Almanac (Footy) History: Syd Jackson in Canberra

We’re at the tail end of what has been a wonderful celebration of Indigenous footballers and their contribution to the game and community for Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round. This year the AFL has shone the spotlight on Carlton’s 1970s superstar and East Perth marvel, Syd Jackson. Syd not only went on to be involved in South Australian footy, but also played a role in the nation’s capital, as Laurie Laffan explains.




I’ve just watched the AFL’s video featuring six minutes on Syd Jackson on the Footy Almanac. What a marvel! He played a few games for me when I was captain-coach of the Ainslie Monaro team, together with a couple of his   brothers who worked at Aboriginal Affairs.


I thought, given Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round, that you might be interested in this photo of the team which represented the ACT as a preliminary game to the ACTAFL Grand Final in 1981.



The ACT representative side who played the VFL side in 1981. Syd Jackson is on the right end of the front row.



Syd Jackson was assistant coach to John Jillard (Footscray Team of the Century). We had enough players to field two teams. The next photo includes several mates of Syd including Irwin Lewis the former Claremont full forward and father of Chris of West Coast Eagles fame.


More ACT footy players from 1981, featuring Irwin Lewis, father of Chris, back row, fourth from the right end.


We lost to the VFL by 5 points to a very well credentialed VFL team, including the Richardson brothers from Collingwood. Our full forward kicked six straight behinds by the way…


We had several players who had played in the VFL, SANFL, WAFL and TAFL in our team.


I was the founding Zone Director of ACT Superules, having been handed ‘THE ENVELOPE’ by ‘Cowboy’ Neale who reckoned I needed something to do after retiring as captain-coach of the Ainslie Monaro team.


The first player I called was Syd and the second was John Jillard, who was one of my former coaches.


Laurie Laffan, Canberra



To return to the home page click HERE


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



Leave a Comment