Norm Ferguson, a state selector and former captain of Walkerville and the state, was nominated for Life Membership in 1954. It was decided to award him a Certificate of Merit instead, but it raised the question of the appropriate recognition for long-serving players in the Amateur League. The suggestion of a Player Life Membership award was put on hold and then introduced in 1955. To qualify for Player Life Membership a player would need to achieve 100 games in the Amateur League uninterrupted by playing in other associations. This requirement lasted until 1992 when the number of games required was raised to 150.
Grange was admitted for the first time under its own name. It had been involved in the twenties and thirties under the banner of Henley and Grange and would be so again later in 1958. University entered a fourth team and B teams for Semaphore Park and Walkerville were also admitted, requiring an increase in the A3 and A4 grades to 12 teams each. Alberton Church United changed its name to just Alberton United.
Semaphore Central started the season well by winning its first eight matches in succession including the game against University, but then University took over and never lost another match in the minor round. This was the fifth year in succession that University was minor premier.
A1 Premiership Table
(as at the end of the minor round)
|St. Peters O.C.||18||7||11||14|
As expected, University easily won its Semi Final against Walkerville 17.14 to 8.9. The surprise was in the other match where Semaphore was expected to beat co-tenants Exeter who had played poorly the week before in losing to Woodville by nearly five goals. However, with skipper Merv Natt in great form at half back and George Lidstone winning the rucks, Exeter won 12.14 to 9.7. The Final was played at Alberton Oval and again Exeter defied the critics by beating the minor premier 15.8 to 12.9, but it was asking a lot of it to front up again the following week in the Challenge Final at Alberton Oval and inflict successive defeats on the strong Uni team. The Challenge match was hard and rugged and the University rucks held sway. Despite losing
five-goal full forward Charlie Akkermans after half time, the Blacks deadly accuracy and fresher legs saw them run out easy victors 18.5 to 7.7. Best for the Blacks were Ketley, McLeod and Tuckwell. This was Varsity’s fourth premiership in five seasons.
A2 Premiership Table
(as at the end of the minor round)
Riverside and Payneham led the A2 grade.
|Colonel Light Gardens||18||14||4||28|
|Prince Alfred O.C.||18||8||10||16|
|S.A. Railways Institute||18||1||17||2|
Goodwood surprised by beating Riverside 13.12 to 13.3 in one Semi Final, while in the other Payneham defeated Colonel Light 16.9 to 10.12. Payneham then went on to win the Final at Kings College 13.16 to Goodwood 6.11.
A3 Premiership Table
(as at the end of the minor round)
The competition was tight at the top of A3.
|St. Peters O.C. B||20||4||16||0||8|
Semaphore and Commonwealth Bank won the Semi Finals 17.15 to 15.12, and 9.15 to 9.9 respectively. The Final was played at Payneham, and with five minutes to go it looked as though the bankers would win, but star Semaphore recruit (a state player formerly playing for Rosewater) Jim Farr in a brilliant burst kicked three goals in as many minutes to win the match for Semaphore Park by two points, 12.10 to 11.14.
In A4 the premiership table at the end of the minor round had Pulteney OS (36), Semaphore Central B (36), Long Range Weapons (32), Kenilworth B (28), Rosewater B (24), Walkerville B (22), Teachers College B (20), University D (14), Semaphore Park B (10), Goodwood B (8), Colonel Light Gardens B (6) and P.A.O.C. B (4). The Semi Finals saw victories to Long Range Weapons (13.12 to 13.7) and Semaphore (19.19 to 9.11), and a Final victory to Weapons 8.12 to 7.13. Pulteney issued the Challenge and at Walkerville Oval in heavy rain Weapons led right up to three quarter time after which it was held scoreless. With winning rucks the Pulteney team won its first Amateur League premiership 8.11 to 7.6.
In and Under 17 Colts minor round match between Flinders Park and Grange, Flinders Park forward Blowes kicked 24 goals. At the end of the minor round however, Woodville were undefeated after 15 rounds on 30 points followed by Payneham (21), Flinders Park (16), Henley (10), Goodwood (9) and Walkerville (4). Woodville went through undefeated beating Flinders Park in the Semi 9.14 to 2.7 (while Payneham beat Henley 2.6 to 1.5), then beating Payneham in the Final at Walkerville Oval 8.12 to 3.5.
The Hone Medal was won by state player, Australian 440-yard champion and future Olympic 400-metres relay silver medallist Leon Gregory of St. Peters O.C. Don ‘Dasher’ Looker of Payneham won the A2 medal, Jim Farr of Semaphore Park the A3 medal, Desmond Whitford of Long Range Weapons the A4 medal, and there was a tie in the Colts medal between future state captain Bob Farnham of Payneham, and Barry Gebler of Goodwood. Geoff Krieger of University won the War Memorial Medal for the second year in succession. The A1 leading goalkicker was University’s Charlie Akkermans with 80 goals.
The state match was played against Victoria at Alberton Oval on June 13. Alistair McLeod was appointed captain but had to withdraw because of a back injury, and Trevor Jarman was an emergency. Semaphore Central had six representatives, and George Tilley was again coach.
- Ardill, Peter follower Henley
- Atkins, Len reserve Semaphore Central
- Clarke, George centre Riverside
- Crowe, Noel hf University
- Fletcher, Don captain fb Semaphore Central
- Gregory, Leon follower St.Peters O.C.
- Gross, Claude rover Walkerville
- Grovie, Alan rover Henley
- Hargrave, Gerry reserve St.Peters O.C.
- Irvine, Charlie ff Semaphore Central
- Jarratt, Claude wing Walkerville
- Johnson, Ross wing University
- Koch, Dean ruck Semaphore Central
- Krieger, Geoff chf University
- Lidstone, George ruck Exeter
- Myers, Max hb Myer
- Natt, Merv hb Exeter
- Pak-Poy, Pat hf University
- Powell, Peter bp Semaphore Central
- Simmons, Kevin chb Semaphore Central
The Victorians arrived by train on the Saturday morning and practiced at Kings College where they were entertained at lunch. Races and League football were on the agenda for the afternoon, then the Walkerville Football Club’s cabaret that evening. Sunday was spent at Hugh Millard’s birthplace Victor Harbour.
After all this excitement the players had to switch on for the big match on Monday afternoon under the direction of central umpire Fred Russell. The Alberton Oval turf was very heavy, and the Vics were on top in the first quarter. Things got a bit rough in the second quarter, and captain Don Fletcher got a kick in the eye courtesy of McLaughlin, the Victorian captain. This and other incidents resulted in words between the players as they went off at half time, particularly between Fletcher and Victorian ruckman O’Brien.
Despite his badly injured eye, Fletcher insisted on returning to the fray (with vengeance in mind), telling follower Peter Ardill to win the first tap and reserve Len Atkins to be ready to come straight on. Ardill won the tap, Fletcher cleaned up O’Brien then ran straight off the ground, Atkins ran to the forward pocket took a mark and kicked a goal. From then on S.A. got on top kicking four goals to one in the third quarter, and with Geoff Krieger providing a safe avenue through centre half forward and George Clarke starring in the pivot, finished strongly to record its sixth win against Victoria in 23 matches. Umpire’s coach Casey Cooper credited the win to Don Fletcher.
1Q 2Q 3Q Final S.A. 2.0 5.3 9.7 13.7 (85) Victoria 5.3 7.4 8.6 12.10 (82)
- Goalkickers: Krieger 4, Ardill 3, Gross 2, Irvine 2, Fletcher, Johnson
- Best Players: Clarke, Krieger, Ardill, Natt, Simmons, Powell