Spotted this on the Trove archive ARGUS newspaper online. VFA Hooligans from the 1919 season. Classic STUFF.
Some of the text is pretty hard to read. Would have been pretty rough in those days. The matches from that era that would have resembled a war zone would have to be a Port Melbourne v West Melbourne or Port Melbourne v North Melbourne clash. Sounds as though Northcote were pretty rough too.
For the record the final score was
10 May Round 02 Footscray 08-06- 54 d Northcote 04-14- 38
Trouble at Northcote
The Association football game at Northcote Park on Saturday, between Footscray and Northcote, was of the rough-and tumble order. Players dashed into one another regardless of consequences, and early in the third quarter Tomlilin, of Footscray, had to be carried off the ground, but was able to resume before the final bounce. Later, Byrne, of Northcote, had his shoulder injured, and in the last term the trainers were frequntly attending players on the ground.
During the interval at three-quarter time a band of larrikins, known at Northcote "The Imps' puah," paraded around the outer ground and into the reserve, shouting, "Do we ever pay for anything? No!" They finished a tour of the ground on the northern side along Westgarth street, and soon there was a disturbance and a free fight, in which one Footscray supporter seemed to bo the centre of the attack. He had armed himself with a bottle, and with this weapon he kept ''The Imps" at bay until, being persuaded to put the weapon,away, he"was hustled out of the crowd. As soon as the final bell rang people' streamed out of the ground, and it was evident that the fight was not yet over, for as soon as they got into the roadway there were skirmishes. Halfway to the railway station there was anguish and more fighting, and the Footscray man that produced the bottle, says he swung by the bottle for defense purposes. Constable Murray reformed the man there, broke up the crowd and confiscated the bottle, as the crowd surged on. The Footscray supporters who were vastly outnumbered, were advised to make their way to the station. They did so, followed by "The Imps," but just as they reached the station there was a rush with a shower of stones, and in a moment the fight was in full swing yet again. Constable Murray by this time had been joined by a number of officers that were in plain clothes, including Sergeant Myers and Constables Frawley, Fletcher, Wylie, and Hayes. One stone just missed the sergeant's head, as Constable Frawley seized and arrested a young man named Stanley Medley, and hurried him off to the lockup, where he was charged with stonethrowing.
Until the police could break up the crowd they overwhelmed the Footscray man who had been the centre of the trouble, and he was tripped up. As he fell he was severely punched and kicked, but was rescued hy his friends, and taken on to the railway platform covered with blood. Constable Murray, with a serviceable strap, and Sergeant Myers, swinging his handcuffs, quickly dispersed the crowd, and "The Imps scuttled' away: but not without many wounds for the Footscray men though few fought back determinadly.
It was an ugly scene while it lasted, and but for the tact and determination of the police might have had serious results.