1959 VFA premiership season
Teams16
PremiersWilliamstown
(10th premiership)
Minor premiersWilliamstown
(8th minor premiership)
← 1958
1960 →

The 1959 Victorian Football Association season was the 78th season of the Australian rules football competition. The premiership was won by the Williamstown Football Club after it defeated Coburg in the Grand Final on 10 October by 35 points. It was Williamstown's tenth premiership, taking it past Footscray to become the club with the most premierships won in VFA history, a title it held until it was passed by Port Melbourne in 1976; it was also the fifth of five premierships won in six seasons between 1954 and 1959, and the club's fourth consecutive minor premiership.

Association Membership

Prior to 1959, the Prahran Football Club was expelled from the Association for failing to meet the minimum home ground requirements, and was replaced by the Sunshine Football Club. As such, the Association membership numbers remained constant at 16.

Expulsion of Prahran

Throughout its history, the Prahran Football Club had played its home matches at Toorak Oval, which it leased throughout the winter from the City of Prahran. At the time, each Association club played a Seconds match on its home venue on weekends when the firsts team was playing away – the modern practice of playing Seconds games as curtain-raisers to Firsts games was not established until 1980. On 4 March 1959, the Prahran Council announced that it was seeking tenders to let Toorak Oval to a separate sporting body on alternate weekends during winter – such that the Prahran First Sixteen would play its home matches there, and another sport would be played there when the Prahran Firsts were playing away. The Council was primarily seeking to improve its financial return on the venue: it cost the city £2,000 to maintain and operate the ground annually, and it received only £60 from the football club in rent for the entire winter, and the gate takings from Seconds matches were meagre;[1] but, it received comparatively enormous offers of £440 from the Jugoslav United Soccer Team and £660 from the Victorian Rugby Union to lease the ground on alternate Saturdays during winter.[2] This was not the first time that other codes had made attempts to share occupancy of Association venues; in 1954, the Prahran council had turned down an offer of £800 from J.U.S.T. to lease Toorak Oval on alternate weekends,[3] and Hakoah made unsuccessful attempts to share the Camberwell Sports Ground with Camberwell in 1955 and 1956.[4]

The potential to lose access to Toorak Oval for Seconds games was a problem for the Prahran Football Club, because the VFA constitution included a requirement that all clubs' Firsts and Seconds must play their matches on the same home ground on alternate weekends[5] – with the exception of Brighton, which had a decades-long arrangement to share Elsternwick Park with the Elsternwick Amateur Football Club.[6] On 6 March, the Association confirmed that it would expel Prahran if it could not meet these requirements. The Association's hardline approach was based on a slippery slope argument, that allowing one council to seek a more lucrative deal for alternate Saturdays would result in all councils eventually taking the same action; access to better venues would be a fillip for rugby, soccer and other sports which were in direct competition with the Association, and would therefore be detrimental to the Association's long-term popularity and viability.[5]

In two weeks of negotiations, the council offered the Prahran Seconds the use of Como Park, and offered to provide temporary fencing to bring the venue to Association standards;[7] and alternatively suggested that the Prahran Seconds could play a curtain-raiser to the successful bidder – but the Association rejected both suggestions.[2] The Prahran Football Club also increased its own offer to the council from £60 to £175 to lease the ground for the entire winter.[8]

On 16 March, the Prahran Council formally agreed to lease Toorak Oval to the Victorian Rugby Union on alternate Saturdays, and the Association Board of Management unanimously agreed to expel Prahran.[9] The Association made clear that it would welcome Prahran back as soon as it was able to secure a ground for the entire winter,[10] and the club ultimately came to an agreement with the council in October 1959, with rent of £100 per year; as such, Prahran's expulsion lasted only for the 1959 season. Prahran spent the 1959 season in the Metropolitan League, and won its premiership.[11] Permission was given for Prahran's players to be cleared to other clubs in Melbourne, under a gentlemen's agreement that they be cleared back to Prahran when the club was re-admitted to the Association.[12]

Admission of Sunshine

With Prahran expelled from the Association, the Sunshine Football Club lodged an application to replace it. Sunshine's application was first reported on 24 March,[7] and was accepted unanimously by the remaining members of the Association on 27 March.[13] The Association had made overtures to a club based in Sunshine as early as the central ground dispute of 1934,[14] and the club had actively been seeking admission to the Association for the previous eight years.[10]

Sunshine was a large club in a strong growth area of Melbourne's west, which operated two teams in the Metropolitan League and three teams in the Footscray District League and had more than 200 registered players. It was runner-up in the Metropolitan League in 1958. It played its home games at Selwyn Park, which was up to Association standard and had a recently built £20,000 pavilion.[10]

Sunshine's playing uniform in the Metropolitan league consisted of blue and white hoops, identical to Moorabbin's guernsey. The clubs were not drawn to play each other until late in the season, so Sunshine played in its hoops until July, when it switched to a navy blue guernsey with a white yoke, and plain blue socks.[15][16]

Rule changes

The Association reduced the number of players on the field from eighteen per side to sixteen per side from the 1959 season; the two wingmen were the positions eliminated from the game under the new system. Each team also had two reserve players.[17] The change lasted for 33 seasons; it was not until 1992 that the Association returned to the national standard eighteen-a-side rules.[18] The Association had previously played sixteen-a-side between 1912 and 1918.[19]

Premiership

The home-and-home season was played twenty weeks. As in 1958, the clubs were split into a north-of-the-Yarra section and a south-of-the-Yarra section for the fixturing: in the first fourteen rounds, each club played home-and-home against the other seven clubs in its section;[20] then, each club played against clubs from the opposite section over the final six rounds.[21] The clubs were arranged into a single combined ladder including both northern and southern teams, and the top four clubs then contested a finals series under the Page–McIntyre system to determine the premiers for the season.

Ladder

1959 VFA ladder
TEAM P W L D PF PA Pct PTS
1 Williamstown (P) 20 17 3 0 2159 1339 161.2 68
2 Sandringham 20 16 4 0 2064 1340 154.0 64
3 Oakleigh 20 16 4 0 2021 1364 148.2 64
4 Coburg 20 16 4 0 1983 1420 139.6 64
5 Moorabbin 20 15 5 0 2060 1266 162.7 60
6 Yarraville 20 14 6 0 1960 1351 145.1 56
7 Mordialloc 20 12 8 0 1878 1566 119.9 48
8 Port Melbourne 20 10 9 1 1861 1644 113.2 42
9 Brunswick 20 9 10 1 1746 1675 104.2 38
10 Box Hill 20 8 12 0 1596 1623 98.3 32
11 Preston 20 8 12 0 1502 1967 76.4 32
12 Dandenong 20 6 14 0 1618 1921 84.2 24
13 Sunshine 20 6 14 0 1329 2072 64.1 24
14 Northcote 20 3 17 0 1499 2276 65.9 12
15 Brighton 20 2 18 0 1365 2195 62.2 8
16 Camberwell 20 1 19 0 1041 2663 39.1 4
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pct = Percentage; (P) = Premiers, PTS = Premiership points Source[22]

Finals

Semifinals
Saturday, 12 September Oakleigh 7.14 (56) def. by Coburg 12.11 (83) St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 9,000) [23]
Saturday, 19 September (postponed) Williamstown vs. Sandringham St Kilda Cricket Ground [24]
Saturday, 26 September Williamstown 11.14 (80) def. Sandringham 7.16 (58) St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 14,000) [25]
Preliminary Final
Saturday, 3 October Sandringham 13.18 (96) def. by Coburg 14.16 (100) St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 22,000) [26]


1959 VFA Grand Final
Saturday, 10 October Williamstown def. Coburg St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 26,000) [27][28]
2.8 (20)
6.13 (49)
6.14 (50)
 15.21 (111)
Q1
Q2
Q3
 Final
1.1 (7)
5.6 (36)
9.9 (63)
 11.10 (76)
Umpires: Allen
Cullinan 7, Maloney 2, Mazouris 2, Callahan, Evans, R. Jones, Pelly Goals Byron 2, Carr 2, Jordon 2, Shaw 2, Goullet, Huntington, Matthews
Injuries Gleeson (groin)
Cullinan, for striking Bigelow in the third quarter Reports

Awards

Notable events

References

  1. ^ "Special talks on Toorak Oval". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 5 March 1959. p. 53.
  2. ^ a b "No compromise on lease by VFA". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 12 March 1959. p. 59.
  3. ^ "Soccer £800 refused". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 16 February 1954. p. 15.
  4. ^ Dave Anderson (15 November 1955). "Two clubs face expulsion from V.F.A.". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. p. 16.
  5. ^ a b "Prahran must go, if – VFA". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 7 March 1959. p. 55.
  6. ^ "VFA decision soon on Prahran players". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 18 March 1959. p. 61.
  7. ^ a b "Council's offer gives Prahran new chance". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 24 March 1959. p. 60.
  8. ^ "Prahran to offer £175 in rent". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 13 March 1959. p. 51.
  9. ^ "Prahran expelled by VFA". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 17 March 1959. pp. 61, 64.
  10. ^ a b c "Sunshine is ready for the word 'go'". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 25 March 1959. p. 55.
  11. ^ "Prahran gets Toorak Oval". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 6 October 1959. p. 52.
  12. ^ "Sunshine gets 'all clear' from VFA". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 26 March 1959. p. 403.
  13. ^ "Sunshine coach still awaiting clearance". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 28 March 1959. p. 43.
  14. ^ "Senior football squabble may help Sunshine". Sunshine Advocate. Sunshine, VIC. 16 February 1934. p. 1.
  15. ^ Scot Palmer (15 April 1959). "Moorabbin? No, it's Sunshine". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 57.
  16. ^ Scot Palmer (5 June 1959). "Sunshine to lose its hooped look". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 59.
  17. ^ "VFA will play 16 a side". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 17 March 1959. p. 62.
  18. ^ Phil Cleary (8 April 1992). "VFA goes home to fans". The Sunday Age (Sport Liftout). Melbourne, VIC. p. 18.
  19. ^ J.W. (3 May 1919). "Football – the opening day". The Australasian. Vol. CVI, no. 2770. Melbourne, VIC. p. 807.
  20. ^ Scot Palmer (25 May 1959). "Moorabbin stays top – but it had a scare". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 34.
  21. ^ Scot Palmer (3 August 1959). "North sides shocked South in VFA". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 40.
  22. ^ a b Scot Palmer (7 September 1959). "Coburg routed in 40-pt. loss". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 46.
  23. ^ Scot Palmer (14 September 1959). "Coburg burst put Oakleigh down". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 43.
  24. ^ a b Scot Palmer (21 September 1959). "VFA rivals say "no"". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 51.
  25. ^ a b Scot Palmer (28 September 1959). "Williamstown in Grand Final". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 43.
  26. ^ a b Scot Palmer (5 October 1959). "Coburg storms way to G. Final". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 53.
  27. ^ Lou Richards (12 October 1959). "Williamstown flew away with the flag". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 47.
  28. ^ Scot Palmer (12 October 1959). "Best since 1884... now for record". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 47.
  29. ^ Scot Palmer (10 September 1959). "Dand'nong winner in Liston". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 40.
  30. ^ "Port got there, but only just". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 12 October 1959. p. 36.
  31. ^ Scot Palmer (7 September 1959). "A team divided falls!". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 46.
  32. ^ Scot Palmer (16 June 1959). "Brunswick missed far too many "sitters"". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 43.
  33. ^ Scot Palmer (22 June 1959). "Box Hill gets "new look", topples Moorabbin". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 34.
  34. ^ Scot Palmer (23 September 1959). "VFA semi-final at St Kilda". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 64.