– School Football in the Sutherland – St George Districts

In the early 1960’s, the High School Australian rules competition in the Sutherland Shire and St George districts was very healthy, in fact the best in Sydney.

Played of a Wednesday afternoon competition was made up of teams from the following schools:

Port Hacking High Caringbah High Heathcote High James Cook High
Janalli High Cronulla High Blakehurst High Hurstville High

Each of these High Schools usually fielded a senior plus a junior team.

In 1962, Port Hacking High School defeated Janalli High in the Final played at Old Park, Peakhurst, the home of the St George Club.

Players of interest in the 1962 team were the captain John Preston, who won the Kealey Medalist in the 1962 Sydney Under 19 competition.  Another was  Russell Warnken who also played in the St George under 19’s that year.  Along with Preston, they were both members of the victorious St George under 19 Premiership team of 1961.

Others included Bob Patterson who went on to record a successful football career with Sydney University as well as St George.  He later became the captain-coach of the Barrellan club in the Riverina and in 1979 had a season with the Campbelltown Club.

The 1963 Port Hacking school team lost a lot of experienced players from the previous season and finished second to Janalli High during the year, but won the final by a few points.  

Interestingly, the finals system played at that time was not the Page system, but one based on an old British system which was also used by the Sydney and other competitions prior to 1932.

Because Janalli High finished on top of the competition but lost the final, they had the right to again challenge the winners.   Port Hacking again won this challenge final by 17 points in a game played at Hurstville Oval before a large attendance from both High Schools.

A noteworthy player in the 1963 team was Bob Morris, the 1975 Bathurst 1000 winner and winner of many other touring car races in the late 1960’s and 1970’s.