SAAFL History – 1953

In his annual report the Secretary H.V. Millard complained that the Amateur League was still being asked to deal with large numbers of applications for reinstatement from players with hopeless and unreasonable cases. In future applications for reinstatement would not be heard after June 30th of each year.

In 1952 the Burnside, Campbelltown and Woodville football clubs applied to join the S.A.N.F.L. but were refused. It was reported in February 1953 that the Mayor of Campbelltown, Mr. O.H. Atkinson, had proposed that a new football association be formed similar to the V.F.A., and that he had received 27 applications. Seven of these applications were from Amateur League clubs. It is not known why the proposed association did not eventuate, although such an association was formed much later in 1978.

Keith Sims, St. Peters O.C. captain, former state captain and future President of the Amateur League joined the Amateur League Executive Committee. New teams admitted were Birkenhead Sports (from the Port Adelaide District Association, playing at I.C.I. Oval), Henley A & B (from the West Torrens District Association), Kenilworth B, Long Range Weapons (a newly formed club playing at Penfield Oval Salisbury) and Myer (from the Sturt District Association, playing at Myer Oval), while Kelvinator left for Glenelg South West. This gave 27 clubs and 40 teams and so it was decided to form an A4 division to compete for the C.G.Tideman Shield. With so many clubs the number of delegates was reduced from 2 per club to 1.

An important milestone occurred in 1953 with the introduction of a Colts Division. The initiative behind this move came from Vice President Professor Mark Mitchell who was heavily involved with the development of under-age football in South Australia and was donor of the Mark Mitchell Shield for inter-schools football. Following support from several district clubs it was agreed to form a Colts Division for players under the age of 17 as at July 1st in each year, and that there would be no transfer between the Colts and other divisions once the season had started. University donated the H.V. Millard Shield for the Colts competition, and Deputy Chairman E.P. Nazer donated a medal.

Former League players coaching in the Amateur League were H. Neil Dansie (ex Norwood) at Teachers College, L.G. (Jack) Giles (ex Sturt) at St. Peters O.C., John Mehaffey (ex West Torrens) at Woodville, and E. George Tilley (ex Sturt) at University.

St. Peters O.C. received a bonus on its promotion to A1 when star University players and former St. Peters College students Digby Harris & Peter Harbison graduated in medicine and so joined their school’s old scholars team. For the first time since 1937 St. Peters O.C. made the final four in A1, but only after beating old rival Prince Alfred O.C. in the last minor round game to oust it on percentage.

Premiership Tables

A1 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

Team Gm W L Pts
University 18 15 3 30
Walkerville 18 14 4 28
Exeter 18 12 6 24
St. Peters O.C. 18 11 7 22
Prince Alfred O.C. 18 11 7 22
Woodville 18 8 10 16
Flinders Park 18 7 11 14
Semaphore Central 18 7 11 14
Alberton Church Unit. 18 3 15 6
Goodwood 18 2 16 4

Exeter beat minor premier University 10.12 to 8.11 in one Semi Final, and Walkerville beat St. Peters in the other 10.16 to 10.6. In the Final at Glenelg Oval, Walkerville held Exeter goalless in the first half but then had to withstand a much more determined effort in the second half to win narrowly by four points 7.11 to 7.7. The Challenge Final was played at Alberton Oval under L.G. ’Congie’ McLean. Walkerville handled the strong wind better and with centreman Ron Saul and half forward Claude Jarratt on top and Brian Perkins playing well in the ruck, won its second A1 premiership 8.10 to 7.8 despite an outstanding game from University’s ‘Wimpy’ McLeod.

A2 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

The A2 competition had future North Adelaide captain/coach Don Lindner playing for Teachers College and singer Johnny Mac (Mackereth) playing for Kenilworth. However, Rosewater dominated the competition.

Team Gm W L D Pts
Rosewater 18 17 1 0 34
Kenilworth 18 12 6 0 24
Kings O.C. 18 11 6 1 23
Teachers College 18 10 8 0 20
Colonel Light Gardens 18 9 9 0 18
Payneham 18 9 9 0 18
University B 18 8 10 0 16
Riverside 18 7 10 1 15
Semaphore Park 18 6 12 0 12
Semaphore Central B 18 0 18 0 0

Rosewater and Teachers College won the Semi Finals 13.11 to 10.15 and 10.14 to 7.9 respectively. Rosewater then went on to win its first A2 premiership by defeating Teachers in the Final at Payneham Oval 15.21 to 9.10.

A3 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

Newcomer Henley was well on its way to an undefeated season at the end of the minor round in A3.

Team Gm W L Pts
Henley 18 18 0 36
S.A. Railways Institute 18 14 4 28
Woodville B 18 12 6 24
University C 18 11 7 22
Commonwealth Bank 18 11 7 22
St. Peters O.C. B 18 9 9 18
Exeter B 18 8 10 16
Nth Brighton/Somerton 18 5 13 10
Payneham B 18 1 17 2
Flinders Park B 18 1 17 2

As expected Henley and Railways won the Semi Finals 14.9 to 6.6 and 10.10 to 6.12 respectively, and Henley went on to win the premiership at Teachers College Oval 13.13 to 7.6.

The two new clubs Birkenhead Sports (34) and Myer (26) finished on top of A4 after 18 rounds, with Kenilworth (23) and Scotch O.C. (22) making up the four, followed by Henley B (18), Pulteney O.S. (16), Prince Alfred O.C. B (15), Long Range Weapons (13), Goodwood B (9) and Teachers College B (4). The Semi Finals were won by Birkenhead (10.18 to 5.9) and Myer (16.12 to 7.9). Birkenhead and Myer then played off in the Final for the Tideman Shield, resulting in a Birkenhead victory 9.11 to 7.8.

The Under 17 Colts division was comprised of six teams which played 15 rounds and finished in the order Colonel Light Gardens (24), Payneham (24), Woodville (20), Flinders Park (12), Adelaide (10) and Goodwood (0). Adelaide was sponsored by the Y.M.C.A. and University. Woodville and Payneham won the Semi Finals 5.10 to 5.6 and 9.12 to 5.2 respectively, then Payneham beat Woodville in the Final 6.9 to 5.9 and Colonel Light Gardens 7.6 to 0.6 in the Challenge Final at Woodville Oval to win the Millard Shield.

For the second year in succession there was a tie in the A1 voting and so two Hone Medals were presented. The recipients were University and state vice captain Alistair McLeod and Semaphore Central and state rover Jim Sawford.

Another state player Jim Farr who had moved from Riverside to Rosewater won the A2 medal by 12 votes. Ian McLeod of Railways won his second successive A3 medal, while the appropriately named Max ‘Moggie’ Myers of Myer won the inaugural A4 Treloar Medal by 15 votes, and Brian Blackwood of Flinders Park won the inaugural Colts Nazer Medal. The War Memorial Medal was awarded to state player Barry Skinner of Exeter. Alistair McLeod topped off a big year by being the A1 leading goalkicker with 67 goals, and Don Pryor kicked 118 goals in A3 for Henley.

The fifth A.A.F.C. Carnival held at University Oval at the end of July was brought forward a year because of the A.N.F.C. carnival to be held in 1954. Coach was George Tilley. Captain of the side was Don Brebner, former University player now with Walkerville. Peter Tunbridge of University created a first by playing against his brother Geoff Tunbridge in the Victorian Side.

The S.A. squad was as follows:

  • Brebner, Don captain Walkerville
  • Davies, Don Prince Alfred O.C.
  • Dodson, Brian Exeter
  • Farr, Jim Rosewater
  • Hill, Peter Prince Alfred O.C.
  • Kitchener, Martin University
  • Laurie, John University
  • Lawrence, John University
  • Lomman, Len Payneham
  • Magnusson, Robert Semaphore Central
  • Martin, Jerry University
  • McFarlane, Jock St. Peters O.C.
  • McInerney, Tom Exeter
  • McLeod, Alistair vice capt. University
  • Natt, Merv Exeter
  • Price, Owen Prince Alfred O.C.
  • Sawford, Jim Semaphore Central
  • Simmons, Kevin Semaphore Central
  • Skinner, Barry Exeter
  • Smith, Graham Flinders Park
  • Thorpe, Robert Walkerville
  • Tunbridge, Peter University
  • Walsh, John University
  • Wilkinson, Ken Walkerville
  • Yon, Max Woodville

A trial match was played against the Upper Murray League at Barmera on July 18th, and the scores were as follows:

1Q 2Q 3Q Final S.A.A.F.L. 4.3 9.10 13.13 16.17 (113) Upper Murray 3.2 4.3 9.7 11.8 (74)

  • Goalkickers: Martin 4, Sawford 3, Farr 2, McLeod 2, Tunbridge 2, Walsh 2, McFarlane
  • Best Players: Sawford, Martin, Dodson, Farr, Price, Kitchener

The carnival was opened at University Oval before a crowd of 1500 people by the Chief Justice of S.A. Sir Mellis Napier, a member of University’s first ever football team nearly fifty years prior. The W.A. team was billeted out by Semaphore Central.

Tuesday July 28th 1953

S.A.Team v Tasmania

In the opening match S.A. played extremely well, with Jim Sawford winning the roving duels, Barry Skinner the centre and Alistair McLeod unstoppable at centre half forward. W.J. Edgeword was the umpire.1Q 2Q 3Q Final S.A. 7.6 10.8 19.15 22.20 (152) Tasmania 1.1 4.3 4.5 9.9 (63)

  • Goalkickers: McLeod 5, McFarlane 4, Tunbridge 4, Davies 3, Sawford 3, Martin 2, Walsh 1
  • Best Players: Sawford, Skinner, Davies, McLeod, Tunbridge, Wilkinson

1Q 2Q 3Q Final Victoria 6.1 10.8 17.11 22.11 (143) W.A. 2.5 6.7 7.9 8.12 (60)

Thursday July 30th 1953

S.A.Team v Western Australia

S.A. had to struggle to beat W.A. who kicked the same score as it did against Victoria, but allowed its opponents eight less goals. Bespectacled follower Ken Wilkinson and rover Jerry Martin stood out for S.A. F.K. Russell umpired.1Q 2Q 3Q Final S.A. 2.2 5.3 10.7 14.10 (94) W.A. 2.3 4.9 5.9 8.12 (60)

  • Goalkickers: Martin 3, McLeod 3, McFarlane 2, Walsh 2, Farr, Lomman, McInerney, Tunbridge
  • Best Players: Wilkinson, Martin, Natt, McLeod, Price, Lomman

1Q 2Q 3Q Final Victoria 4.4 11.12 16.18 21.23 (149) Tasmania 1.1 1.1 2.3 3.3 (21) Saturday August 1st 1953

S.A.Team v Victoria

The final match of the carnival was umpired by L.G. McLean, and S.A. was underdog on the form shown by both teams in the previous games. Victoria played up to its best in the Final and outclassed S.A. in all but the last quarter. Jim Sawford and Alistair McLeod capped off a fine carnival to be S.A.’s best.1Q 2Q 3Q Final Victoria 4.4 9.8 12.12 16.16 (112) S.A. 1.1 1.1 2.3 8.6 (54)

  • Goalkickers: Martin 3, Davies 2, Sawford 2, Hill
  • Best Players: Sawford, McLeod, Dodson, Martin, Skinner, Wilkinson

1Q 2Q 3Q Final W.A. 1.2 5.6 7.9 10.12 (72) Tasmania 2.2 3.3 5.5 9.8 (62)

Victoria thus won its fourth carnival. Merv Natt was awarded the trophy for the best S.A. player at the carnival.

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