Almanac Footy History: First Class Sheffield Shield Footy Connections, 1971



A recent episode of the Coodabeens harked back to cricketing performances of the 1970 Brownlow Medallist, Peter ‘Wheels’ Bedford.

It reminded me that in 1971, I went to Day 3 of the Shield game below, one of the 3,333 in attendance that day. I was a callow 11-year-old.

It was surely the only time a Magarey Medallist (Barrie Robran had two by that stage) played in a First Class game against a Brownlow Medallist (Bedford). They had already been opponents in shorts and long stops on the same ground during the 1969 Carnival and again in 1970.

Other League footy connections for the Croweaters were Port’s Eric ‘Fritzy’ Freeman, Glenelg’s Kevin McCarthy and SANFL Umpire Ken ‘KG’ Cunningham. Phil Rebbeck’s brother Adrian played for both North Adelaide and Glenelg.

The Vics also had Demon Max Walker, North Melbourne’s John Scholes, John Stephens from the Saints and VFL Field Umpire ‘Froggy’ Thomson (Gary Cosier also played Reserves for Fitzroy).

The 12th men, John Nash (Norwood) and Robert Rose (Collingwood/Footscray) also played footy at League level for their respective states.

Umpires Max O’Connell and Robin Bailhache were also SANFL field umpires. O’Connell had also played footy for Sturt and Port Adelaide.

Tell the kids of today and they won’t believe you.


(Below has been taken from Cricinfo)



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About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. McAlmanac says

    “Weight of runs” counting for nothing – both KG and Phantom missed out on the 72 tour of England.

  2. Ta Swish, SA had a good shield team in that time.

    The previous season 1970-71 SA won the title, the year great South African Barry Richards played for the Redcaps. He made a fair few runs including the 356 against West Australia @ the WACA. Your next shield triumph was in 1975-76 quite a tumultuous season with Chappelli involved in all sorts of ‘dramas’. Chappelli was a great leader for both your Redcaps, and the Australian team.

    If my memory still works Alan ‘Froggy’ Thompson’s first senior VFL match as an umpire was the Richmond V Geelong clash at the ‘G’ in round 14 of 1972. Geelong gave them a decent shellacking, with Doug Wade kicking double figures. Geelong were near the foot of the table, Richmond were up the top. The scoreboard at the end of this clash belied their ladder positions.


    Wonderful era.


  3. In 1972-73, Victoria’s only win for the season was the traditional Christmas fixture v NSW. Four days of exhilarating cricket ended with the Vics winning by two wickets. Vital roles in the last-day chase were played by Robert Rose of Collingwood (he would follow his dad to Footscray for the 1973 footy season); John Scholes who had played at North and was still playing in the VFA, and had already played the innings of the match with an even-time ton on Christmas Eve; and Peter Bedford of SM. Recalled to the side for what would prove to be his last hurrah as a Victorian cricketer, he had already made a first-innings 50 mostly in partnership with Graham Yallop on debut, and steered a very dodgy tail of Froggy Thomson and Alan Hurst home.

    Victoria’s best bowler, of course, was another footballer, Max Walker, who would be back at the MCG two days later to make his Test debut.

    The last SS match of that summer, a virtual final between WA and SA at the WACA, was won by the home team by an innings. With Ross Edwards on tour in the Windies, the WA batting line-up was: reigning Tassie Medallist Ken McAulay, former Melbourne half-forward Graeme Watson, skipper John Inverarity (who has little displayed form as a footballer), and two St Kilda star recruits in George Young and Bruce Duperouzel. Ian Brayshaw, who had also played football for WA, and Rick Charlesworth, who had played under-age footy as well as Olympic hockey, were also in the line-up. Paul Nicholls, semi-regular WA leggie considered a candidate for John Watkins’ Windies spot, mixed the Staminade. Lining up for the other mob in one of his final appearances playing either sport, was Port Adelaide legend and sporadic Test cricketer Eric Freeman.

  4. Hayden Kelly says

    Good read . Robert Rose i reckon may have played for Australia if not for his tragic accident . Different times and I suspect the answer to the trivia question who was the last player to play 1st class cricket and AFL footy will forever be Alex Keath .

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Ta McA, fair dinkum unbelievable.

    Well played Glen!

    Strike me pink Rick N, that’s a huge response.

    I was a tad annoyed when Keath left the Crows Hayden.

  6. Swish I have sent thru to KG strike me pink he outshone the greatest

  7. G’day Swish,I didn’t play it that well.

    Contrary to what I may have thought ‘Froggy’ Thompson had umpired previous VFL games. So it wasn’t his first senior VFL match,though it’s the first time I recall hearing him umpiring a match broadcast on 3GL.


  8. Brilliant read and analysis thanks Swish.

  9. John Gordon says

    Great memories Swish of a notable game. And to add to Rick N’s great memories of that last game of the 72-3 summer, the spinner Paul Nicholls mentioned was a pretty good ruck-forward for East Fremantle and Dennis Baker who was also in that WA team (and later played for Tassie) was a full forward for Claremont in the WANFL. John inverarity, in fact played in the seconds for Claremont. but I think gave the footy away after spending the 1968 winter in England. So 7 of the WA 12 had played league footy and one in the twos. Such different times.

  10. Rulebook says

    Swish Ben Higgins A 1 medallist playing for Adelaide Uni played league footy for Woodville West Torrens and
    Shield cricket is the most recent re SA side of things

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks as always ‘Book. Any response from KG?

    Charlie, did you umpire any dual-sports stars of note?

    Ta John, Mick Malone was in the Subi side that played in the 1973 Champions of Australia in Adelaide, ie before he played cricket for WA, but I reckon you knew that too.

  12. Thanks Swish. Barrie Robran: Magarey medallist and Sheffield Shield cricketer. Please don’t now also tell me he is a brilliant musician! Disappointingly, no South Australians with triple initials before their surname.

  13. Mark Duffett says

    As I’ve worked my way through early 1970s Wisdens (long story), one of the things I’ve picked up is how good a cricketer KG must have been. He would have to have been stiff not to win national selection at some stage.

  14. Mark- I understand KG was named 12th man once and received a baggy green. As a mark of appreciation for the support and love given KG placed it in his father’s coffin.

  15. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Mickey and Mark – KG toured New Zealand with an Australian Second XI in 1966/67 – that was probably the source of his Baggy Green.

  16. Daryl Schramm says

    I was 15 at the time Swish. Not sure if I got to the game but remembered Les Favell talking about KG’s double ton on the radio. Was this his only first class double? Les told him he had to turn a hundred into a double as the leader of the team. Another great read of a now distant time. Robran was the third Magerey medallist to play first class cricket after Lindsay Head and John Halbert.. The Vic’s had a long tail during those times of Higgs, Thomson, Hurst, Duncan.

  17. Correct Swish, Ken Cunningham toured New Zealand in 1966-67, in an Australian Second XI captained by Les Favell. There were four South Australian’s in the touring team.

    Australia played the home side in four ‘tests’: all drawn. These matches had first class status, though not Test status.

    To my knowledge Ken Cunningham is not in that small group of players who have been 12th man for Australia, though never actually played a test. A few in that group are Jack Potter,Geoff Davies, also Dan Christian.


  18. Rulebook says

    Swish not yet I reckon I might give it a mention on air on Saturday morning

  19. KG used to pop into the Broady occasionally so I could ask him directly but I’ve not seen him for a while. I’m sure I’ve heard him tell the story about his baggy green and his Dad but I could be wrong. Rulebook will clarify!

  20. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks DS – that’s a good get re Halbert and Head.

  21. KG received a baggy green re.2nd X1 tour of NZ and buried it with his father when his father passed away as a mark of respect.Lindsay Head hit a 6 on every ground he played on in his brief Shield career

  22. Mark Duffett says

    Thanks Rulebook, Swish et al. re KG’s baggy green.

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