|Full name||Richard Patrick Condon|
|Date of birth||19 March 1876|
|Place of birth||Carlton, Victoria|
|Date of death||27 December 1946(aged 70)|
|Place of death||Sydney, New South Wales|
|Original team(s)||Collingwood Juniors|
|Height||180 cm (5 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||72 kg (159 lb)|
|1894-1896||Collingwood (VFA)||45 (14)|
|1897-1900; 1902-1906||Collingwood||149 (101)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1909.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Richard Condon (19 March 1876 – 27 December 1946) was an Australian rules footballer who played for Collingwood and Richmond in the Victorian Football Association (VFA) and the Victorian Football League (VFL) from 1894-1900, 1902-1906 and 1908-1909.
Condon was a highly skilled player, a wiry and tenacious man of greater than average height (5'11"; 180 cm), with great speed, brilliant evasive skills, and an outstanding capacity for reading a game.
He played mainly as a "follower".
He is widely credited as the man who contributed the most to the development of the stab-kick which (once the specially designed "blunter" Sherrin Match II football was introduced into the VFL) became the central feature of the Collingwood football team's pattern of play.
An 18 August 1905 newspaper report, referring to him as "that fiery football genius Dick Condon", described his coaching style as a "combination of brimstone oratory and skilful [sic] tactics".
In physical terms he was an extremely flexible and well-balanced player. He was able to pick the ball up from the ground with either hand, he was able to kick place-kicks, punt-kicks, drop-kicks, and stab-kicks with either foot, and he could handball with either hand.
He was far from well-balanced in terms of his threshold for violence (which was directed at his own teammates as often as his opponents), his short temper with club officials and umpires, his view that things must always be seen from his own perspective, his intolerance of failure, and his propensity for continuously abusing umpires, all of which were continuously displayed throughout his long career.
Halfway through the 1900 season, Condon was appointed captain of Collingwood. In his new role as captain, he gave the umpires an even harder time.
He abused field umpire Bill Freame on 7 July 1900 continuously throughout the match against South Melbourne at the Lake Oval after a number of decisions went against the Magpies, and he was suspended for three weeks by the VFL. Two weeks later, whilst still under VFL suspension, he got into a fist-fight with teammate Arthur Robson in the middle of Collingwood's three-quarter time huddle; the pair had to be restrained by the umpires, teammates and Collingwood club officials.
On 1 September 1900, during Collingwood's second round-robin finals match against Geelong at the Corio Oval, Condon became so upset with the umpiring of Dick Gibson during the last quarter of the match that he lost his temper and signalled for his teammates to follow him off the Corio Oval, demanding that the Collingwood match committee order the Collingwood players from the field. After umpire Gibson threatened to report the entire Collingwood team for bringing the game into disrepute, the Collingwood committee refused to do so, and instead ordered Condon and the team to either return to the field, or be expelled from the club. At that stage Collingwood was a point ahead of Geelong, but Condon's behaviour so unsettled his team that it did not score again, and lost to Geelong 6.8 (44) to 4.7 (31). It was the loss in this match that eliminated Collingwood from premiership calculations in that year.
In the final match of the three round-robin match series the following week, Collingwood played against Melbourne Football Club at the Lake Oval. The field umpire for the match, Henry "Ivo" Crapp, was considered to be the most experienced umpire in the competition. After a decision went against the Magpies in the first quarter, Condon abused Crapp throughout the remainder of the match, culminating in his infamous barrage of insults involving the umpire's daughter.
He was reported for his conduct, and the VFL Investigative Committee immediately suspended Condon for life. A newspaper report of 17 September 1900 suggested that Condon would now be able to "spend the rest of his days thinking about the joy and glory of his lost future in the game", observed that 'Collingwood has turned away from him", and noted that "club discipline has outweighed any sympathy for a fallen hero", provided additional details of the incident:
[The third match of the round-robin series against Melbourne was] umpired by an experienced man in H. "Ivo" Crapp. Condon would not leave Crapp alone all day. He sealed his fate when he was free-kicked for tripping a Melbourne man in the second quarter and said to Crapp: "Your girl's a bloody whore."
We may be left only memories of this man who made a specialty of twisting in the air as he took a mark, hitting the ground running towards goal. He could pick the ball up with each hand with equal sureness, and kick accurately, short or long, with both feet. He was fast, had tremendous balance, and was the best man in the game at getting out of trouble -- except for his mouth.
Over an eighteen-month period, Condon appealed against his lifetime ban on three occasions.