t all come past and no one go in, that’s half the trouble.
There’s a lot of blokes prepared to run past but not too many are prepared to go in. Go in, get the ball and blokes come past for the handball. Take the risk, if you make the mistake, if you do it and it doesn't come off, do it again. Do it again. And keep doing it. Keep doing it!
That way, we'll either get beaten by twenty goals or we'll win. This way we can’t win. We can’t win this way. We can’t win by doing what you blokes are doing. Play virile strong football, put your bodies in to get the ball. That’s the first thing. If you're in the pack no messying about, no three votes, knock it towards our goal, that's the only, only, way to do. If you take a mark, and you hear the call, give him the ball, give him the ball. If he gets into trouble, back him up, give him the ball and run after him like we do in training. That way we've got a chance. This way we've got none.
You stay on the ball Bernie, put your body in all the time, down the back line, knock the ball out towards our goals, on the forward line over the back as I said before.
If you're feeling tired, if you're feeling tired — just think of Crimmins. He's home, he’s not here. He brought his insides up this morning, he’s vomiting. He’s not here. You weren't at the match committee on Thursday night as I was when we had a big argument as to whether he ought to be in or out and everybody spoke his mind and he finished up out. He's not happy, he wasn't happy about it, who would be? But I can't understand the mentality of blokes. And even the governor, Sir Henry Winneke, he has often said, “At least do something"'.
Do. Don't think, Mick, don’t hope. Do. At least you can come off and say, 'I did this, I shepherded, I played on. At least I did something for the sake of the side. Do. Act. Don’t think, act. Eye on the ball. The contest is still the same. You must win the ball to win the match. And more than that, when you win the ball you must cooperate with fellas coming past. And you must be desperate enough to stick with me and do it. The crowd might laugh. It might go wrong. I'm game enough to tell you to do it. Are you game enough to back me up? Are you game enough, Scotty, to back me up on that?