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Sydney Swans Heritage List

In 2011 the Club introduced Swans Heritage Listings.  Everything associated with the Club from 1874 onwards is eligible for inclusion on our Heritage List, from memorable moments to our home ground and emblem. Like the Australian Heritage List, which doesn’t recognise individuals, our Heritage List doesn’t recognise the careers of players or coaches because that is the purpose of the Hall of Fame.

2011 LISTINGS 

1880 guernsey
Our Club was formed in 1874, but it was not until 1880 that we started wearing our famous colours, adopting a red and white hooped guernsey. Few, if any, professional football clubs of any code anywhere in the world have worn the red and white for longer than the South Melbourne/Sydney Swans Football Club. 

Lake Oval
For 100 years from 1881 to 1981, Lake Oval in Aughtie Drive, Albert Park, was the sacred home of the Club. It was the Club's home ground for over 1,000 games. The record crowd for the ground was set on 30th July 1932 when more than 41,000 people were in attendance for a game between South Melbourne and Carlton. 

Our emblem – the Swan
In 1933 the eminent journalist Hec de Lacy referred to the Club in The Sporting Globe somewhat facetiously as the Swans due to the number of West Australian players the Club had recruited - the Black Swan being the emblem of Western Australia. Cartoonist Alex Gurney drew a cartoon that drew further attention to de Lacy's words and thus the 'Swans' emblem and name were born. 

Club Song
In 1961 the song we know today as “Cheer Cheer The Red And The White” became our anthem, when the South Melbourne Football Club was granted the right to use the Notre Dame Victory March melody with appropriate alterations to the lyrics. Prior to 1961, the Club song was an adaptation of “Springtime in the Rockies” by American country star Gene Autry. 

QBE Insurance
In 1985 former QBE Chief Executive John Cloney heard that the Sydney Swans were struggling and in danger of folding through lack of a major sponsor. John made one phone call, and the rest, as they say, is history. QBE has been our Principal Partner for over 30 years, and while highly commercial, the relationship is more akin to a long-term partnership than a sponsorship agreement. 

Leo Barry’s mark
Leo Barry’s spectacular and courageous mark in the dying seconds of the 2005 Grand Final changed this Club for all time, as the Sydney Swans claimed the 2005 premiership, ending a 72-year premiership drought.

Leo Barry's iconic match-winning mark in the 2005 AFL Grand Final


2012 LISTINGS

Sydney Cricket Ground
In 1811, the Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, established a Common, about a mile and a half wide and extending from Oxford Street to where Randwick Racecourse is today. In 1851, part of the Common was granted to soldiers for use as a cricket ground. The so-called Garrison Ground officially opened in February 1854. In August 1881, the first game of Australian Rules football was played on the ground – an inter-colonial game between New South Wales and Victoria. In July 1883, the South Melbourne Football Club came to Sydney to play a series of games at the ground, playing three games over the course of a week and winning them all. In 1894 the ground finally received its modern name, the Sydney Cricket Ground , which over time has been shortened to the SCG. In 1982 when South Melbourne relocated to Sydney and ultimately became the Sydney Swans, the SCG became the Club’s home. 

Bob Pratt’s 150 goals
Considered to be one of the greatest full forwards of all time, Bob Pratt made his debut for South Melbourne in 1930 at the age of 17 and played 158 games for the Club from 1930 to 1939. His tally of 681 goals is a Club record which still stands. In 1934, at the age of only 20, Bob Pratt became the first man to kick 150 goals in a season of football – a feat which has only been repeated by one other player (Peter Hudson in 1971). During 1934 he kicked bags of 15 (round three versus Essendon), 12 and 11 on his way to 150 goals and 94 behinds for the year. 

Sydney Swans Guernsey
The South Melbourne Football Club was formed in 1874 and in 1880 the Club adopted red and white as its colours. The current Sydney Swans guernsey was first worn 107 later and is the guernsey that we have worn since 1987. The guernsey comprises a red yoke in the traditional style of the jumper favoured during most of the twentieth century, fashioned into an outline of the Sydney Opera House. On the back of the jumper are the letters SMFC, standing for South Melbourne Football Club, thus permanently linking the Club’s origins and rich history with its present and its future. 

Nick Davis’ four last quarter goals
Nick Davis played 97 games and kicked 150 goals for the Sydney Swans between 2003 and 2008. At the Sydney Cricket Ground on September 9th, 2005 he played a key role in our semi-final victory over Geelong. At three quarter time, the visitors had established what seemed to be a match winning lead, with the score being Geelong 6.11.47 to Sydney 3.12.30. In the last term Nick Davis kicked four goals including the spectacular match winner in the dying seconds. Our season could have ended that night, but instead we qualified to meet St Kilda in the Preliminary Final at the MCG a week later, which in turn took us to the 2005 Grand Final and our first Premiership in 72 years. 

2013 LISTINGS 

1881 premiership, the Club’s first
The 1881 season was a momentous one for the fledgling South Melbourne Football Club. Not only did “those red and white beauties”, as they were known, play at the Lake Oval for the first time, they also won their first VFA Premiership – just a year after the amalgamation with the Albert Park Club. The VFA had been founded in 1877 and in 1880 South was runner-up to Geelong. There were no Grand Finals in that era, so the club with the best record during the season was declared the Premier. In September 1881, South faced a crunch match against Geelong at the Lake Oval, with the winner assured of the Flag.

The match attracted more than 10,000 fans, including 500 who had arrived from Geelong by “special train”. The “home” crowd was hoping to see the star of the era, South’s Jimmy Young – known as “The Little Wonder” – perform his tricks. South, led by A. G. Major, won by four goals to one (behinds did not count until the VFL was formed for the 1897 season) and The Argus reported that “the match was the finest that has been played this season”. Young was named South’s best player. 

In The Blood by Jim Main
In preparation for the first Swans Hall of Fame event in 2009, the Club realised the need for a comprehensive history, to fill some of the voids and dispel myths about the Club’s past.

Club Chairman Richard Colless called upon Club Historian, journalist and passionate Swans supporter Jim Main to take on this momentous task. Only Jim’s passion could have achieved such a brilliant compilation of the seasons, champions and accolades across the Club’s history. This book is now given to all new players at the Guernsey Presentation ceremony, to ensure that all players are familiar with the history of our Club and carry its meaning with them. 

Matthews family
The Swans have had numerous father-son and brother combinations, but no family has given the Swans more service than the Matthews. The Matthews dynasty started with E. Herbert Matthews, who played 33 games with South in 1914 and 1923-24. Son J. Herbert C. Matthews played 191 games in the red and white from 1932-45 and, in addition to serving the Club as captain and coach, won a Brownlow Medal in 1940, was Brownlow runner-up in 1937 and 1941, as well as five-time Swans Best and Fairest. Brothers Norm (28 games from 1938-40) and Don (31 games from 1956-58) also played with the Swans. Herbie Jr’s son Herb started his VFL career with Melbourne in 1961 but, after four seasons, gravitated to the Swans and played 82 games with South from 1964-69. A reliable back pocket, young Herb was every bit as courageous as his father and grandfather. Three generations of Matthews, involving five family members, served the Club with enormous distinction. 

Tony Lockett’s behind in the 1996 preliminary final
Would champion full-forward Tony Lockett take his place in the Swans’ line-up for their 1996 Preliminary Final against Essendon at the SCG? He had missed the Qualifying Final against Hawthorn because of a groin strain and there were fears he would be sidelined again.

However, Lockett took his place in the side, and despite being restricted to one goal, became the Swans’ hero with the last kick of the match. Scores were level with less than a minute to play. Swans midfielder Wade Chapman marked on a wing and saw Lockett make his lead. The Chapman kick found its mark and Lockett went back for his kick with just a few seconds to play. Lockett, 55 metres from goal, put everything into his kick and, despite the ball slewing to the left, it tumbled through for a behind. Thus the Sydney Swans qualified for the Club’s first Grand Final appearance since 1945. 

2014 LISTINGS 

Players lost at war
For Australia, as for many nations, the First World War remains the most costly conflict in terms of lives lost. From a population of fewer than five million people, 417 000 enlisted, of whom 60 000 didn’t come home. Players who had either represented South Melbourne or were players at the time of their enlistment who lost their lives were Norman Bradford, Hugh Callan, Fred Fielding, Charles Fincher, Jack Freeman, Edward Harrison, Claude Thomas, Jack Turnbull and the brilliant Bruce Sloss, who had been judged Champion of the Colony in 1911.

Australia entered the Second World War in September 1939 and by the end of the war one million Australians had served in the Armed Forces. Of the one million, 27 000 were killed and another 24 000 injured. Players who lost their lives in WWII were Alf Hedge, Norman Le Brun, Alan Pearsall, Gordon Sawley, Jack Shelton, Jack Wade and Len Thomas. 

1933 guernsey
In 1932 the Club took the field in a new guernsey. These heavy woollen guernseys were white with a red V, a red collar and red cuffs (as many players wore long sleeves). The numbers were red and the socks were hooped red and white. Black shorts were worn at home and white shorts for away matches. Times were tough, it was the midst of the Great Depression and South Melbourne hadn’t played in the finals for ten years. During this period the Club went on a recruitment drive across Australia, bringing in players for £3 per game along with employment at Archie Croft’s state-wide grocery chain. The Club broke the ten year finals drought in 1932 and then in 1933 won the premiership. The Club played in four successive grand finals from 1933 to 1936 in the white jumper with the red V, and continued to play in this guernsey until 1986. 

“Brownlow Factory”
While team success is the key goal of the Sydney Swans, the Club is also extremely proud of individual players’ success in the Brownlow Medal. For many years, a supporter held a sign behind the southern goals proclaiming the Club “the Brownlow Factory”. No club has had more individual winners, and no other club can claim a greater total of Brownlow Medals. We have had 11 individual winners and with two multiple winners, 14 medals overall. Bob Skilton won three, in 1959, 1963 and 1968. Adam Goodes was Brownlow Medallist twice – in 2003 and 2006. Another nine players have each won football’s highest individual honour - J.Herbie Matthews (1940), Ron Clegg (1949), Fred Goldsmith (1955), Peter Bedford (1970), Graham Teasdale (1977), Barry Round (1981), Greg Williams (1986), Gerard Healy (1988) and Paul Kelly (1995). 

30 goals in three consecutive weeks
The Sydney Swans is the only team in the history of the game to have kicked more than 30 goals in three successive matches. On July 19th 1987, VFL Round 16, Sydney defeated West Coast at the SCG 30-21-201 to 10-11-71. This included a second quarter in which the Swans kicked 12 goals 4 to 3 goals 2. Steve Wright kicked eight goals as he and Barry Mitchell, who kicked three goals, were simply unstoppable. Warwick Capper kicked five and David Murphy four. The following week at the SCG, Sydney 36-20-236 defeated Essendon 11-7-73. This included a thirteen goals to one last quarter. Capper kicked six goals, Wright five and Gerard Healy four. A week later, the Swans 31-12-198 defeated Richmond 15-17-107. Capper and Merv Neagle each kicked five goals, while Tony Morwood kicked four. 

2015 LISTINGS 

Ron Clegg 1951 match v Fitzroy
On 23rd June 1951, in a game against Fitzroy at the Brunswick Street Oval, Ron Clegg turned in one of the greatest individual performances in the history of the game. Collecting more than 50 possessions and taking 32 marks – most of them contested – the 1949 Brownlow Medallist dominated as few players have before or since as he almost single-handedly steered South Melbourne to a commanding half time lead before saving the game in the second half as the opposition embarked upon a stirring comeback. 

True Believers
Following a tumultuous first decade in Sydney, by 1992 it appeared that a combination of off field turmoil and financial troubles may see the end of the red and white. Without AFL assistance – which required the approval of opposition clubs – it was almost a certainty that the Sydney Swans would fold. However, a group of “True Believers” stepped in to ensure the continuing viability of the Club, providing enormous financial assistance, lobbying club presidents to vote in our favour, and making great personal sacrifices to safeguard the future of the football club they loved. To John Gerahty, Craig Kimberley, Basil Sellers, Peter Weinert and Michael Willesee, we owe a great debt of gratitude. 

2005 premiership
When coach Paul Roos and captain Barry Hall held the 2005 Premiership cup aloft in the middle of the MCG on September 24th, they were representing a team which had achieved what many red and white faithful may well have wondered if they would ever see. When the siren sounded on our four-point victory over West Coast, a 72 year Premiership drought – the longest in VFL/AFL history – was broken. The hard work of those who had strived to make the club a success during the difficult early years in Sydney had paid off, and the belief of those who are loyal to the red and white was vindicated.

2016 LISTINGS  

Five VFA Premierships
In May 1877 the Victorian Football Association was formed. Of the founding clubs, only six – of which we are one – can lay claim to being foundation members of the VFA, VFL and AFL. During the 20 season period from 1877 to 1896, the two dominant clubs in the VFA were Geelong and South Melbourne. We were premiers five times – in 1881, 1885 and then with three consecutive flags coming in 1888, 1889 and 1890. Additionally, we were runners up in 1880, 1883, 1886, and 1896, with the losing grand final of 1896 being our last match in the VFA. This was a golden age for the Club, and one of the greatest runs of success in the history of the game. 

1909 /1918 Premiership Jumpers
At the end of the 1906 season South Melbourne decided to change its guernsey from the design of vertical red and white stripes to a new design of a white jumper with red sash and red collar. This is the guernsey worn by the Club between 1907 and 1931, and the one worn by our Premiership teams of 1909 and 1918, 

Round 1, 1982 - Swans v Melbourne
After months of turmoil and bitter debate, and facing a dire financial situation which threatened the very survival of a proud and historic Australian Football Club, South Melbourne moved to Sydney, playing home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground as of round one, 1982. Just under 16,000 people turned up to the SCG to see Sydney’s newest sporting club play its first home game on Sunday March 28th. The ground was sodden after heavy overnight rain, but the game was an entertaining spectacle nonetheless, with the Swans defeating Melbourne 20-17-137 to 16-12-108. 

Graeme Pash and Family
In 1992 Graeme and Julie Pash and their family, in an effort to provide the Club with a circuit breaker from another poor season, hosted a small Christmas party at their home. As the years passed, the number of attendees grew from ten to over 200. For many newly drafted players and their parents, it was their first taste of Sydney. It became a rite of passage for players and staff alike, with attendance at this annual function confirming you really were part of the Swans. Due to Graeme’s ill health, the last Pash Family Annual Swans Christmas Party was held in 2008. Graeme had a 20 year association with the Swans, and was the Club’s Deputy Chairman from 1993 until 2002. 

2017 LISTINGS 

Tony Lockett’s 1300th & 1360th Goals
In 1999 there were two records that the Swans were keen to see broken. The first was the fact that the club hadn’t won a Premiership for 66 years - the longest losing streak in the AFL. The second was that Tony Lockett, who had joined the Club in 1995, was closing in on the 62-year-old record of Collingwood’s Gordon Coventry for the most career goals kicked in the AFL. It finally came down to a match between the Swans and Gordon Coventry’s club, Collingwood. Over 42,000 people crammed into the SCG for the Round 10 clash on Sunday, June 6th. At precisely 1:35pm Tony Lockett lined up for his record-breaking 1300th goal. And while commentators have described the kick as a wobbly drop punt, and even the great man himself has made disparaging remarks about it, it was never going to miss and sailed through the posts for a goal. In a career spanning the years 1983-1999 and 2002, Tony kicked 1360 goals at an average of just under 5 a game. While Tony played a relatively modest 98 games for the Swans, it’s hard to believe that any player had more impact over the equivalent number of appearances. This Heritage item also includes Tony’s last goal for the club, his 1360th, kicked against the Geelong Cats in Round 12, 2002, which is the current AFL goalkicking record and one that most believe will never be surpassed 

Annual Marn Grook Game
There remains debate about whether Australian Football originated from an indigenous pastime called Marn Grook. However, on balance, it is likely. On 25th May 2002, the Swans played Essendon in the first ever game for the Marn Grook trophy at the Olympic Stadium at Homebush in front of over 54,000 people. The driving force in lifting the awareness of Marn Grook and establishing the term as a permanent part of the AFL season was then Swans CEO, Kelvin Templeton. To promote the first game there was an on-field performance by ‘Bangarra Dance Company’ and an auction of footballs painted by leading indigenous artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Club has created Indigenous themed guernseys for its Marn Grook games, one of which was designed by Adam Goodes’ mother Lisa Sansbury. In 2016 the club introduced the Goodes-O’Loughlin Medal for the player judged to be best on ground in the annual Marn Grook game. We have had many outstanding Indigenous players represent our Club, and it is our privilege to honour them with the annual Marn Grook game. 

2018 LISTINGS 

1918 Premiership Team
In 1918, South Melbourne was the minor premier, and Collingwood finished second.  The teams both qualified for the Grand Final by winning their semi-finals matches. The Grand Final was contested on 7th September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and a newspaper of the day described the match as follows:

“An ideal day for football and the prospect of witnessing what proved to be the final match of the season brought a record attendance for war-time football to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday to witness the play-off for the League premiership, between South Melbourne and Collingwood. Nearly 40,000 people were present on Saturday, the official figures being: Attendance, 39,168; receipts, £1,175. It was another great game, cleanly played and keenly fought out. The day favoured the good exposition or football, and high-marking and long kicking were features. South Melbourne, however, by sheer doggedness wore their opponents down and in the last minute just managed to get in front. They possess a remarkably even combination, and on the merits of the season's play have undoubtedly proven themselves to be the best team in the League. Only one defeat is debited against them during the season. The quarter time scores read: Collingwood, 3 goals 3 behinds; South Melbourne, 2 goals 5 behinds. The second quarter was all in favour of Collingwood, who scored 1 goal 6 behinds, while their opponents failed to add a point. When the half-time bell rang the scores were: Collingwood, 4 goals 9 behinds; South Melbourne, 2 goals 5 behinds. During the half-time interval twelve recruiting sergeants appealed from various parts of the ground for recruits to come forward and become participants in a greater game than football.  Judging from the response to the appeal no recruits come forward the eligibles among the crowd evidently thought that only one game counted. In the third term the play opened on considerably, South Melbourne for the first time showing a glimpse of their true form. At the last change of ends the scores Collingwood 7 goals 12 behinds to South Melbourne's 6 goals 6 behinds gave Collingwood a handy lead of 12 points. The last quarter proved the most exciting of the day. South Melbourne's chances of victory did not look too good, and Belcher was taken into the ruck, where he immediately made his presence felt. The crowd were now wildly enthusiastic, and play became desperate. In a rally, in which Tandy was prominent, Ryan drove the ball into the teeth of the goal, where Laird, amidst great excitement, quickly dashed through and snapped a goal just on time, thus giving South Melbourne the match and the premiership by the narrow margin of five points. The game, which was all in favour of Collingwood in the first half, improved considerably in the third and fourth quarters, South Melbourne finishing better than their opponents. The final scores were:

SOUTH MELBOURNE 9 goals 8 behinds (62 points).

COLLINGWOOD, 7 goals 15 behinds (57 points). 

Nick Malceski’s Goals in the 2012 Grand Final
In order to have any chance of winning the 2012 Premiership the Sydney Swans needed to be efficient, composed and most of all take their chances against strong favourites Hawthorn. At the 7-minute mark of the first quarter, under considerable pressure, the most unlikely of goal kickers, Nick Malceski, kicked truly from deep in the left full forward pocket – the wrong side for a left footer. It was a miraculous – almost impossible – goal, and the only one we would score for the quarter. In a blistering second quarter the Swans scored 6 goals straight while Hawthorn kicked a solitary point. However, they clawed their way back into the game and at three quarter time, the Swans led by only one point, 10.5 to 9.10. Hawthorn kicked the first two goals of the final quarter and the Swans looked to be in trouble but goals to Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack, and Adam Goodes saw us take a four point lead late in the term. With 40 seconds to go, Nick Malceski again stamped himself on the game when he snapped beautifully from a pack about 20 metres from goal, and put the game beyond Hawthorn’s reach. The Swans prevailed 14.7-91 to 11.15-81. In the same vein as Nick Davis’ four last quarter goals against Geelong in the 2005 Semi Final and Leo Barry’s famous last mark of the game versus West Coast in the Grand Final of that same year, Nick’s bookend goals in the 2012 Grand Final will go down in Swans folklore. In addition to his two magical goals, Nick had an outstanding Grand Final, finishing with the fifth most possessions for the team as he rebounded the ball from defence. 

Swans Chairman Jack Marks’ Letter to Members, dated 17th July 1981
On 17th July 1981, Club Chairman Jack Marks, a lifetime Swans supporter, bravely wrote to a bitterly divided South Melbourne membership base, unambiguously recommending the relocation of South Melbourne to Sydney. It was but one eloquent salvo in the battle for control of the club between those who believed its future was in Sydney and those who believed its future should remain at the Lake Oval in Albert Park, Melbourne. Football club members and supporters are not known for their rational thinking and in football-mad Melbourne, the idea of relocating a team to another city – regardless of the financial implications – was seen by many as heresy, and the South Melbourne Football Club was embroiled in a civil war over the issue. Given it was Jack’s signature on the letter to members, it was he who bore the brunt of supporter outrage. Jack passed away in August 2002. A slightly abridged version of his letter is below:

”Dear Member,

The following is designed to reiterate the position of your Board of Directors on the proposal that the South Melbourne Football Club play some of its games in Sydney next season.

After examining all possible alternatives, the board is still strongly of the opinion that playing a number of games in Sydney each season is the only way that South can continue to be viable and, more importantly, challenge for a V.F.L. premiership.

It is financially impossible for South to continue to play nine home games a year at the Lakeside Oval and have any hope of improving its position on the V.F.L. ladder.

But by playing 11 games in Sydney next season, we could tum a projected loss into a profit.

The fact of the matter is that South Melbourne has accumulated losses over the years and these are growing at the rate of at least $100,000 a year. In other words, we're going out backwards to the tune of $100,000 a season.

It is only the generosity of the club's directors and other guarantors that is keeping it going.

The Board is adamant that we must play in Sydney, using the Sydney Cricket Ground for 11 day-time matches that would be televised direct to Melbourne on Sundays.

South's proposed move dovetails with the VFL's own desire that a Club playing in Sydney be part of the V.F.L. competition.

We simply cannot continue at the Lakeside oval under the existing circumstances.

Our ground development funds have been "frozen" and there is no way that the club can afford to redevelop, or upgrade, the Lakeside Oval without incurring unmanageable debts.

We have already pointed out that it would cost some $3 million to build a new 3,000-seat grandstand at the ground and, at $4 a head to see a game, only $120,000 a season would be derived in revenue, well short of the minimum $500,000 a year that would be required to service a loan of $3 million.

Of course, if there is a benefactor with a spare $10 million to give to the club, we might be able to continue in Melbourne.

All of the directors hold South Melbourne and its traditions dear and the decision to recommend playing in Sydney was not taken lightly.

We don't want to share a ground with another club, which would lead eventually to amalgamation; because we want a strong, viable club playing in South's famous red-and-white and which is its own master.

Playing in Sydney would guarantee at least $30,000 net gate receipts a game, plus all existing finance allocated by the VFL.  Add to this the income from television rights and sponsorship and we would be in a position to buy top players and restore South Melbourne to a football power.

As it is, we are a club with a proud tradition heading nowhere.

The restrictions placed on us by the Lakeside Oval - and the attendant problems - mean that South would be consigned to the bottom half of the V.F.L. ladder for all time.

What can be the future for a club that, despite tireless recruiting and every possible effort, has not won a premiership since 1933 and not played in the finals since 1977?

The Board of Management of South Melbourne Club Ltd. has done all in its power to come up with a solution. that would "Keep South at South".

It is not a case of doing the VFL's bidding: it is more a case of ensuring that a club that has produced some of the finest players in football history continues into the 1980s and beyond.

It is not realistic to "Keep South at South", but we could say that playing in Sydney would "Keep South Alive".

It's not a matter of a loss of confidence on the part of the South Melbourne Board, rather we are facing the facts of economic life in sport.

It is also important to note that the players have endorsed the proposed move and that coach Ian Stewart has said he would go along with whatever was best for the club.

It is signed:

J.B. Marks,

Chairman of Directors,

South Melbourne Club Ltd.”

The letter finishes with a biblical flourish.  It highlights the passions that this issue has inflamed. First it says, “QUO VADIS South Melbourne”. The Latin Quo Vadis means “Where are you going?” Secondly, it finishes with the words, True supporters of the club have but one truth to follow: “Whither thou goest, I goest” (from the Book of Ruth – Old Testament). 

2019 LISTINGS

VFA Premierships 1888 – 1890
Between 1888-1890, South Melbourne won three consecutive Premierships in the Victorian Football Association, then the strongest competition in the country. In 1888 with Sonny Elms at the helm, South Melbourne embarked upon the greatest period in our history through a successful recruitment drive to match Geelong’s enormous pool of football talent earlier in the decade. The Club assembled an imposing list of players with strength, skill and above all power. By season’s end, South Melbourne were Premiers. In 1889, 23 players were presented with the first ever VFA Premiership caps and the club’s off-season recruiting exceeded even that of the previous year. After another successful season, the club celebrated consecutive Premierships by thumping Richmond 13.10 to 6 points, the third largest winning margin in VFA history. The 1890 season was as successful as the previous two seasons, with South Melbourne finishing strongly against Richmond, securing a third consecutive Premiership. 

2012 Premiership
The 116th AFL Grand Final of 2012 between Hawthorn and the Swans was attended by 99, 683 spectators. The two Grand Finalists had met twice during the season. The Swans accounted for Hawthorn by 37 points in Launceston in round 5, while the Hawks emerged victorious by seven points in the round 22 return match at the SCG. At the start of play, Hawthorn were strong favourites. In addition to their stellar form at the tail end of the season, and their star-studded forward line, the Hawks were playing on their home ground. The Swans were led by Senior Coach John Longmire and co-captains Adam Goodes and Jarrad McVeigh. At Quarter time, the score-line was in favour of the Hawks, 4.5 -29 to 1.4-10. While much of the first quarter was dominated by Hawthorn, Sydney responded superbly in the second with six straight goals to one point with Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh, Sam Reid and Mitch Morton as key players. At half time, the score line was Hawthorn 4.6-30 to Sydney 7.4-46, but was quickly tightened in the third when Sydney led by only one point. The final quarter saw the Swans secure their victory with stellar performances from Mike Pyke in the ruck and a number of goal kicking stars. The Norm Smith Medal was awarded to Ryan O’Keefe who had 28 disposals and 15 tackles for the match. 

Harold Robertson’s 14 goals and Goalkicking Robertsons
Harold Robertson kicked 93 goals in 64 games between 1917 and 1923, and was part of the 1918 Premiership team, kicking 2 goals. In 1919, he topped the club’s goalkicking with 38 goals. In a game against St Kilda, he smashed the record for the most goals kicked in a VFL game, kicking three goals in the first half and 11 in the second half. Harold’s younger brother Austin, also known as Ocker, was also a talented goal kicker. After Harold retired, Austin played 154 games for the Swans, kicked 250 goals and was the leading goal scorer in 1929, 1930 and 1931.  On 29th April 1943, Austin and his wife Dorothy welcomed son also named Austin, like his father more widely known as Ocker. Austin Jr developed into one of the greatest goalkickers in the history of the game. In 279 games for Subiaco in the WAFL, the Swans and WA he kicked 1,315 goals at an average of 4.7 goals a game.