Adelaide University is a foundation club of the league and the most successful in the league’s history having won 23 first division premierships. The club currently fields the largest number of SAAFL teams of any club, all of whom play at the dreaded University Oval, or nearby Park 10. The club enjoys somewhat of a cult following and supporters are often heard uttering the name – or singing songs about – their unoffical mascot, Bob Neil, after whom their web site has been named.
In the years 1905, 1909, 1910 and 1911 the Club applied to join the SAFL without success and was then actively involved in the formation of the SAAFL. It is the only club still remaining from the SAAFL’s inaugural year. The Club’s dominance during the 1950s and 60s (when it played in every A1 Grand Final) led the SAAFL to recommend in 1962 that it be split into two separate clubs along the lines of the Melbourne University Blacks and Blues. However, this did not eventuate, and with 9 senior teams taking the field from 1987 to 1989, the Club proclaimed itself the “biggest open-age Australian Rules football club in the world”. The Club has played in every season of the SAAFL competition, has won 21 A1 premierships, had 8 A1 medallists, 48 state players. 4 All-Australian captains (McLeod, Muir, Rofe, J.F.Sangster), and the first AAFC Carnival medallist to play for S.A. (Paul Rofe), However, its dominance at A1 level effectively came to an end in round 8, 1970 when the Club lost all points in all grades (when its A1 team was away at Intervarsity and undefeated) after playing an ineligible player in an A2 match. It did win A1 premierships in 1974, ’75 and ’86, and furthermore has never been out of A1, but stronger recruiting by Old Scholars Clubs and the entry of University students directly into SAAFL clubs while still undergraduates, reduced the Club’s playing strength compared to earlier years. In 1998 the Club took over the Roseworthy campus football team which had previously competed in the Adelaide Plains League.
A History of the South Australian Amateur Football League 1911-1994, Fred Bloch © 1995