The 1953 Adelaide Carnival was the 12th edition of the Australian National Football Carnival, an Australian rules football interstate competition. It took place from 8 to 18 July at Adelaide Oval.

Home state South Australia was joined by the two Victorian teams Victoria (VFL) & Victoria (VFA), Western Australia, Tasmania, the Victoria (VFL) were the best performed side, finishing the carnival unbeaten.

A crowd of 52,632, then a record for an interstate game, attended the game between South Australian and Victoria which would decide the Championship. South Australia, even though they had accounted for Victoria as recently as 1952, were no match on this occasion for their Victorian opponents and lost by 99 points. The VFA team performed admirably, defeating Tasmania and getting within 18 points of Western Australia and 33 points of Victoria.

Tasmania finished the carnival winless and had to play-off against the Australian Amateurs team in order to re-qualify as an 'elite' team come the next carnival.

The youngest player at the carnival was 17-year-old Neil Conlan from Tasmania.[1]


Victoria (VFL) South Australia Western Australia Tasmania Victoria (VFA)
Coach: Frank 'Checker' Hughes Bob Quinn[2] Clive Lewington Len McCankie
Bill Hutchison (Essendon) (c)[3] Bob Hank (West Torrens) (c)[4] Frank Sparrow (Swan Districts) (c)[5] Len McCankie (North Hobart) (c)[6] Norm Tindall (Oakleigh) (c)[7]
Lance Arnold (Melbourne) John Abley (Port Adelaide) Ken Ashdown (West Perth) Noel Atkins (Launceston) Jim Bohan (Camberwell)
Jack Clarke (Essendon)[8] Dave Boyd (Port Adelaide) Ken Caporn (Claremont) Terry Cashion (Sandy Bay) Kevin Boyd (Moorabbin)
Ron Clegg (South Melbourne) Colin Brown (West Adelaide) Don Carter (Subiaco) Mike Clennett (Sandy Bay) Gordon Duff (Camberwell)
John Coleman (Essendon) Jim Coverlid (West Torrens)[8] Jack Clarke (East Fremantle) Neil Conlan (New Town) Ian Francis (Northcote)
Len Crane (Hawthorn) Neil Davies (Glenelg) Kevin Clarke (West Perth) Lance Cox (New Town) Don Fraser (Port Melbourne)
Fred Flanagan (Geelong) Jim Deane (South Adelaide) John Colgan (South Fremantle) Joe Crawford (Devonport) Len Gilder (Moorabbin)
Alan Gale (Fitzroy) Brian Faehse (West Adelaide) Keith Harper (Perth) Charlie Dennis (Scottsdale) Russell Grambeau (Prahran)
Ken Hands (Carlton) Len Fitzgerald (Sturt) Cliff Hillier (South Fremantle) Darrel Eaton (Wynyard) Ted Henrys (Preston)
Des Healey (Collingwood) Tony Goodchild (Sturt) Keith London (West Perth) Rex Garwood (New Town) Jim Hewes (Coburg)
Jack Howell (Carlton) Lyall Griffin (North Adelaide) Don Marinko (West Perth) John Golding (Hobart) Frank Johnson (Port Melbourne)
Ted Jarrard (North Melbourne) Pat Hall (Glenelg) Steve Marsh (South Fremantle) Kevin Haas (Scottsdale) Max Kruse Sr. (Prahran)
Neville Linney (St Kilda) Lindsay Head (West Torrens) Merv McIntosh (Perth) Cec Hammer (Sandy Bay) Keith McDonald (Coburg)
Bob McKenzie (Melbourne) Brian Luke (Port Adelaide) Laurie McNamara (West Perth) Jack Hawksley (North Launceston) Ken McFee (Camberwell)
Neil Pearson (Hawthorn) Jack Lynch (West Adelaide) John Munro (Claremont) Arthur Hodgson (Ulverstone) Bernie Miller (Port Melbourne)
Bruce Phillips (St Kilda) John Marriott (Norwood) Bernie Naylor (South Fremantle) Les McClements (Clarence) Tom Miller (Sandringham)
Bob Rose (Collingwood) Bill McKenzie (North Adelaide) Tony Parentich (South Fremantle) Stan Walker (Ulverstone) Reg Murray (Port Melbourne)
Des Rowe (Richmond) Bob Proud (North Adelaide) Wally Price (West Perth) Jim Newton (Ulverstone) Frank Neilsen (Brunswick)
Bernie Smith (Geelong) Alf Roberts (West Torrens) Geoff Rakich (Swan Districts) Ashton Shirley (North Hobart) Jack Rogan (Coburg)
Bill Stephen (Fitzroy) Dick Russell (Port Adelaide) Ray Schofield (West Perth) Paddy Williams (Hobart) Maurie Rolfs (Brunswick)
Charlie Sutton (Footscray) Don Taylor (Glenelg) Jack Sheedy (East Fremantle) Terry Pierce (Latrobe) Gil Savory (Oakleigh)
Jim Taylor (South Melbourne) Clayton Thompson (Sturt) Norm Smith (South Fremantle) Ray Stokes (Burnie) Harry Simpson (Williamstown)
Leo Turner (Geelong) Norman Walker (Norwood) Jim Spencer (East Perth) Geoff Long (City-South) Roy Stabb (Northcote)
Bill Wilson (Richmond) Ray Whitaker (Port Adelaide) Arthur Young (East Perth) John Leedham (North Launceston) Henry Taylor (Yarraville)
Roy Wright (Richmond) Fos Williams (Port Adelaide) Reg Zeuner (Perth) Paddy Martin (Launceston) Gordon Williams (Williamstown)



Section A Play-Off
Sunday, 16 July 1951 (3.00pm) Victoria (VFA) 20.17 (137) def. Australian Amateurs 12.12 (84) Manuka Oval [9]

Main Competition

1953 Adelaide Carnival
Wednesday, 8 July (12:00pm) Victoria (VFA) 11.18 (84) def. Tasmania 5.11 (41) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 9,500 C-R) [10]
Wednesday, 8 July (2:30pm) Victoria (VFL) 13.15 (93) def. Western Australia 5.6 (36) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 9,500) [11]
Saturday, 11 July (11:45am) Victoria (VFL) 22.20 (152) def. Tasmania 2.8 (20) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 37,000 C-R)) [12]
Saturday, 11 July (2:30pm) South Australia 19.24 (138) def. Western Australia 8.7 (55) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 37,000) [12]
Monday, 13 July (12:00pm) Victoria (VFL) 16.13 (109) def. Victoria (VFA) 11.10 (76) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 8,600 C-R)) [13]
Monday, 13 July (2:30pm) South Australia 19.13 (127) def. Tasmania 17.15 (117) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 8,600) [13]
Wednesday, 15 July (2:30pm) South Australia 16.8 (104) def. Victoria (VFA) 7.11 (53) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 10,500) [14]
Thursday, 16 July (2:30pm) Western Australia 12.19 (91) def. Tasmania 5.7 (37) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 3,500) [15]
Saturday, 18 July (12:00pm) Western Australia 12.8 (80) def. Victoria (VFA) 8.14 (62) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 52,632 C-R)) [16]
Saturday, 18 July (2:30pm) Victoria (VFL) 19.16 (130) def. South Australia 4.7 (31) Adelaide Oval (crowd: 52,632) [16]


1953 Adelaide Carnival ladder
1 Victoria (VFL) 4 4 0 0 484 163 74 8
2 South Australia 4 3 1 0 400 355 52 6
3 Western Australia 4 2 2 0 262 330 44 4
4 Victoria (VFA) 4 1 3 0 275 334 45 2
5 Tasmania 4 0 4 0 215 434 32 0
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pct = Percentage, PTS = Premiership points. Percentages and points are calculated by the South Australian method. Source[16]

All-Australian team

Bob Rose
Bob Rose

The inaugural All-Australian team was named in 1953, based on the performances at the Adelaide Carnival.

1953 All-Australian Team

Adelaide Carnival

Name State/League Club Position
Neil Davies South Australia Glenelg Half forward flank
Len Fitzgerald South Australia Sturt Centre half back
Bob Hank South Australia West Torrens Reserve
Jack Lynch South Australia West Adelaide Wing
John Marriott South Australia Norwood Forward pocket
Clayton Thompson South Australia Sturt Centre half forward
John Leedham Tasmania North Launceston Half back flank
Ted Henrys Victoria (VFA) Preston Full back
Frank Johnson Victoria (VFA) Port Melbourne Back pocket
Jack Clarke Victoria Essendon Centre
John Coleman Victoria Essendon Full forward
Des Healey Victoria Collingwood Wing
Jack Howell Victoria Carlton Ruck rover
Bill Hutchison Victoria Essendon Rover
Bob Rose Victoria Collingwood Half forward flank
Bernie Smith Victoria Geelong Back pocket
Jack Clarke Western Australia East Fremantle Reserve
Steve Marsh Western Australia South Fremantle Forward pocket
Merv McIntosh Western Australia Perth Ruck
Frank Sparrow Western Australia Swan Districts Half back flank

Tassie Medal

Ranking Player Votes Team
1 Merv McIntosh 9 Western Australia
2 Bill Hutchison 5 Victoria (VFL)
John Leedham 5 Tasmania
Gil Savory 5 Victoria (VFA)


Ranking Player Goals Team
1 Clayton Thompson 17 South Australia
2 John Coleman 15 Victoria (VFL)
3 Bernie Naylor 14 Western Australia
4 Bill Hutchison 12 Victoria (VFL)


  1. ^ 'Drop-Kick' "Offer to 'Baby' of Carnival", The Mercury, 15 July 1953, p. 28.
  2. ^ Barber, R. "Where are they now?", Football Times, 1 May 1980, p. 14.
  3. ^ "League team for Adelaide carnival". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 22 June 1953. p. 1. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  4. ^ "How They Strip". The News. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 7 July 1953. p. 12. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  5. ^ "W.A.'s CARNIVAL TEAMS". Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 9 July 1953. p. 16. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  6. ^ "How They Strip". The News. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 7 July 1953. p. 16. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  7. ^ "How They Strip". The News. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 7 July 1953. p. 17. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Football Carnival-Eve Changes By". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 8 July 1953. p. 14. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  9. ^ "VFA Beats Amateurs". Advocate (Burnie). 16 July 1951. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  10. ^ "V.F.A. vigor beats Tasmania". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. 9 July 1953. p. 8.
  11. ^ "W.A. no match for Victorian League". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. 9 July 1953. p. 8.
  12. ^ a b "Carnival statistics". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. 13 July 1953. p. 7.
  13. ^ a b "Yesterday's statistics". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. 14 July 1953. p. 8.
  14. ^ "Yesterday's statistics". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. 16 July 1953. p. 5.
  15. ^ "Yesterday's statistics". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. 17 July 1953. p. 8.
  16. ^ a b c "Championship statistics". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. 20 July 1953. p. 7.