1951 VFL Grand Final
AFL Geelong Icon.jpg


11.15 (81) 10.10 (70)
1 2 3 4
GEE 3.8 (26) 4.10 (34) 9.13 (67) 11.15 (81)
ESS 1.0 (6) 6.2 (38) 6.4 (40) 10.10 (70)
Date29 September 1951
StadiumMelbourne Cricket Ground
← 1950 VFL Grand Final 1952 →

The 1951 VFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the Geelong Football Club and Essendon Football Club, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 29 September 1951. It was the 54th annual Grand Final of the Victorian Football League, staged to determine the premiers for the 1951 VFL season.

The match


The match, attended by 84,109 spectators, was won by Geelong by 11 points (the club's fourth premiership). The win by Geelong — its first since winning the 1937 VFL Grand Final — capped off a brilliant season; the team won the Minor Premiership, its back-pocket, Bernie Smith, won the Brownlow Medal, and its full-forward, George Goninon, was the league's leading goalkicker.


This was the sixth successive Grand Final appearance for Essendon, the reigning premiers, who were attempting to win three successive flags, after having defeated Carlton in the 1949 VFL Grand Final and North Melbourne in the 1950 VFL Grand Final.

Essendon went into the match without star full-forward John Coleman who had been suspended in controversial circumstances for four matches. On the day of the match, champion ruckman John Gill had a heavy cold and declared himself unfit to play. At the last minute, the Essendon coach, Dick Reynolds, who had retired the year before, was re-registered as a player; Fred Payne replaced Gill in the run-on team, and Reynolds became 19th Man.[1]


B: Bernie Smith Bruce Morrison Loy Stewart
HB: Bert Worner John Hyde Russell Middlemiss
C: Syd Tate Leo Turner Terry Fulton
HF: Russell Renfrey Fred Flanagan (c) Bob Davis
F: Bill McMaster George Goninon Peter Pianto
Foll: Tom Morrow Jim Norman Neil Trezise
Res: Les Reed Ron Hovey
Coach: Reg Hickey
B: Les Gardiner Bill Brittingham Doug Bigelow
HB: Harold Lambert Roy McConnell Norm McDonald
C: Chris Lambert Alan Dale Lance Mann
HF: Ron McEwin Bill Snell Jack Jones
F: Fred Payne Keith McDonald Greg Tate
Foll: Wally May Bob Syme Bill Hutchison (c)
Res: Jack Clarke Dick Reynolds
Coach: Dick Reynolds



Team 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr Final
Geelong 3.8 (26) 4.10 (34) 9.13 (67) 11.15 (81)
Essendon 1.0 (6) 6.2 (38) 6.4 (40) 10.10 (70)
Attendance: 85,795



  • Goninon 4
  • Davis 1
  • Flanagan 1
  • McMaster 1
  • Morrow 1
  • Norman 1
  • Pianto 1
  • Trezise 1


  • K McDonald 2
  • Syme 2
  • Hutchison 1
  • Jones 1
  • May 1
  • Payne 1
  • Snell 1
  • Tate 1

See also