First Fulltime Position in Football in NSW

Mr. A M Little, a well -known umpire of the day, was appointed secretary to the trustees of the Australian Football Ground, a position which embraced secretaryship of the NSW Football League. Sixty three applications had been received for the role and it was said that Mr. Little had undertaken impressive work among the schools as organiser and coach in 1913 which helped towards his appointment.

He was for some time associated with football in Melbourne after playing junior football with Brunswick Wesley FC, was for three years after an umpire in the Metropolitan Football Association, and, so he said, three years in the Victorian League, (we can’t find him) while he was secretary of its NSW League Umpires’ Association in 1911.

Since the League trustees acquired the Australian Football Ground, also in 1911 it was said that the work of Secretary to the trustees, which also carried the duties of secretary of the New South Wales Football League, had assumed big dimensions, and was expected to be effectively carried out and “demands whole-hearted and assiduous attention.”

It was further said of Mr Little, that he took on these ‘onerous and heavy duties’ for two years before he placed his resignation before the trustees owing ‘business and for private reasons’. It was also suggested that Mr Little had completed admirable work during his term of office, and followers of the game would regret his retirement. Applications for the position were called for by advertisement by the League trustees, with the position a remunerative one paying.

The following advertisement was placed in the Evening News in August 1913:




The duties will embrace those of Officer in Charge of the Trustees Office of the Management of the Ground and control of the Ground Staff. Salary £156 per annum, and commission on takings. Applications, addressed to the   Trustees of the Australian Football Ground, Sports Club Hunter Street, Sydney (envelopes to be endorsed “Applicant For the Position of Secretary”) will be received up to 14th August. Qualifications to be fully stated.


Wyong-LakesIn September 1955 the then Sydney Metropolitan Australian National Football Association, the peak body for junior football in the city selected a number of boys to represent them in an Under 18 match against a junior Footscray team in Melbourne.

There maybe some names you find familiar who went on to play senior football in Sydney and other venues.  Some would coach and one or two were selected to play for the state:

K Brown (Alexandria), John Patterson, Cec Quilkey, K Boyd, R Connerton and R Patterson (Balmain), Alan Pringle and Bob Durbin (Mascot), Graeme Sambrook, Harry Walsh,W Hurcum (Newtown), M Peters, R Cochrane (North Shore), L Ford, Ken Field (St George), E Asherden, D Stepto, P Smith, Brian Hanscombe (Sydney), Billy Jarrett, Ian Radclilffe, P Morrow, A Kelly, A Anderson (Western Suburbs).

President, Fred Blencowe and Phil Rothman secretary of the Association travelled with the teams.

In that year Wests won the Under 18 competition with Bill Jarrett taking out the competition’s B & F.  R Dunstan from the Eastern Suburbs Club won the B & F in the Under 16s, T Allard, also from Easts won the the Under 14 award and another Easts player, D Cannon won the Under 12s trophy.

Junior Football in Sydney

MANFA Trophy with shadow smallJunior football has been played in Sydney for well over 100 years but not always in the form it is now.

In the late 1880s there were half a dozen or so junior clubs playing probably Under 18 age group then in the first decade of the twentieth century junior football was conducted in schools only and it is fascinating to read the number of schools and where they were located.

As a random sample, here are the schools that participated in weekly competitions throughout Sydney in 1906:

A Division:
Petersham, Pyrmont, Mosman, For Street, Waverley and Kogarah.

B Division:
No. 1 District – William Street (East Sydney), St Leonards (2), Blackfriars.
No. 2 District – Double Bay, Paddington, Bondi, Coogee.
No. 3 District – Botany, Bourke Street, Newtown North, Waterloo, Erskineville, Alexandria.
No. 4 District – Dulwich Hill, St Peters, Camdenville, Canterbury, Marrickville West, Enmore.
No. 5 District – Bexley, Hurstville West, Mortdale, Hurstville, Peakhurst.
No. 6 District – Summer Hill, Homebush, Ashfield, Kegworth, Croydon, Croydon Park.
No. 7 District – Smith Street, Gladesville, Balmain, Drummoyne, Ryde, Petersham B
The grounds used included Moore Park, Waverley Oval, Alexandria Park, England’s Paddock, Smidmore’s Paddock, Penshust Cricket Ground, Ashfield Reserve, Drummoyne Park, Birchgrove Oval and St Luke’s Park – to name a few.

In 1911, Tom Soutar, an ex Sydney schoolboy played one game with St Kilda.

By 1914, 35 public schools in Sydney were participating in weekly competitions.

After world war one junior football, by this time club based, was sometimes organised by a separate association and sometimes not.

In the early 1920s a new association was formed, the Metropolitan Australian National Football Association.  This catered for open age, Under 18 and at times down to Under 14 football however it was the only junior organisation in Sydney and its clubs were spread across the state.Stan Stubley

A magnificent trophy (pictured at top) was donated for competition in the A Grade (open age).

The number of clubs and teams varied over the years but continued during WWII under the stewardship of Stan Stubley, pictured at right, from Maroubra.

In 1947 the following teams comprised the respective competitions:

1949 MANFA Ladders

P B = Police Boys

In 1950, following a lead from Victoria, the NSW Football Union was formed to control junior and schools football.  Unfortunately, they adopted the same constitution as their Victorian counterparts.

The MANFA was affiliated to the Union and in that year comprised five open age, four under 18 teams and eight under 15 sides.

The following year five teams made up the A grade, two under 18 teams, four under 16 and ten under 14 teams.

Over the next year or so the MANFA folded under a reorganisation programme and the slack taken up by junior competitions in respective clubs areas, ie St George, South Sydney and a Central Division.

1949 - Metropolitan Football Assn Rep Team smallSince competitions have popped up (and down) in various parts of Sydney and it all depends on the commitment and tenacity of people who take on administrative positions to make it all happen.

The players are there, just depends on who is prepared to organise them.