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Northern Rivalry
by Marc Fiddian
Product Description
Northern Rivalry - Brunswick v Coburg football matches down the years
- by Marc Fiddian
Product details
Paperback: 122 pages
Publisher: BookPOD (2021)
ISBN: 9780648350293
Trim size: 210 x 148 mm
For many years the Victorian Football Association used to start its season a week earlier than the League and to ignite public interest it played a round of local derby games from 1929-48. This meant Brunswick would play Coburg, Brighton met Sandringham, Camberwell clashed with Oakleigh, Northcote played Preston, Port Melbourne opposed Prahran, and Williamstown played Yarraville. With no opposition from VFL games, Association crowds were bigger than normal. At the time of this innovation, which also marked J. J. Liston’s first year as president, Coburg was one of the newer clubs although it had already made its mark by winning a hat-trick of premierships in 1926-27-28. Brunswick had been a member since 1897 and had twice won the title, in 1909 and 1925, and was runner-up in 1908, 1910, 1911, 1915 and 1920.
    Whether Coburg’s addition to Association ranks blocked Brunswick’s chances of greater success is a moot point. Certainly the pair often vied for potential recruits living in the northern suburbs. A good year for one club did not necessarily mean a bad season for the other, yet they rarely met in a final. Both clubs won more games than they lost during the VFA’s lifetime and were big contributors to the body on and off the field. Alex Gillon, the longest-serving VFA president, played most of his football with Brunswick but ended up playing briefly with Coburg.
     Brunswick and Coburg were pioneers of Sunday football, playing the first game in 1960, and both voted in favor of the VFA adopting two divisions the next year. The pair met in 104 games and, particularly in the earlier decades, were intense rivals. At the end of 1940 the record stood at 16 wins to Coburg, 15 to Brunswick and one draw. After the clubs had met at South Melbourne on a Wednesday night under lights early in season 1957 the record was 27-26 Coburg’s way with one draw in 54 contests. From that point the Lions pulled away and by winning 14 of the last 15 encounters had won 64 times to 39 with the one draw after their final match in 1990.
    Of the 104 meetings, 49 were at both Brunswick and Coburg, with one each at the Motordrome, South Melbourne, Northcote, Port Melbourne, Toorak Park and the St Kilda Cricket Ground.

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