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?

– Timeline

Football in NSW has had some successes and failures and some incidents that are all that important.

Nevertheless the History Society wants to document all the significant football events that have taken place in NSW since the game was first played in this state since the late 1870s.

With that in mind we are calling on those from various parts of the state who have an interest in the game and who maybe able to provide some dated stats that we can add to the timeline that we intend to post on the site.

For example:

  • Australian football was first played in Sydney in 1878;
  • On 13 July 1878 a club was formed in Wagga Wagga;
  • In July 1881 a club was formed at West Maitland and called Northumberland;
  • The first football match was played in Broken Hill on 4 April 1885 when the teams, Day Dream and Silverton met;
  • It was first played in Grafton on 11 July 1885 when the Grafton and South Grafton clubs played off;
  • In 1890 Victor Trumper was playing in the Sydney Club’s second eighteen;
  • In 1911 the NSW Football League purchased an old racecourse in Botany Road, Alexandria and turned it into their own as the Australian Football Ground.

Grandstand at the
Australian Football Ground

And the list goes on.

If you have information that you think might be important enough to add to our Timeline, let us know, drop us an email here.

– Society Unveils New Player & Game Resource

The Society has unveiled a new resource focusing mainly on representative fixtures and players – click image to access.

It has now and for some time published NSW representative game details from 1881 onwards, currently finishing at 1941.  Research is continuing on retrieving details from the latter date to the present.

At the same time tweaking this new feature will be undertaken to present it at its best.  It provides a fantastic background on NSW representative games that were played and those that participated and officiated in them.

Already an immense amount of research has gone into recovering the data which forms the basis of these records mostly because very little account of these many games was never kept.

Society officials have gone further in some circumstances by obtaining some personal information on participants however this will only be displayed where the person is deceased.  At this stage all who have been recorded fall within the category.

The former database will be retained on the search feature until the new one is fully operating.

– Society Cements History Links With Swans

Society officials, President Ian Granland and Vice President Paul Macpherson met with executives from the Sydney Swans Football Club today to discuss football heritage in NSW, as well as what the club has achieved prior to 1982 and within the sport in this State.

For some time the History Society has been gathering as much material as possible on the game from throughout NSW, both tangible and digital, to add to its ever expanding repository of significant historical items and events of the game.

The Swans intention is aimed at documenting the heritage of their club, including the days of South Melbourne FC, and educating their steadily growing membership, which is likely to top 60,000 by year’s end, with not only their history but the history of football in NSW.

Swans CEO Andrew Ireland was very positive in his endeavours to promote the concept and could not have chosen a better mentor than Paul Macpherson, an archivist and librarian by occupation.  His expertise will afford an solid guide to those trainees regarding what is expected in the serious business of seeking out and preserving the heritage of the club during an era which extends well over a period of one hundred years.

The promoter of the concept, former Swans Chairman and now a member of the SCG Trust, Richard Colless AM, was passionate in his efforts to facilitate this gathering of the two parties.

Finally, Society Vice President, Paul Macpherson said “our group looks forward to the next practical steps with the Swans in spreading more widely the knowledge of the long and fascinating history of football in NSW.”