Cordner–Eggleston Cup

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Statue at the Melbourne Cricket Ground of Tom Wills umpiring the earliest known football match between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar

The Cordner–Eggleston Cup is the current name of a historic private school Australian rules football competition which has been played annually between Melbourne Grammar School and the Scotch College since 1858.

The first football fixture was played under experimental rules on 7 August 1858 at Yarra Park, Melbourne[1] giving the Cup a claim to being the longest continuously running football competition in the world, it is also of cultural importance to Australia, as it is the best documented early football match in Australia and is believed by many historians to have played a key role in the Origins of Australian football. The first match is commemorated by a bronze statue depicting the game outside the MCG.

The 150th anniversary of the cup was celebrated by the match being played at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where most notable football matches are played, including the Grand Final of the Australian Football League, the senior competition of Australian Rules.

The "first" match[edit]

The first game ran for three days, over three consecutive Saturdays, and each team selected an umpire: Melbourne Grammar chose Tom Wills; Scotch chose Dr John Macadam. By the completion of the third day, the match had resulted in a 1-1 draw.[2]

In recent years historians have found evidence of earlier matches between the two schools, and subsequently the origin of the game remains one of the most contested areas of Australian history. Both Melbourne Grammar and Scotch have acknowledged the ongoing research of historians.

The Cup[edit]

The cup, instituted in 1989, is a retrospective award which was named after prominent alumni from the respective schools – Dr Don Cordner (Melbourne Grammar) and Mr Michael Eggleston (Scotch College). Before the cup the clubs competed for honours and were recorded in the yearbooks and other sports logbooks of the respective schools.

Relationship with Australian football[edit]

Australian football is the code which the match is played today, however the first match was played under experimental rules.

The AFL Commission officially regards it as the first match of Australian football.[3]

Historians draw a connection to the modern code of Australian football primarily through the involvement of Tom Wills as an organiser and participant as well as the fact that the match was co-ordinated by Thomas H. Smith who was later, along with Wills, one of the founders of the Melbourne Football Club and signatory of the first known Laws of Australian Football.[4] Wills is believed to have been involved due to his interest in establishing football in Victoria and experimenting with rules as part of his quest for a "code of laws" by which the game could be organised.

History has been uncovered which, in fact, suggests that Melbourne Grammar School played football against both St. Kilda Grammar School and a number of men from St. Kilda in June and July 1858, it was not until August that the two recognised schools met to play the "first" recorded match. [5]

Tim Shearer of the Old Scotch Collegians Association, and a former AFL umpire, explaining to The Age that the College is "careful to say we don't dogmatically claim this was the first game of Australian football and that there are differing views which we respect, but we do like to say that this is the first recorded game by two teams who still exist today."[2]

To celebrate the schools' 150-year-old rivalry, the Cordner–Eggleston Cup in 2008 was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground; the match was won by Melbourne Grammar.

Outcome history[edit]

Year Played Location Winner
1858 Richmond Paddock 1:1 Draw
1859 ? ?
1860 ? ?
1861 ? ?
1862 ? ?
1863 ? ?
1864 ? ?
1865 ? ?
1866 ? ?
1867 ? ?
1868 ? ?
1869 ? ?
1870 ? ?
1871 ? ?
1871 ? ?
1891 ? ?
1892 ? Scotch College
1982 ? Melbourne Grammar
1983 ? Melbourne Grammar
1984 ? Melbourne Grammar
1985 ? Melbourne Grammar
1986 ? Melbourne Grammar
1987 ? ?
1988 ? ?
1990 ? ?
1991 ? ?
1992 ? ?
1993 ? ?
1994 ? ?
1995 ? ?
1996 ? Scotch College
1997 Scotch College Scotch College
1998 Melbourne Grammar School Scotch College
1999 ? Scotch College
2000 ? Scotch College
2001 MCG Scotch College
2002 ? Scotch College
2003 MCG Scotch College
2004 Melbourne Grammar School Melbourne Grammar School
2005 Scotch College Scotch College
2006 MGS Edwin Flack Park Scotch College
2007 Scotch College Scotch College
2008 MCG Melbourne Grammar School
2009 Scotch College Scotch College
2010 MGS Edwin Flack Park Melbourne Grammar School
2011 Scotch College Scotch College
2012 MGS Edwin Flack Park Scotch College
2013 Scotch College Melbourne Grammar School
2014 MGS Edwin Flack Park Melbourne Grammar School
2015 Scotch College Melbourne Grammar School
2016 MGS Edwin Flack Park Scotch College
2017 Scotch College Scotch College
2018 MGS Edwin Flack Park Melbourne Grammar School
2019 Scotch College Scotch College
2020 MGS Edwin Flack Park


  1. ^ Agency, The ADWEB. "Error - Scotch College".
  2. ^ a b Harms, John (14 March 2008). "1 – 1... after three days". Supplement. Melbourne, Vic.: The Age. p. 21. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  3. ^
  4. ^ pg 36. Melbourne FC Since 1858 – An Illustrated History