By Phil Skeggs
As the club’s media officer, I get very excited when I see Viv Blackmore-Moore bagging goals for Collingwood’s VFL team and Fede Frew starring in Essendon’s VFLW premiership.
I’m sure that same shared sense of pride was experienced by club members every time one of our players made it to the big league over the decades.
At last count, Ivanhoe has produced at least 50 footballers who went on to play in the big league (VFL/AFL level).
The majority of them – 32 – were recruited to Collingwood because of the original zoning system. But the Fitzroy Lions also got their fair share of Ivanhoe talent too.
One of the more intriguing online queries I’ve fielded this month came from the historian and assistant custodian for the Fitzroy-Brisbane Lions Historical Society.
The society is working on a montage at their museum in Marvel Stadium to display photos of all 1157 senior players who represented Fitzroy Football Club.
At least 12 Hoers got senior games for the Lions, including Harold Winberg, who eventually returned to Ivanhoe Park to coach the club to its only A grade flag in 1956.
Lions historian Brenden Campbell was seeking images of three former Ivanhoe players who had played for the Roys. Their names were Bill Blacklock, who got four senior games in 1907, Doug Bennett, who got four games in 1917, and Alan Muir, who got six games between 1940-42.
Unfortunately, Muir is one of the few on our website that we don’t have a photo of. Blacklock and Bennett were unheard of. Neither name had cropped up in my research, which was primarily based on reading old newspapers of the era. But it wasn’t so easy to dismiss their names.
The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers lists Blacklock as “ex-Ivanhoe”, despite the fact that our club wasn’t formally established until 1910. The encyclopedia lists Bennett as “ex-Coburg”.
The senior club was in recess from 1916-19 because of World War I, but it’s quite possible Bennett may have pulled on a jumper for the first incarnation of Ivanhoe Junior Football Club, which wasn’t in recess. Or, he may have got a few games before the seniors went into recess on March 16, 1916, and then moved to Coburg.
In 1910, key office bearers of Ivanhoe Football Club were also founders of Ivanhoe Cricket Club in 1906.
The late Vic Tsilemanis – father of Megan who plays in our Ivies team – did a wonderful job compiling a 100-year history of Ivanhoe Cricket Club. Blacklock was listed as a founding player in 1906-7.
He is also in a team photo from that first season, which is on display in a corner of the clubrooms. His full name was William Arthur Blacklock. The photo caption gives his nickname as “Nipper”.
In 1907, there was an informal Eaglemont Rovers team that played a few social football matches against district sides like Fitzroy and Richmond. This was before Ivanhoe Football Club was formally established on April 11, 1910.
Perhaps Nipper Blacklock showed some early promise playing social footy with Ivanhoe cricket club mates? As far as the Fitzroy-Brisbane Lions Historical Society is concerned, he was an Ivanhoe product.
And that makes him Ivanhoe district’s first known VFL footballer. Blacklock died in Heidelberg in 1942, aged 58.
Mr Campbell was thrilled to receive a copy of Blacklock’s image for the museum’s montage this week. “Thanks for Nipper, his photo is a ripper,” he wrote.
There are now only 118 images outstanding in the Lions’ museum montage.
For more information on this project, go to: https://www.facebook.com/fitzroybrisbanelionshistoricalsocietyFor a list of Ivanhoe’s AFL/VFL players, go to: https://ivanhoeafc.com/history/our-people/vflafl-players/