George 'VFA' Paras sent me the following document on Toorak Park through the years...
Well worth a read.
Very interesting set of pics of one of my favorite VFA grounds. It looks like the hill behind the southern goals has been made a lot smaller that in the past.That area was a great place to watch the VFA second div finals from.The VFA also played the Tassie State team at Toorak Park 1965 with the VFA winning a very hard fought match by 7 points. I remember a very young skinny Percy Jones playing for Tassie and Zebra star full forward Dennis Oakley play a blistering game on the wing for the VFA.
What a grand old ground Toorak Park was. The second division finals were fantastic and had great atmosphere. As for the Grand Finals they were great days.
Sunshine winning its only flag in 1971 over Brunswick, in 1972 the classic Geelong v Caulfield GF, in 1973 another relic with Caulfield winning over Brunswick.
Tony Jewell booting two long goals late in the game to seal victory.
In 1975 Brunswick finally win after a few losses in GFs with a win over Camberwell. 1976 saw williamstown win a bruising affair over Mordialloc who were hot favourites. In 1977 Mordialloc finally win the big one over a David Thorpe coached Yarraville. In 1978 it was Frankston's turn over Mordialloc. 1979 Camberwell finally break the ice after 51 years in the VFA with a win over Oakleigh. In 1982 Northcote beat Caulfield in a thriller. Paul Hepburn kicks the winning goal. In 1983 it was a pretty tough and controversial game with Springvale winning a flag in only its second year in the VFA over Brunswick. In 1984 Box Hill fianlly win a flag over Oakleigh in a record score and win. Toorak Park THOSE WERE THE DAYS !!!
Could the ground have a face lift and host vfl matches again ??
What about some finals action ?? I haven't been to the ground for many years, wondering how much would it need to be good enough for vfl action ?
Could the ground have a face lift and host vfl matches again ??
What about some finals action ?? I haven't been to the ground for many years, wondering how much would it need to be good enough for vfl action ?[/quote]
As they currently exist, the ground's facilities would probably be second only to Port Melbourne as far as spectator comfort goes. The surface would have to rate as slightly better than TEAC Oval (not as two-paced underfoot), and I'd suggest would be a slightly longer ground.
There is no ground (including TEAC) that currently has public transport access as good as Toorak Park, but it is difficult to park close by due to permit restrictions and narrow streets.
The southern hill is reduced in capacity because of some pepper trees that were planted a number of years back, but is still an OK size.
The biggest problem with games being held at Toorak Park in future is the workload of the ground. It hosts games every weekend in the VAFA (Prahran and Old Xaverians), plus occasional junior games and full-time training for the two clubs. It is then used for Victoria Premier Cricket from the first week in October. This all requires money to keep the surface in top nick, particularly just before the cricket season as the turf re-knits in the centre square. Money is something that AFL Victoria has very little of.
This is an old-style inner suburban ground and one of the best places to watch footy or cricket. It is also one of the most beautiful thanks to the surrounding trees, old-school terrace and general care given to the venue.
How's this for an idea.
If Collingwood can't get back on Vic Park - play them at Toorak Park...
At least it would be near Eddie's place ;)
Why not have a finals match there ?
The ground would have plenty of atmosphere.
There is also the Orrong Hotel down the road to venture to before the game.
Would bring back great memories.
Great memories of Toorak Park. VFA, 1976 final series was a ripper (not least because Seagulls won) - 1st semi Willy beat Northcote by 4 points - remember Northcote, with Leigh Robertson at the helm and Bill Chapman up forward, kept coming at 'town in the last term, but Gulls hung on. Prelim was a 2 point win to Gulls over Frankston after being 28 down at 3/4 time. Mark Cross kicked winning goal from set shot. GF was a boilover, but remember huge crowds (8,000+ at each game) in sunny weather.
Channel 0 would cross to finals games at Toorak Park. 1979 not so good, when Willy kicked 3.10 in 1st Semi to lose to Mordialloc (14.12) in the mud.
Night practice games there in the 1970's (my dad took me to Prahran v Willy and Prahran v Oakleigh mid week night practice games.
And Centenary cup semis and final played there in 1977 - Port beat Caulfield in the final.
Last game i went to was 1993 when Prahran too strong for a declining 'town.
... Ken Emselle, Rod Appleton, Rob Anderson, Kerry Foley, Wayne Johnstone, Sam Kekovich, Kim Smith, Lou Pepe, Ross Thornton, Jim Stynes, George Stone, Ian McGuinness, John Mrakov, Darren Collins, Brian Taylor, Michael Sinni, Grant Povey...
Favourite memory was Rod Galt (Prahran) and Seagulls John Taylor being reported by Peter Marshall for striking each other in 1985 - you could hear the punches connect from the outer - awesome.
1976 was a vintage year in 2nd Division. Noprthcote had to win the last round match against Camberwell at Camberwell to make the finals. The winner would play Williamstown. Northcote booted an amazing 12.6 in the first quarter with a strong breeze. In the end they won by around 5 goals.
The Prelim was a typical Willaimstown classic comeback from no where. (This is what the seagulls did against Coburg on the weekend as well as Casey a few weeks ago). Frankston was cruising until the last quarter.
In the 1976 GF Mordialloc was red hot favourite but the seagulls gave them a hiding winning by 57 points. Very tough game indeed.
Speaking of crossovers the Sandringham v Oakleigh relegation battle was televised the day of the Williamstown v Northcote FS. I have most of the first half of the 1st divvy game but the crossovers was edited. Spewing.
If I can get hold of the whole game it would have the crossovers.
Speaking of Bill Chapman he was a gun with a terrific leap. Wasn't that tall, maybe 5 foot 9.
One memory at Toorak Park was an early 1990s game between Prahran v Oakleigh. Wes Hillard king hit Luke Soulos in front of the Prahran Stand as well as in view of the cops who turned a blind eye. The two blues supporter were furious.
I have a copy of the 1976 2nd Division GF. It has some commentary when their was crossovers. Footage a bit grainy but still good to watch.
I can spot myself as a teenager behind the goals at the school end.
I can also remember Mordialloc giving the seagulls a shellacking in 1979 FS. Very wet day by memory as well as muddy.
Williamstown also copped a hiding at home by Waverley and also Mordialloc. Mordialloc kicked 34.8 ?? I think. Was this in 1979 ??
Williamstown also copped a hiding at home by Waverley and also Mordialloc. Mordialloc kicked 34.8 ?? I think. Was this in 1979 ??[/quote]
The 34.8 was actually 1976. The bloods kicked 13 in the first term and we had no answer to Peter Neville and Mic Deaton.
The week before the Northcote Camberwell decider, Willy played at Northcote and kicked 10.0 in the first term before holding on to win 16.4 to 6.20. That ensured Willy were in the finals, and consigned Northcote to have to win against Camberwell (who were strangely out of form that year).
I wes at the Williamstown v Mordi clash. The bloods were kicking goals from all angles. Incredible kicking. I was also at the 16.4 to 6. 20 game which is one extreme to the other at shots at goal. Northcote with 6 more shots at goal but still ost by 44 points. Williamstown had Mick Mahoney on their list whose sons Josh and Luke played at Town. There was also Tony Mcveigh father of Mark (current bomber). Not sure if he was there in 1976 , might have been a few years later.
Speaking of the Prelim of 1976 there was a player called Gardner who did well up forward for the gulls in this game. Greg Boxall was the star in the GF win over Mordialloc. Played Cricket with Brendan McArdle at Northcote. He was a talented sportsman. McArdle was a very tough footballer who played at CHB and CHF for the dragons. He made 70 odd runs in his first shield game.
What year was the Willy v Waverley game where the seagiulls got flogged ?
Maybe 78/79 ?? Paul Angelis mightb have destroyed the seagulls this day.
In 1977 in one of the early rounds I remember watching Williamstown beat Prahran by a mere point at home. This game was also televised by channel 0.
Pretty good crowd by memory.
The best home crowd I could remember was for a home game against Port in 1985 I think. The only VFA game that day and the crowd was well over 10,000, probably closer to 14,000. Port won by about 6 goals in a high scoring game.
While we are going down memory lane.
I can remember seeing Don Mopsy Frazer at Toorak Park in the 1950s when he coached the Two Blues after a colourfull career at both Richmond and later coaching Port with mixed success.He was well past his prime but played as a type of ruck rover with the ruckman tappng it to him at the centre bounces and because he could hardly run due to knee problems mainly handballed to players runnig past( sometimes as far as a kick)when be got the ball - which surprisingly was quite a bit.I also saw ex South Melb Brownlow Medalist Ron Smokey Clegg do something similar when he coached Brunswick in the early 1960s.
Jack Dyer ofen said that Mopsy was one of the most talented players he played with at Richmond but he was easily stirred up and then usually went crazy wanting to belt anyone near him.Barry Hall reminds me of him.
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