If you can’t remember the Australia of 1988, here’s a memory jogger.
Yep, Australia Day went for the full 366 days back then. Two hundred years since the First Fleet and all that. It was quite a comedown after South Australia’s sesquicentenary just two years earlier, but I suppose it gave those descendants of bread-pilferers, “new Australians” and other assorted reffos something to feel good about.
In 1988, like my life, the nation’s celebrations peaked a bit early (who would have thought that the photo comp that I won at Emery’s Elizabeth South in 1967 wouldn’t have led to a career as a male model, just imagine me as “Schwoolander”).
The undoubted highlight was “The Bicentennial Australian Football Championships”, held from 2nd to 5th March 1988 at those twin epicentres of Australian sporting, nay cultural, dominance, Football Park and Norwood Oval. Who needed to go to Brisbane’s overblown World Ekka instead? About 15.8m more people than went here, as it turns out.
The “artist” commissioned for the cover must have chosen to avoid those pesky Australian History electives on offer at the Larry Pickering Memorial Cartoonist CAE. He/she ensured that the three pillars of the Championships, the NFL governing body, the Bicentennial Authority and West End were all given suitable prominence. As was Captain James Cook and the HM Bark Endeavour, who, despite paving the way for Arthur Phillip, wasn’t exactly the reason for the Bicentennial. Perhaps, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria were just out of shot too. But it was good to see SA icon Smokey the Koala finally given the respect that he deserved after countless years of fronting bushfire awareness campaigns.
I haven’t included everything from this 68 page tome, here’s the full contents in case you are curious. Send a stamped self-addressed envelope to Ned c/- Almanac HQ and he’ll send you a copy of the Puzzle Page.
Yep, page 1 comes three pages in. What a catchy title “South Australian Bicentennial Football Budget”. Current Port Adelaide board member and McGuire Media CEO Cos Cardone’s contributions didn’t make my cut.
What a magnificent trophy. One day it will turn up on Gumtree. Name your own price.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the Football 200 comp consisted of
- Division 1: NSW, SA, VIC, WA
- Division 2: Amateurs, ACT, NT, QLD, TAS and VFA
Look closely at the schedule. The Div 2 teams faced three games in three or four days. Ouch.
A gathering of such a vast collection of Australian Football talent will never occur again. More is the pity.
What indeed was the NFL? Who really ran the code back then? By way of contrast, in Garry Linnell’s Football Ltd, the NFL is scarcely mentioned, save for Allen Aylett’s time as its President. The VFL morphed into the AFL and the AFL Commission formally took over the running of the code in the 90s. Just like that really.
I had no recollection of WA’s Vince Yovich, but research has revealed that he was a bit more “colourful” than, say, Max Basheer.
In short, even as late as 1988, the NFL seemed to be deluded about its ability to progress Australian Football independently of the burgeoning VFL comp. The term “paper tiger” seemed to be the general consensus. The idea behind this carnival is to be applauded. However, the crowds were dismal, probably due to the clashes with the Lord Harewood’s Adelaide Festival of Arts or Mick Jagger’s ‘Let’s Work’ tour at Memorial Drive.
I’ve kept this article in coz Gordon Schwarz. His brief tale of the 1950 Carnival in Brisbane played on “a dirt-track speedway” is red, navy and gold.
The pars on the Rioli, Motlop, Long and other brothers, by Dion Hayman add interest. As does a topless Grenville Dietrich.
The convoluted qualification criteria are shown in the second section. I could flow chart it, but basically, the VFA and Amateurs got the dregs.
As well as “show us your Tassie”, the question on everybody’s lips was “who’ll be taking Flipper home tonight?” at the post-final knees up. Brad Hardie won two Tassie Medals? No, really.
As per the prizemoney, apparently that didn’t go so well.
The pen-pix here were obviously done before the final squads were named as there are more/different names here than the team lists elsewhere. There’s a feast of detail here if you are so inclined. Let us know of the day you came up against one of these guys in the Under 11s or whether you had their number sewn to the back of your duffle coat (or both).
NSW were placed in Division 1 due to having a better net run rate or pink helicopter quota or suchlike (Correction: NSW was placed in Division I due to an excellent submission to the NFL by its delegate, Dr R.A. Gillett. This was mainly because NSW had more players on VFL/SANFL/WAFL lists than Tasmania. This was borne out in the results with a narrow loss to the SA and a win over WA.)
Sydney’s T-Shirt Tommy got the
Waratahs Blues coaching gig. Tim Powell must have really impressed the selectors in the night game for Richmond. Has anyone heard what happened to that John “Longmuire” kid?
Carlton fans must be drooling at the thought of Dominic Fotia and Mark Naley in this lineup. Sadly, the former didn’t make the final squad, in a selection shock second only to the omission of Poowong’s own Rudi Mandemaker.
This was indeed SA Great
Household names. Up themselves. May not have been 100% serious.
Who’s Paul Mifka, I asked myself. Actually, he’s quite a good story.
Hey Dion, mate, it’s Sheehy, S-H-E-E-H-Y. A deadset bona-fide VAFA legend.
The pen-pics omit Jamie Morrissey from the list. Legendary Beasley kitted up alongside future Demon Andrew Obst. Alex Ischenko, despite being written up in the WA squad, played for the Ammos.
No mention was made of Brian Quade’s role as coach of East Wagga’s premiership side of 1976. Shame, Dion, shame. Barry Suckling was another East Wagga (and Almanac 2015 Grand Final lunch) all time great.
That’s the Crows’ honcho Phil Harper and Shaun “Cop This Garry Lyon” Smith in there too. Former Centrals captain Hannam is sporting the greatest football jumper in the history of great football jumpers – pity you can’t see it.
This was NT footy’s first real crack at State level. Unlike the other teams, early March was peak season for these guys. Michael Long joined West Torrens soon after this carnival. Yep, that’s Cyril’s dad. What a side.
Peter Knights, Mr Football of Queensland. I bet those volunteers that supported the previous 120-odd years of Qld footy loved seeing that. Jason Dunstall started his assorted state jumper collection. Peter Riewoldt is an uncle of both Nick and Jack.
The beginning of Robert Shaw’s love affair with Adelaide. The late Michael Parsons also played in the NBL for Launceston and West Adelaide, and went on the play a few seasons for the Swans. Chris “Rienoldt” is Jack’s father (and Peter’s brother of course).
Wheeler helmed a motley crew of ageing ruckmen (Round, Sarau), middle-tier VFL players (Ezard, Fairley) and Terry Wallace. The late Ron James was the youngest of their number.
Some Colour Pieces
If there was any one reason why South Australian’s hated Victorians, Dermie was it. I think someone might have read this piece to Martin Leslie before the game.
Tony Wynd won ACT’s Magarey Medal equivalent, as opposed to the Brownlow, Sandover, Leitch etc equivalent. Not the least bit parochial there Rog.
Maurice Rioli, what a champion. Enough said.
The Player Retention Scheme
SA had no hope of holding back the movement of players to the VFL. Gawd, even the Bears were chock full of Croweaters. The first paragraph turned out to be wrong, with both Leslie and Whittlesea shifting to the VFL. What a crock that last paragraph was. I don’t recall too many “disillusioned” or homesick blokes. The Crows couldn’t come soon enough.
Yes, I’m having a bob each way, our beloved SANFL was severely diminished as a result, but that was progress. But this was the mob that called its pre-season comp “Australia’s most prestigious”.
The Public Purse
Good to see that some of the lesser publicised sports were on the receiving end of the Authority’s largesse. Is chess a sport? Lithuanians of the world, unite and take over.
Attention James Coventry, more rule changes. Surely Murray Bird should have been given the Qld umpiring gig.
Harris Scarfe sold everything in those days.
The ’69 Carnival
I wish I’d gone to this but I was probably a year or so too young. Despite the label under top goal kickers, Huddo was representing Victoria.
Tasmanians Hudson and Baldock kicked 8.8 between them in the first game. Good to see Tony Casserly’s name bob up as a Sandgroper a couple of years before he saw the light and moved to Elizabeth (or more likely, Hillbank).
“There is moral to this ditty… Footy fireworks always shitty”. Maybe John Williamson didn’t sing that, but he should have.
The Australian Drill Team doubled as the Centrals Cheerleaders during the SANFL season. Unmissable.
The Team Lists
Note to collectors of obscure footy memorabila – the numbers here shown for the VFA weren’t correct. A separate insert was produced for them (thanks Mike Hugo but I don’t have room).
As well as some top class teams here in Div 2, there were some ripping logos.
If you don’t want to know the results of the final yet, look away now. Yep, I attended the final, along with 19,000 desperates. Wasn’t my recordkeeping neat?
All results can be found here thanks to John Devaney.
The Div 2 result was
Game Nine (Section Two - Final) Northern Territory 4.3 10.4 15.7 17.10 112 VFA 2.2 6.4 7.8 9.13 67
BEST – Northern Territory: M.Long, M.Rioli, Ahmat, Jones, McLean, Briston VFA: Wallace, Ezard, Wright, Martin, Round, O’Riley
GOALS – Northern Territory: D.Dunn 4; M.Long, McLean 3; Ahmat, Briston 2; Jones, P.Motlop, Vigona VFA: O’Riley, Round 2; Bergman, Eade, Martin, Mourney, Thornton
If you peeked above, you will know that SA thumped Victoria in the final. All you need to know about that match can be gleaned from the headline of this story
I don’t now condone violence on or off the field, but the sight of Leslie giving it to that cocky Ferrari driving, pig shooting Frankston boy had me baying for more. And more. I now hang my head in shame. Not.
The Div 1 details were
Game Eleven (Section One - Final)
South Australia 8.5 10.6 13.8 15.12 102 Victoria 1.0 3.1 5.6 6.6 42
BEST – South Australia: Leslie, Mickan, Platten, McIntosh, Kernahan, McDermott, Bubner, Aish, Hall, Naley Victoria: Roos, Healy, Silvagni, Madden
GOALS – South Australia: Kernahan 6; Hall, Platten 3; Lindner 2; McDermott Victoria: Morris 2; Osborne, Royal, Salmon, Weightman
The full match is available here
1988 All Australian Team
New South Wales Terry Daniher (Essendon), David Murphy (Sydney)
Northern Territory Michael Long (St Marys), Michael McLean (Footscray), Maurice Rioli (St Marys)
South Australia Tony Hall (Glenelg), Danny Hughes (Melbourne), Stephen Kernahan (Carlton), Martin Leslie (Port Adelaide), Bruce Lindner (Geelong), Tony McGuinness (Footscray), Mark Mickan (Brisbane), John Platten (Hawthorn), Greg Whittlesea (Sturt)
VFA Terry Wallace (Footscray)
Victoria Danny Frawley (St Kilda), Gerard Healy (Sydney), Simon Madden (Essendon), Paul Roos (Fitzroy), Paul Salmon (Essendon), Dale Weightman (Richmond)
Western Australia Steve Malaxos (West Coast)
Paul Salmon was the surprising selection for the Tassie Medal.
Terry Wallace took home the coveted Dolphin
Lamp Medal. He now has 50% of the Dolphins that have been awarded.
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1) John Devaney, for preparing his extremely throrough analysis of Football200, referred to above, some of which I have reproduced herein.
2) David Eastman’s http://www.hardballget.net/ also proved invaluable.
5) The publishers – PBL Marketing