Future S.A.N.F.L. President M.R. (Max) Basheer began the first of 21 years as Amateur League solicitor in 1956.

The Page system of finals competition was introduced following a motion from the Walkerville delegate. Henceforth there would be a First Semi Final (3rd v 4th), a Second Semi Final (1st v 2nd), a Preliminary Final (winner of First Semi v loser of Second Semi) and a Grand Final (winner of Second Semi v winner of Preliminary). There would be no Challenge Final. The weakness of this system as regards the minor premier is discussed in chapter 3.

As a result of a large number of forfeits the previous year, the constitution was amended to require each club to reapply for affiliation each year. Clubs which nominated teams at the start of the season and then did not field them consistently may then have had their applications for reaffiliation refused. Whilst it does not appear that a club was actually refused on these grounds, it would have encouraged clubs to act more responsibly in nominating teams.

In his annual report for 1956, Secretary A.F.R. Dodd reported that 28 applications for reinstatement had been received of which 16 were successful, the figures for 1955 being 15 and 8 respectively. Whilst the percentage of approvals had remained roughly constant at between 50% and 60%, the absolute number of approvals had doubled. The increasing number of reinstatements could be seen as a contributing factor to the problems faced by the Amateur League in future years in striving to prevent financial inducements to players.

The Amateur League continued to expand in 1956 with the addition of an A5 grade. Returning after a 20-year absence was Eastwood, while a stalwart of the Port Adelaide District Association (until it disbanded in 1952) and more recently the West Torrens District in Ethelton began its long-term tenure with the S.A.A.F.L. The addition of ‘B’ teams for Riverside and Grange increased the number of teams to 48. A medal for A5 best and fairest players was donated by H.L. Tapping M.P., a member of the inaugural Executive Committee, a President of Exeter, and a Vice President of the SAAFL. A.C. Samuels, President of Semaphore Central, donated an A5 shield.

Walkerville and University, who had finished the minor round first and second in 1953 and 1954 and then played off in the Semi Final in 1955, again finished first and second at the end of the minor round. Payneham was back in A1 for the first time in four years and did well to make the finals, although it could probably thank Semaphore's Billy Shea who kicked a goal on the siren from an acute angle to tie Semaphore’s match against Woodville in mid season.

Premiership Tables

A1 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

TeamGmWLDPts
Walkerville18143129
University18144028
Semaphore Central18125125
Payneham18126024
Woodville18116123
Rosewater1889117
Exeter18810016
St. Peters O.C.18513010
Henley1821604
Goodwood1821604

The finals were played under the Page system for the first time, so Walkerville and University met each other in the first round of the finals for the second year in succession with University the victors 10.12 to 9.9 but Walkerville getting another chance. Semaphore beat Payneham in the First Semi Final 16.29 to 9.5, so Semaphore met Walkerville in the Preliminary Final and won 8.10 to 3.4, minor premier Walkerville thus losing both its finals matches. The Grand Final was played on a water-logged Payneham Oval, and the state of the oval plus a strong wind made playing conditions very difficult. Semaphore won the match in the third quarter when it kicked four goals against the wind and held University to just four points. Small men Worley and Atkins were the stars for Semaphore in its 11.8 to 6.10 victory, while defender Geoff ‘Chesty’ Hyde was best for University. This ended George Tilley's remarkable six-year coaching term at University during which the A team played in six straight Grand Finals and won four premierships.

The two teams who had been relegated from A1 the previous season, Kenilworth and Flinders Park, were the strongest teams in A2, although Semaphore Park, Colonel Light Gardens and Riverside were all very competitive. Riverside overcame a slow start to finish with six wins on the trot, but failed by one point to make the finals even though they were only two points below the second-placed team.

Colonel Light Gardens beat Semaphore Park 18.12 to 10.11 in the First Semi, and Kenilworth beat Flinders Park 12.10 to 10.14 in the Second Semi. The Preliminary Final between Flinders Park and Colonel Light Gardens was a low-scoring affair with Flinders Park winning 5.6 to 4.8 and then going on to win the Grand Final at St.Peters College scoring 12.6 to Kenilworth's 8.11.

A2 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

TeamGmWLDPts
Kenilworth18134127
Flinders Park18126024
Semaphore Park18126024
Colonel Light Gardens18116123
Riverside18117022
Teachers College1899018
Grange18711014
University B18611113
Prince Alfred O.C.18512111
Alberton United1821604

A3 Premiership Table

(as at the end of the minor round)

In A3 Exeter B won the double chance on percentage from Payneham B.

TeamGmWLDPts
Myer18144028
Exeter B18135026
Payneham B18135026
Kings O.C.18117022
Commonwealth Bank18108020
S.A. Railways Institute1889117
Long Range Weapons18710115
Pulteney O.S.18513010
University C1841408
Birkenhead Sports1841408

Payneham defeated Kings O.C. in the First Semi and Myer won the Second Semi 6.9 to 5.12. Exeter came back to win the Prelim. Final 6.9 to 5.8 and then really hit its straps to beat Myer in the Grand Final at Walkerville Oval 10.10 to 4.6.

New club Eastwood was undefeated in A4 at the end of the minor round with 36 points leading Woodville B (28), Semaphore Central B (28), Walkerville B (24), Rosewater B (22), Kenilworth B (12), S.P.O.C. B (10), Scotch O.C. (10), Henley B (6) and Semaphore Park B (6). Eastwood and Walkerville won their Semi Finals 16.12 to 8.6 and 10.8 to 10.6 respectively; Woodville won the Prelim. 6.12 to 4.10, then Eastwood completed an undefeated first season in the Amateur League by winning the Grand Final at Largs Reserve 8.8 to Woodville 3.6.

Another new club in Ethelton finished minor premier in A5 after 15 matches with 26 points followed by Teachers B (24), Riverside B (24), Goodwood B (20), Colonel Light Gardens B (10), Grange B (10), University D (4) and P.A.O.C. B (2). Teachers and Goodwood won the Semi Finals 19.14 to 6.8 and 7.10 to 4.13 respectively, Ethelton won the Prelim. 8.16 to 4.5, then Ethelton beat Teachers in the Grand Final but the score is unknown. The Colts division had only five teams each playing 12 matches finishing in the order Woodville (20), Payneham (18), Flinders Park (8), Henley (8) and Walkerville (6). Flinders Park won the First Semi 7.11 to Henley's 3.8 and Woodville lost the Second Semi 6.7 to Payneham's 7.5. Woodville came back to beat Flinders Park in the Prelim. Final 8.12 to 3.6, but then lost to Payneham in the Grand Final, but the score is unknown.

The Hone Medal was won by state player Ron Batt of Woodville and Dave Larkin of Flinders Park won the Chambers Medal in A2. Former All-Australian vice captain Ray Wood of Kings O.C. won the A3 medal, Bill Kennedy of Rosewater the A4, Bob Hosie (Riverside) and Alan Garrick (Ethelton) tied for A5, and Alan Wells of Payneham won the Colts medal. State centreman George Clarke of Riverside won the War Memorial Medal for the outstanding player under the age of 21. Former state player Graham Nash of Payneham led the A1 goalkicking with 77, and Leon Wilson of Semaphore Park kicked 46 in A2.

1956 was a carnival year and it was decided to play a state trial against a combined team from Adelaide and Melbourne universities who were competing in the Intervarsity Carnival in Adelaide. The match was played at Woodville Oval on May 26 in front of a large crowd of around 1000 people, and the scores were as follows:

1Q 2Q 3Q Final S.A.A.F.L. 3.3 4.6 10.6 13.10 (88) Comb. Univ. 6.3 6.7 10.10 12.11 (83)

  • S.A. Goalkickers: Wundke 4, Barrows 2, Gross 2, Heinrich 2, Atkins, Barker, Jarman
  • Uni Goalkickers: Akkermans 3, Altmann 3, Clancy 2, McAuliffe 2, Froomes, Pak-Poy
  • S.A. Best Players: Fletcher, Christensen, Wundke, Kinnear, Belton, Wortmeyer
  • Uni Best Players: Wilson, Hayes Krieger, Altmann, Johnson, McLeod

In a curtain-raiser, a combined A4/A5 team defeated a combined A3 team by one point. The A.A.F.C. carnival was played at the T.C.A. ground in Hobart in late June. The party of 42 travelled to Melbourne by train and thence by air to Hobart. Players had to contribute £16 each for their accommodation and were given guernsey, socks, tie and a team photo. George Tilley was again coach and the following squad included seven University players, four from Semaphore Central and three from Rosewater. Fred Higgie from Eastwood was the first of only four players from A4 to be selected in the state first team.

  • Akkermans, Charlie University
  • Altmann, Frank University
  • Atkins, Len Semaphore Central
  • Barrow, John Walkerville
  • Batt, Ron Woodville
  • Belton, Keith Semaphore Central
  • Christensen, Clarrie v. capt. Rosewater
  • Clarke, George Riverside
  • Downer, John University
  • Edwards, John University
  • Farr, Jim Rosewater
  • Fletcher, Don capt. Semaphore Central
  • Gill, David Rosewater
  • Heinrich, Harold Walkerville
  • Higgie, Fred Eastwood
  • Jannsen, Dean Payneham
  • Jarman, Trevor Flinders Park
  • Kinnear, Bronte Woodville
  • Pak-Poy, Pat University
  • Simmons, Kevin Semaphore Central
  • Tuckwell, Roger University
  • Wilson, Geoff University
  • Winton, Rex Goodwood
  • Wortmeyer, Kevin Henley
  • Wundke, Michael Prince Alfred O.C.

The Governor-General Sir William Slim opened the sixth AAFC Carnival which was programmed to feature Victoria and W.A. on the last day. S.A. started badly, got worse and was thankful to leave with a last-round victory against Tasmania. Scores were as follows:

Saturday June 23rd 1956

1Q 2Q 3Q Final Victoria 5.7 10.9 17.11 20.15 (135) S.A. 1.1 3.4 6.6 8.10 (58)

  • Goalkickers: Atkins 3, Heinrich 2, Akkermans, Belton, Pak-Poy
  • Best Players: Gill, Pak-Poy, Kinnear, Heinrich

1Q 2Q 3Q Final W.A. 4.8 7.16 14.24 18.26 (134) Tasmania 0.2 2.3 3.5 4.9 (33)

Monday June 25th 1956

1Q 2Q 3Q Final W.A. 2.3 8.7 12.9 15.13 (103) S.A. 3.5 5.11 8.12 12.13 (85)

  • Goalkickers: Akkermans 3, Altmann 2, Atkins 2, Heinrich 2, Barrow, Belton, Gill
  • Best Players: Downer, Fletcher, Clarke, Heinrich, Higgie

1Q 2Q 3Q Final Victoria 6.5 13.13 18.23 22.25 (157) Tasmania 0.2 2.3 3.7 7.7 (49)

Wednesday June 27th 1956

1Q 2Q 3Q Final S.A. 1.4 7.9 11.15 14.24 (108) Tasmania 3.0 6.1 7.5 7.5 (47)

  • Goalkickers: Christensen 3, Altmann 2, Downer 2, Heinrich 2, Jarman 2, Pak-Poy 2, Atkins
  • Best Players: Christensen, Clarke, Downer, Fletcher, Tuckwell, Heinrich

In the final match, Victoria defeated W.A. to win its fifth carnival.

1Q 2Q 3Q Final Victoria 4.6 5.6 8.8 11.9 (75) W.A. 0.1 1.3 4.3 5.5 (35)