TeamGmsWLDPts
West Adelaide United18144028
Semaphore Central18135026
St. Peters O.C.18116123
Prince Alfred O.C.18108020
University18108020
Underdale1898119
Kenilworth18710115
Exeter18711014
Walkerville18611113
Eastwood1811702

In the A2 competition, Alberton Church United was the dominant team with only two losses in the minor round, while Scotch came from bottom in 1936 to second position.

TeamPlayedWonLostPts
Alberton Church United1816232
Scotch O.C.1814428
S.A. Railways Institute1813526
Colonel Light Gardens1812624
Y.M.C.A.1811722
Teachers College189918
Kings O.C.1761112
Pulteney O.S.1851310
Christian Brothers O.C.172154
Combined Banks181172

1937 was an important milestone in interstate football as S.A. had its first victory in Victoria. Another highlight was a match between the amateurs and a team representing the South Australian Football Association (S.A.N.F.L. second teams). A less happy event was the disqualification of West Adelaide United at the end of the season.

Umpires for the season included C. W. Bennett, J. E. Church, K. Gower, F. W. Hancock, E. Hargreaves, C. Hounslow, F. J. Monten, S. H. Oehme, J. H. Parkinson, B. F. Schumacher, A. H. Schwarz, and R. A. Vardon. They received 25 shillings a match.

Three clubs left the Amateur League in 1937 and so three new ones were admitted, retaining the ten-team competition in both A1 and A2. Leaving A1 were Goodwood who did not form, and Henley and Grange who reverted to Grange and played in Adelaide & Suburban. Their places in A1 were taken by the A2 finalists of the previous season Walkerville and Eastwood. Also leaving A2 was Holdens who disbanded after only one season in the Amateur League, so three new clubs came into A2, namely S.A. Railways Institute and Colonel Light Gardens who both returned after a spell in Adelaide & Suburban, and newly-formedCombined Banks, the first bank team in regular Saturday afternoon competition since Bankers in 1877. Broadview and Paynehamalso applied for affiliation but were unsuccessful.

With one match left in the A1 minor round, three teams were playing for fourth position. Underdale had 19 points, Prince Alfred O.C. 18 and University 18. Princes played top side West Adelaide United, while Underdale played University, so any of the three teams could win the coveted finals spot. As it turned out, Princes beat West Adelaide and University defeated Underdale so Princes won a finals berth. This was the first and only time that two old collegiate clubs competed in the same A1 finals series.

In the Semi Finals, West Adelaide beat St. Peters O.C. at Prospect Oval 10.12 to 8.14, while Prince Alfred O.C. beat Semaphore Central at Norwood Oval 16.13 to 15.14. In the Final at Thebarton Oval, Princes took another step towards emulating Saints’ 1935 premiership success when it beat West Adelaide 9.8 to 7.17 after trailing for all but the last five minutes of the match.

Waldeck starred at centre half back and Bennett and Stanford also played well for the Old Reds. The match was marred by fighting in the last quarter and general bad behaviour both on and off the field. West Adelaide then exercised its right of challenge, and aided by straight kicking for goal, denied Princes the opportunity of being only the second old collegiate team to win an A1 premiership. United won the match at Prospect Oval under umpire J.H. Parkinson 10.3 to 7.10, with skipper L. R. Brown, full back/full forward Ron Keane and ruckman Jim Bellhouse all prominent.

The match was played in a much better spirit than was the case the previous week, but again there was brawling amongst the spectators requiring police action, and the matter was brought before the Tribunal comprising F. S. Hone, S. H. Lewis and E. Millhouse. The matter was then referred to the General Committee which supported the recommendation of the Tribunal that A1 premiers West Adelaide United be expelled from the Amateur League because of the unacceptable behaviour of the Club’s supporters as well as of some Club officials and players. President Massey stated that the behaviour of supporters was the responsibility of the clubs, a principle of which West Adelaide United officials had been advised when the Club joined the Amateur League. A report in the Advertiser on the 11th March 1938, quoted as follows from the Amateur League’s annual report for 1937:

The Amateur League … has long realised that troublesome supporters and larrikinism are one of the greatest dangers to the popularity of Australian rules football, especially when games are played on open grounds and park lands. In consequence of this it has always been the policy of the league to make clubs responsible for their supporters. While such a policy may seem harsh, it is the only possible way that the position can be controlled, and clubs which draw to themselves irresponsible supporters will not be allowed to remain in the league. The future of the game as a national sport largely depends on its power to entice decent players, and this will only be possible as long as games are played under sportsmanlike conditions and are free from ruffianism and objectionable barracking. Clubs should therefore make every effort to control their supporters by letting it become widely known that unseemly behaviour by spectators will result in the penalising of their clubs.

Alberton beat Railways at Alberton Oval 6.15 to 6.12 and Colonel Light Gardens beat Scotch at Prospect Oval 11.4 to 7.11. The Final was played at Alberton Oval and Alberton Church United emerged premiers with a 6.7 to 5.3 victory.

Awards

For the first time there were ties in both the A1 and A2 medals and it was agreed to strike two medals for each grade. The A1 medallists were Robert Clark of St. Peters O.C. and John Stephens of Prince Alfred O.C., while the A2 medallists were Ivan Hooper of Pulteney O.S. (his second in a row) and Alan James of Combined Banks. The A1 leading goalkicker was Jack Johnsonof Semaphore Central with 105 goals, and Bill Isaac of Y.M.C.A., a former West Torrens player, topped the A2 list with 95 goals.

Combined

For the first time a match was arranged between the Amateur League and the S.A. Football Association. It was played atAdelaide Oval on Anzac Day following a request from the Returned Soldiers and Sailors’ Imperial League with the proceeds devoted to a fund for disabled returned men. Because the Amateur League programme did not start until May 1st, a squad was selected to train at University Oval under coach M.W. Evans from April 16th. The final team selected was as follows:

  • Adcock, Clarrie follower Kings O.C.
  • Amos, Arthur fp West Adelaide United
  • Bellhouse, Jim ruck West Adelaide United
  • Brookman, Michael hb St.Peters O.C.
  • Brown, Wally hb West Adelaide United
  • Hawke, Harold follower Walkerville
  • Hayward, Anthony wing St.Peters O.C.
  • Hooper, Ivan hf Pulteney O.S.
  • Johnson, Jack chb Semaphore Central
  • Keane, Ron v.capt. ruck West Adelaide United
  • Kleinschmidt, Pat fb University
  • Leak, Bill centre Scotch O.C.
  • Lee, Bob captain rover St.Peters O.C.
  • LeMessurier, Peter rover University
  • McCormack, Clarrie res West Adelaide United
  • Pash, Jeff hf Teachers College
  • Reeves, Len wing Eastwood
  • South, King bp University
  • Stephens, John chf Prince Alfred O.C.

For some time there had been speculation as to the relative strength of the two bodies, and the result suggested they were probably about equal because the match ended in a draw!

Team1Q2Q3QFinal
S.A.A.F.L.1.84.138.229.24 (78)
S.A.F.A.4.38.88.911.12 (78)