A Tasmanian State Premiership Remembered, 50 years on.

By Jim Fidler

 

Where did those 50 years go?

 

As a footy mad primary school boy growing up in Launceston in the ’60s, the local footy was the centre of our lives. We knew there was a VFL but we only saw occasional glimpses in news grabs and in the local Examiner.

 

Launceston was the base for the NTFA supporting four teams within Launceston –City-South, Launceston, North Launceston and East Launceston plus Scottsdale and Longford. The two power house clubs were City South and North Launceston. Both clubs had a very long, proud and successful history stretching right back before the turn of the last century with a fierce rivalry. City-South had won many premierships (NTFA and State) and produced and attracted champion players such as Verdun Howell, Berkley Cox, Derek Peardon, Tony Pickett and Stuart Barclay. Club legends like Graeme “Roley” Muir,  “Big” Bill Woolcock, Roger Crosswell, Peter Brooks, Paul “Badger”Luttrel, Denis Williams and Crichton Hall were our idols.

 

This was a bullish time in Launceston with plenty of resources and a new television station and local radio that really embraced the local footy. Living in the southern suburbs meant that City South was the only team I would follow.  The Mighty Redlegs, wearing the red and white South Melbourne strip with our home ground at Young Town footy ground where we practically lived during winter.

 

I loved them. They were successful and there was a fierce and at times bitter rivalry between City and North. The players at the club were our heroes and the City-South team of 1966 was very special. The side had a heady collection of champion players. We had Berkley Cox who had returned from a successful career at Carlton, Graeme Wilkinson our Captain Coach was from Melbourne/Richmond plus a collection of wonderful local players and a one season Centre Half Forward from South Melbourne, Arthur Budd.

 

My Grade 6 year was like a whirlwind as City took all that was thrown at them and our little band of rabid followers loved being part of the Saturday crowd. If we were lucky, we even watched them at training. We would play school footy in the morning, then walk all the way to Youngtown football ground or even better go to York Park to sit in a grandstand.

 

City finished on top of the ladder at the end of the regular season and we were excited for what was coming. We expected success and it was forthcoming with strong memories of great victories and success in the Second Semi and ultimately the Grand Final.

 

In those days the greatest Tasmanian football prize was the State Premiership. The big day came at York Park against Hobart.  I went to the game all excited with one of my great uncles from the North West Coast as his nephew Graeme Muir was playing. It was a bruising encounter with a good old fashioned “donnybrook” in the second quarter. The North – South divide was ever present and we hoped that we would smash the arrogance and alleged superiority of the southern mob. We did. The sheer joy of inching my way into the rooms after the game, seeing my heroes and hearing them sing the club song has stayed with me to this day.

 

Unfortunately my talents as a footballer meant I didn’t ever pull on the boots for the Mighty Redlegs but as a senior football umpire I was able to umpire them before their ultimate demise.

 

City-South were an extremely proud and successful club going on to win further state premierships before they amalgamated with East Launceston in 1986 to form South Launceston Football Club. I am saddened that the club did not survive as a single entity but the legacy lives on when you walk through the clubrooms and still see all their premierships and photos of club legends on the wall.

 

50 years has gone so fast however the memories remain strong and I am grateful that I was able to be part of the Mighty Redlegs family. I remember and celebrate that wonderful group of players in that City South 1966 State Premiership side.

 

Comments

  1. craig dodson says:

    Enjoyed the story Jim. I’ll bet they were jammed packed into the ground that day.

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