– 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;

Bryan Rush

Bryan Rush smallBryan Rush was one of eight brothers.  He was born at Port Fairy, Victoria in 1893 and was part of a family of footballers.

He and four of his brothers all played with Collingwood.  The elder, Bob, turned out on 143 occasions for the Pies between 1899-1908.  Such was his influence on the club that in 1965 a stand at Victoria Park, Collingwood’s former home ground, was named after him.  Bryan on the other hand, played 17 games for Collingwood prior to the outbreak of WWI and it was probably this conflict that interrupted his football career.

This article is about Bryan and we are indebted to his son, also named Bryan, for supplying information about his father.

I can hear your brain asking, “What is so good about Bryan Rush?”

In 1921, Brian was transferred to Sydney in the Commonwealth Public Service following five years service in the 1st AIF.  He did spend a limited time in Melbourne after the war undertaking a medcial degree but support for his further education was unfortunately removed.

Upon his move to Sydney Bryan took up with the North Shore Club “then called North Sydney, and in 1921 he was part of their incredible premiership in the clubs first year back from a WWI recess.  In 1922 he took over the reigns but could not emulate their previous year’s performance;  they finished fifth.

After a short period in Newcastle as secretary to the Newcastle Gas Company, Bryan returned to Sydney teaming up with a former army cobber to set up an accounting firm which would go on to become a major player in Sydney’s commercial and financial scene over the succeeding number of years.

He gave up football upon his return to Sydney however the 32 year old kept an interest in the game serving several seasons as state selector.  He had represented NSW on 10 occasions: once in 1921, four times in 1922 and five in 1924, which included several appearances for the state in the national carnival at Hobart, so he knew his footy.

Rush was often named as one of the best players in these interstate games.

Fortunately for us, Bryan junior, at 81, amongst other things, recently donated his father’s 1924 representative certificate along with a quite unique service certificate awarded to his father in 1935 for his contribution to the game in NSW over a fourteen year period.  We have never before seen these type of documents.

Bryan Joseph Rush Carnival Certificate 1924 small Bryan Joseph Rush Honour Certificate smaller

Besides his football, Bryan Snr played first grade cricket with Manly.

He rarely talked about his sporting experiences, perhaps due to his dislike of attending meetings in Newtown where selection of the NSW teams were discussed.  It was here, he maintained, that he would have his tyres slashed if no Newtown players were chosen in the NSW team.

At the outbreak of WWII Bryan again served in the army at Victoria Barracks, Paddington where, at the rank of major, he was District Finance Officer.

He died in Melbourne in 1982, aged 89.

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