A Skipper’s Prized Premiership Medallion

A Premiership medal belonging to a former Magpie Premiership skipper has been donated back to the club.

Con McCarthy, a ruckman/follower and inspirational leader, led the Pies to a flag over Richmond in 1919, his first year as skipper. But it’s believed the VFL didn’t issue medals to Premiership winners that year, as the country continued to recover from the economic impact of the First World War.

Fortunately McCarthy had played in the club’s 1917 Premiership two years earlier, when a generous club benefactor commissioned an exclusive set of medals. And it is this medal, from 1917, that has been donated to the club by Con’s great grandson, Graeme Moffatt.

Graeme’s donation also included a medal Con won from Collingwood Districts Football Club in 1914 for being that team’s best player. The Districts were our unofficial reserves side prior to 1919, so this was an important find because it also filled in a valuable piece of missing information (finding reserves best player winners from those years is proving tricky).

This is the second time Graeme has donated items to the Con McCarthy collection. A decade or so ago he donated a wonderful collection of items including original photos, and a ball from the 1919 Grand Final. This time around, in addition to the two medallions already mentioned, there were also a number of other medallions won by Con for his cricketing exploits, and several extra photographs.

“This is a hugely generous pair of donations from Graeme and his family,” said club historian Michael Roberts.

“For a start, the items are wonderful additions to our collection, as we continue trying to grow the best and most varied collection of Magpie memorabilia.

“But they are also important because they give us another ‘prompt’ to recall the deeds of some of our champion players from more than 100 years ago. Con McCarthy was a great player in his day, and a terrific leader – something Footscray recognised when they prised him away from us a couple of years later.

“But having played over 100 games, led us to one flag and played in another, Con had already done plenty for our footy club. And the arrival of these items – especially the 1917 medal – is a great opportunity to remember his achievements in the black and white stripes.

“We can’t thank Graeme enough for his continuing support of our Archives.”

The medallions will be displayed in our new foyer area when it reopens after a redevelopment later this year.

To read more about Con McCarthy, check out his bio on Forever:


If you have anything you’d like to donate, please contact Michael Roberts at forever@collingwoodfc.com.au Also please contact him if you have any photos of, or information relating to, the Collingwood District Football Club and our reserves teams, 1908-39