The Perfect Opportunity For State Of Origin Footy

How the weekend off can be a boon for footy fans 

                        The Band, From The Suburbs

Guest write, musician, author and Swans fan Dave Warner (From The Suburbs) argues the case for the return of State of Origin football using NSW as a case study

It may have happened only because of Covid but this lay-off week before the AFL Grand Final is something I’ve been arguing for a few years now.  Why? Because it presents the perfect opportunity to have a return to State of Origin Football, which for those of us old enough and lucky enough to have experienced it, is simply the best of the best.

The break before the finals start never made sense and disempowers higher ranked teams but here’s how this pre-grand final break can be a boon to football.

At the end of the qualifying round, squads are selected from the pool of available players (ie: the 10 clubs knocked out already). I suggest 4 squads for Vic, S.A., W.A. and N.S.W.  but as in the old `Carnival’ days, I would not discount Tas and Qld teams, even if those teams had to be bolstered by players from local competitions.

But for now, assume we have four squads. After each final round, two more AFL teams are eliminated, and from these teams more players are added to the initial squads. This means that when we arrive at the point at which we are currently, the two grand finalists in waiting, we have 16 teams contributing to the state squads.  This would give us an opportunity of playing ROUND 1 this weekend: For example Saturday Victoria v W.A. , Sunday  S.A. v NSW

The winners then go onto play in the final next week, either on the FRIDAY NIGHT BEFORE THE GRAND FINAL or on the SATURDAY DAY.  Optional that losers could play off too.

Without Covid such games could be played at venues like the SCG, Adelaide Oval or Optus Stadium. I know the frustration of fans in Perth who cannot get to the MCG for a grand final and I guarantee you’d get a sell out at Optus, and I’m sure in Adelaide for such games.  Instead of a boring long kicking contest across the Yarra, the lead into a twilight or night Grand Final at the MCG could be the interstate game. Or play it on the night before if that’s what broadcasters prefer.

                                    Dave Warner

The end of the season means that players have more freedom and clubs cannot ban them as would happen pre-season or mid-season. It is perfect timing to see wonderful football. Finals football is a pressure cooker but in these state games players can be more free-wheeling and attacking. Some of the clashes I saw in the 70s and 80s are the best quality of footy I have ever seen.

For those who think that NSW would not have a competitive team, have a look at the side selected this year by Richard Colless (Convenor), Gerard Healy, Mike Sheahan, Wayne Carey, Mark Maclure and Rod Gillett for the NSW Australian Football History Society.

Reading from the backline:

Cunnigham,   Howard,   Perryman

Duryea,   Rampe,   Cumming

I.Smith,   Mills,   Gulden

Breust,   Himmelberg,   Wicks

Schultz,   Hawkins,   Marshall

Flynn,   Hopper,   Heeney

Lloyd,   Spargo,   Buckley,   Koschitze.

Only a few of these players would be unavailable right now to play in a game this weekend.

I believe this system would also give us a chance to better evaluate the ALL-AUSTRALIAN SIDE which could then be announced after the Grand Final based on the performances of players in the State games and the Grand Final. Of course, Tasmanian and Queensland and injured players if not given the opportunity in a State game or the Grand Final could still be evaluated on their other performances. The original All Australian sides were determined by players performances in inter-state games. This I believe is a far superior test to determine who deserves to be All Australian than qualifying round club games. The finest players play best against the best opposition.

That’s my suggestion anyway. The Broadcasters would love it, non-Victorian fans who find it prohibitive to get to Melbourne for the Grand Final week would love it because they could still have footy in their state right to the end.

Let’s bring back the best footy of all State of Origin! 


History Society launches New Awards for NSW Player and Team of the Year in AFL

                 Swan’s, Isaac Heeney leading after R3

Following on from the resounding success of last year’s selection of the NSW Greatest Team Ever, the NSW AFL History Society has launched two new annual awards to recognise the Best Player in the AFL and the selection of a State of Origin team from players in the AFL.

Society president Ian Granland OAM said, “The inauguration of these awards will add to the rich tapestry of the history of football in NSW, that is this year, celebrating its 140th year”.

“This initiative has been driven by our Patron, Richard Colless AM, who has secured the support of the AFL Coaches Association for the voting structure for the Best Player and the Daily Telegraph to publish the tally board of the votes each Wednesday, starting today”.

“There are currently forty-nine players from NSW on the lists of the clubs in the AFL. The Giants have the greatest number of players with twelve. Hawthorn are next with six, while the Swans have five. There are only three clubs without NSW origin players” Granland added.

The winner of the NSW Player of the Year award will receive the Carey – Bunton Medal that honours the two greatest NSW players of all time.

The votes of the AFL coaches is highly respected and will provide a credible and valid voting system to determine the winner. Each coach votes on a 5,4,3,2,1 basis after each home and away game and the votes are aggregated.

Meanwhile, Colless has confirmed the addition of two of the players selected in the Greatest Team, Wayne Carey and Mark McClure, will join the selection panel. Carey was named as captain of the team.

The cornerstones of last year’s selection panel for the Greatest Team, Mike Sheahan and Gerard Healy have agreed to stay involved. Colless will be the convenor and History Society vice-president Rod Gillett will be the non-voting secretary.

“I’m delighted to have Wayne and Mark join the panel. All of the selectors are currently active in the media and have a very close view of all games in the AFL each round” Colless said.

“To have the very strong support of the AFL Coaches Association for the Player of the Year award is really a reflection of the status that NSW now enjoys in the AFL landscape. I want to thank the CEO Mark Brayshaw and his staff for their commitment to this award.”

“It is a highly respected award for which the votes are aggregated and available weekly” added Colless.

Votes after round 3 are:

Isaac Heeney (SS) 19 (9 votes Syd v NM);
Harry Perryman (GWS) 13 (3 votes GWS v WB);
Isaac Smith (HAW) 8 (8 votes Haw v Rich);
Jarrod Witts (GCS) 8 (8 votes GCS v Ad);
Dane Rampe (SS) 6;
Jacob Townsend (ESS) 4;
Luke Bruest (HAW) 3;
Jacob Hopper (GWS) 2;
Todd Marshall (PA) 2.

The AFLCA award was instituted in 2004 and it is our intention to award the medal retrospectively to all the winners 2004-2019. Some of the previous winners will include Brett Kirk, Lenny Hayes, Taylor Walker, Kieran Jack, and in 2019, Zac Williams.

Society’s AGM – Most re-elected

 Ian Granland

Fearing CV19’s growing restrictions might interfere with the holding of the Society’s Annual General Meeting, officials were quick to get that and the Special General Meeting finalised yesterday at Magpie Sports Club.

“We had a reasonable turnout attending” Society President Ian Granland said “but I feel the recent edict of the restrictions to the amount of people permitted in groups, might have added to the fact that there was a smaller number there yesterday than normal, however there was well more than enough for a quorum” he continued.

All but Tom Mahon stood for re-election and those that did were re-installed to their previous posts.

The Society issued a comprehensive annual report which outline their activities throughout last year with the treasurer declaring a healthy bank balance.  Click here to read the report.

This year they will appoint a patron with negotiations currently being formalised.

There is much more work being undertaken with treasurer John Addison, suggesting a new and revised method to make all that is stored in the Society’s collection being able to be viewed on line.  Discussions are currently ongoing with the Society’s programmer to facilitate this and other moves to improve their administrative and archival systems.

2020 Officials

Position Person
President: Ian Granland
Vice President:  Dr Rod Gillett
Secretary: Paul Macpherson
Treasurer: John Addison
Ian Wright
Amanda Keevil
Jenny Hancock
Heather White




Best NSW Team Ever Announced

       Wayne Carey

The player regarded by many as the best player to ever play the game, Wayne Carey, has been named as captain of the Greatest NSW Team at the Carbine Club of NSW annual AFL Lunch today (9th May, 2019).

“The King” captained North Melbourne to two premierships in the 1990s and was selected in seven All Australian teams and was named captain four times. He won four best and fairest awards at North Melbourne and was leading goal-kicker five times. He captained the club from 1993-2001.

Carey played in the NSW team that beat Victoria at the SCG in 1990 and led a NSW/ACT team against Victoria at the MCG in 1993.

He began his football journey at North Wagga and strongly identifies with that club where his brother and nephews played. His boy-hood hero was the illustrious North Wagga captain-coach Laurie Pendrick.

The selection of the NSW Greatest Team was jointly sponsored by the NSW Australian Football History Society and the AFL NSW/ACT.

A panel of experts was assembled to undertake this extraordinarily challenging exercise. Senior selectors were Mike Sheahan and Gerard Healy supported by NSW Australian Football Society executive members Ian Granland and Rod Gillett and society member and author Miles Wilks. AFL NSW/ACT CEO Sam Graham and AFL Commissioner Gabrielle Trainor represented the AFL.

The panel was chaired by former Sydney Swans chairman and inaugural NSW/ACT AFL chairman, Richard Colless, who is the AFL convenor for the Carbine Club of NSW.

Nearly 500 NSW players have since 1897 played senior football in the VFL/AFL and a smaller number in the SANFL.

NSW players have won seven Brownlow Medals, five Magarey Medals, and three Sandover Medals.

There have been various attempts to select teams that represent part of NSW, e.g. Southern NSW/ACT, Riverina and Sydney teams. And there have also been a number of teams selected by historians and supporters that have been posted on the internet.

There has however, never been an official NSW team that embraces the game’s 140-year history and includes every part of the State in which the game indigenous has been played.

One of the issues is that there has never been a natural senior competition in NSW. Broken Hill, Sydney, and various Southern NSW and Riverina Leagues have at one stage or another been ascendant.

Nonetheless the game has a very rich history in NSW and the selection of the Greatest Team represents a major celebration for Australian Football in this state.

The team is:





Click here for criteria and bio of each player


History Society Rooms Enhanced

A bit more flair has been added to the windows in the room adjacent to where the Football History Society are domiciled at Wests Magpies Club, Croydon Park.

The Society engaged a professional sign writer to display a coloured translucent sign on two windows that promote the Society and it’s presence within the club.  It can be seen from the rear of the club and most certainly from the adjoining Picken Oval.

The sign writer, Nick Hudson has also created some marvellous signs within the premises for the licensed club itself.  Part of his arrangement with the club is to erect similar signage on the front doors of the club and elsewhere promoting various special days and events in the Australian calendar, ie Christmas, Easter and ANZAC Day etc.

The Society’s window sign was to be installed on the window on the right in the image but this already has a tinted solar guard film which could interfere with the effectiveness of the image.

Gillett joins the Board

Academic and long term supporter and football modernist, Doctor Rod Gillett joined the board of the Football History Society at their annual general meeting held today.

Rod Gillett

Gillett has had a long involvement with the game commencing as a lad at Kyabram, Victoria then later Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Sydney and Wagga.

In the 1980s a young Rodney Gillett was vice president of the NSW Football League and later one of the initial members when the Society was formed as a committee of the AFL NSW/ACT but moved on to progress his academic career with postings in Fiji, South Korea, Dubai and currently in Singapore.

He is retiring from work shortly and will settle in Sydney. Gillett is keen to focus on football jumping at the opportunity to re-ignite his interest in the history of the game.

In other moves, professional archivist Paul Macpherson was voted in as secretary while the incumbent, Heather White moved to the back bench: (the committee).

Paul Macpherson

Ian Granland was returned as president and John Addison, treasurer. With the addition of Heather White, Ian Wright, Jenny Hancock, Mandy Keevil and Tom Mahon, take up the remainder of the committee positions.

Treasurer, John Addison announced an operating profit for the year of $2,218.00 but cautioned in his report that it is not the objective of the Society to hold surplus funds and outlined a series of spending projects the committee has agreed to for the coming months.

Pleasant Christmas Function

A number of members took advantage of attending the Society’s Christmas party at the Magpie Sports Club yesterday.  They were joined by Simon Wilson and Jonathan Drennan from AFLNSWACT.

One of the attendees was former umpire, Jim McSweeney who at 84 officiated in his final match this year in a Masters Carnival.  There were several other former umpires at the function including Chris Huon and Bill Allen.

A number of other members gave their apologies however they missed a great function where the atmosphere was keen and a number of old football stories were told.

Members will be pleased to know that this year’s journal, Time On, is currently being prepared and will be posted out prior to Christmas.  The issue includes many interesting stories of former happenings in the sport over the past 130 or so seasons and is a great read.


Newspaper Man Not Happy

Before the Sydney Swans became the focal point of football in Sydney, newspapers gave coverage of the game and the Sydney competition reasonably good exposure, so much so that it enables us to write stories like this.

Initially newspapers would send a representative to each senior game and quite often a photographer.  Later, part time reporters from AAP and other news agencies would cover the games which saved papers the cost of sending individual journalists out to various sporting events in Sydney.

Going through some 1948 newspapers we came across this article in the Sydney Truth by a reporter who was obviously very upset at the facilities available for those reporting on our game:

Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954), Sunday 23 May 1948, page 17


Australian Rules teams played good games on four Sydney ovals yesterday. The attendance at each ground was small.

League officials often express surprise that the game does not become more popular in N.S.W. Truth (Newspaper) can tell them why.

No encouragement whatever is given to those who would give the game publicity, and they are many. No facilities are made available to the Press, and often there is not even a form upon which they can write their copy. Phones, supposed to be reserved served for the Press are used by S.P. bookies, punters in search of results, and amorous youths trying to make appointments with girl friends. The result is that a lot of copy misses out. This year the committee is offering £1 to a supporter who happens to buy a programme which bears a certain number. These programmes cost six pence each, and often do not contain the names of more than four players who actually take the field. Under these circumstances, the programmes would be dear at one penny.

The spectators are left in the air; and have no method of ascertaining who is playing and who is not. Boys are employed to keep the score. More often than not the figures shown are wrong, and even if they are right the youthful scorekeepers stand in front of the board and so prevent it being read. The scores are often removed from the board before the final bell has stopped ringing.

If the League wants the game to progress it must, first of all, consider the public. Without support the game is not worth two bob, and, whether they believe it or not, at present the average follower of the game is annoyed and rapidly becoming disgusted. Scores in all games yesterday South Sydney 15-17 (107) beat St, George 13-14 (92); North Shore 16-17 (113) beat University 4-9 (33); Newtown 20-23 (143) beat Balmain 8-9 (57); Eastern Suburbs 12-18 (90) beat Western Suburbs 10-15 (75).”

Sydney University’s         first win

1948 saw the introduction of three new clubs into the Sydney competition: Balmain, Sydney University and Western Suburbs and they are all still there, with the same name.  The only change in these three is Balmain’s colours.

Sadly three from that era have gone and another has combined with another Sydney Club.  St George and North Shore are two that remain from that era.

We have located an interesting article published in the Sydney Sun on 16 May 1948 which relates Sydney University’s first win.  Although there was a team from the University formed in 1888, it only played about three games and was mostly put together to play a couple of games in Melbourne, particularly against the University of Melbourne.


You will be pleased to see that this site is back on line after nearly 10 weeks of problems.

It all started when the site’s Security Certificate expired and was not renewed.  If you look at the URL on the top line you will see https:// etc.  The ‘S’ (for security) is what was missing.

Initially we had no idea of what happened but gradually pieced together the issue.  We were told by a firm in London that because we had no permanent address and no phone number (the land line was only used for the internet at our Croydon Park Offices and it was found cheaper and faster to use a SIM card) we needed a letter from a solicitor or accountant to verify our existence and authenticity.  We did all this but nothing happened.

We had changed internet hosts late last year and the mix up was involved with that although the present host said we would have been notified of the expiry and the need to renew.  We couldn’t find the communication.

Anyhow today we contacted our present hosting company who, upon payment of $198.00, immediately issued a security certificate for two years.

Our programmer, Ryan Viotiskis, has been working all day to fix the broken links in the site, of which many people have complained over the past few weeks.  The only thing now is that the site doesn’t work too well in the web browser, Firefox which Ryan is currently working on.

You can always use a different browser if you are having getting about the site.

If you find a broken link or a link that does not bring up what you want, please let us know and we will fix it.

We still have a lot of catching up to do with new data on the site and will be loaded over the next few days.

We hope everyone of our regular readers are happy with this news, because I know we are.

A newsletter went out to members late last week and in it we announced the Society’s Annual Christmas Party at Magpie Sports, Croydon Park on Tuesday, 11 December commencing at 12 noon.  If you are in the vicinity, drop it and see us and join the frivolity.

Its good to be back.

– More Options on Rep Team/Player Search

The Society has developed more options in the Rep Team Player and Team search.

These are now available from the Navigation Bar on the website as shown in the attached image.

These are mostly contained to NSW representative games.

You can now print all or one rep game and its details.  You can now print all players from one club or a list of games played against a particular opponent,  ie NSW v QLD.  

The print feature provides a number of additional options which are continuing to be developed.  Any feedback you can provide regarding this new initiative please let us know.

Officials are slowly updating the NSW interstate representative games and are currently up to 1941 however more recently resolved to post more recent games starting from 2017.  Harvesting this information though is causing a bigger issue than before and the thinking is now to revert to a period earlier than the current year, unless of course details of interstate clashes can be provided for publication.  Can you help?