Team Gms W L Pts
St. Peters O.C. 14 12 2 24
Underdale 14 11 3 22
Kenilworth 14 9 5 18
University 14 8 6 16
Exeter 14 7 7 14
Henley & Grange 14 6 8 12
Goodwood 14 1 13 2
Kensington 14 1 13 2

The A2 competition was dominated by newcomers West Adelaide United and Eastwood as the premiership table shows.

Team Gms W L D Pts
West Adelaide United 14 12 1 1 25
Eastwood 14 10 3 1 21
Prince Alfred O.C. 14 10 4 0 20
Semaphore Central 14 9 5 0 18
Teachers College 14 7 7 0 14
Scotch O.C. 13 4 9 0 8
Alberton Church Unit 13 1 12 0 2
Adelaide High O.S. 14 1 13 0 2

The highlights of 1935 were the formation of an Executive Committee, an experiment with 16-a-side football, and the first and only ‘old scholars’ A1 premiership.

The need for regular decision making at the top level of the Amateur League led to an Executive Committee being formed comprised of the President, Secretary and Treasurer plus three members of the General Committee. Its brief was to oversee the Amateur League’s finances, organise state matches and the finals series, and to deal with matters requiring urgent attention. The members were J. T. Massey (President), J. A. Maitland (Chairman), H. V. Millard (Secretary), C. G. Tideman (Treasurer), W. C. Buckley, J. D. Murphy (Underdale) and H. L. Tapping (Exeter).

A significant change to the rules was being considered. Sixteen-a-side football had been played in Tasmania for some years because of the relatively small size of the local grounds, and was about to be trialed in Melbourne. S.A.A.F.L. President Massey was a strong advocate of the proposal and had been arguing its merits for some time, and so it was decided to try it out in Adelaide prior to discussing it at the national level later in the year. An ideal opportunity presented itself in a suggestion for a game between representatives of the two divisions, as it was considered that the A2 grade was unusually strong with the entry of West Adelaide United and Eastwood and the good form of Prince Alfred O.C. Accordingly, a team was selected from the A1 clubs to play a team from A2 clubs on July 20th at Thebarton Oval under the following conditions.

1. Each team to comprise 19 players of which no more than 16 may be on the field at any one time. 2. Free interchange with the three reserve players. 3. Fifteen players to be in set positions, the sixteenth to be a rover. 4. At centre bounces only the centremen and rovers allowed within ten yards of the centre circle.

The rucks and followers as we know them today were considered the main cause of congestion and so were eliminated.

Some embarrassment was caused when the A2 side comfortably beat the A1 side 20.8 to 12.14 after trailing 3.5 to 9.7 at half-time. However, the match was not considered a valuable guide to the merits of 16-a-side football because it was played on a much bigger oval than usual for the amateurs, and hence created more space anyway. It was also suggested that the absence of the ruckmen robbed the game of some of its more vigorous give and take. Nevertheless, taking the lead from Massey, the S.A. delegates discussed the merits of changing to the smaller numbers most enthusiastically at a meeting of the A.A.F.C. in August. The enthusiasm died, however, when the Victorian delegates expressed the opinion that it was too radical a move, and that such a major adjustment to the rules of the game should come from the National Council, otherwise the code could be splintered.

The playing season was inundated by flu epidemics and social evenings. On several occasions teams either forfeited through a lack of fit players (or in the case of Teachers College because its players were on vacation!) or took to the field with anything from 13 to 18 players (plus a reserve on good days). The Semaphore Central players were the envy of other teams when they were served hot lemon drinks by the coach’s wife.

To boost the players’ morale in a gloomy winter, smoke socials, euchre and bridge evenings, ‘bucks’ picnics, picture evenings and dances proliferated. A lecture entitled “How To Play Football” became all the rage as coach’s took it in turns to tell the masses how the game should be played. First Underdale received it during a pasty supper evening (which also included musical offerings and recitations) from Magarey Medallist, Mr. Jack Sexton, captain/coach of Norwood; then West Adelaide United took its turn with Mr. Sexton, followed by Semaphore Central receiving the same address from Port Adelaide coach Mr. L. Ashby.

Four clubs entered and three left in 1935. Returning after a one-year absence were Scotch O.C. and Teachers College (formerly Teachers Training College, now playing at Teachers College Oval on Mackinnon Parade, North Adelaide). New club West Adelaide United had just been formed, and was about to enjoy three dominant seasons in the S.A.A.F.L. before disappearing into oblivion. The other new club was Eastwood (formerly Eastwood Rechabite), premiers in 1934 of the Rechabites Association in what became that association’s last season of existence. West Adelaide United played at Railways Oval, and Eastwood played at Park 17 in the south parklands next to Kenilworth’s ground. All of these 4 new teams played in A2 which rose from 7 to 8 teams with the departure of 3 clubs. Leaving after only a one-year visit were Black Forest who joined Adelaide & Suburban, and Unley Amateurs who disbanded. The third club which left was Y.M.C.A. which went into recess for a season before returning in 1936.

Promoted to A1 were the 1934 A2 Grand Finalists Henley & Grange and Exeter, replacing bottom A1 teams P.A.O.C. and Alberton Church United. Right from the start of the season, St.Peters O.C. showed it would be hard to beat with a very strong line-up including captain/rover Bob Lee, vice captain/half-back Lionel Bridgland, full back Jack Flood, rover Peter LeMessurier, centre half-forward Tony Jay, centreman John Bertram, full forward Bob Richmond, ruckman Dudley Hill, wingman Anthony Hayward and coach Lisle Mutton ex-Norwood and state footballer. It lost only two minor round matches by a total of five points.

S.P.O.C. beat Kenilworth 14.14 to 9.8 and Underdale beat University 12.9 to 9.5. The Final was played at Railways Oval with S.P.O.C. warm favourites despite Underdale’s finals experience in winning the last two premierships. However, with only one point separating the teams at the beginning of the final quarter, Underdale broke away to win 10.12 to 8.9. The Challenge Final was played on the more spacious Unley Oval under Mr. C. Hounslow, and again only one point separated the teams at the commencement of the last quarter. This time it was the Old Blues’ turn as it peppered the goals and then had to withstand some rough-house tactics to eventually emerge premiers, the final score being 13.8 to 10.13. Captain Lee kicked five goals and dominated the packs, Bridgland was steady at half back and Jay starred at centre half forward. At the time of writing, this is the only old collegiate team to win an A1 premiership in the history of the S.A.A.F.L..

For one of the few occasions on record, a match was cancelled because of the condition of the ground, when Alberton and Scotch were due to meet at Queenstown in round 2. Fortunately, the decision to cancel the match had no effect on the final four, and so Eastwood and Semaphore met in the First Semi with latter winning 13.12 to 4.11. West Adelaide won its Semi Final against Princes 11.13 to 9.9. The Final was played at Kenilworth’s ground in the south parklands due to the unavailability of a more suitable oval. With captain Jack Hill dominating at centre half back and centre half forward, West Adelaide was a comfortable winner in its first season in the amateurs, the final score being 13.26 to 11.10.

Awards

The Hone Medal was won by Goodwood centre half back Ray McArthur, and the Chambers Medal by Teachers College captain and centre half forward Bill Bentley who had also won it in 1933 and who was described as “one of the greatest half-forwards who has ever played amateur football in this state” (Advertiser 12.8.35). The leading A1 goalkicker was Don Wallace of Exeter with 60 goals, while Gordon Amos of West Adelaide United led the A2 division with 72.

Interstate

The annual interstate match was played against Victoria at the Richmond Cricket Ground on the King’s Birthday holiday, Monday June 3rd, and the following team was selected to make the trip under manager H.V. Millard.

  • Amos, Gordon West Adelaide United
  • Bellhouse, Jim West Adelaide United
  • Bentley, Bill vice captain Teachers College
  • Bertram, John St.Peters O.C.
  • Bridgland, Lionel St.Peters O.C.
  • Bungey, David Adelaide High O.S.
  • Burnard, Don University
  • Burnett, Charlie Underdale
  • Colley, Ted Exeter
  • Elix, Bob University
  • Friedrichs, Noel Teachers College
  • Goode, G Kenilworth
  • Hill, Jack West Adelaide United
  • Lee, Bob captain St.Peters O.C.
  • Marriott, Ted Exeter
  • Mattie, Arthur Henley & Grange
  • McFarlane, John University
  • Reeves, Len Eastwood
  • Sangster, Jack University
  • Scott, Gordon Underdale
  • Tuohy, Howard Eastwood

The match was an even contest for all but the third quarter when the Vics kicked eleven goals in fifteen minutes and effectively won the match. The last quarter did not commence until 5 pm and consequently was played in semi-darkness. S.A. throughout the game had as much of the ball as its opponent but its disposal was far inferior. The Victorian full forward Bill Pearson kicked 12 goals. Rover Noel Friedrichs was awarded the Victorian’s trophy for the best S.A. player, and ruckman Jim Bellhouse dominated the air and was dangerous up forward.

Team 1Q 2Q 3Q Final
Victoria 6.4 9.8 20.10 24.15 (159)
S.A. 4.2 8.5 11.12 15.17 (107)
  • Goalkickers: Amos 4, Friedrichs 4, Bellhouse 3, Bentley 2, Hill 2
  • Best Players: Friedrichs, Bellhouse, Amos, Goode, Bentley, Hill.