1949 was a busy year for amateur football in South Australia. Three very strong clubs were admitted, two interstate matches and a match against the S.A. Football Association were played, L.R.Cooper began his outstanding career as Umpires' Coach and President Dr. D.G.McKay was awarded Life Membership. It was also the year of big scores with Flinders Park setting an Amateur League record for highest score and winning margin.

1949 was a big year for reinstatements following changes to the rules. Fifty two players (including Sturt and state rover Gil Langley) who had received ‘bonuses’ from S.A.N.F.L. clubs in the past and who would therefore have previously been ineligible for reinstatement, were admitted under the new rules.

The 3 new clubs admitted would have extended stays in the SAAFL. Riverside had been in existence for 20 years before joining the Amateur League, playing in the Port Adelaide District and Adelaide & Suburban Associations. Flinders Park had been formed the year before Riverside, and had seen service in United Church (as Flinders Park Methodist), Adelaide & Suburban and West Torrens District, as well as one season in the Amateur League in 1933 after which it was refused re-affiliation because of the behaviour of its supporters. The third new club was Rosewater, formed after the War and briefly a member of the Adelaide & Suburban and Port Adelaide District Associations.

The admittance of three new clubs and the departure of Payneham B (the A team being relegated to A2) gave the Amateur League thirty clubs and so three divisions of ten teams each. The A3 division was unbalanced by the inclusion of the three new teams which could have competed successfully at least at A2 level. However, this precedent of starting new clubs in the bottom division has lasted to the present time and caused many headaches for opponents of the newcomers.

Nowhere was this more the case than at Flinders Park Oval on 4th June 1949 when Flinders Park defeated Kings O.C. B team 60.32 to nil. This was a record score for South Australia at the time and remains the Amateur League record for South Australia. Flinders Park also scored 40.30 to Queens O.C.'s 1.3, and 42.32 against Prince Alfred O.C. B team's 2.2, the latter team also suffering at the hands of Riverside 43.32 to 3.10.

In A1, 4 teams stood out above the rest, and all 4 were capable of beating each other. University just pipped Exeter for the minor premiership, while Walkerville and Semaphore were not far behind. In fact, up until the last match of the minor round, Semaphore had enjoyed second position, but when it lost the last minor round game to Walkerville, it fell to fourth and was replaced by Exeter. This meant that it would have to play co-tenant Exeter in the Semi Final, and even though it had hammered Exeter in July, it had lost their first encounter of the season.

Premiership Tables


A1 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

TeamGmWLPts
University1816232
Exeter1815330
Walkerville1814428
Semaphore Central1814428
Woodville189918
Kelvinator1871114
Alberton Church Unit.1851310
Kings O.C.184148
Goodwood183156
Prince Alfred O.C.183156

Both Semi Finals were extremely competitive. Walkerville came from three points down to beat University 15.7 to 9.13, while Semaphore recovered from its defeat of the previous week and beat Exeter 9.10 to 6.10, kicking three goals in the last ten minutes of the match. The Final was played at Woodville Oval, and after an even first half Semaphore drew away from Walkerville, the final score being 17.11 to 12.5. The Challenge Final under the control of Mr. A.G. Brand was played at Alberton Oval between old rivals University and Semaphore Central, the two oldest clubs in the Amateur League. Semaphore effectively won the match in the first quarter scoring 5.2 to 0.3. Despite its dominance in ruck University could not make up this deficit against the faster Semaphore players, and the final scores was Semaphore 8.11 to University 4.10. Merton Inglis on a wing and Harry Line at centre half back stood out for the victors along with Salvemini and Sweeney, while White in defence was best for the Blacks. This was Semaphore's eighth premiership making it equal with University.

A2 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

The two teams relegated from A1 the previous season, Colonel Light Gardens and Payneham, led the A2 division with the former undefeated minor premier.

TeamGmWLDPts
Colonel Light Gardens18180036
Payneham18144028
Teachers College18125125
St. Peters O.C.18126024
University B18116123
Kenilworth1899018
S.A.Railways Institute18711014
Scotch O.C.1831506
Christian Brothers O.C.1821604
Goodwood B1811702

Colonel Light Gardens had to struggle in one Semi Final to beat Teachers College 8.12 to 7.15, while Payneham and St. Peters fought a draw 10.8 all in the other. The replay was a fierce affair with the umpire stopping play twice to separate players, and St. Peters came out on top 16.11 to 14.11. However, the tough contests must have sapped Saints as Colonel Light Gardens completed an undefeated season by easily winning the Final at Walkerville Oval 16.11 to 10.10. May, Gray and Allen were prominent for the victors, and made up for the absence of star rover Gil Langley who was on a boat with the Australian cricket team heading for South Africa.

A3 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

If ever a competition was dominated by one team it was the A3 competition in 1949. Newly-admitted Flinders Park scored 2820 points in 18 matches, an average of 26 goals a match. Its defence had things all its own way too as it allowed an average of only four goals a game.

TeamGmWLPts
Flinders Park1818036
Riverside1815330
Rosewater1814428
Postal Institute1812624
St. Peters O.C. B189918
Pulteney O.S.1881016
Teachers College B1851310
Queens O.C.1851310
Prince Alfred O.C. B184148
Kings O.C. B18*0180
  • Includes 11 forfeits after round 7

Kings O.C. B team must have been shell-shocked after its record-breaking loss against Flinders Park on June 4th (nothing to 60.32), because it never played another match that season and the Club did not field a ‘B’ team again until 1962. The only interest in the finals series was whether Riverside could inflict a defeat on the minor premier. The Semi Finals saw Flinders Park and Riverside win their respective matches 18.16 to 2.10 and 22.13 to 8.11, but it was no contest in the Final at Alberton Oval when Flinders Park, under captain/coach and former West Torrens player Eric Jarman, coasted in 16.17 to 2.7 to complete an undefeated season. Balchin was best for Flinders Park along with other former West Torrens players Ken Wood and ‘Jake’ Turner.

Awards

The captain/coach of Exeter, Fred Peters, won the Hone Medal by one vote from Fred Trickett of Walkerville. Harold Simpson ofColonel Light Gardens lined up for his second successive medal when he won the A2 Chambers Medal, and Bob Prater of Postal Institute was the A3 McKay medallist. Future S.A.N.F.L. President Max Basheer, a rover for University and the state, was the A1 leading goalkicker with 59 goals.

Interstate

Now that S.A. was the champion state of Australian amateur football after its success in the Perth Carnival the previous year, the S.A.A.F.L. hierarchy approached the new season with considerable enthusiasm. A busy interstate program was drawn up involving matches against Victoria, Western Australia and the S.A Football Association. Harold Page was reappointed as coach and Assistant Secretary Graham Wilson as manager. The following players took part:

  • Allen, Robert Colonel Light Gardens
  • Basheer, Max University
  • Brebner, Don University
  • Burke, Noel Payneham
  • Curnow, Len Walkerville
  • Davies, Don University
  • Dewar, Chud University
  • Dowding, Alan University
  • Ferguson, Norm cpt Ass/WA Walkerville
  • Garland, Tom Woodville
  • Griffiths, Frank Semaphore Central
  • Harvey, Jim Exeter
  • Jarratt, Claude Walkerville
  • Johnson, Neil Kelvinator
  • Jones, Eric Kelvinator
  • Ladd, Jeff University
  • Line, Harry Semaphore Central
  • McInerney, Tom Woodville
  • Michelmore, Barry University
  • Morgan, Alan Flinders Park
  • Natt, Merv Exeter
  • Pederson, Harold Exeter
  • Poulton, Lance Walkerville
  • Quinn, Jack Semaphore Central
  • Sanders, Doug Prince Alfred O.C.
  • Seedsman, Ken University
  • Tregonning, Alec capt. Vic University
  • Williams, MR Kings O.C.
  • Wood, Ray vice captain Kings O.C.
  • Woodward, Oliver University

The first match was the traditional game against Victoria, played at the St. Kilda Cricket Ground.

Monday June 13, 1949

S.A.Team v Victoria

St. Kilda Cricket Ground

The Victorians handled the very heavy conditions much better and ran away with the match in the second half despite a great game from Don Brebner at centre half back.

1Q 2Q 3Q Final Victoria 0.5 6.8 10.13 15.18 (108) S.A. 2.5 3.6 3.6 3.8 (26)

  • Goalkickers: Tregonning 3
  • Best Players: Brebner, Ferguson, Dowding, Jarratt, Tregonning, Wood

The next match was played at Adelaide Oval against a combined team from the S.A. Football Association (S.A.N.F.L. ‘B’ teams), as a curtain-raiser to the interstate match between the S.A. and Victorian Leagues.

Saturday July 23, 1949

S.A.A.F.L. Team v S.A.F.A.

Adelaide Oval

Amateur League captain Alec Tregonning was injured and had to withdraw to be replaced at centre half forward by Doug Sanders with Norm Ferguson taking over as captain. This was the second time that these teams had met, the first occasion in 1937 resulting in a draw. This time the Association skipped away to a five goal lead in the first quarter, but from then on it was an even contest in the heavy conditions. Michelmore starred in ruck, Griffiths played the centre well and Dowding picked up many kicks on the wing. When the final siren sounded the amateurs were three goals short.

1Q 2Q 3Q Final S.A.F.A. 6.3 6.4 10.9 12.13 (85) S.A.A.F.L. 1.1 3.4 7.6 10.7 (67)

  • Goalkickers: Morgan 3, Davies 2, Michelmore 2, Basheer, Garland, Harvey
  • Best Players: Michelmore, Griffiths, Dowding, Jarratt, Sanders, Brebner

The final match was against W.A. at Adelaide Oval. This was the first time that S.A. had played W.A. outside of a carnival, and the W.A. team was billeted out by the S.A. players and officials.

Saturday August 13, 1949

S.A.Team v W.A.

Adelaide Oval

The S.A. team was hungry for a win after its previous two losses, but trailed by two goals at half time. It played much better in the second half though, kicking eight goals to four, the stars being the ruck duo of Michelmore and Basheer, and the centreline of Wood and Dowding.

1Q 2Q 3Q Final S.A. 4.1 7.2 12.5 15.10 (100) W.A. 3.3 8.8 9.11 12.13 (85)

  • Goalkickers: Morgan 4, Basheer 3, Harvey 3, Sanders 2, Davies, Michelmore, Quinn
  • Best Players: Basheer, Michelmore, Wood, Dowding, Sanders, Pederson

The curtain-raiser to this match was played between Flinders Park and the River Murray Association, Flinders Park winning 12.8 to 8.12. This was Flinders Park's 50th winning match in a row.