SAAFL History – 1990’s (Crow Mania)

The 1990s has begun with upheaval in the S.A.N.F.L. due to the formation of the Adelaide Crows to compete in the A.F.L. (formerly the V.F.L.). This has severely weakened the strength of the S.A.N.F.L. teams, and so the desirability of disbanding the S.A.N.F.L. reserves and under-age competitions is being discussed at the time of writing. Such a move would have obvious repercussions on the Amateur League and the S.A.F.A. S.A.F.A. itself was experiencing difficulties with only 8 clubs in 1994, down from a peak of 18 clubs in 1980, ‘82 and ‘83.

The perennial dissatisfaction with covert payment of players led to the formation of the Amateur Status Tribunal, but early signs were that it would be no more successful in stopping breaches of amateurism than previous efforts. The 50-metre penalty was introduced along with the 15-minute ‘Sin Bin’. The length of quarters in Reserve matches was increased from 20 minutes to 25, and the Final Five replaced the Page system of finals in the Under 17 grade. 100-game player life membership certificates were replaced by 150-game certificates.

Many amalgamations occurred, and many clubs folded as less and less young lads took up the sport of Australian Rules, and S.A.’s football paper the Football Times ceased production. Greek Camden won the first two premierships of the decade, but by1994 Greek had amalgamated with Henley, and Camden had combined with Plympton High O.S. 1994 began with 59 clubs in the Amateur League and the organisation in a strong financial position, but with only one other metropolitan association left in existence, and it struggling to survive, it was possible that the amateurs would be the only ones left. And what then of amateurism?

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