– Seconds Rep Side Beat First Grade

I think this game would be one of a time, well certainly the result was.

In 1924 there were seven first grade teams in the Sydney Football competition.  This followed the loss of the Police team which had competed for the previous two seasons in the top grade.  However not all of the teams had reserve or second grade sides.

The senior teams were Newtown (2), Railway, North Sydney, Paddington (2), East Sydney, Sydney (2) and Balmain.  Those without (2) were the clubs without a seconds so other district clubs played before those particular senior games as curtain raisers.

In late July the South Broken Hill Club journeyed to Sydney to play a game against a combined metropolitan team, then called Metropolis.  The Sydney side contained thirteen of the twenty or so who were selected in the NSW State Team which went on to compete in the Australian Football Carnival in Tasmania in weeks following this encounter.  South Broken Hill won the match 9-8 (62) to 8-10 (58) before a crowd estimated at 6,000;  The Broken Hill team were described as “brilliant”.

The lead-up game on the day was a Combined Junior (second grade) team versus a combined team selected from the Sydney First Grade.  The second grade was often referred to as ‘junior’ although it was open age football.  The Sydney First Grade team was the one selected to play Victoria in Sydney in seven days time.

No-one gave the seconds a chance but they easily got over their opponents 6-11 to 3-6.  The scores of the early games in those days were nearly always modest due to the  population’s working conditions of five and a half days a week which included Saturday Mornings; curtain raisers began at 1:30pm and were mostly played in four x 15 minute quarters.

It is worth reading a passage on the game from the leading sporting paper of the day, The Referee:

BRAVO, THE JUNIORS !
The early game was between the team picked to play against Victoria, and Combined Reserve Grade. Nine of the representative teams failed to turn up and other players not picked, who were at the ground, filled the gaps. But the team which took the field was little inferior to the original selection; The dash of youth proved too good for the has-beens. In every phase of the game, in every position, even in the ruck, where they were expected to be weak, the juniors were markedly superior, and gave the seniors such a lesson in getting to the ball and doing something with it that the selectors must take note and strengthen the team to play against Victoria by the inclusion of some of the boys. The best football is in a youth when he is round about 19 and 20; if he does not show it then he never will. The selectors plea that the boys are too young and cannot stand the buffeting was shown to be mere moonshine. The juniors were never headed, and cleverly won an epoch making game, in which the scores were: First quarter. 2-5 to 1-3; half time, 5-7 to 2-4: third quarter, 5-10 to 8-4; final scores, 6-11 (47) to 3-6 (24). Goalkickers; Second Grade, Flynn (4), Holder (2) ; and Finch Rudolph and Powers for the Firsts. For the winners, every player was at his top, and Woolnough handled Ills side in masterly fashion. For the losers Finch, Eagle, McFarlane, Reynolds,”

Incidentally, on the same weekend, the North Broken Hill side defeated a combined Northern Tasmanian team at York Park, Launceston before 6,500 people, 8-6 (42) to 5-10 (40).

Ref.
Referee Newspaper, 30 July 1924 page 13;
Sydney Sun, 27 July 1924, page 8
SMH, 28 July 1924, page 6;

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