After the resuscitation of the game in Sydney in 1903, administrators of the Australian became quite concerned that players disqualified in one code could cross and play with another, be that Australian, rugby or under British rules (to use the term of the day now known as soccer).
So the following year they arranged a conference between officials from the three codes to discuss the matter with the ensuing result:
“On the Initiation of the N.S.W. Football League (Australian Rules), a meeting of delegates from the N.S.W League (Australian Rules), the N.S.W. Association (British Rules – soccer), and the Metropolitan Rugby Union, (Rugby League had not then been introduced in Australia) was held at the Sports Depot (NSW Sports Club) Hunter Street on Friday, to consider tho subject of reciprocity in disqualification. It has been considered for sometime that it is desirable that disqualification by one executive should carry disqualification by all. The delegates meeting fully endorsed this view and unanimously agreed to record to their various executives the following :
- That in the event of any player being disqualified, the N.S.W. Football League (Australian Rules), the Metropolitan Rugby Union, or the N.S.W. Football Association – (British Rules), the disqualification shall be endorsed by tho remaining bodies.
- That no application from a disqualified player be entertained by any of the three bodies until the disqualification is removed by the body disqualifying. That this shall not be retrospective except in the case of disqualification for life.
As disqualification is not enforced except for a serious offence, it should help to keep, up the tone of football if the penalty is recognised by all the bodies. The action of the League in taking the Initiative in ‘this matter Is to be commended.”
It has to make you wonder how long these rules existed for and how committed the three bodies were in their application. Which one defaulted first?
This is the first time we have read of any such rule and today it certainly would be an eye opener for readers in states other than NSW and Queensland where Australian football reigns supreme.
By 1904 Rugby Union was a massive winter sport in NSW and it was only with the introduction of Rugby League in 1908 that ‘Rugby’ lost its strangle hold on the men and boys of these two states.