|1922 VFA premiership season|
6th minor premiership
The 1922 Victorian Football Association season was the 44th season of the Australian rules football competition. The premiership was won by the Port Melbourne Football Club, after it defeated Footscray by two points on 23 September, in a controversial Grand Final which several of its players were offered money to throw. It was the club's third VFA premiership.
Following the closure of the East Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1921, the Essendon (Association) Football Club left the Association, due to the Essendon (League) Football Club moving into its home ground. North Melbourne had disbanded midway through the 1921 season as it tried to capitalise on Essendon's (L.) move, but reformed at the end of the year, amalgamated with the Essendon (A.) club, and resumed its place in the Association, albeit missing many of its best players which had left the club when it disbanded.
To replace Essendon (A.), a new senior club based in Geelong was admitted to the Association. The new club was administered by the Geelong & District Junior Football Association, and was called the Geelong Football Club; it was typically called Geelong (Association) or Geelong (A.) when required to distinguish it from the Geelong Football Club affiliated with the Victorian Football League. The Geelong (A.) team played its matches at Kardinia Park (at the time, Geelong (L.) played at Corio Oval).
These changes were seen as a rare strategic victory for the Association over the League. The Association had managed to gain a slightly stronger foothold over inner city Melbourne by forcing Essendon (L.) into the outer suburbs; and it had then established a club in Geelong, which had previously been served by only a League team, in the hope of attracting some Geelong-grown talent towards the Association. The victory would be short-lived, as North Melbourne was admitted to the League after three years and Geelong (A.) was out of the Association after six years.
Before the season, Footscray, Prahran and Williamstown all applied to join the League; and Camberwell, Coburg and Geelong West all applied to join the Association. All six applications were rejected.
The home-and-home season was played over eighteen rounds, with each club playing the others twice; then, the top four clubs contested a finals series under the amended Argus system to determine the premiers for the season.
|2||Port Melbourne (P)||18||14||4||0||1421||1035||72.8||56|
|Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pct = Percentage; (P) = Premiers, PTS = Premiership points||Source|
|Saturday, 2 September||Port Melbourne 13.14 (92)||def.||Williamstown 8.3 (51)||North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (crowd: 14,500)|||
|Saturday, 9 September||Footscray 6.12 (48)||def. by||North Melbourne 10.8 (68)||North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (crowd: 12,000)|||
|Saturday, 16 September||Port Melbourne 9.12 (66)||def.||North Melbourne 5.8 (38)||North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (crowd: 13,500)|||
|1922 VFA Grand Final|
|Saturday, 23 September||Footscray||def. by||Port Melbourne||North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (crowd: 20,000)|||
|O'Brien 4, Samson 2, Holden, Outen||Goals||Taylor 3, Barfoot, Dobrigh, O'Brien, Rees, Stanford, Walton|
Four Port Melbourne players, George Ogilvie, Bill Rudd, Bill Walton and captain Gus Dobrigh reported to the club that they were separately offered large sums of money, as much as £100, to play dead in the Grand Final to fix the result in Footscray's favour.
Additionally, Mr Sinclair of the Port Melbourne club reported that he had received a telephone call from a man in the lead-up to the match who claimed to be a Port Melbourne supporter, asking for details of Port Melbourne tactics, but the man had left a false telephone number and Sinclair also reported that he had received an unusually large volume of requests for wagers on Footscray to win the match. All four players refused to throw the match, and Port Melbourne won by two points.
Port Melbourne referred the matter to the Association, who investigated and charged three men – all connected with the Footscray Football Club – with attempted bribery:
Both O'Donohue and Sayer were found not guilty, with the Association ruling that Sayer had no involvement, much less knowledge, of the attempted bribery, while no witnesses could corroborate the allegation against O'Donohue. Banbury was found guilty and suspended from the Association for life. Banbury is considered to have acted on his own accord, without any direction from the club, with Footscray itself found not guilty of any wrongdoing.