1933 ANFC Carnival in Sydney at SCG

New South Wales finished fourth at the eight ANFC Carnival played in Sydney going down by just ten points after leading at every change to Western Australia in the play-off for third.

The “Light Blues” also finished fourth behind the “big three” at the 1930 Carnival in Adelaide and in Melbourne in 1927.

The Canberra ANFL, which had been established in 1925, was a new entrant at the 1933 Carnival.

Canberra, NSW, Queensland, and Tasmania played a round robin, with the winner playing off against the lowest-placed state of the round-robin between Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

Read the Football Record here

Victoria played two extra games, one against NSW to open the Carnival, and a second against Tasmania.

The Carnival was officially opened by the Governor-General Sir Isaac Isaacs while the Prime Minister Joe Lyons bounced the ball for the first game between NSW and Victoria. The opening ceremony and march by teams around the ground was held in between the two matches on the first day and was attended by 6000 spectators.

NSW took on reigning champions Victoria in the opening match and despite a valiant effort were well beaten to the tune of 53 points by the southerners led by arguably the greatest VFL/AFL captain of all time, Syd Coventry, who skippered Collingwood to four successive premierships, 1927-1930, as well as leading Victoria to national championships in 1930 and 1933. He also won the Brownlow Medal in 1927.

The Light Blues were coached by former St Kilda captain Sam Gravenall, who went to North Fremantle in the WAFL and represented Western Australia at the 1908 Carnival. He coached Essendon in 1922 and Subiaco in 1927.

 Jack Ludlow

Newtown follower Jack Ludlow was captain of NSW, about whom The Sydney Sun (4 July 1933) wrote, “…a man who can rally his players around him when the fortunes of the game seem to have deserted them”. Ludlow came to Newtown from VFA club Northcote in 1930 and went to play with North Shore from 1934-37. He represented the State eight times.

The NSW team was bolstered by the inclusion of six players from the Barrier Ranges Association (Broken Hill). Seven Broken Hill players had been included in the NSW team for the 1930 Carnival and widely regarded to have lifted the performance of team. This was again the case at the 1933 Carnival.

Billy McKoy

Best players for NSW against Victoria were South Sydney rover Jimmy Stiff (2 goals), follower Garnet Cherry (Broken Hill Souths) who also played at the 1930 Carnival, full forward Vic Troughton (Broken Hill Norths) who booted 5 goals, and Sydney winger Bill McKoy (pictured left) who won three Phelan medals and played 36 games for NSW from 1923-34.

In the next round NSW scored a convincing 85 point win over Queensland (Queensland did not beat NSW at a Carnival until 1958), 19.22.136 to 6.15.51. The best player list again featured Jimmy Stiff (2 goals), South Sydney full-forward Stan “Powder” Powditch (5 goals) skipper Jack Ludlow and his Newtown team-mate Stan Lloyd at centre half back.

Sid Crosland

In the first-ever game against Canberra, NSW continued its winning run with a solid win by 28 points. Stiff with two goals again headed the best players along with Powditch (5 goals) centreman Clarrie Stokes (Broken Hill Centrals) with 3 goals, Newtown’s Reg Garvin in defence, and South Broken Hill captain Syd Crosland (pictured left) playing at centre half forward where he kicked three goals. He won Broken Hill’s Middleton medal in 1939.

A third quarter burst of seven goals 4 behinds enabled the Light Blues to gain the upper hand over Tasmania and to go onto record a 25-point win. NSW beat Tasmania at both the 1930 and 1927 Carnivals but had lost to them at the 1924 Carnival in Hobart. Jimmy Stiff (2 goals) was again named best player along with Powditch (6 goals), Troughton in the forward pocket with five goals, Crosland (4 goals), Stokes and McKoy.

NSW topped Section B and earnt the right to play Western Australia for third place. In an absorbing contest the Light Blues that had really gelled together as a team with the Sydney competition leading goalkicker Powdith and Troughton from Broken Hill combining up forward to form a potent attack.

“After leading for almost the whole of the contest the home side was outfitted in the closing stages by the Western Australian team…” (SMH 14 August 1933). Western Australia 17.22.124 d NSW 16.18.114. NSW was best served by Jimmy Stiff, Crosland (3 goals), skipper Ludlow (1 goal), Powdith (5 goals) and Stan Lloyd in the centre.

For the first time there was an award for the best player at the Carnival named in honour of the General Manager of the ABC, Major Condor, who ensured national radio coverage of the championships for the first time.

 Jimmy Stiff

The inaugural award was won by NSW’s diminutive rover-forward pocket Jimmy Stiff who polled 5 votes – the 1 vote awarded for each game – in every game he played in. This included the games against Victoria and Western Australia. The votes were cast by W.S. “Jumbo” Sharland, the pre-eminent media commentator of the period, and central umpires, Jack McMurray and Bob Scott. Jack Collins (Victoria), WA’s Ted Fleming and Ken Dinnerville (Canberra) were joint runners-up on 3 votes, and triple Brownlow medalist Hadyn Bunton finished on two votes.

Meanwhile NSW full-forward Stan Powditch, who missed the opening game against Victoria, finished runner-up leading goalkicker to Collingwood’s greatest-ever full forward. Coventry, with a haul of eleven goals against Tasmania, finished with 29 goals, Powditch on twenty-one, with SA’s greatest-ever goal scorer Ken Farmer and South Melbourne champion full-forward Bob Pratt both with 12 goals. Pratt was injured in the first match against NSW.

The results from the 1933 ANFC Carnival are listed below:


Winning team Score Losing team Score
Tasmania 31.29 (215) Canberra 12.5 (77)
South Australia 13.17 (95) Western Australia 10.24 (84)
Victoria 23.17 (155) New South Wales 14.18 (102)
New South Wales 19.22 (136) Queensland 6.15 (51)
Victoria 19.14 (128) South Australia 17.11 (113)
New South Wales 16.14 (110) Canberra 12.10 (82)
Victoria 24.16 (160) Tasmania 15.10 (100)
South Australia 13.18 (96) Western Australia 12.11 (83)
Queensland 20.16 (136) Canberra 14.10 (94)
New South Wales 20.12 (132) Tasmania 15.17 (107)
Victoria 14.16 (100) Western Australia 12.13 (85)
Tasmania 21.11 (137) Queensland 7.14 (56)
Western Australia 17.22 (124) New South Wales 16.18 (114)
Victoria 15.16 (106) South Australia 9.8 (62)

140 Years of Footy at the SCG – First Intercolonial Game

Dr Rod Gillett continues the series on the SCG as a venue for football for 140 years.

                   The 1933 Carnival Game – NSW v WA
     NSW player Powditch outmarks his WA opponent

The Sydney Cricket Ground has been the venue for the biggest Australian football games in Sydney since it started with the first intercolonial football match of any code between NSW and Victoria on 6 August 1881.

The Victorian easily won the match 9-17 to NSW 1-6; however, only goals were counted in this period. It was a return match as NSW and Victoria had played their first intercolonial match at the MCG on 1 June which Victoria won 9-24 to 0-1.  (Note: behinds were shown but not counted in the score; goals had the value of one point)

The attendance was estimated at 5000, which The Sydney Morning Herald (8 August 1881) reported was “…the largest concourse of spectators that ever attended a football match in Sydney.”

The then governing body, NSW Football Association, had only been formed the previous year while the Victorians had been playing football since the late 1850s and had formed an Association in 1877. The rules had been first written by committee members of the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1859.

The New South Wales team wore a blue guernsey and knickerbockers with scarlet caps and stockings with the Victorian representatives played in red, white and blue.

The respective teams which consisted of twenty players were as follows:

New South Wales: Kellett (captain), Randall, Nash, Young, Phillips, Clay, Martin, Terry, Jackson, Daly (East Sydney), O’Brien, Burns, Bull, Jackson, A. MacNamara, J. MacNamara, Pierce, Crisp, Hedger (Sydney), and Bull (Petersham)

Victoria: Austin (captain), Collins, Murphy, Robertson, Steadman (Geelong), Neely, Patterson, Weld, Ley (Hotham), Goer (vice-captain), Coventry, Spear, McIntosh (Carlton), Carter, Griffiths (Essendon), Dougall, Cody, Tindall, Dunn, Manderson (East Melbourne)

The match report in The Sydney Morning Herald (8 August 1881) stated that:

“…although the Victorian side scored nine goals to one, they were frequently hard pressed by their opponents, and had the latter exercised a little more judgement and skill in little marking in front of the Victorian goal-posts the points scored would not have been so unevenly
balanced.   It must be admitted that the Victorians deserved their victory. They kept their places admirably which our men as a rule failed to do and the skill displayed by them in dodging and weaving were remarkable. “….they (the spectators) were frequently carried away with the
excitement of the competition, and cordially applauded both sides throughout the game”.

The victors were best served by their skipper Austin and his Geelong team-mates Robertson and Steadman and Essendon’s Carter while the best players for NSW were Albert Young, who kicked their only goal with a 60-yard place kick, and Thomas Nash (both East Sydney), and Sydney pair George Pierce and George Crisp.

Despite the strong support for this first intercolonial game in Sydney a Victorian representative team did not play NSW at the SCG again until the ANFC Carnival in 1914, and then again for the 1933 carnival. NSW lost both games as it did for inter-state matches in 1948 and 1948.

However, NSW finally triumphed over Victoria at the SCG in their first-ever state-of-origin clash in 1990, winning 13-8 (86) to 10-16 (76).

In his history of the Sydney Cricket Ground entitled The Grand Old Game (1981), Philip Derriman states the first intercolonial match in 1881 opened the door for the other football codes, “the most important (sic) … was the first-ever NSW – Queensland rugby match in 1882”.

Derriman fails to mention the ANFC National Interstate Carnivals which were played on the SCG in 1914 and 1933 when arguably the best footballers in the country competed at the SCG.

He has written chapters in the book on the other football codes of Rugby Union and Rugby League, and even Pedestrianism (athletics) and Cycling, and of course, Cricket but no chapter on Australian Football which has a rich history at the SCG. It must be noted that the history has been further enriched with the arrival of the Swans in 1982, but that it all began 140 years ago.

Prime Minister Bounces the Ball

How often do you get the Prime Minister bouncing the ball to start a match – IN SYDNEY?

Well it happened in 1933 when the Prime Minister, Joe Lyons was the country’s leader.  Lyons was from Northern Tasmania and trained as a school teacher.  He played both cricket and football before entering the Tasmanian State Parliament.  Originally a Labor man, he was Premier of Tasmania between 1923-28.Hotel Morris - Pitt Street

In 1933 the Australian National Football Council, since usurped by the AFL, conducted their triennial national carnival at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  The NSW side comprised several players from Broken Hill, many of whom reported back to their league following the carnival that they were not treated well.  The eight players from Broken Hill were housed in the Hotel Morris in Pitt Street while those players in the NSW team from Sydney resided at their normal homes.  The Queensland and Canberra teams were also domiciled at the hotel.

Incidentally, the Hotel Morris is still there, at the Railway Square end but now caters mostly for backpackers.

Lyons wasn’t the main act in the opening of the Carnival.  Australia’s first locally born Governor General, Isaac Isaacs, did the honours in the middle of the ground surrounded by a number of other dignitaries, see image.

However, like the 1914 Carnival in Sydney it was not a success.  It lost over £1,000 which equates to $96,500 in today’s terms.

1932 NSW v VFL @ SCG PM bounces ball - Truth 12-6-1932 - ALyons however was talked into bouncing the ball in the opening game between NSW and Victoria and we have been able to obtain a photograph of the event with him in his suit and tie.  Its not in best of condition nevertheless, it captures the moment the prime minister of the time got himself involved in our game – literally.

New South Wales had a reasonably successful carnival despite being trounced in the first match against the VFL.  Having said that the draw for the series was contrived so that the locals were not that hard pressed in most of their games.  They played all but South Australia and finished in fourth place.  The only real standout for them was the naming of local star, Jimmy Stiff, as the carnival’s best player.

NSW results:

Date NSW G P T Opposition G P T Margin
2 August 14 18 102 VFL 23 17 155 53
4 August 19 22 136 Queensland 6 15 51 85
7 August 16 14 110 Canberra 12 10 82 28
10 August 20 12 132 Tasmania 15 17 107 25
12 August 16 18 114 West Aust 17 22 124 10