Latest News

State Government Recovery Framework for sporting organisations

Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 1:10 PM

The State Government has released framework designed to help organisations in the sport and recreation sector plan for the transition, resumption, and ongoing future delivery of their services/operations.

The framework is voluntary and intended as a step-by-step planning process that includes handy guides, templates, suggestions and examples.

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Our brightest stars: Claremont District

Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 8:58 AM

Western Australia has a proud history of developing elite football talent, with many of the game’s brightest stars beginning their careers at local junior football clubs right across the State.

In a series of articles highlighting the rich talent pool in WA over the years, Lenny Fogliani takes a closer look at the best current and former WAFL and AFL players to emerge from junior clubs in WA’s regions and districts.

This article focusses on junior clubs in Claremont Football Club's metropolitan district.

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Details agreed for 2020 Optus WAFL Premiership Season

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 8:41 AM

Details for the 2020 Optus WAFL Premiership Season were endorsed at a Board meeting of the West Australian Football Commission last night, Tuesday May 26.
 
The WAFC is pleased to be able to support the launch of the WAFL for 2020, as part of protecting the competition’s long history and the important role the WAFL clubs play within our community.
 
WAFC Executive Manager - WAFL & Football Operations Scott Baker thanked the WAFL clubs for their input into the 2020 season model and said it was exciting to now have a set date and confirmed details around the format of the competition.

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Start date set for 2020 Optus WAFL Premiership Season

Friday, May 22, 2020 - 6:51 PM

A start date for the 2020 Optus WAFL Premiership Season has been set as the first weekend in August following a productive meeting today between the West Australian Football Commission and West Australian Football League clubs.
 
Pending the further easing of group gathering restrictions by the State Government, a nine-round WAFL season will commence on the first weekend in August and conclude no later than a week prior to the AFL Grand Final.
 
Full details around the fixture, finals format, player payments and the financial model will be discussed over the coming days and finalised at a WAFC Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 26.
 
WAFC CEO Gavin Taylor said that while there were still details to work through and confirm, it was exciting that a start date had been agreed to for the 2020 WAFL season.
 
“The WAFC appreciates the collaboration between the WAFL Presidents and CEOs at each club to reach an agreement during what has been a very difficult period with our industry facing significant financial challenges,” he said.
 
“I acknowledge that there is still some work to do before we get a season underway but it is a very positive step and I am excited we have been able to agree on a start date and some of the broad parameters of the season, with the balance of the details to be finalised at the WAFC Board meeting next week.”
 
“Decisions will continue to be based around expert advice and Government guidelines and it is possible games will start without crowds, however fans will be able to tune into a game each week live on the 7 Network.”
 
“We will also be commencing the WAFL Women’s season on the same weekend, with their season to run consecutively with the WAFL.”
 
“This is great news for all of the WAFL and WAFLW players, coaches and the many fans right across Western Australia.”
 
WAFL Council of Presidents Chairman Mark Stewart said he was looking forward to seeing the season commence in August and thanked the WAFC and all of the WAFL clubs for working constructively together.
 
“Our competition has more than 135 years of history and is an important part of our culture and heritage in Western Australia, so I’m really pleased we’ve been able to find a way to reach an agreement on playing in 2020,” he said.
 
“While it has been a year of great challenge for all of the WAFL clubs, this will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase the competition and see our clubs get back to business.”
 
“I’m optimistic that we may also be allowed to have spectators returning to WAFL games before the end of the year, which will be a terrific opportunity for families to experience local footy and reconnect with their WAFL club.”


Simply Energy Diaries: Heath Chapman

Friday, May 22, 2020 - 12:31 PM

In a time of great uncertainty around the footballing world, we take you inside the lives of our Western Australian Under 18s as they navigate their way through an unprecedented 2020 season. The positives, the negatives and the new opportunities that present themselves will all be told in the ‘Simply Energy Diaries.’

The 67 days between being told our football season was on hold until now has felt like an eternity. 

This week has marked the start of training back at clubs and that has definitely shifted the mood of all the boys. It still isn’t clear what sort of season we will have, but just to be kicking a footy with your mates is enough for now. 

I can’t wait to get started….

Health as a priority.

Through the entire Coronavirus situation, I have tried to take a different approach to most. I haven’t really looked at the negative side of what the virus has brought to footy. All of my family has remained healthy, that was my priority from the very start. Health is definitely a priority over footy and aside from that I’ve tried to carry on and train as hard as I can.

It hasn’t been an easy period, but it’s been amazing to spend more time with the family through this part of the year. Normally footy consumes what I do, training and preparation takes up a lot of the week. Being at the club four nights a week means I miss a lot of family dinners and things like that. Those small things have been great through a challenging time. 

Back at it. 

Being back at training has been a highlight. I have kept in contact with a core group of mates at West Perth and the with the Talent Academy. It’s just good to be kicking a footy with mates. Even the banter inside the club has been something sorely missed. Everyone misses it and it is the sort of place where you can take your mind off things going on around you.

I am trying my best to get back into the swing of things and have a routine of some description. Playing footy is what I love doing and I’m 100 percent confident in the work I have put in during the extended pre-season. I can’t wait to put it all out on the field, I think my best footy is still in front of me. 

I’ve been able to count on the usual suspects from West Perth if I ever need advice or help thus far. Aaron Black has always been there for a chat. At training, I can always go to ‘Blacky’ and ask a question about a drill or what he does to prepare. He is so good with being supportive and a great skipper for a young guy like me. 

The black & yellow

If we get the opportunity this year, it would be such an honour to pull on the black and yellow. It’s a dream come true really, not many get to represent their state, particularly in a sport that you love. Normally you’re on the other side of the field to many of the WA teammates, so to play with such talented guys and good mates is really special.

Being a leader has been one of my focal points throughout the small interactions we’ve had this season. I’ve wanted to grow my leaderships skills and become a leader of any side I am a part of. I really want to do everything I can to make the people around me better and have a positive impact on the boys as best I can. 

As a group, we have been so lucky to hear from the likes of Nathan Buckley, Joel Selwood and Justin Longmuir. We wouldn’t have had access to those type of people unless this was all going on and it has been a bit of a silver lining in the sense. Just the advice they’ve been able to give, going through the same sort of emotions from a different perspective has been great. 
 


Optus Rewind: Schloithe gives it all as a Bulldog

Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 2:09 PM

South Fremantle has long been seen as a football factory for talent in Western Australia, in Haiden Schloithe they found a good one. 

The 26-year-old made the tough decision leave his hometown of Katanning at the age of 18 and move to Perth in pursuit of an AFL dream. Eight seasons later and the midfielder has cemented himself as one of the WAFL’s best. 

The footballing journey of Schloithe began in 2011 when his South Fremantle Colts side claimed the Premiership against a talented Claremont outfit.

“One of my biggest memories from the day was how good that Claremont side was,” Schloithe said. "Names like Jesse Hogan, Marley Williams and Tom Mitchell were running around for the Tigers, handy players."

“We played so well as a team that year and only lost 2 or 3 games for the entire season, performed well on the day and managed to win the Premiership. 

“To still be playing with a handful of guys that feature in that Colts Premiership is pretty remarkable really, nine years later.”

The youngster moved into his draft year full of confidence and despite missing out on the National Draft, Fremantle took a punt in the Rookie Draft to pick up Schloithe.

“Back then, the Rookie Draft was two or three weeks after the main draft, so after I wasn’t picked up initially, I went back to work,” he said.

“On the day of the rookie, I went to my manager Anthony Van Der Wielen’s office at 8am and watched it all unfold on his computer.”

“I was picked up by the Dockers and were sort of in Fremantle at the time, within the hour of my name being called out, I was in at the club meeting a few people and starting ful-ltime there.”

Despite not playing in a Freo jumper, Schloithe couldn’t speak highly enough of the club and people he met along the way. 

“The mates were the best part about being at Freo for me,” he claimed.

“I made some really close friends while I was there and am still very close today. The draft class of my year, Lachie Neale, Hayden Crozier and Tom Sheridan those guys and others, I formed a really close bond with. 

“I was lucky enough to be at Fremantle during the 2013 Grand Final as well. Obviously the result didn’t go Freo’s way, but to be there and experience the grand final was an amazing experience.”

“Everyone was super welcoming along the way and the country boys for me like Paul Duffield and Aaron Sandilands were good to me.”

Schloithe was delisted by Fremantle at the end of the 2013 season and returning to South Fremantle full-time proved fruitful for the midfielder, claiming the club’s best & fairest the following season.

“I held no bad blood with Fremantle at all,” he mentioned. “It is the industry that everyone is in and sometimes tough calls need to be made.”

“I loved every minute of it despite not getting to play. I went back to South Fremantle and had a really good relationship with Paul Haselby, who was our coach at the time.”

“He gave me the freedom to just play footy again and I was pretty happy to be back and involved at the club.”

The Katanning product continued his upward trajectory the following few seasons, culminating in being awarded the 2017 Sandover Medal.

“I remember the night pretty well,” he said. “We had a table full of teammates and I was lucky enough to have my mum and dad there on the night.”

“It was one of the best feelings being able to win it. The moments after winning it, being able to give the parents a big huge were special.

“We partied pretty hard after that night”

“The last two years, I’ve been able to a part of the night with all the past winners. Being able to walk on stage, I still pinch myself every time I line up with some of the legends of WA footy.”

Schloithe may well go down as one of the best players to pull on the red and white, but wouldn’t have reached the lofty heights without the support of everyone from the footy club. 

“I owe everything to the South Fremantle footy club,” he said.

“I moved up when I was 18 and left all my family behind to give it a crack. I’ve been there nearly ten seasons and it has become my home.

“I have made some wonderful friends and can’t thank the club and people enough for the impact they’ve had on me.”

“Hopefully I have plenty of football left in the coming years to repay the faith people showed in me.”  
 


WA Community Football - Return to Training update 

Friday, May 15, 2020 - 10:00 AM

The WA Football Commission is pleased to confirm that community football training can resume under set conditions and protocols from Monday, May 18, 2020 in Western Australia.

This encouraging step towards the full return of community football in WA has been made possible by the easing of social distancing restrictions and group gatherings, as announced yesterday by WA Premier Mark McGowan.

Under the State Government’s COVID-19 WA Road Map, May 18 represents the date that Phase 2 conditions will be applied to WA Communities, which will allow for a return to training.

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Optus Rewind: Black shows consistency is key

Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 3:29 PM

When you think Aaron Black, you think consistency. 

Ten seasons of WAFL football at an elite standard. A Sandover Medal, a Premiership, two club best & fairest awards and even throw in a Mark of the Year. 

The reward of the West Perth captaincy in 2018 topped it off. 

There isn’t much the talented midfielder hasn’t achieved, and that consistency is personified by his simple mantra of finding the footy. 

The Kingsley Junior found himself in the WA Under 18s squad as an ‘under-ager’ early in his career and the rest is history. 

“I didn’t play much in that 2009 year but to run around at training with guys like Mitch Duncan, Anthony Morabito, Jack Darling and Dave Swallow was amazing,” Black recalls. 

“I got to push my case with those guys, obviously the two years at state level probably didn’t go as I planned but I learned from a bunch of talented blokes that played a heap of AFL.”

“I really loved the experience of playing with the best at your age.”

Black followed on his form at representative level with a debut in the middle of 2010 for West Perth, but it wasn’t the first game the youngster had hoped for.

“I was still 17 and in high school when all of this stuff went on,” he said. “It was massive whirlwind for me.”

“I came into the side for a night game against South Fremantle because Kepler Bradley went into the Dockers side. Billy called me and I was in.

“We got absolutely smashed that day. It was pouring with rain and we still lost by 60 points.

“I remember Toby McGrath coming up to me and saying welcome to league footy with a hook to my ribs. That is a moment I won’t forget.”

It didn’t take long for Black to achieve the ultimate team success, finding his way into a Premiership side in 2013 with victory against rivals East Perth. 

“I remember driving to the ground with Rohan Kerr and Shane Nelson and given how young we were, we felt cool, calm and collected,” he claimed.

“We were playing unreal footy and the confidence of the group just set us up.

“The last fifteen minutes we were 30 points up and I just remember running around like a headless chook. I knew we had the game in the bag and I was just soaking it in, we’d won a Premiership.

“When the siren goes, I couldn’t tell you who I ran too, but for me it was a sense of relief and reward for all the efforts as a junior. I was still so young.”

“The way we played as a collective that day is something I won’t forget.”

Not to be outdone the following season, Black captured the Sandover Medal, catapulting him into the top echelon of players in the WAFL. 

“Rohan Kerr and I went to the Sandover together and to be honest weren’t expecting to do any good,” he said. I definitely wasn’t a favourite by any means and early I didn’t even poll that well.

“From memory that year I had one game under 25 touches and ended up polling in 16 out of 20 games. That’s something that I am super proud of. 

“The last 10 games I polled really well and from there it was all a massive blur. The final votes were read, and I didn’t even realise I had won.

 “It was such an exciting count with two blokes only one game behind me. Like the Premiership, it is just something I will never forget.”

Throughout his career, Black has also managed to pull on the yellow and black six times for Western Australia, winning some of the most historic games in the state’s history.

“The thing for me was I always wanted to play at the highest level possible for as long as I could,” he said. 

“If it isn’t the AFL, then it is the WAFL and the highest brand of that is state footy. 

“To beat the Vics twice and SA a couple of times is an amazing feeling. 

“Early on, it was the amazement of getting selected to represent the state and play. But now, to be Vice-Captain under a guy like Kyal Horsley and to have leaders like Kane Mitchell and Tony Notte around is incredible.

“I still feel like a student of the game with those blokes around, I learn so much.”

Despite all the achievements, becoming captain of the West Perth Football Club sits high on the honour roll for Black, leading the club through a tumultuous period in 2018. 

“I am playing at a club that’s been around for 130 years,” he said.

“When you’re growing up watching games against Subiaco, Derbies against East Perth and Grand Finals like 03’, it’s just special to be a part of. 

“I never thought I would get the opportunity to captain the side. I wanted to and felt like I had leadership qualities.

“When Jay Van Berlo stepped down and I got the opportunity, I knew I wanted to be the captain. I wanted to make players better around me. 

“It was a challenging year, particularly with the financial stuff that was going on. To be honest, I don’t think I have had an easy year yet; a change of coach last year and now the virus in 2020. 

“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do and to do it at a club like West Perth is a great honour.”


The Final Match: Did Perth Really ‘Win’ The 1907 Premiership?

Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 3:04 PM

Look back at the list of WAFL Premiers. Are there any that stick out to you? 

Sure, there’ll be questions about the competition’s foundation years. Who are the Rovers, why were the Unions playing football and, wait a second, Fremantle have actually won more premierships than West Coast?

The answer to that last question is still, unfortunately for Fremantle fans, an unequivocal no, however if we go back to the initial question, are there any that stick out then the answer would likely also be no.

But if you scratch the surface a little there’s a fascinating story and an even bigger question lurking when you get to the 1907 Western Australian Football Association.

Did Perth really ‘win’ the 1907 premiership?

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East Fremantle finished the 1907 season as minor premiers ahead of Perth on percentage with both sides recording 14 wins.

“Old Easts”, as they were then known, beat West Perth in a second semi final, while Perth scraped past South Fremantle by four points in the first semi final.

On Saturday September 28 at Claremont Showgrounds East Fremantle and Perth would face off in what The Evening Mail – a short lived, afternoon newspaper based in Fremantle – called ‘The Final Match’ and both The Sunday Times and The West Australian’s referred to as ‘The Premiership Final’.

The term Grand Final hadn’t become part of the Western Australian vernacular just yet.

According to match reports, conditions at the Claremont Showgrounds were near perfect for football and a record crowd had gathered with The Sunday Times reporting ‘the turnstiles showed that there were over 1500 people in the grandstand, and some 7000 odd in the outer enclosure.’.

Perth had the sway of the fans, with the Evening Mail reporting ‘Both teams had innumerable supporters, but taking it all round the balance of favor (sic) was with the Perth eighteen.’

The game itself was a tight tussle from go to woah. The West Australian referring to the match as ‘undoubtably the best that has been witnessed on the coast this season, and the issue was in doubt up to the ringing of the bell…’.

East Fremantle kicked with the breeze in the first quarter and led Perth by three points at the first break. Perth would gain the lead in the second quarter with goals to Edmondson and Orr.

Charles Doig Snr, whose son George Doig would go on to be one of the state’s greatest goalkickers, would kick a goal from a free kick on the stroke of half time but East Fremantle still trailed by six points. 

East Fremantle took full advantage of the breeze in the third quarter and piled on three goals to Perth’s two behinds. Old East would lead by 14 points at the final change. 

The fine weather turned in the final quarter and when East Fremantle’s Sharpe kicked an early goal to extend the lead to 20 points, The Sunday Times reported that ‘people began to leave the ground’.

The game wasn’t over as the Redlegs fought their way back into the game. The Sunday Times summed up the final minutes of the match: ‘amidst intense excitement Perth pressed the attack, and Orr and Wilson each had the opportunity of immortalising himself by kicking the winning goal, but each failed and the scoring board showed as the teams filed off: - East Fremantle 6.11 (47 points). Perth 6.6 (42 points). Majority for East Fremantle, five points.’

Majority for East Fremantle, five points.

To modernise that sentence: East Fremantle won the 1907 WAFA Final Match by five points.

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What happened next was of such magnitude that it garnered reporting in The Sydney Morning Herald of all places.

Perth appealed the result. 

Their appeal as it appeared in The Evening Mail was as follows:

“1. The goal kicked by C. Doig at half-time was wrongly recorded inasmuch as the “free” from which it was kicked was awarded after the ringing of the bell: 2. That a goal was wrongly awarded to East Fremantle in the third quarter.”

Let’s clear one thing up immediately and move on quickly. Perth dropped the second part of the protest, it was based entirely on hearsay and led to the goal umpire receiving an apology from Perth.

To clarify Perth’s protest, they were claiming that the central umpire Henry “Ivo” Crapp had paid a free kick to East Fremantle’s Doig after the bell was rung to signify half time.

While newspapers of the day didn’t report on when the East Fremantle team found out about the appeal, let’s just image that the team was celebrating their victory with a few cordials in the changerooms before someone burst in with the news.

The match report by The Evening Times published on Saturday afternoon failed to mention the protest but had a sub-section dedicated to Doig’s goal ‘East Score From Free’ and that the free kick was awarded ‘just as the bell rang’ and Doig kicked ‘amidst tumultuous cheers’. 

Later, match reports from The Sunday Times proclaimed, “Perth Lodge a Protest” in a sub-heading, while Monday’s edition of The West Australian heralded East Fremantle as premiers with the sub-heading ‘A Protest Lodged’.

East Fremantle’s captain and co-founder of the club Thomas Wilson must have met the news with genuine shock.

Wilson told a crowd – that included a reporter from The Evening Mail – at a club meeting on the Wednesday following the final match that he was met by Perth captain Jack Leckie in the moments after the final bell rang and congratulated him without mentioning an appeal.

“The secretary of the Perth team, Mr. Kennedy, shook me by the hand,” Wilson was quoted as saying. “Mr Cherry congratulated me, as did others, and they said nothing of a protest. Yet they assist later in the contemptible, low, mean notion which robbed us of the premiership which was run-on the field-fairly and squarely as they had admitted.”

Some of the quotes by Wilson during the course of Perth’s appeal are so dramatic that they would make American screenwriter Aaron Sorkin would blush. The father of East Fremantle football told The Daily News on the Monday following the game “if the protest be upheld, I shall never play football again.”.

The Appeal Board would meet at 8pm on Tuesday, October 1 at the United Services Hotel on St. George’s Terrace (it’s long since been replaced by a skyscraper) to decide whether to uphold or dismiss Perth’s protest.

The Appeal Board was, in modern terms, The Tribunal. The group of men decided on suspensions and at the time was chaired by one Captain Richard Adolphus Sholl J.P., who was once a Postmaster-General in Western Australia.

Sholl lived on Aberdeen Street in the suburb now known as Northbridge, which at the time was home to some of the city’s most affluent citizens. 

R.A. Sholl was joined on the appeal board by Frederick Gill who was between stints as a Labor MLA for Balcatta and subsequently Leederville, and a J.A. Bolt (It’s hard to pinpoint who exactly who Bolt is, as the third member is also referred to as J.R. and R.H. in other articles).

The trio weren’t blessed with the modern wonders of video replay that could clearly and without bias show the moment in question, and as a result had to rely on evidence provided by witnesses. 

Bias makes up a large part of this intriguing story, as you will soon see, and even The Appeals Board members’ objectivity itself was questioned in an opinion piece that ran in The Empire newspaper on Saturday, October 5, 1907:
“Here we have an Appeal Board constituted by gentlemen who live and have their businesses in Perth, and they certainly have no feelings of sympathy towards East Fremantle, most of whom work hard for their livings on the wharf. Rather would they be disposed (were their justice of so blind a nature) to favour (sic) the Perth club, as being the direct representative of city life.”

There is some evidence to potentially back this claim of a bias within The Appeal Board. 

In Perth’s win over South Fremantle in the first semi-final, South Fremantle lodged a protest against Perth claiming that a goal had been scored by one of their players, but it had been called touched by the central umpire. Had the goal been counted they would have won by a point and faced East Fremantle in a derby Grand Final.

South Fremantle intended to call a number of witnesses from the crowd, but The Appeal Board refused the request stating that they couldn’t hear any outside witnesses.

South Fremantle’s protest was dismissed on Friday, September 20. 

11 days later Perth would be allowed to present 47 witnesses including a number of their members and fans who were on the outer.

East Fremantle called just four witnesses; goalkicker Charles Doig, the officiating boundary umpire Ernest Cooper, the official scorer a ‘Mr Jefferies’ and Charles ‘Dick’ Sweetman who was ‘standing 40 yards from the posts’.

East Fremantle’s representative at the hearing Fred Gray, who was also one of the competition’s vice-presidents and at the time of the hearing the competition’s acting president (the WAFA committee at the time consisted of club delegates), appeared surprised that the Appeal Board allowed outside witnesses and was later quoted by The Evening Mail as saying “Had we thought the board would have listened to outside witnesses we could have taken along a train load of them.”.

Central umpire Ivo Crapp was the first to give evidence. Highly regarded Crapp was umpiring royalty in Australia. Following a distinguished career in the VFL that saw him umpire seven grand finals Crapp had moved to Western Australia and would umpire every final from 1906 to 1914.

In The Daily News’ in-depth report of the hearing, Crapp said the contest was at the western end of Claremont’s Showgrounds when Perth’s Richard St. John Kennedy took East Fremantle’s Doig high and blew his whistle to give the free kick as the bell went.

According to all but one article covering the hearing Crapp was adamant that he blew the whistle either just before or simultaneously with the bell but not after. 

Crapp also testified that had he heard the bell before blowing his whistle he would not have given the free and that if he had any doubt he would have conferred with the timekeepers before he awarded the free kick. 

The free kick was never in question. Kennedy, who would later be killed in action in Marloncourt, France during world war one, admitted he gave Doig “a friendly pull” (The Western Mail reported on Saturday, October 5 that Kennedy had pulled Doig down by the neck).

Boundary umpire Ernest Cooper who was 25 yards from the contest corroborated Crapp’s story saying he heard Crapp’s whistle ‘about two seconds before the bell’.

The two officials – including one of the most highly respected umpires in the land – had clearly stated the free kick was given before the timekeepers rang the bell.

The timekeepers. This is where the story gets truly odd.

Perth’s timekeeper Frank Kennedy (Unlikely to be a relative of the aforementioned player given St. John Kennedy had moved to Perth from Victoria) was adamant that he had rung the bell and heard the whistle two seconds afterwards. 

Kennedy testified that both he and his fellow timekeeper had left their positions in the grandstand.

The other timekeeper R.G.C. Salter – some reports claim he was formerly associated with East Fremantle while The Daily News labled him ‘timekeeper for East Fremantle’ – attested to hearing the whistle about five seconds before the bell rang. 

Salter further said he would be surprised if umpire Crapp said the bell and the whistle went almost simultaneously. 

Perth’s representative at the hearing a Mr. R.H. McLeod then directed a pertinent question to Salter: “Have you received the wagers you had on this match?”.

While Gray objected to the question Salter revealed that he had engaged in a small bet with his friend Reginald Harrison.

Salter, a ‘poultry fancier’ who lived in South Fremantle, had placed a 10 shilling, at the time the cost of a new hat, bet on East Fremantle winning. 


That friendly wager for what would amount to roughly one dollar in 2020 wasn’t against the rules in 1907, in fact, in 1906 a motion at a league meeting to stop team delegates from betting was voted down. 

Perth’s cavalcade of witnesses then followed with an avalanche of evidence that pointed to the bell having rung before Crapp’s whistle blew.

Witnesses stated that the time between the bell being rung and the whistle being blown were anywhere from two to 15 seconds and one of the Perth players Louis Cherry told the hearing that he run from the ground in enough time to watch Doig’s kick sail through the air from the comfort of Perth’s changing room.

Perth’s witnesses also included members of the South Fremantle Football Club and delegates from West Perth who all attested in Perth’s favour.

Two of the most crucial witnesses came towards the end of Perth’s evidence; Charles Augustus Saw J.P. and Clifton Penny.

Saw was amongst Western Australia’s elite. At the time of the hearing he would have been one of the state’s richest men having made his name as a banker before becoming a stockbroker.

A Justice of the Peace (like The Appeal Board chair R.A. Sholl) Saw’s father was a merchant in Perth and at one stage owned a plot of land in the centre of Perth that stretched from the around the Savoy Hotel on Hay Street west to near William Street. That’s almost the entire length on what is now the Hay Street Mall.

Cliff Penny was a giant of a man, standing at six foot six with an athletic frame forged from years of rowing. 

Like Saw, Penny was part of Perth’s elite being one of the State’s most well-known and respected solicitors. Penny was involved in some of the highest profile cases before he moved to Sydney. While he continued to practice law Penny also dabbled in acting and featured in the film Unto Us Another Child is Born and had his portrait entered into the 1929 Archibald Prize.

These two men were the crowning jewel in Perth’s case. The Perthonalities were in some reports considered the most telling witnesses in the hearing. 

Penny stated that he heard the bell and not Crapp’s whistle “As soon as we heard the bell, we rushed for the bar.”.

His statement drew laughter from the crowd, and it appears his drinking partner at the final game was Saw J.P. as he corroborated Penny’s evidence.

Watchmaker and goalkicker Charles Doig followed as the first of East Fremantle’s final witnesses staked their case. Boundary umpire Cooper and official scorer Jefferies both stated that the free kick was given before the bell sounded.

With the meeting having started at 8pm and over 50 witnesses giving their version of events The Appeal Board’s decision must have been made late in the night.

After what was described as a ‘lengthy discussion’ the three members of The Appeal Board returned, and Chair R.A. Sholl delivered their decision: 
“We have carefully considered the; case, and recognise the great, responsibility that has devolved -upon us in having to decide this important' dispute. We have unanimously decided that the weight of evidence bears out the contention, of the protesting club:
that the time-keeper had rung the bell before the central umpire's whistle was sounded; and therefore the ball was dead when, the free kick was given from -which the dispute was made. We therefore uphold the protest”.

Doig’s goal was no more, erased from the record books.

And with that Perth became premiers of 1907 with the score now reading East Fremantle 5.11 (41 points) to Perth 6.6 (42 points).

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The story doesn’t end there.

Perth immediately offered for the game to be replayed not wanting to be named premiers based on protest. Their captain Jack Leckie told The Evening Mail the following morning “The Perth team have been awarded the premiership by The Appeal Board, but there is not a single man in the team who would not rather have been without it than accept it under such conditions.”.

East Fremantle refused the rematch a delegate Mr Fanning was quoted in The West Australian on Thursday, October 3: “I do not think we will again have the pleasure of meeting Perth this season.”.

While Easts in some ways accepted the decision, they were ropeable about how The Appeals Board had gone about their business. On Thursday October 3 the club held a meeting at The Newcastle Club Hotel.

The meeting was full of rousing speeches and rapturous cheers.

One exchange was captured in detail by The Evening Mail:
Mr Gray “No one more deeply regrets that East Fremantle has been deprived of a premiership than I. Perth may claim the honor (sic) –
Captain Wilson: “a tin-pot honour in the circumstances”
Mr Gray: They claim the honour, but East Fremantle really won it, and that is the chief honour. I myself say you are premiers, and you all know you are. I hope there will be no talk of disbanding. Don’t leave a sinking ship. East is not done yet. Let the club next year show them all that the premiership can again be brought here, and not merely by five points, either.”

The club was angry about The Appeal Board allowing outside witnesses to be heard and a ‘flabbergasted’ captain Tommy Wilson told the evening mail the morning after the hearin: ““In this case every Tom, Dick or Harry who liked to open his house on behalf of Perth, was listened to with avidity by the board.”.

East Fremantle’s supporters were also furious that delegates from other clubs – especially those from South Fremantle – were allowed to give evidence against them.

A meeting of the WAFA on Wednesday, October 2 at Alcock’s Sports Depot saw North Fremantle’s delegate Mr Cookson criticise the competition’s acting-secretary Mr Udy for rushing the protest to The Appeal Board before the matter was presented to the League.

Cookson’s monition that Udy’s actions were “illegal” wasn’t seconded as the Chairman of the meeting Frank Grey explained that Udy’s decision came because R.A. Sholl the Appeal Board chairman was about to leave the city.

East Fremantle continued to seethe at the decision and at a meeting of the WAFA on Wednesday October, 30 it was revealed that the club’s secretary Jack Capp had written to the competition asking for the case to be heard at the Australasian Football Council.

The Australasian Football Council was the national governing body for Australian Rules Football from 1906 until 1995 when it was dissolved to make way for the AFL Commission.

The motion of putting the case to the Australasian Football Council was put to a vote and lost. In response East Fremantle’s President Mr. W. Lalor suggested that his club was still unsatisfied, and they would consider perusing the matter in the Supreme Court. 

It appears that this was as far as East Fremantle’s fight went.

----

There was talk, as alluded to by Gray earlier in this piece, that East Fremantle would leave the competition or disband entirely. 

While East Fremantle’s Tommy Wilson threatened to retire from the game as news of the appeal broke, he issued a call to arms on Thursday, October 3 at that fateful club meeting at the Newcastle Club Hotel.

“I have been wild enough several times to think of chucking up the game, but I say now let us stick to the business. If we retire our opponents will be glad, because it will be their only chance of winning the premiership on their own. They want us out of the road. Our duty is to stick together and show them that although they took our premiership we can still come up sailing. I think I can last another couple of seasons, and anyway I will try. Let us drop the trouble now and grin and bear it. We have won enough premierships, and have been robbed of enough to make us callous to a little robbery. Next year we will put in a team that will wipe the floor with the lot of them.”.

East Fremantle would win the next four premierships with Wilson leading them to Grand Final wins over Perth in 1908 and 1909.
 


Howlett buoyant over young Thunder prospects

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 2:46 PM - by Chris Pike

PEEL Thunder might have been thrown a curve ball with the announcement that they won't have access to any Fremantle Dockers AFL-listed players in 2020, but captain Ben Howlett remains buoyant of what they can produce given the young talent coming through.

The AFL has announced that no listed players will be taking part in any state league competition for 2020 as football prepares to emerge from the restrictions enforced to battle COVID-19.

Obviously in terms of the WAFL, that means that Peel Thunder is significantly impacted given their partnership with the Fremantle Dockers. 

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WAFC Statement: AFL-listed players in State Leagues

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 6:06 PM

The West Australian Football Commission was made aware of the AFL’s ruling today that no AFL-listed player will be permitted to participate in a second-tier competition in 2020.
 
This has significant implications for the WAFL competition and will need to be taken into account for all of our planning around what a 2020 WAFL season may look like.
 
We remain focussed on getting a WAFL season underway at some point this year and will work through all of the available options and scenarios with our clubs.
 
Further updates will be provided once we have fully explored the impact of this decision with our clubs.


Simply Energy Isolation Diaries: Denver Grainger-Barras

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 1:39 PM

In a time of great uncertainty around the footballing world, we take you inside the lives of our Western Australian Under 18s as they navigate their way through an unprecedented 2020 season. The positives, the negatives and the new opportunities that present themselves will all be told in the ‘Simply Energy Isolation Diaries.’

Over the past 6 weeks majority of the news we’ve received around footy has been negative and, at times, hard to take. That mood and uncertainty for young footballers has shifted, and as a group we are all excited with what the next 6 months could look like. A national carnival looks possible, a draft is more than likely and playing with my best mates looks on the horizon. 

Nothing is guaranteed, but motivation for all of us is at an all-time high. 

The bubble of COVID-19.

My story of isolation is pretty similar to the majority of Australia; I’m at home like everyone else, ticking along with training and waiting for time to pass. I’ve been working at McDonalds regularly, but that is about to change. Training has been largely solo with the occasional session with Swans teammate Zane Trew, but often I am biting the bullet to do things by myself. Our programs from the State Academy have provided a strong and consistent routine.

The part I’ve enjoyed about the time off has been the work around the house and on my car. We live in a rental, so there is always jobs to be doing and that has definitely kept mum happy. Touching up the grass, fixing the lawnmower, the little DIY jobs have kept me busy. I have always had a small passion for fixing different things. 

The last week has been a whirlwind away from footy, accepting a new job at Bunnings as a crew person. Plenty of meetings and interviews on the phone to try and get the job, it suits me perfectly and will be a nice change. Footy has been central to my upbringing for a long time, to step away and work on these different aspects of my life has been rewarding.

The Draft. 

After hearing plenty of bad news over the past month, it was refreshing to hear Gill McLachlan announce that the draft would go ahead. I was at the oval having a kick and it was actually my birthday. I saw that the AFL had released a statement that it was likely to go ahead. I called my girlfriend and family to confirm and was extremely excited. Hopefully I get some games in to showcase my talents to try and better my draft stocks. A lot more positives lately which has been great.

The expectation. 

I really just try not to read into the expectation too much. Given this season is such an unknown, I’ve had limited contact with anyone in terms of footy clubs. I guess that has meant I have needed to work hard behind the scenes given my footy can’t do the talking. My approach at the moment is to take one step at a time, if that is running this afternoon or a rest day, that’s what it is. 

I’ve been lucky enough to do a bit of media over the past few months and it is an area I am always trying to improve. I find myself listening to a lot of the players that take their media commitments seriously, such as Patrick Dangerfield or Joel Selwood, the captains of the AFL clubs. When I trained for a week at Fremantle Football Club, I really watched Nat Fyfe, listening to he says and seeing the way he goes about it. I really took a lot from that experience. 

I still have ambitions to pull on the black and gold this season. I’d love to get some footy in, whether that is with Swan Districts or State 18s, either way footy is footy. I know the whole team would jump at the chance to play for the state. It would be short, but everyone would give 100%. Seeing everyone come back together and putting their best foot forward would great. 

Communication is key.

Lee Walker, the wellbeing coordinator at the State Academy, has been a great sounding board for me during the difficult times. Keeping me busy, keeping me updated and educating on the welfare side of footy. I want my mental state to stay really positive and he has had a real impact on that. Family has taken me away from the uncertainty of what is ahead, board games and the like keep you grounded.

Out chats amongst the group have been consistent and really beneficial. We have a big group chat and try to keep that as active as possible. Alongside that, we have a meeting every Thursday on Skype and have had some big celebrities present to us. The likes of Danny Green and Justin Longmuir have been great, the boys take it all onboard and often chat about the interviews afterwards. It has definitely been something that is keeping us close together.  
 


KIA Rewind: Bolton recalls Black Swan memories

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 2:02 PM

Many players love two things about football; playing on the biggest stage and the mateship that is developed within a team environment. 

State football delivers on both of those fronts. 

Pulling on the ‘Black Swan’ jumper has long been seen as the pinnacle of WAFL football, representing your state and taking on the best outside of the AFL. It is an experience that two-time Simpson Medallist Jye Bolton knows all too well. 

The Claremont midfielder has achieved plenty in his short WA football career, but in his eyes, nothing comes close to that 2017 win over the Victorians. 

“I remember sitting in the changerooms pre-game and seeing the determination in the eyes of Kyal Horsley, Tim Kelly and Ryan Cook,” Bolton said. 

“There was just this feeling amongst the group of we really want to win this game. I hadn’t ever worn the ‘Big V’ from my time in Victoria, so there was a bit of a chip on my shoulder.  

“Michael Broadbridge had brought over this mentality and emphasis on beating these guys and showing that we were the best competition outside the AFL. 

“To win that game the way we did, and to be the first WA team to win a state game in Victoria, it’s right up there with one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my career.

“That feeling that we had as a group, I think that’s the best I’ve ever had within a team environment.”

It’s a game that will long be remembered for the purists of WA football, our first victory in Melbourne since 1904. 

Bolton’s state football journey started one year earlier, but initially it felt strange for the midfielder from Werribee. 

“For me, being named in the WA side in 2016 felt a bit different,” Bolton said. “Largely because I had always wanted to play for Victoria.”

“I didn’t know much about the WA football landscape but once I was picked and spoke to past players, I quickly took to it and tried to play with the same passion.

“It means so much to different people and given the relationships I have built from that point on, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Despite playing with some of his biggest competitors on the field at home, Bolton saw the opportunity to play with the WA’s elite talent as a positive. 

“Over the last few years it’s seemed like we’ve had a pretty consistent group,” Bolton claimed. “I think I have had around 15 of the same blokes from my four games of state footy, and that core group is super competitive. 

“They take representing the state and our competition extremely seriously, being the best league outside of the AFL. It is something I really look forward to every year.”

“In training, your able to pick up on what other blokes do to prepare themselves or what they see as important to the game.

“Your able to learn a lot from a really successful bunch of people and take that back to your own club.”

Bolton announced himself as one of the competition’s elite during his state debut against Tasmania in 2016, amassing 46 touches and two goals in WA’s 134-point win. 

“I remember being incredibly nervous at training leading up to the game, I didn’t say much at all,” Bolton said. “I was only six games into my WAFL career.”

“Darren Harris actually coached us, and he started me on the bench which I was a little bit dark about. He also played me half-forward in the first quarter, I just wanted to make an impact as best I could.

“I put in a couple of efforts early, and I remember guys like Aaron Black and Leigh Kitchin coming across and getting around me. From that point on, I grew in confidence and felt part of the team.”

Over the past decade, Western Australia have created some great memories on the field and have enjoyed the celebrations with teammates after drought-breaking victories.

“Without a doubt enjoying those wins post game was some of the best memories,” Bolton said. 

“I haven’t won a premiership before, but those wins in Melbourne and Adelaide would be the closest feeling to it. To bond with players but also staff that came across was a great experience. 

“I still run into blokes from those trips and the first thing we talk about is the win and celebrations after, it is something I will cherish for a long time.”

While the State Game has been cancelled in 2020 due to Coronavirus, Bolton hopes that the fixture will return in seasons to come, believing players couldn’t enjoy the experience enough.

“I don’t think there should be any thought whatsoever in getting rid of the game,” Bolton said.

“There is no state footy at AFL level, we would love to make our version bigger and better over the next few years. It was one of the best experiences I have had, everyone wants to see it continue.

“There is no better feeling than going across and playing great opposition, bringing all the best players in the state together, and showcasing the talent our league possesses. 

“I couldn’t be a bigger ambassador for it, it should definitely continue.”
 


AFL Masters 2020 National Carnival postponed

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 10:20 AM

AFL Masters WA, in conjunction with the AFL Masters national board, regretfully advises that the 2020 AFL Masters National Carnival scheduled in Perth in October, is being postponed until 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19.
 
AFL Masters WA Chairman Nathan Dixon said the decision to postpone the Carnival was reached by the Perth Organising Committee together with the AFL Masters national board and other State Associations this week after careful consideration of the best interests of all players, coaches, umpires, officials and volunteers.
 
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on AFL Masters competitions around Australia and more broadly, the communities, businesses and lives of many of the volunteers and players involved in organising and participating in the National Carnival,” he said.
 
“This impact has included uncertainty around when it will be possible to recommence AFL Masters football competitions in the lead-up to the Carnival, business closures, loss of jobs and annual leave uncertainty, border closures and uncertainty of airline travel.”
 
“With no control over these uncertainties, AFL Masters, the Perth Organising Committee and the State Associations consider that it will not be possible to achieve the best outcomes and attendances for the 2020 National Carnival.”
 
“It has therefore been decided to postpone the 2020 AFL Masters National Carnival in Perth to a similar time of year in 2021, with dates to be confirmed as soon as possible.”
 
“We understand this is a disappointing outcome for everyone that was looking forward to participating in the Carnival this year and appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through the process of rescheduling the event for 2021.”
 
“Please look after yourselves and your families, we look forward to seeing everyone back playing football again as soon as possible.”
 


Sharks coach Monaghan wants what's best for WA football

Sunday, May 3, 2020 - 1:46 PM - by Chris Pike

WHILE the East Fremantle Football Club has put out the call to help in their bid for survival, senior coach Bill Monaghan remains confident of the Sharks hitting the field still in 2020 and wants the WAFL to make their own decisions and not be led by the AFL.

When Monaghan talks, it's a voice that deserves to be listened to and often he thinks and looks at things well beyond what's directly in front of him with the bigger picture of the best interests of the WAFL competition in mind.

That's largely because of how big of a role in his life the WAFL has played. It was firstly during his 204-game playing career with both Subiaco and Peel Thunder before he went on to have a successful coaching apprenticeship under Peter German with the Lions.

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