Bush Footy: The classic Barossa and Light season of 1977

The 1977 Angaston Football Club premiership will go down in the annals of Panther football folklore as one of those great seasons where a squad of footballers achieved the ultimate goal after being underdogs.


1977 A-Grade Angaston premiership team


They needed to beat Tanunda in the first semi final, then raging favourites Nuriootpa in the preliminary final, before taking two games to get over Kapunda in the season decider at Freeling Oval.


The first grand final game ended up a 13-13 (91) draw, and they needed to come back on the following Saturday, September 17 to clinch the title.


Kapunda and Angaston were traditional rivals in the Barossa and Light competition, and before the 1977 finals series, these combatants had met in 10 previous grand finals, both collecting five victories.


In the first Grand Final, on Saturday, September 10, Angaston had an 11-point half-time advantage, and was still two goals up at lemons. In a frantic final quarter Kapunda kicked four goals and as many behinds, while Angaston managed 2-3.


Bomber Phil Jarman kicked the goal to tie the game, with many remembering it to be a real wobbler.


After the first title fight a number of Angaston players travelled to Kapunda and had a ‘few drinks” with their opponents.


(L-R) Mick Koch, Lindsay ‘Flea’ Stevens, John Beasley, Ross Cameron, Keith Binding
(Front) Freddie Carabott

Classy midfielder Kim Reid was brilliant in the first decider, along with athletic ruckman John Beasley, and defender Ross Cameron.


Both publican Ted Boylan and Daryl Beale kicked three goals in this game, while Mick Koch and Trevor Smitham finished with two majors for the Panthers.


Kapunda’s leading performers in the first game included Robert Jarman, Trevor Leslie and Geoff Schell, who kicked four valuable goals, while Brian “Boo” Menzel slotted through three.


The replay, also umpired by Rob Gray, was another cracking affair in the first half.


The only change to the Panthers line up was Steve Schmidt coming in to play on a wing.

Kym Lehmann – John Batten

Mercurial teenage talent Kym Lehmann, who would go down to Central District and play in the 1979 finals series at SANFL league level, was the stand-out player in this contest at centre half-forward.


Kym Reid, captain-coach Daryl Beale (who played a couple of VFL games with Richmond), Trevor Smitham, half back flanker John Kretschmer and left footed ruck-rover Tim Jackson all had big games in the replay.

Mick O’Niell – John Kretschmer

Beale kicked six goals while Smitham finished with four.


For Kapunda Trevor Leslie, Jarman, Mick Browne and David Schell were the leading players.



William Hurn – Peter Marks




Nuriootpa, the reigning premiers for the previous two years, were the competition yardstick, under coach Robin Mullholland.


They lost the first match for the ‘77 campaign in the last minor round game, against Angaston at Angaston, 16-13 (109) to 17-9 (111).


The Tigers then lost the second semi to ‘76 grand final opponent Kapunda, 12-15 (87) to 14-15 (99), also at Angaston.


Then Nuri lost the preliminary final to Angaston at Eudunda, after leading with five minutes left to play, 9-17 (71) to 9-21 (75).


Kieran (Ted) Boylan and Lindsay Stevens kicked two late goals into the trademark strong breeze, towards the golf course end at Eudunda Oval, to steal the game for the Panthers, bundling the Tigers out of the finals race.


The Angaston and Kapunda drawn grand final at Freeling was the second ever tied premiership-decider in Barossa and Light history, the first also involving Angaston in 1969 against Nuriootpa, where both teams drew (11-4 each), with the Panthers winning the rematch.


In a mid season match in ‘77, Nuriootpa kicked 10-9 while Angaston could only manage a single goal, in the first quarter, going on to defeat the Panthers by an emphatic 85-point margin – 21-13 (139) to 7-12 (54).


In round 12 on home soil against Robertstown, Angaston was already 19-15 to 2-4 up at half time, after slamming home 10-8 in the second quarter, and won the match 36-22 (238) 10-7 (67).


Trevor Smitham kicked 10 goals, and rover Fred Carabott nine for the Panthers.


The Doering Medal count for the B&L best player was remarkable and added another twist to the season.


Angaston’s Tim Jackson, Robertstown’s Lindsay ‘Foxy’ Schmidt, and Nuriootpa key forward Jeff Gerlach all finished with 14 votes in a low count.


Unfortunately Jackson was ineligible due to suspension.


Schmidt won on the night through a countback, while Gerlach waited over a quarter of a century to receive a retrospective medal.


A vote behind this trio was Eudunda Rooster Tim Knight, who would later play for the Panthers, and Greg Stone from the RSMU Hawks. A defender is his days at Central District and his first years with the Panthers, Trevor Smitham would share the association leading goal kicking award with Mullholland.


with Anthony Schubert. 


A reminder that the SA Launch of the Women’s Footy Almanac will be held at the Tanunda FC on the 31st August more details here


  1. PLA, thanks for another fine SA country footy yarn, and pics. Sounds like a cracking finals campaign – and season. You’re right – there’s a book in these.

    Hope to see you at Tanunda FC on Aug 31 – for Women’s Footy Almanac launch.


  2. I recall my 11yo emptiness and bewilderment at the initial draw that day at Freeling. And then my devastation at Kapunda losing the replay. Of course this happened just weeks before the draw in the VFL decider.

    A mate from way back had gone to school with William “Bunga” Hurn and boasted that he was the only person he knew who called him William to his face. He really did love his own nickname, apparently.

    Nice to see reference to Tim Knight of Tim Knight’s T-Shirt City fame.

    Thanks Peter and Anthony.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I love everything about this Peter, but I’d love to know why some of the U/17s had their “A” on the left and some on the right.

    I’d read the Barossa scores and the Adelaide Plains scores in the Sunday Mail each week to pick out the familiar Centrals names.

  4. Dave Brown says

    Please tell me the reserves all had a ‘B’ on their chests

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