1821 Info 8b: Caleb Crompton
Colin Neil Cox-Crompton, known as "Froggy"

'Good bloke, great sport', 'Dees mourn a hero', 'Demon legend dies'

Neil Crompton, as he was known, died from cancer at the age of 66, on 11 December 2003 at the Cabrini Hospital in Malvern. Immediately several sporting website and journals recorded a tribute to his sporting life in which he represented Melbourne Demons, in the VFL (now Aussie Rules), and the Victoria in the Sheffield Shield; one of the select few to juggle top-level Aussie Rules and cricket careers.

The burley right back pocket defender, recruited from Ormond Amateurs, played 99 games for Melbourne during the late 1950s and early 1960s and 45 Sheffield Shield matches. But for all his sporting prowess he will for ever be remembered for one kick in the epic 1964 VFL Grand Final against Collingwood, when he kicked the winning goal in the dying minutes of the game in front of a 102,469 crowd: his first goal in eight seasons erased the disappointment of losing in the 1958 grand final and missing selection in Melbourne's 1957 and 1960 premiership sides.

Neil 'Foggy' Crompton portrait - 17kB jpg
Famed as the man whose won Melbourne their last senior premiership off his own boot, Colin Neil "Froggy" Crompton was not a noted goal kicker. He had kicked a career high seven against North Melbourne in Round 11, 1959 but found it hard to win a permanent spot as a rover.
His most important goal came late in the 1964 Grand Final after he'd followed his opponent into the forward line. He was 100m out of position, almost a capital crime in those days, but late in the chaotic game - soon after Hassa Mann had kicked a point to put the Demons within touch - the ball spilt to him and he threw it onto his boot. It sailed home and the Demons were in front. It was his first goal for five years and gave the Demons a lead that they would hold on to for the rest of the match.
He retired two years later, destined to be remembered forever for that kick. Legend has it that Norm Smith bailed him up after the match and told him off being in the wrong place, but even the master coach must have enjoyed the fairytale finish no matter how unorthodox it had been.

Source: Demonwiki (Accessed: 07 February 2021)

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Kick that raised a flag just part of Crompton's sporting legacy
By Greg Baum
December 12, 2003

Neil Crompton with the Demons 25Kb-jpg '... Crompton himself had a sanguine point of view about his single mark in time. Imagine, he said earlier this year, how he would have been remembered if he had missed!

His goal was remarkable in its time, but has gained more significance since. That flag was Melbourne's sixth in nine years, and it seemed then that more must follow as if by birthright.

No one would have thought then that the Demons would not win another premiership in Crompton's lifetime, but now they have come to that pass.

His part in that premiership remains central to the club's mythology. One night in 2000, the Demons took that cup, placed it at half-forward on the spot from where Crompton had kicked and made a pact about what they would achieve that season. They reached the grand final, but were soundly beaten.

Crompton, known as "Froggy", was a famously dependable back pocket and occasional rover, who had been a reserve in two earlier Melbourne grand final teams. He tried his luck with Glenleg in the SANFL before returning to the Demons in 1962. Such was his dependability after that he represented the Big V in 1964.

Speaking on 3AW this year, Crompton recalled the drama of the finish. It had begun when Collingwood ruckman Ray Gabelich kicked what is also one of the most famous grand final goals, bouncing the ball awkwardly half-a-dozen times before steering it through to put the Magpies in front. Crompton thought the Demons were done.

He recalled that Hassa Mann kicked a behind, and that in pursuit of his opponent, Mick Bone, as Collingwood flooded the back line, he found himself in the middle of the ground.

There were neither time clocks nor runners then, just trainers who waved white towels to signal that time-on had begun. One gestured to Crompton that he could do nothing where he was and should get to the play.

The ball spilled his way after a marking contest. The pack was rushing at him, he said, so he quickly got ball to boot. He said he was never fast, but was a reliable kick. This was a torpedo punt that sailed unerringly through the posts. It was his first goal for five years.

"It happened so quickly. I looked at the goals and went bang, kicked it high and hard, a torpedo punt, and it went through," he recalled recently after posing for a photo of legends marking the MCG's 150th anniversary.

Crompton remembered the deafening applause as he jogged all the way back to his pocket, and a muttered exchange between he and the other backmen that they would let nothing else through now. Melbourne won by four points.

He retired two seasons later after 99 games and 24 goals. ...
Neil Crompton in 1964 25Kb-jpg
Neil Crompton at training in 1964, the year he attained enduring fame.

... While at the MCG this year [2003], Crompton was given a football and had a shot at goal from the 1964 spot. It fell a few metres short and bounced sideways. Crompton said that it was because the ball was flat and that if it had been fully pumped up, he would have made the distance.'

Froggy had a successful coaching career after he retired, including a three-year stint in charge of Melbourne under-19s.

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That immortal match

Then Neil Crompton swooped on a loose ball close to goal and snapped what turned out to be the winner, even though there was still nearly three minutes left on the clock.

With apologies to Heather Schoffelen, Froggy's third cousin and a long time Collingwood supporter. Had she only known ....

“Froggy” was just about the most unlikely man in the game to kick such a goal — or any goal.
He was the designated back-pocket and was in the forward line — against [Coach] Smith’s instructions — only because his man, rover Mickey Bone, had run the length of the ground and Crompton decided to go with him.
Although he had once kicked seven goals as a rover against North Melbourne seven years earlier, this was his first goal for five years and one of only 24 in his 99-match career.
No one was more surprised to see Crompton turn match winner than the fiery coach, who had given him strict instructions not to stray from the backline.
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[...] “I didn’t know whether to abuse him for a lack of discipline or cry on his shoulder,” Smith said. “I’m glad he did use his initiative. There are times when a player has to and without him we would not have won.” [However Smith was expected to vent his feelings towards Crompton for breaking the team rules.]
[Captain Ron] Barassi believes Crompton’s experience at coping with pressure as a cricketer — he played 45 first class matches as a batsman and superb fieldsman for Victoria — helped him make the right decision. “He didn’t lapse into panic,” he said.

Source: 50 years on, the men who won Melbourne’s last premiership await the next, Ron Reed, Herald Sun, 08 June 2014 (Accessed: 07 February 2021)

Neil Crompton signing autographs - 32kB jpg Left: Melbourne's Neil Crompton signing autographs for young supporters in the dressing rooms. Source: Herald Sun 08 June 2014
Right: Part of the Melbourne Demons cup winning squad with Neil Crompton seat on the ground, extreme right Demon cup winning squad - 35kB jpg

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Good bloke, great sport
By Mike Sheahan - Herald Sun
December 12, 2003

IMAGINE the anticipation, the excitement: Neil "Froggy" Crompton was coming to Werribee to coach the footy club.

It was 1967, just three years after he immortalised his name with what was to become the most telling kick by a Melbourne footballer in 40 years.

Not only was he the hero of the 1964 premiership, he was just 29 when he came to Werribee after 10 seasons at VFL level. We struggled during our first three years in the VFA, but, in keeping with the optimism of youth, the younger players embraced Crompton as the saviour, the man to carry us to glory.

We played Sunshine at Skinner Reserve in Crompton's first appearance as captain-coach, and he copped a knee to the hip early in the game. It might as well have been a bad knee of his own. As you would expect of a new coach, he ignored the pain and the medical advice, and continued to play. That day and the weeks that followed.

The area became infected. It needed to be drained at regular intervals and a player who never ranked pace among his assets suddenly struggled to run at all. The Frog willed his way through the season. He was brave and smart, and no one was quicker at getting boot to ball, a trait born of that lack of pace.

We were a competitive unit under Crompton, making the finals in either his first or second year. I thought he was a great coach, although my experience was limited. I know he was a good bloke. He was humble, fair, agreeable. He also possessed that rare quality of appreciating what sport had brought to his life rather than complain he hadn't earned more from his time at the top.

He came to say hello at halftime during a Melbourne game at the MCG this year, absolutely thrilled to be a guest of the Melbourne Cricket Club at its committee lunch, where he saw so many old friends. We reflected happily on where our paths had taken us in the 35 years since he was a coach and I was a young footballer/journalist, with much to learn in both fields. He came along at a good time in my life. He was both hero and mentor. As a Grand Final hero and a Sheffield Shield cricketer, he was the ultimate in celebrity status for a Werribee boy of 20.

Melbourne FC will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its most recent premiership some time in the next 12 months. It can't possibly be the event it might have been as a result of Neil Crompton's passing. No Norm Smith, no Don Williams, no Neil Crompton. They will be missed.

Good man, the Frog.'
Neil Crompton ~2001 25Kb-jpg
Neil in 2003 with "The Legends of the 'G' "for the MCG's 150th birthday celebrations

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Crompton, the State cricketer

A left-hand batsman, he averaged 32 playing 45 Sheffield Shield matches as an opener for Victoria, made three centuries and was known as a superb slips and gulley fieldsman. His fellow opener Dr Allen Aylett remembered Neil as a terrific friend. "While our feats on the cricket field never entered the record books, we certainly had lots of fun," Dr Aylett said.

Colin Neil Crompton                         Known As: Neil Crompton
Born: 16 August 1937, Dandenong, Victoria   Major Teams: Victoria
Batting Style: Left Hand Bat                Bowling Style: Leg Break

FIRST-CLASS Career Statistics (1957/58 - 1962/63):
                      M    I   NO  Runs   HS   Ave  100  50  Ct  St
Batting / Fielding   45   73    5  2162  124  31.79  3   11  47   0

                      M  Balls  R   W    Ave   BBI   SR   5  10  Ct St
Bowling              45   642  387  8   48.37  2/11 80.2  0   0  44  0

Source: ESPN Cricinfo (Accessed: 07 February 2021)

Later, in a 14 year spell with premiership Melbourne Cricket Club, Froggy made 3308 runs, at an average of 28.03 with six centuries including a highest score of 166. He also took 61 catches. As a mark of respect the Melbourne Cricket Club wore black armbands during their weekend fixture against Ringwood.

You can see the summary of his cricket career here. (Accessed: 07 February 2021)

The death notice posted by the Melbourne Football Club in the Melbourne Herald Sun describes 'Froggy' as a champion clubman and the mastermind of a special moment in football history. "We salute Neil and remember his crowning moment - the goal that gave us the 1964 premiership, " it says. His death came too late for an obituary in the 2004 edition of Wisden.

Additional sources:
Michael Warner, 'Dees mourn a hero', Herald Sun
'Demons legend dies', AAP

The Federal Australian Electoral Roll, which started 1903 and is available in Ancestry, shows

and was living with his parent until the1963 Roll. In 1968 he had moved and married Pamela

where they were last recorded in the 1977 Roll. By 1980 Colin and Pamela had moved to

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