South Australia v Victoria State of Origin 1984 – Tuesday Night Lights

On “Back To the Future” Day, I’m going Back To The Past.

I’ve dug out the time capsule (actually the third magazine rack from the left on top of the old nursery robe) to bring you the night South Australian football was changed irreversibly.

No-one realised it at the time. Here’s how it was recorded.



This match was notable for at least two reasons. Firstly, it was the first State of Origin match to be played under the Royal Commission approved West Lakes lights. Secondly the home team was on a rare one-match winning streak against the Kick-A-Vics.

Why is the official organ of the SANFL called the Football Budget? On-line noodlings reveal an archaic meaning “a quantity of written or printed material”. Please don’t ask again.

The front cover is one of the few places in this edition that knows what day and year this contest took place, as we shall see later on.

The action photo is from the 1983 pairing of these two states. The players are (from left), John Schneebichler (SA), Rod Ashman (Vic), Ken Sheldon (Vic), Bruce Lindner (SA) and Mark Naley (SA). Bonus points for identifying the umpire in the background.

Even more notable was the duelling logos. I spent a pleasant evening on the twit earlier this year attempting to lay blame establish the provenance of the SANFL logo, which is still in use to this day. The old VFL symbol proved to not be as enduring, although signs of it can still be discerned at a Docklands toilet block.





Norwood’s Michael Aish was one of the few SA champions of the 80s that resisted the lure of the VFL. Opposition supporters could often not see past his ability to draw free kicks, but he embodied the old “pound for pound” label.



If you want to know who should take the rap for some of the editing mistakes herein, the culprits are revealed in the bottom left corner. Either that or the work experience kid was left off the credits. The editorial team must have been under the proverbial pump (is anyone ever “over the pump”?) this week.

Were these matches officially between the SANFL and the VFL, albeit selected under Origin rules? It appears so. The Budget itself was not compiled by some disinterested umbrella association, after all, this was an edition of the South Australian Football Budget – the parochialism starts here with a liberal dose of “we”, next to the shot of Peter Motley.

Note that for the first time, but definitely not the last, the date in May 1984 was inconveniently missing from the foot of the page.

Seriously though, I acknowledge that this article is reproducing the contents of Vol 59, No 8 of the SA Football Budget.



A recap of SA’s drubbing of Victoria from the previous year makes no mention of the comparatively feeble side the Vics sent over. Names from 1983 such as Alex Marcou, Neil Clarke, Peter McConville, Robert Elphinstone don’t appear in their 1984 lineup.

But I’m more thrilled by the “cordless Remote Control” of the Phillips 63cm tele.



Ok, I’m biased. St Mary Magdalene’s favourite son from her favourite family, strikes two familiar poses in the famed white jumper of the Doggies.

The first salvo in the Adelaide footy pie wars was fired here, with Footy Park’s favourite brand Big Ben on display.



If you ever get to watch the replay of this game and wonder why everyone is wearing a cardboard eyeshade, here’s your answer.

Laurie Argent, the pr*ck gentleman who once could be seen riding his bike home along Philip Highway, Elizabeth after completing the day shift at GMH, was selected for his first state game, despite not having awarded a single free kick to Centrals since 1969.

Apparently Westpac are in the final stages of implementing their National Electronic Banking System, as in 2015 now.



Oh look, it’s the mystery Action Pics competition. Despite the paucity of captions, I can reveal that the main players are (clockwise from top left): Daryl Schimmelbusch, some left footer from Sturt, Brenton ‘Sticks’ Phillips and Peter Hargreaves. More bonus points for anyone that identifies any of the others.



I drank some of this once and lived to tell the tale.



In the letter of the week, Janet W Reid shows us her Tassie, family roots (sorry, one of Rulebook’s commas has strayed into that sentence).

That’s Jeff Warden, David ‘Nipper’ Christie and Teaser (hard to recognise without the headband) in the 5AA ad.



The curtainraiser gets the full treatment here. SA certainly was “Dominant” at Teal Cup level around this time.

I confess that I had one of those Advance Australia t-shirts, but I never went the whole hog and bought the jumper, honest.



The team on the left wasn’t the final Teal Cup team and, Mark Boettger aside, wasn’t full of future household names. The Norwood U/19s #4 David Payne went on play in the ‘Legs senior premiership that year, making his League debut a couple of weeks after this fixture.

Graham Cornes Mitsubishi gave Bob Moran a run for his money, I can tell you. $100 cash, in one and two cent pieces, I’ll bet.



Rates you can only dream of these days.


Not in the least bit sexist.

I worked with the Norwood dancer a few years after this (hello Kerry). Our boss berated her for a typing error in an overhead projector slide, even though it was his presentation. His theme was “Commitment to Excellence through attention to detail”.




Neil Kerley, THE character of Australian football. Yeh, nah, no home town opinions there.

Couldn’t get my Bulldogs a flag, could ya Kerls?


Dave Boyd, yep, that’s right, MD of Dave Boyd Nissan, was one of the selectors. Oh, and some guy called Barrie, who for some reason gets the full page treatment on p39.

Don’t forget your coloured shorts, the “must have” at Walker’s Flat waterskiing holidays or sunbaking down the Bay in front of the Magic Mountain. Essential 80s SA male summer fashionware.



Neil Craig, whatever happened to him? He would have been a handy coaching pickup I reckon.

Greg Phillips was the sole VFL player selected for SA in this match. His Sandman work was legendary.




No duds in this squad. How Richard Cousins missed out on the final team, bearing in mind his CDFC Reserves B&F credentials was mystifying. And has there ever been a more SA sounding name than “Schneebichler”? Who was Paul Martin and what did he look like? Dwayne Russell and Craig Bradley – Pooraka, so much to answer for.

Can you still get Peters icecream in those hard to open blue tubs?

For the drinkers, it was always reassuring that many Sip’N$ave outlets were open on Sundays.



Anyone that has bothered to read this far probably knows most of the faces here from the 1983 winning squad. Sing out if you’re not sure and I’ll fill you in, or have a crack yourself in the comments.

The bloke in the tracksuit, back row, far left, is dual Olympian Kerry O’Brien, who once held the world 3000m steeplechase record. Funny, I don’t ever remember seeing him go around at Oakbank.

The official second from left is the then SANFL Marketing Manager, Kelvin O’Reilly, who still has Jackie Love on speed-dial, as well as an entry labelled “Super Dogs – Pal”. I tried to pin the logo design blame on him and also the esteemed Bernard Whimpress, but they dished off responsibility quicker than an Andrew Jarman flickpass handball.


Channel 9 commentator, Ian ‘Elbows’ Aitken used to describe local aerialists such as Ken Whelan, Roger Luders, Russell Ebert or Barrie Nosurnamerequired as having a “leap like a startled gazelle”. Just thought you’d be interested.


Somehow the Nostradamus by-line was left off this piece on Kernahan, S.

I’m more interested in why that hand-held mini flogger on offer was labelled the ALL PLASTIC FOOTY FLASH.



If you can get insurance from the supermarket now, then getting it from your local footy league doesn’t seem such a stretch.


By some journalistic miracle, the Budget correctly spells the Victorian coach’s name correctly here, although there is a touch of the Rod Olssons in the picture.

Whatever happened to the “stretch cushion foot” that the footy socks of yore provided? Bring it back.





The very abbreviated Vics pen-pics at least managed to get most of the spelling correct. No duds here either.


Kelvin had a fixation with Marching Girls.

AGC were eventually taken over by GE early this century, but before then they produced a fine series of SANFL fixture cards. We didn’t need the pokies to make poor people poorer back then, we had consumer finance instead.


Footy fan fashion reached its peak in May 1984. Here’s proof. Don’t be fooled by the footer, this is page 34.

I’m not sure whether that kid had ever handballed the legendary ALL-PRO before.


John Abley made three All-Australian sides. I didn’t realise that he started at Hawthorn. Some shenanigans ensued to ensure that he played with Port.

Samboy, an enduring catch phrase or lazy marketing?


Max was my second favourite Parker, Graham was my first. I’m still not sure what the selection rules were, given that Max started his career at Footscray. In his first state game, he may have needed some heat treatment beforehand to enable him to hold back the night in defence, according to the rumour I heard from some local girls.

Apparently all health funds aren’t the same. It would be a few more years before this advertiser came up with Steven Cummings’ retirement fund.


The money page.

When I posted this page on Twitter recently, two main topics arose.

There was much comment about the method used to record the scores. None other than Rohan Connolly jumped on to tell everyone that he always records the goals (but not the behinds) at every match he attends. There were others who recorded both major and minor scores, some using ‘X’ and ‘I’, not my preferred ‘I’ and ‘.’

Many don’t bother at all anymore apparently.

Secondly, there was a combination of mirth and vitriol shown at the complete disregard for the correct naming and spelling of the Victorians, from the coach downwards. The worst (best?) of these kick-a-Bic errors was reserved for the bloke in the #11 jumper.

There was a third class of howler for the eagle-eyed. Perhaps it was a vain attempt to recreate history, but the year was shown as “May 15, 1983”. Insert your own joke about SA being behind the times.

I’m not sure what happened on Wednesday morning when the bos came in to the Editor’s office, but I’m guessing that the work experience kid didn’t see out the week.

What is hard to believe is that Sticks Kernahan was not bundled onto the Overland after the game with the promise of immediate Victorian riches after his 10.1 performance. Instead, he waited until the Bays won a flag in 1985 before he pocketed Carlton’s lucre. He also shouldered the ruck duties in the forward lines, allowing Rocky Roberts to goal-hang like he was loitering outside Bojangles, which he probably was later that night. Sticks was also late getting to the ground due to the traffic lined up on West Lakes Boulevarde trying to get to the game. He should have got the bus from Currie St like I did.

Hmm, a bit suss that the most eyeballed page in this Budget ended up with the SANFL/Footy Park hospitality and catering people as the sponsors. Were the SANFL nabobs struggling on the sell as well as the spell?


A highlight of each Adelaide primary school kid’s year, was the excursion to the Coke factory opposite Bonython Park, a Billy Barrot/Jeff Fehring/Wayne Bevan/Ross Dillon/name-your-own-ex-Victorian-hack screw punt from the West End Brewery chimney. If you want to name the single biggest reason for the new expanded Royal Adelaide Hospital, Coke Is It!


Barrie Robran, the man who Jezza watched and applauded on field. That is all.

Yep, Barrie never made it across the border, but his sons Matthew and Jono did. So there.


Taking their style tips from the posher pubs of Ferryden Park and Croydon West, you could get LA Beer at the Footy Park bars. Yeah, right.

Maybe it’s not too late for me to send in the coupon for the Guide To Retirement Planning. I’m sure that nothing much has changed since then.


Yep, the word “Our” appears once more in the roll-call of All Australians. Some fair names there, and Tony Giles.


Back when Duty Free was kind of a big deal. And Video. And Qantas.


Nothing says page 43 filler and more casual sexism like this one.

And nothing says South Australia like Sir James Hardy, who later married Joan McInnes, whose first husband was an All-Australian in 1961 (see page 41). Small town.


SA’s recent interstate record. No attempt to distinguish between State of Origin or otherwise. Notice that all of the other states were referred to as the state, except for the VFL.

I was there for the big game against Qld in 1980. Riveting.

I’d completely forgotten that the SANFL started to schedule Friday night games in 1984. Attracting fans to the Round 12 fixture would have been a tall order in mid-Winter at SA’s own version of Arctic Park.


Naley, Anderson, just two of the many players featured who would join the eastward exodus in the ensuing years. I’d forgotten that Anderson had been drafted by the Swans in 1982, whatever that actually meant back then.


Only Centrals could put on an FA Cup night and turn a profit in 1984.

SGIC: do any of these government insurance agencies still exist? Why did they exist in the first place?


Footscray nabbed John Riley for one game at the start of 1984, but the small matter of an injunction due to a lack of a clearance had him return to the Roosters for the remainder of his career. Rocket scientist, no seriously, he’s a rocket scientist.


Join The Club – whoops, I was wrong on page 38. Join The Club. Emphysema United.



What Happened That Night ?

If you want to relive the game, here it is. The unique commentary is brought to you by Ian ‘Daisy’ Day and Peter Marker.




It was close all night, played in an open, man-on-man style. Remember that these blokes were buttering up from the prior weekend in the SANFL or VFL.


The Beginning of the End for the SANFL

SA’s performance on the big night-time stage sowed the seeds of the local league’s eventual undoing. Of the twenty one who took their place, the following left their SANFL club for the VFL soon after: Platten, White, Bradley, Fielke, Kernahan, Leslie, Russell, Motley, Naley and Anderson. Squad members McGuinness and Cousins also made the trip across and Greg Phillips was already ensconced at Collingwood. Parker and Roberts had left their Victorian days behind.

Other names like Williams, Weston, Copping, Abernethy, Lindner, Rendell, Maylin, Hodgeman, even Stretch, Lokan, Antrobus, Grenvold, Robertson, Whittlesea, Hein, Garton, Campbell, Champion, B Phillips (should the Bears count?) give an indication of the torrent of players that forsook the Festival State in the 80s.

Not even the westward influx of the likes of Bruce Joycey, Des Herbert, Craig Balme, Des O’Dwyer, Derek Shaw, Jeff Sarau, Mark Dreher, Bomber Clifford or Russell Johnston could square the ledger.

Whether it was push or pull, the lure of playing in allegedly the nation’s best competition became irresistible to SA’s greats of the 80s.

The rest is history.

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. Great work Swish. Will have to watch the clip when I get a chance.

  2. bernard whimpress says

    Good fun Swish.
    This Budget put together my successor came three months after I left the League and although he arrived with a journalism degree from the SACAE I would’ve regarded him as a work-experience kid. I note that I’m credited in the editorial box as a photographer but that relied on my previous five years work. Virtually all the photos were taken either by myself or friend Rex Brereton in the previous three years. I do lay claim to the photos of the cheer leaders and yes I was sexist enough to like to get up close with a wide angle lens at times. I’m amused to see reference to the historic photo displays in the outer bars continuing. This was a project I began with financial support from the SA Brewing Co. but in going into a couple of bars in the early 2000s I found they had not been updated since I left. To give one example in the club record-breakers bar John Cahill was still listed as coaching 4 premierships when by then he had 10 flags to his credit.
    Finally, I did go to that game and sat on the outer side of the ground with a married woman about my age (35) and her kid sister (about 20). I think the kid sister had the hots for me because she used to ring me up, often annoyingly when I was watching Sam Neill in Riley, Ace of Spies. In retrospect, I should’ve sacrificed Riley for the enthusiasm of the girl. The footy was brilliant, Kernas especially, but even at the time I felt sorry for his opponent Bruce Doull who I think was probably making his last appearance for the Big V. The Flying Doormat was a player I rated as one of the best.

  3. Very good, Swish. Watching this game the other night, you can imagine Victorian club scouts were eyeing the SA team off like a fat man at a smorgasbord. Only 5 of that Norwood Under 19 squad went on to play league football for the Redlegs – Payne, Wayne Tanner (brother of Grant) and Brenton Maynard (brother of Rodney) the most prominent.

  4. James Grapsas says

    Thanks for sharing, Mark. Great work!

  5. As one who was also there, this resonates. Many blasts from the past not just from the football but also the social context as indicated by the ads.

    Of course Max Parker saved his best work for his stint with the Kapunda Bombers.

    Sticks’ ten goal evening was great and until 1997 this was the finest football event for me.

    Excellent work Swish.

  6. Great work. I just can’t get past that all-Woodville expert commentary team of Nipper Christie and Noel Teasdale.

  7. Great memories Swish. I was there and it was a classic game.
    I think your unnamed Sturt player may have been John Paynter?
    Also noticed Andrew Underwood in The Teal Cup team. He was a good player for Sturt and came over for a year or 2 playing at Essendon. David Hynes is another worth noting. Played in a few Port premierships before heading to west Coast I think?

  8. I agree with the sub-editor, Swish.
    They are as talented as they are attractive.

  9. Derek Shaw ?

  10. Swish. love these old records. Take the footy out of them and there is still there’s a strong social narrative. Just in the ads and the pictures. 1984 doesn’t seem that far back yet…Phillips boasting a cordless remote and natural color and all 26inches includiding that side panel ..would have doubled in last 30 yrs, and not just one cordless remote, but two or three. That does my head in…life was much easier with that dial thingy….especially when one takes into account the time it takes to ‘find the remote’….and the arguments “where’s the remote”….Bring back the cord. We have recently got F—–l (dont wish to advertise for them) and I am sure the colour is exceptionally saturated when compared to the the free to air channels.
    Love the pictures of the dancing girls, very Flashdance era. Moulinex and magic Mums, the Nissan Gazelle,, I’ll be on the lookout, never heard of it, Westpac and their ‘handy card’ electronic banking. Wow…Samboy and well, Escort 30’s catch cry, join the club. Never been a smoker but I think the images on those packets now are hideous.

  11. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Swish v enjoyable read with the Norwood and Teal Cup team sheets a highlight and what a game the state game was with,Kernahan amazing and Rocky Roberts thrashing Doull but for 1 of the few times in his life his kicking boot deserted him

  12. Pretty sure Kernahan played on Doull that night – and thrashed him.

  13. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Once more I’m pleased to have stirred a few memories. Thanks for your comments.

    Damian – You don’t know what you are missing. There’s plenty in there for non-Croweaters to enjoy.

    Bernard – Great to hear from you once more. The work experience kid looks to have kicked on. Hope he proofreads his digital content. Are there any copies of your SA Football Story still kicking around? I’d love to track one down.

    Dave – I’m not sure whether Payne actually played in the curtain-raiser, give that it was so close to his league debut. Thought you’d appreciate the baby-faced shots of Macca too.

    James – My pleasure.

    Mickey – I’d also forgotten about Max’s stint at North until I was flicking through some old Budgets. You’d remember 85/86 with some fondness.

    McAlmanac – 5AA recognised that Nipper was more than the around the grounds bloke. And I’ve written a piece without mentioning Blighty once.

    Budge – I’ve had a few suggestions on the Tweet re Paynter, but the hair just doesn’t look right to me. Perhaps Rulebook could ask the Blacks’ senior coach if it is him. Good gets re Unders and Hynes. Kym Russell also (older brother of Scott) had an interesting stint as Westies CEO.

    Smokie – They were just some of the names that I could remember. Some went OK, some were a bust. Centrals did well with Hawks cast-offs in Rudi Mandemaker, Scott Lee and Chopper Handley. Greg Smith was a ripper for us when he came over.

    Kate – I’m with you re 1984. We were married a few months before this game, seems like yesterday (sometimes). I did a similar piece around a 1967 game and the distance between then and 1984 seems like light years compared to 1984 and now.

    Book – You and Dave would have enjoyed September 1984. Is that Jack?

  14. Great memories.
    Left footer from Sturt. John Paynter?

  15. Dear Mr Schwerdt,
    Can I (modestly) say that this is the finest article published in the history of this eminent website.
    It celebrates the finest era in South Australian football.
    It celebrates the finest decade in Australian football history. The 1989 Hawthorn v Geelong AFL Grand Final is the culmination of Australian football greatness, and the beginning of the end of days.
    And finally it gives prominence to the second finest footballer (and 1983 All Australian half back) ever produced by the Yorketown Football Club – Croweater legend and twice Port Adelaide premiership player – Tony Giles.
    Who is that handsome looking rooster (3rd from right standing in middle row) next to Tony (fourth from right)?
    Yorketown Senior Colts Premiers 1970
    Yorketown Senior Colts Premiers 1970
    Your comments about Tony seem a little harsh, but I guess he was only the second best.
    By the way the coach Ron Zilm (3rd from left sitting) played a few games for the great Port Adelaide teams of the 50’s under Fos Williams (father of Choco). Ron’s granddaughter is married to current Dockers (ex Power) player Danyle Pearce.

  16. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Daly, Jack Paynter seems to be leading the popular vote.

    PB – The Almanac moves in mysterious ways. I should have gone with Keith Kuhlmann to provide the AA comedy relief. Country SA provided more than its quota of AA reps.

  17. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says
  18. Dave Brown says


  19. bernard whimpress says

    I have no spare copies of The SA Football Story and over the last 30 years it has rarely popped up in second-hand book shops unlike Adelaide Oval Test Cricket 1884-1984 (released eighteen months later) which is often easy to find. I know Michael Treloar Books had a copy a few years ago for around $125 and similar prices have been asked on ebay. Having said that a Melbourne friend said he picked one up on ebay for $30 so you can be lucky sometimes.

  20. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Unfortunately the Wikipedia moderators have removed the reference to Giles’ 1970 career highlight.

    I’ve also had advice that the Sturt left footer may be Craig Barbary, with Craig Fielke in the background (thanks Andrew Faulkner)

    I’ll keep searching Bernard, thanks.

  21. I guess I’ve had my five minutes of fame. The good thing about growing up in a small country town is that there are only about 2O kids 15-16 at one time, so the competition for spots is limited. Thanks for the memories, Swish.

  22. Thanks for the time and effort you put into this Swish. I miss everything about the State of Origins in the 80’s and this was a fun excursion looking at it from an amusingly parochial SA point of view. The Budget reinforced just how more seriously Croweaters took these games, and I can appreciate why.

  23. Luke Reynolds says

    Beautifully put together Swish, well done.
    Have watched quite a bit of the Youtube link, wonderful standard game. Also miss those State of Origin games, apart from 1989 at the MCG they always seemed better when played in Adelaide or Perth.
    Slightly before my time but enjoyed every bit of this, thanks Swish.

  24. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    JD – Not parochial, just a little bit sensitive. Well, maybe a lot. Thanks for inspiring me with your excursions into the past also.

    Luke – Thanks. What did you think of the SA commentary? There were some cracking night games in that era.

  25. Malcolm Ashwooc says

    Swish Jack confirmed today that the photo is Craig Barbary and rapt with the 2nd part of his message that Laclan Cock Roach is back with the blacks in 2016

  26. Interesting that Russel Ebert is not on the list of All-Australians. I am certain that he had easily attained that honour long before Robert Klomp.
    An interesting aside that I would like to know if is true is that Klomp was recruited to Carlton in the same year that Ebert went to North Melboure purely to negate Ebert in games between the two clubs.
    I remember that in the SANFL, Klomp was like kryptonite to Ebert and shut him down in just about every game Klomp played against Ebert.
    I know – I was at most of them….

  27. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hard to believe Powerboy, but All Australian honours eluded Ebert.

    I haven’t heard that Klomp story, but it seems like a pretty slender reason to recruit him.

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