This moment is the 12th of a virtual series presenting the Bombers' best 30 moments over 150 years, which fans can vote on for their chance to win prizes. Click here to view and vote, and see the schedule and prizes below.
Essendon dominated the 1965 finals series, peaking at the right time of the year to claim a 12th VFL premiership and 16th overall in the club’s history. For coach John Coleman, a second triumph in four years cemented his greatness as an inspiring leader of men.
Having won 12 of 18 home and away games in 1965, good enough for fourth place, the Bombers certainly faced a difficult challenge in having to win three tough finals to claim the premiership. But, as history shows, everything clicked throughout September. They thrashed Geelong by 52 points in the semi-final, then faced Collingwood in the preliminary final.
In the opening term, Magpie Duncan Wright hit Essendon’s 25-year-old half-forward, John Somerville, behind the play and knocked him unconscious. While Somerville was being attended by trainers, captain Ken Fraser made his way around to every teammate, imploring them to focus on the ball when the game re-started, rather than seek retribution for their mate.
Unbeknown to Fraser, vice-captain Ian ‘Bluey’ Shelton also spoke to many of the players, telling them to do the opposite. As Fraser later joked, “We were the ideal leadership duo”. The plan clearly worked - Essendon led at every break and won by 55 points.
The hardened Essendon side, accustomed to playing in big finals, faced a St Kilda team appearing in the club’s first Grand Final since 1913. And experience showed. Leading by eight points at half-time, the Bombers gradually won the arm-wrestle during the third term, kicking five goals to one for the quarter to set up a 35-point victory - 14.21 (105) to 9.16 (70). Brian Sampson was outstanding in the ruck, Ted Fordham kicked seven goals to tie the club record for goals in a Grand Final, and the much-loved Fraser was a premiership captain.
“I think being a premiership captain is probably the highest honour you can get for a player, and I’m very proud of having been fortunate enough to achieve that,” Fraser said.
“You aim to play in a premiership for the team you love, and then if you have the good fortune to be captain of the team and to be holding up the premiership cup when it gets presented to you, it’s as good as it gets.”
SCHEDULE OF MOMENTS
Round 1 (launching May 6) - 1872-1939
Round 2 (launching May 10) - 1940-1959
Round 3 (launching May 15) - 1960-1979
Round 4 (launching May 20) - 1980-1989
Round 5 (launching May 25) - 1990-1999
Round 6 (launching May 30) - 2000-2021
Round 7 (launching June 4) - Finals round
Round 1 – One 2022 merchandise pack, including an Essendon New Era Black on Black 9FORTY Snapback cap ($40) and an Essendon Heritage Bar Scarf ($30)
Round 2 – One Essendon Fibre of Football Scarf ($80)
Round 3 - One Essendon Football Club 150-year anniversary commemorative mosaic ($295)
Round 4 – One Essendon Football Club 150-year anniversary commemorative mosaic ($295)
Round 5 – One 2022 team-signed guernsey ($500)
Round 6 – One copy of the Red & Black Collection special 150th anniversary book ($329)
Round 7 – One copy of the Red & Black Collection special 150th anniversary book ($329) and one 2022 team-signed guernsey ($500)