Local Football Before World War One

Information is scarce about football in our region in the West Australian up until the mid 1900s, with only passing mentions of the Goomalling club from 1905.

The first detailed references to the Goomalling Association came in 1907, when Dowerin, Goomalling and Rovers (Goomalling) competed for the Elliott Cup. The known results for the season included a victory for Goomalling over Rovers, Goomalling defeated Dowerin 6.9 to 3.6, Rovers exacted revenge on Goomalling 8.13 to 4.3, Rovers outclassed Dowerin 6.13 to 1.3, Dowerin beat Goomalling 6.7 to 5.8 and Goomalling edged out Rovers 5.8 to 4.6.

With Goomalling and Rovers equal on points at the end of the season, a play-off was scheduled, with Rovers triumphant by 13 points, 4.10 to 3.3.

In 1908, Rovers made it two premierships on end, with a five point win over Goomalling to retain the Elliott Cup.

In 1909, W.A.F.L. club East Perth were the guests of the Goomalling Association for a match in the region on August 21, with the visitors running out narrow 4.10 to 3.15 winners. The local competition saw Rovers retain their crown once again, with a solid 9.10 to 4.9 win over Goomalling in the decider.

The Goomalling Association made the journey to Perth for a return fixture with East Perth in 1910. In a one-sided contest played at Loton Park, East Perth were comfortable 44 point winners, 12.12 to 5.10. Later in the season at Northam, the Association met the Eastern Districts Association and, in wet conditions, the home side prevailed 5.8 to 1.3.

Despite good coverage of football throughout the state, the 1910 premiers were not recorded in the West Australian.

Irishtown, Jennacubbine, Southern Brook and Wongamine comprised the neighbouring Central District Association.

The 1911 season was affected by the disqualification of the Rovers club during the season, with Goomalling proving far too strong for Dowerin in the two-team competition.

The Eastern District Association, based in Northam, consisted of Federals, Toodyay, Union and York in this season.

The 1912 season saw the admission of the Wanderers (Goomalling) to restore a three-team competition. A letter written by the Goomalling Association to the W.A.F.L. suggested the staging of a Country Week competition, but unfortunately Goomalling could not raise a representative side, leaving Avon, Bunbury, Geraldton, Moora and Nelson as the first teams to participate in this competition.

Dowerin won the premiership in this season.

In 1913, Goomallling lost only two matches all season en route to securing the premiership, ‘icing the cake’ with a 5.16 to 4.4 win over Dowerin.

In 1914, the Country Week competition included eight teams – Bunbury, Forrest, Geraldton, Goomalling, Moora, Quairading, South Suburban and Warren. The Final saw an upset six point victory for Forrest over Goomalling, 6.12 to 6.6.

The associations affiliated to the W.A.F.L. in 1914 were Albany, Arthur West, Bunbury, Central District, Central Murchison, Collie, Forrest, Geraldton, Goomalling, Katanning Moors, Meekatharra, Narrogin, Nelson, South Suburban, Upper Chapman, Warren and the W.A.F.A.

There was virtually no reference to the Goomalling Association in the West Australian in 1914 and the onset of the First World War meant that football was set aside for most of the remainder of the decade.

The next reference to football in the region came in 1919. The West Australian gave a detailed description of the catchment area of the Central District Association, the boundaries being Northam, Meckering, Toodyay and Dowerin. The premiership decider saw Goomalling prevail against South Jennacubbine by seven points, 6.15 to 6.8, with North Jennacubbine finishing the season in third place.


By Derek Mott

Source: Trove website (various newspapers from Western Australian from 1900 to 1919).