Brief History 1984
This leaflet aims to outline a brief history of the PAOC Football Club for the general interest of members and supporters.
The PAOC Football Club competes in the South Australian Amateur Football League and, with the exception of the war years, has continuously fielded sides in that competition since the Club’s inaugural year in 1926. Of the clubs which commenced with PAOC in 1926, only three are still fielding sides today – University, Kenilworth and Adelaide College. Over this period, the PAOC Football Club can boast an enviable record both on the field, with premierships and many brilliant individual achievements, and off the field by way of significant representation on the executive and sub-committees of the League itself.
The Amateur League competition currently comprises 55 individual clubs which field teams in seventeen senior grades. The PAOC Football Club fields teams in 4 grades and only two other clubs, University and Broadview, field more senior teams.
Towards the end of 1925, there was sufficient interest being shown by Old Scholars in playing football, for the PAOC Association Committee to look into the formation of a Football Club. An inaugural meeting of prospective players was held on 24th February, 1926, when it was decided to form a club to be known as the Prince Alfred Old Collegians’ Football Club.
An Old Scholars’ team was subsequently admitted to the Amateur League and competed against the seven other teams which comprised the League at that time, namely, University, Semaphore Central, Kenilworth, Kingswood, Marryatville, Teachers’ College and YMCA. The first season was not a great success with only two wins from twelve matches. (However, the first Annual Dinner, held at the Cathedral Hotel, was voted a huge success and was an obvious reflection of the enthusiasm within the Club in the first year.)
During the ’20’s, coaches were W. Hutton and Norm Walsh, and the home ground was at South Park (adjacent to the Greenhill Road/Glen Osmond Road intersection). In 1928 the League was expanded to two grades and PAOC elected to compete in A2. In the first encounter against St. Peters’ Old Collegians, who were newcomers to the League in that year, PAOC won by almost 18 goals. 1929 was the most successful year to date, with the team finishing third and Jack Woods winning the best and most brilliant award for the Club, together with the A2 League Medal.
During the early 1930’s, the A team consolidated its position in A2 with many good performances. In 1931, in the sixth year of competition, the team won seven matches, lost six and two were drawn. Incredibly both draws were against the same team, Kingswood, with the scores being 11 goals 8 points each in the first encounter and 8 goals 9 points each in the second.
The Club formed a second team during 1932, and in 1933 the A team had reached the finals for the sixth consecutive year. The A’s were promoted to A1 in 1934 and the team fluctuated between A1 and A2 for most of the remainder of the ’30’s. Mervyn Evans had won the League’s best and fairest award for A2 in 1932, and followed this in 1934 by winning the Hone Medal in A1 after playing only 9 matches that season, being best on ground on each occasion. Others to excel for the Club during this period were Alf Waldeck (A Grade winner), Jack Woods, Euston Male and Ted Stephens (A Grade captain for four years).
By May 1937, the Old Scholars’ Association installed for the Club a gas hot water heater to service three showers under the front oval pavilion, an improvement which was greatly appreciated by the players!
It would be difficult to decide the Club’s greatest year but 1937 must deserve consideration. The A side, under Alec Lill as coach, reached the A1 grand final against West Adelaide United and lost by only three points after trailing by 6 goals at three-quarter time. The Club has never again been as close to an A1 premiership. In that same year, John Stephens won the Hone Medal, and he, Arthur Dawkins and Ivan (Dick) Ward played in the interstate side that beat Victoria in Melbourne – Sa’s only win there until 1973. The state side, coached by Mervyn Evans, scored 13 goals, and of these Dawkins kicked 5, Ward 4 and Stephens 2.
In 1940, the A team reached the finals in Grade A2 and Arthur Dawkins topped the Amateur League goal kickers’ list with 125 goals.
During the war years the Club combined with Pulteney Old Scholars to form a “Collegians” team, coached by Mervyn Evans. In 1946, Mervyn Evans continued as coach and with Arthur Dawkins as captain completed a most successful season achieveing the Club’s first premiership, this being in Grade A2. (Keith LePage played in this team and the following week was selected to play for Norwood in their winning grand final team, thus taking part in two premierships in the space of a week.)
The Club continued to field a second team during the 1940’s and in 1948 the B’s graduated from the Students’ Association to Grade A3. The performance of Doug Sanders in 1949 was notable, being coach, A captain and Club best and fairest, all in the one year.
1951 saw the A Grade’s second premiership, with Colin Webb as coach and Leighton Williams captain. The A’s were then promoted to A1 and remained in that grade for 3 years. Prominent players for the Club during this period were Owen Price, Don Davies, Peter Hill and Mick Wundke, with Max Basheer both A Grade captain and coach during the mid ’50’s.
In 1957, at the end of Peter Dalwood’s year as coach, gold medals for 10 years’ service were presented for the first time, Brian Fricker and Leighton Williams being the first recipients.
The A’s won a further premiership in 1958 in Ted Norman’s first year as coach and were again promoted to A1. Tony Clarkson won the A2 Association Medal (and was to go on to win two further successive A1 Medals, for University, and to later represent Sturt and the State).
In 1959, four PAOC players made the interstate team, Bob Skinner, Dean Perrott, Bob Gibbs and Peter Butcher. This was also the year a third team was introduced, the Club then having teams in A1, A4 and A5.
The Parklands Oval was first used for matches during the early 1960’s.
Through poor performance, the A grade dropped out of A1 in 1961 and was not to regain a place in the top division until winning the premiership in A2 in 1966. A fourth team was introduced in that year and the following year saw teams fielded in the high grades of A1, A1 Reserve, A3 and A3 Reserve – a magnificent achievement even though all teams finished towards the bottom of their grades.
Bill Johnson coached the A’s for four years from 1961 and Doug Standley for six years from 1965. Players to make the State Team in the late ’60’s were John Deslandes, Des Windebank and Vern Drew, with Ian Ide gaining this honour for three consecutive years and achieving All Australian Selection in 1970.
Having fallen to A3 in 1971 the Club had one of its most successful seasons the following year, with the A team winning its fourth premiership, the B’s also finishing top and the C’s not far out of the four. The A team played in A2 until 1975 and then dropped to A3 for the following five years. The B’s played in grand finals on six consecutive occasions during this period, winning premierships in 1976, 1977 and 1978.
Ted Stephens in the role of Chairman for eleven consecutive years had considerable influence over the management of the Club right though the ’70’s. Coaches during this period were Leighton Williams, Rob Day, Ron Carter and Max Thompson. After mid 1975, the Club’s fourth team was disbanded due to lack of sufficient players.
The Club purchased and renovated an existing house at 245 The Parade, Norwood, during the period 1972-1973, the premises being well patronized and the focus of social activities for the remainder of the ’70’s.
The appointment of the Club’s first non-Old Scholar playing coach, David Marsh, was immediately successful with the A team winning its sixth premiership in 1980 (A3) and then playing in the A2 Grand Final, but losing, in 1981. Having reached A1 again, the team had risen from A3 to A2 to A1 in successive years.
In 1981 an intensive fundraising appeal enabled major rebuilding and refurbishing of the Club’s premises at 245 The Parade, the rooms now being the envy of many of the Club’s competitors.
Steve Farrell won the Hone Medal in 1982 for the most umpires’ votes polled in Grade A1, and season 1983 proved the most successful for many years – a fourth team was re-introduced, the A’s finished fifth in A1, the B’s C’s and D’s all finished in the final four, Steve Kennett, Rod Hann, John Prest and Martin Webber all played for the State (Steve Kennett earning All Australian Selection) and David Marsh was appointed State Coach.
By the end of 1983, the Club’s longest playing member, Dean Treloar, had played 362 games. Only two other players for the Club have exceeded 300, Leighton Williams with 353 and Ian Wallace with 304.
1984 has commenced with four teams again being fielded. The A team is entering its third consecutive year in A1 and Gary Parker is A grade coach. The future appears promising. However, since the late 1930’s the A’s have not been able to retain their position in the top grade for more than three consecutive seasons, and although close in 1937, the Club has never won an A1 premiership. With the outstanding number of talented young players within the Club at present, and with the highest level of support from players and followers alike, the Club is confident that an A1 premiership is not far around the corner, and that it can remain successful in all grades for many years to come.
This brief history was written at the time by the then PAOCFC Chairman, David C. Hassell. The document also included a number of lists of Club records at the back, these are not reproduced above, as they can all be found on this website under the Honour Boards section.