SANFL 1976 – Sonny Morey’s 200th Game: Footage and Interviews

Some archival footage of one of the best days I’ve ever had at the footy surfaced today.

In 1975, my team Centrals had lost to Glenelg at Brighton Road by the huge margin of 49.23 (317) to 11.13 (79) – if only they’d kicked a bit straighter.

The Bulldogs returned to the home of Tigers in Round 18 of 1976, coached by 1965 Magarey Medallist Gary Window, an excitable and passionate favourite son. At that stage of the season they were in a close tussle with Norwood for a spot in the final five.

More significantly, this late season matchup coincided with the 200th game of Sonny Morey and he was the first player to achieve this tally for the club from Elizabeth.

Morey, who had played in Centrals’ first league game in 1964, was a much admired back pocket, whose mid-career shift from the wing netted him state honours, including the famous SA v Vic match at Adelaide Oval in 1973, where Jezza kicked ten.

The clip features an interview with Sonny before the game by SA media doyen Gordon Schwartz and some brief match day footage. The jubilant scenes captured in the rooms afterwards took me to the brink of tears. I lie, I was beyond the brink by the time the post match words between Sonny, Gordon and Centrals’ captain Lyle Skinner appeared.

I haven’t spent a more uplifting eight or so minutes in ages. The early days of the kid from an Alice Springs “home for part-Aboriginal people” who became one of SA’s most esteemed footballers, are hinted at in Schwartz’s gently probing initial questions. Sonny’s humour lights up the dank trainers’ room under the Glenelg grandstand but it was clear that he wanted a win for Centrals, not just to mark his occasion, but because he wanted to be part of a winning side.

The match day scenes of 1976, the year of Golden Breed, Wrangler jeans, Miller shirts and Polly Waffles should be preserved in the SA Museum. I may even be in the background somewhere.

Of even more interest is the last quarter action that has captured the only known right foot goal scored by Centrals David ‘Sally’ Saywell (#31). The casual mix of lace-ups and nylon-wool blend guernseys, plus the mixed numeric fonts and Peter Marker, were further signs of those wonderful years. Plus the lack of advertising on either club’s kit, the naked yellow sash of the Bays standing out. Finally, seeing Kidderminster born Saywell embrace Sonny during the post-match revelry, transcending race, nationality and hair styles. Wow.

For the record, my Doggies stormed home in the last quarter to avenge the largest loss in SANFL history. I’m glad I was there, tucked on the grandstand side flank with my friends the Bishops. (I wasn’t there in 1975). The Centrals fans that travelled 30 kilometres south that day were all as elated as the players were. The supporters bus back to Elizabeth was rockin’ that night.

Glenelg                6.6  12.10  15.13 16.16 (112)
Central District  3.1  10.5   14.9   23.12 (150)

Centrals promptly lost their next couple and missed the five on percentage. Of course.

Sonny Morey played on into the 1977 season and finished with 213 games, 28 goals and 4 state games. He was Centrals’ first playing Life Member and runner up in the 1972 Magarey Medal.

Enormous thanks to those behind and for continually enriching our memories.

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. First class Swish. What a wonderful man Sonny is.

  2. Great scenes, great write up. Love the nervous fan gifting Sonny a pewter mug (?) in the change rooms afterwards.

  3. charlie brown says

    Loved it Swish. Some of the best vision I’ve seen. No staged club song. Pure joy. Completely genuine displays of mateship particularly with Sally. Wonderful few seconds of the presentation of the pewter mug. No Tissot watch for Sony but I betcha Sonny wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    The Bishops of the Bones variety?
    Centrals No 12 kicking a goal Brian or Mark Norsworthy?

  4. Sensational Swish the emotion ,mate ship and the supporter presenting the pewter and of course
    Gordon Schwartz interview brilliant and professional as always

  5. Wonderful Swish. Will there be a sequel called “Bobby Gibson Saves the Day”. I was at Thebarton for Centrals first game in 1964 with Kenny Eustice captain coaching them. Memorable day (Torrens won for a change).
    Did Sonny play in a Reserves Grand Final at the end of his career? I have memories of being on the pickets at Adelaide Oval barracking for him (we affectionately called him Captain Midnight in those less than PC days). Maybe it was another Centrals indigenous player. Perhaps Gordon could help you research it.
    Moved to tears eh? Barracking for Torrens or Centrals in the 60’s and 70’s could do that on a weekly basis.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Chris – Thanks for perpetuating Sonny in printed form ( )

    Ta Mike – I wonder where that girl is now?

    Thanks Charlie – Bishop of the Mark, Glenn, Paul and Ashley variety (not sure if they were all there, but their mum Gay was). Barry Norsworthy.

    Bewdy Book – SA great

    PB – Thanks. Couldn’t stop giggling when Sonny mentioned your hero Bobby Gibson. Centrals won the Reserves flag in 1971 – I think that Sonny may have played in that one as he was up and down for a while mid-career. I’ll check my Poms to Premiers book when I get home tonight.

  7. Excellent footage, got hold of it earlier this week. recognised nearly everyone in the rooms afterwards,a nd my dad even features! Was a great day (especially considering what had happened the year before), and I still have the shorts that Sony wore for the game.

  8. Golden Breed windcheaters (to apply the appropriate nomenclature) were worn by the cool kids, I recollect. Along with Grosby Sportz.

    A nine goal last term away from home is a fair effort especially given the recent history.

    More excellent curating Swish. Thanks.

  9. That game the year before I reckon Snout Macfarlane hit the post on the siren when the Bays we’re going for goal number 50.
    Loved the footage and quality interviews there. Thanks Swish. Sonny was a top player and came across as a great bloke.

  10. Nah Mickey, Golden Breed was a brand of petrol with a big golden merino symbol on the bowser. And they made the best honey ice cream.

  11. PaulQuilty05 says

    Great story and great footage. I had a Golden Breed windcheater. Did everything except keep the wind out.

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Rabs – Those shorts probably still fit. You, not Sonny that is.

    Mickey – I was far from cool, but even I had a few. Thanks

    Budge – You are spot on about Snout. And Sonny. Thanks

    PB – I’ve confirmed that Sonny played in the Seconds flag in 1971. Magarey runner up the following year to M Blight. It looks like he couldn’t nudge out Julian Swinstead from the back pocket in 71. And ha ha.

    Paul – There were at least two weights, January and February from memory. Thank you.

  13. I reckon the next day Sonny was the special guest on Channel Nines Sunday Footy show.
    How young does Kris Grant look? I was in the rooms a month or so ago, incidently against Glenelg, and Kris is still there overseeing activity.
    Rabs – so funny seeing your Dad lookingso young. Got the same big smile on his face you get when The Dogs win. Strong genes there!

  14. Oh this is brilliant Swish, thank you! A different era. More real, don’t you think? Likewise loved the lace-ups. And the plastic cup of cordial as you enter the rooms post-match.

  15. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Culls, Kris Grant put the Barn into Barnet

    Thanks Daddsy – if you played a good game, you might have been able to go back for seconds on the cordial. It was best not to look too closely at the bottom of the cup.

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