Was It Really Like This?

Howlong Football Ground smallWe will print the follow up story about the fate of the Australian Football Ground at Alexander in Sydney shortly.

In the meantime, we came across a very interesting story that displays unbelieveable discrimination against the Australian code in Sydney in 1922.

The following was published in the Evening News, 19 April 1922:

“When is the national game getting a fair deal in Sydney. The question is prompted by the treatment served out by several of the suburban councils when allocating the grounds at their disposal. The procedure adopted is to call for tenders through the press, various bodies put in tenders, with what result:

The Marrickville Council invited tenders for the local oval (Marrickville Oval), the New South Wales Australian Football League tendered £150m, the Rugby League £135. The latter tender was accepted.

The Hurstville, the Australians tendered £25, the Rugbyites, £12.10s, the latter were successful.

At Ashfield they took the palm for Pratten Park. The Australian Rules tendered £200, the Rugby League £175. The Ashfield Council decided that the tenders were too low, although greatly in advance of the previous season. They decided to call fresh tenders. The Australians put in a tender for £250 but were evidentially outbid by the Rugbyites, as it is understood the latter have secured the ground.

Are the Councils doing a fair thing for the ratepayers or for any sporting body outside Rugby League. The Australian game is making slow but steady progress in New South Wales. Practically the whole of the Riverina have adopted it and it is making steady progress in Newcastle, where a record season is predicted.

Last season was the best yet for the Metropolitans but this season promises to far outdo anything hitherto attempted.”

This is just an example of the bias against the code in Sydney.  Contemporary followers of the game cannot image the prejudice that the supporters suffered in many parts of NSW and Queensland right up until the 1980s.  And, as we wrote about not that long ago, much of it started with the comments of Monte Arnold.

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