SAAFL History – 1980’S (Continuing Growth)

1980 began with an influx of 9 new clubs partly due to the winding-up of the Adelaide Suburban Football Association. A further influx of clubs in the mid-80s as a result of the demise of the Southern Metropolitan League, brought the total number of clubs in the Amateur League to a record 63.

Several changes were made to the playing rules. The interchange of reserves was allowed, the ball was thrown up by the central umpire rather than bounced, and for a while the central umpire brandished a red card a la soccer when banishing a player from the field, but it didn’t seem to work as well as it did in soccer and shortly after was abandoned.

On a very wet day in the middle of winter 1981, a phantom match was played between two old scholars’ sides in the bar of a suburban hotel. The Norwich Union Cup for the best club in the Amateur League was introduced in 1981, while in 1984 Shane Langley created an Amateur League record when he kicked his 1000th goal. The Amateur League celebrated its 75th year in1985 with a dinner at Football Park. A sad event in 1986 was the winding-up of one of the oldest and most successful clubs in the amateurs, Adelaide College. In 1987 a state team was formed to represent the grades A3 to A6, while in 1988 several South Australians were selected to represent the All-Australian Amateurs in the bi-centennial N.F.L. carnival at Football Park.

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