1889 SAFA Grand Final

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

1889 SAFA Grand Final
The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide) 5 October 1889 Premiership football match Norwood Port shortened.jpgAdelaide Oval 1889.jpg
Photo of the Adelaide Oval grandstands in 1889 by photographer Ernest Gall.

SANFL Port Adelaide 1883-1901 Icon.jpg
Port Adelaide
7.4 (7) 5.9 (5)
1 2 3 4
NOR 3.1 (3) 4.1 (4) 5.3 (5) 7.4 (7)
PTA 3.1 (3) 3.3 (3) 4.7 (4) 5.9 (5)
Date Saturday 5 October (2:45 pm)
Stadium Adelaide Oval
Attendance 7,227 ticketed (11,000 estimated as season ticket holders entered free)
Umpires Field umpire: John Trait
Goal umpires: I.A. Fisher and J. McKenzie
Coin toss won by Norwood
Kicked toward Scoreboard End
Best on Ground Alfred Waldron (field umpires choice)
1894 →

The 1889 SAFA Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the Norwood and Port Adelaide, held at the Adelaide Oval on the 5 October 1889. It was the first Grand Final in a major Australian rules football league and thus the concluding championship match of the 1889 SAFA season. The game resulted in a victory for Norwood who beat Port Adelaide by two goals, marking the clubs ninth premiership and third in a row.[1] Norwood's Alfred Waldron was considered the best player on the ground by field umpire John Trait. The match was attended by an estimated 11,000 people.


The match was required after Port Adelaide and Norwood had ended with an identical win-loss-draw record at the conclusion of the regular 1889 SAFA season. Port Adelaide's two losses both were at the hands of Norwood. Meanwhile, Norwood's losses were one game to Port Adelaide and another to Adelaide. In Round 14 both clubs played the only draw of the 1889 SAFA season.

1889 SAFA Ladder[edit]

1889 SAFA Ladder
1 Norwood (P) 17 14 2 1 102 165 30 75 29
1 Port Adelaide 17 14 2 1 127 177 33 63 29
3 Adelaide 17 8 9 0 57 95 78 161 16
4 Gawler 11 4 7 0 21 65 76 104 8
5 South Adelaide 17 6 11 0 54 132 71 120 12
6 Medindie 15 0 15 0 19 56 90 158 0
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, GF = Goals For, BF = Behinds For, GA = Goals Against, BA = Behinds Against, (P) = Premiers [2]

John Trait[edit]

John Trait was sought out as umpire for the match by the SAFA. At the time he was unanimously considered the best Australian football umpire in the country.

Victoria's top Australian rules football umpires John Trait was employed for the special match. In Melbourne media he was referred to as the "Prince of Umpires".

Additional trains[edit]

The state government put on additional trains on the Port Adelaide line in anticipation for the large attendance for the match.


A large amount of money was bet on the game compared to normal for football matches in Adelaide at the time. Overall Port Adelaide were favourites with punters, especially with smaller bets. However Norwood were also strongly backed, especially those placing larger stakes.[3]

Police clear Switchback rollercoaster[edit]

Police were required to clear the Switchback rollercoaster of people trying to garner a vantage point of the match.

Extra police were deployed for the match and post game reports suggest that there was little incident apart from the need to clear the switchback railway of people trying to garner a vantage point of the match.[4]

Match summary[edit]

Norwood won the toss and elected to kick with the wind towards the Riverbank end.

First quarter[edit]

As a result of Norwood winning the toss Port Adelaide player John McKenzie started the match and kicked north towards the scoreboard end. Straight away both teams played at a frantic pace. Following an even contest for the ball in front of the members' pavilion Port Adelaide player Rudolph Ewers was thrown on the boundary-line. As a result, umpire Trait paid him a free. Ewers used this free to kick forward to George Davis, who himself would receive another free for a breach, and Hamilton obtaining from Davis with a beautiful kicked the first Grand Final's first goal.[5]

2 Minutes: Norwood 0.0 (0) – Port Adelaide 1.0 (1)

After scoring the first goal the Port Adelaide players settled to work quickly. The dash of Port players had somewhat surprised Norwood, but they replied with an equally strong rush. Port Adelaide defender Tomlin for a moment averted the danger posed by the Norwood's rush, but Charlie Woods, who was following, aided by Daly, landed the leather right forward, where it went out. At the resulting throw in Charlie Woods was held and was awarded a free which he used to kick a goal and equalize the scores.[5]

5.5 Minutes: Norwood 1.0 (1) – Port Adelaide 1.0 (1)

Norwood captain-coach Alfred Waldron.

Rudolph Ewers of the Ports started the next play and beat his opponent Oswald Bertram forcing the Norwoods to quickly defend. A little mark gave Harry Phillips a chance but the often reliable player missed. Waldron and Rawson transferred to the centre, where Daly and McGrath sent it forward, bat Dempster was in the way, and the Ports with a fast rush stormed the Norwoods' citadel. C. Fry passed to Davis, and again the red flag went up.[5]

11 Minutes: Norwood 1.0 (1) – Port Adelaide 2.0 (2)

Both teams were making tremendous effort, and the football shown was of the highest quality. The Norwoods, who were reserving some of their men, had Roberts and McGrath off following, Woods and Wilson taking their places.

Off again, the Norwoods, with a quick, concerted movement, placed the Ports on the defensive. Roberts tried a long shot, but the ball only landed in front. Woods marked a good distance off, and with unerring aim sent the sphere clean through the centre. Two goals each and no behinds.[5]

Norwood 2.0 (2) – Port Adelaide 2.0 (2)

Again the eastern team, who were showing splendid, clean football, prevailed, Shaw being responsible for the sphere going forward. J. Fry relieved to the pavilion, but an exchange of marks gave McGaffin the ball, and he sent to Waldron, the old veteran, who was playing a wonderful game, passed to Slattery, and he from the side sent the ball again between the posts, but the umpire was not in a position to see the ball going through, and gave it a behind.[5]

Norwood 2.1 (2) – Port Adelaide 2.0 (2)

Nothing disheartened, the Norwoods returned to the attack, C. Woods sending it forward, and then Lowe made mistake. The ball came up to goal, and instead of kicking with the wind he turned round and dispatched across. The ball was rolling past the goal when Dixon making a desperate effort touched it with his foot, and it went through within six inches of the post.[5]

Norwood 3.1 (3) – Port Adelaide 2.0 (2)

The play was next taken to the Ports' forwards, where Roachock stopped the attack, but two brilliant marks by Webb and C. Fry gave the latter a chance, and he kicked right into goal. Bertram, relieved, and Phillips from a free gave Charlie Fry an opportunity which he fully capitalised kicking Port's third goal.[5]

22 Minutes: Norwood 3.1 (3) – Port Adelaide 3.0 (3)

Roachock stopped another attack, and then Rawson, Dixon, and Guster made a forward movement. Through the instrumentality of Kenneth McKenzie the ball was taken down to the centre, and J. Woods marked well. The Ports, however, made a determined rush. Miers and J. McKenzie gave Phillips a long shot, and he hit the post.[5]

Quarter time: Norwood 3.1 (3) – Port Adelaide 3.1 (3)

At quarter-time the board showed scores were level.[5]

Second quarter[edit]

The Ports with the aid of the wind started the second quarter with the first attack. However Jackson warded off the Ports rebounding to Shaw and Roberts who troubled the Ports' back line. Woods subsequently receiving a free on the boundary from a very difficult angle successfully kicked the Norwoods' fourth goal.[5]

Norwood 4.1 (4) – Port Adelaide 3.1 (3)

On kicking off a very bad attempt at marking by the Norwoods let in Gardiner, and he sent the ball forward. Combe and Daly kept the Norwood goal out of danger on their end, and then the Ports tried the other wing, and worked the ball across to the pavilion, where Stephens, who was working very hard in the ruck, showed up. After the sphere had traversed the ground Hills tried a shot, and the ball passed just outside the post. Kempster, beating two Norwoods, kept the play in the Norwoods' territory but an exchange of marks sent to the other end, where McGaffin and C. Woods missed badly. Then for a time the Norwood back men were kept hard at work at the river end. Eventually Phillips was given an opportunity but he could only manage another behind.[5]

Norwood 4.1 (4) – Port Adelaide 3.2 (3)

Norwood with a fast rush transferred play to the other end, but equally as fast was returned. Kempster, Stevens, and Ewers helped W. Bushby, Stephens, and Correll to futile shots.[5]

Half time: Norwood 4.1 (4) – Port Adelaide 3.3 (3)

At half time Norwood held a one-goal lead.[5]

Third quarter[edit]

After the half time interval the Ports were the first to gain ascendency of the play with some aggressive tactics. C. Fry gave John McKenzie a shot, which he missed. Arthur Jackson worked the ball out of the Norwood defence, but the Ports were making a great effort in keeping the Norwood goal in danger. However, Hamilton and J. McKenzie would both miss chances, with the latter getting a behind.[5] Daly was instrumental in stifling the Port attack.

Norwood 4.1 (4) – Port Adelaide 3.4 (3)

Again the Ports put all their power into the play, and Gardner finished up a nice run with a good kick. Hills placed in front to Le Leu who finally converted an opportunity for Port and a loud cheer from their supporters announced that the scores were again equal.[5]

Norwood 4.1 (4) – Port Adelaide 4.4 (4)

The Ports continued their ascendancy in the play for a short while but state of the scoreboard eventually forced the Norwood's into action and by a series of long kicks and marks they forced the Ports to defend. Dixon placed up, and Shaw smartly passed to Guster, who proved reliable kicking the Norwood's fifth goal.[5]

Norwood 5.1 (5) – Port Adelaide 4.4 (4)

A determined effort by the Ports placed the Norwoods' backs in trouble, and another behind came from Hamilton.[5]

Norwood 5.1 (5) – Port Adelaide 4.5 (4)

Gardner and Tomlin pressured any forward movements of the Norwood players keeping the ball in their opponents' territory. This eventually resulted in Davis putting Phillips in possession, but once more the usually accurate kicker sent the ball behind.[5]

Norwood 5.1 (5) – Port Adelaide 4.6 (3)

After marking on the wing John Daly with a run tried for a 55-metre kick which just missed scoring Norwood's second behind for the match.

McKee and J. Woods raised the siege along the gate wing, and Daly securing tried a sixty-yard kick which was very close to registering a goal but only resulted in Norwood's second behind.[5]

Norwood 5.2 (5) – Port Adelaide 4.6 (4)

Rawson and Wilson kept the ball close up to the Port Adelaide goal with Kenneth McKenzie working hard to prevent a Norwood score. When Alfred Robert gained a chance at scoring an easy goal he mulled the opportunity and only registered a behind.[5]

Norwood 5.3 (5) – Port Adelaide 4.6 (4)

Bushby beat Daly, and the leather went to the other end, Phillips securing yet another behind for the Ports.[5]

Norwood 5.3 (5) – Port Adelaide 4.7 (4)

When the final change took place the score was:—Norwood—5 goals 3 behinds. Port—4 goals 7 behinds.[5]

Fourth quarter[edit]

With deafening cries from the partisan supporters of both teams, the players took to the field and went into work at a great pace. The Norwoods had evidently reserved themselves for a big final stanza. A series of marks by Rawson, Daly, and McGrath gave Shaw an opportunity, and the game looked all over as the ball went right up to the goal, but it fell short, and J. Fry secured.[5] Taking it around the gate wing the Ports called upon the Norwoods to defend. Hamilton dispatched to Hills, who kicked a behind.

Norwood 5.3 (5) – Port Adelaide 4.8 (4)

Shortly after John McKenzie kicked Port Adelaide's ninth behind.

Norwood 5.3 (5) – Port Adelaide 4.9 (4)

After five earlier behinds Harry Phillips finally kicked a goal in the early stages of the fourth quarter to level the scores.

The Norwoods played wonderfully well together, successfully executing long kicks and marks. They transferred the play to the Ports' end, where Webb defended. Sending it along the pavilion wing Hills gave Phillips another chance, and he made amends for previous misses by equalizing the score.[5]

Norwood 5.3 (5) – Port Adelaide 5.9 (5)

With time rapidly drawing on the teams were urged on by their supporters, and the Norwoods made a gallant effort, whilst the Ports defended in equal style. The Norwood's however, seemed to have a little bit in hand, and by some good marking Waldron forwarded to McGaffin, and his kick put the Norwoods a goal ahead.[5]

Norwood 6.3 (6) – Port Adelaide 5.9 (5)

At this time in the game H.G. Hamilton seized up with the cramp and struggled to contribute for the rest of the game. Resuming, the Norwoods again attacked, and their combined play was too good for their opponents. In a scrimmage some distance from the goal C. Woods put his foot to the sphere and sent it between the uprights. The umpire thinking a Port man had kicked it did not give a decision, and nothing was registered. By Mr Traits order the ball was kicked off from behind, and then some hot play ensued in the Ports' quarters. K. McKenzie got away from two Norwoods, but Roachock outwitted him. Rawson, Roberts, and Gaster kept the ball forward, and Daly missed a running shot. Then O. Bertram also tried a running shot, and a loud cheer greeted another Norwood goal.[5]

Norwood 7.3 (7) – Port Adelaide 5.9 (5)

With everything to gain the Ports started off again, but before anything serious had eventuated the bell rang out, and the great contest was over, leaving the Norwood team premiers of 1889.[5]

Full-time: Norwood 7.3 (7) – Port Adelaide 5.9 (5)

The final score was Norwood—7 goals 3 behinds. Port Adelaide—5 goals 9 behinds.[5]


Robert Bertram Oswald Bertram George Combe
William Dixon John Daly W. Guster
Alfred Grayson Arthur Jackson George McKee
Jack McGaffin John McGrath Guff Rawson
Alfred Roberts Patrick Roachock Jim Shaw
William Slattery John Woods Charles Woods
Bob Wilson Alfred Waldron (c)
Port Adelaide[7]
Alfred Bushby William Bushby (c) Richard Correll
George Davis Rudolph Ewers James Fry
Charlie Fry Percy Gardiner H.G. Hamilton
Henry Hills Walter Kempster Frank Le Leu
Maurice Lowe John McKenzie Kenneth McKenzie
Alfred Miers Harry Phillips Henry Stephens
Albert Tomlin George Webb


Grand Final
Saturday, 5 October (3:00 pm) Norwood def. Port Adelaide Adelaide Oval (crowd: 11,000) [8][9]
3.1 (3)
4.1 (4)
5.3 (5)
 7.3 (7)
3.1 (3)
3.3 (3)
4.7 (4)
 5.9 (5)
Umpires: John Trait
C.Woods 3
O.Bertram, W Dixon, W Guster, J McGaffin 1
Goals 1 Hamilton, Davis, C. Fry, Le Leu, Phillips
Injuries H.G. Hamilton (cramp)
  • This was the first Grand Final in the history of Australian rules football used to decide the premier after both clubs had completed a home and away competition.

First Australian rules football Grand Final[edit]

The match between Norwood and Port Adelaide was the first fixture in Australian rules football to decide a premiership after both clubs completed a home and away season. Although the term "Grand Final" was not in wide use until 1931 it is used to denote a premiership deciding match after competing teams have qualified after completing a prior home and away season with the best records.


  1. ^ http://www.norwoodfc.com.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/memorablematches/1889TheFirstGrandFinalSAFAPremiership.pdf
  2. ^ "FOOTBALL". Adelaide Observer. 12 October 1889. p. 18. Retrieved 21 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. ^ "FOOTBALL". South Australian Register. LIV (13,384). 5 October 1889. p. 7. Retrieved 2 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ "FOOTBALL". The Express and Telegraph. XXVI (7,750). South Australia. 7 October 1889. p. 4. Retrieved 2 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Football". Evening Journal. Adelaide. 1889-10-07. p. 4. Retrieved 2018-01-28. 
  6. ^ Devaney, John. "1889 SAFA Premiership Play-Off: Norwood vs. Port Adelaide - The First Grand Final" (PDF). Norwoodfc.com.au. 
  7. ^ Devaney, John. "1889 SAFA Premiership Play-Off: Norwood vs. Port Adelaide - The First Grand Final" (PDF). Norwoodfc.com.au. 
  8. ^ "Football". South Australian Chronicle. Adelaide. 12 October 1889. p. 15. Retrieved 21 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ "FOOTBALL". The South Australian Advertiser. Adelaide. 21 June 1887. p. 7. Retrieved 25 February 2015 – via National Library of Australia.