All keen judges of the Australian game were satisfied with the initial success of district club football introduced in 1926. It was said that much doubt had disappeared from the minds of those who were inclined to be somewhat sceptical at the close of the 1925 season; Then, Football was like other forms of sport: Out of season, out of mind.
Failure of the District Scheme? Why, who would hear of that when talking of the Australian Game? The feature of it being the national game of Australia, played in every State to an over whelming majority of supporters would let the season itself tell its tale.
It was with some misgiving on the part of many club delegates that district football was not expected to succeed and that the dissolution of four successful clubs (Paddington, East Sydney, Railway and Balmain) of the previous season would make for the betterment of the game.
On the other hand, it was said “never in the history of the Australian game in N.S.W. had the prospects been brighter than in 1926.” The introduction of the district scheme had infused new life and vigour into the various clubs comprising the league. And when the season commenced “the game was the thing, and there is and was nothing like it in all the world.”
And so went the rhetoric as the 1926 season began. Change is sometimes hard to accept and adopt to.
Fortunately it turned out a splendid success, though the amalgamation of Paddington and East Sydney players of previous seasons initially looked to many to be a case of trying to mix oil and water. However contrary to expectation, they were well led which helped them unite, proving a very happy family finally carrying off the season’s premiership.
One of the greatest successes for the year was the formation of the Western Suburbs Club and this happened only weeks before the season’s start. The Railways club was disbanded but their nucleus, combined with a number of fine players of East Sydney’s 1925 team formed the Western Suburbs Club. In fact they succeeded in getting together an 18 which worthily filled the position of runner-up.
By round 5, Wests were undefeated and under ideal conditions at Erskineville Oval, attracted a crowd of 3000 to watch them defeat leading club Newtown. This was a record gate for a club game in Sydney and with its fast and furious play justified the attendance of such a large crowd.
There were also new grounds in the competition, for both matches and training. Games were played at North Sydney, Chatswood, Marrickville, Erskineville and Hampden (Trumper Park) Ovals.
While the clubs used the following grounds for training: Newtown – Erskineville Oval, Western Suburbs – Pratten Park, Sydney – Sydney Sports Ground, Eastern Suburbs – Hampden Oval, North Sydney (North Shore) – St Leonards Park and South Sydney – YMCA Ground (formerly the Australian Football Ground) at Alexandria or North Botany (Mascot). The South Sydney coach boasted 72 at training on one occasion.
The ultimate success of the 1926 season put the League in a satisfactory enough financial position and supplemented with the holding of regular meetings during the summer months, ensured a record kick off for the following year. Though, some said, there was still much to be done. One of the principal matters concerning officials was the appointment of a paid secretary and organiser, some suggesting that “the work entailed in the position of secretary of the league was far too great to expect from one acting in a honorary capacity.” The appointment never came.