Williamstown Rovers FC
As remembered by Cyril Minge
1952 TO 1963: I started playing in 1952 at the age of 15 in the senior side as Williamstown did not have a Colts side. Playing in the Torrens Valley Association through the 1950s Williamstown had A and B Grade teams with workers from the South Para reservoir boosting our numbers. Coaches I am not sure of but Ivan Dicker, Ivo Venning and Peter Eaton are some I think coached but there could be others. In the 1950s the oval grass was fed off to sheep to keep it down, so it was fun running around with sheep dung all about. Then I can remember the coming of the lawn mower and up to 8 hand mowers were used to mow the nut weed that the sheep would not eat. After some time the Park Committee got a tractor and a slasher. In 1961 Jim Marshall coached our premiership side going through undefeated.
In the 1950s the Oval had a cycle track with a camber all around. Our change rooms were first near the large gum tree near the current bore pump then a building was built where the four cabins are now. Then in 1982 we moved into our present building.
In 1962 Williamstown left the Torrens Valley Association and joined the Gawler and District Association as they were short of teams after Gawler South and Roseworthy College went to the Adelaide Plains Association as they thought the competition would not be great. The teams in the Gawler and District Association were Gawler Central, Williamstown, Willaston, Roseworthy and Lyndoch. Williamstown had to change colours as Lyndoch were Blue and Gold.
In 1962 I was made Captain of the team. We were not very successful that year as we lost good players to Freeling but our Senior Colts won the premiership. Then in 1963 through lack of numbers Williamstown went into recess with colts and senior players going and playing for Lyndoch where I played until 1979.
As remembered by Trevor Fromm
1967: The WRFC was reformed in 1967 after a recess since 1963. Blue and Gold were always the colours. We played in Hills zone 2. Teams played included Pleasant Valley, Gumeracha, Woodside Army, Lenswood Ranges, Birdwood, Sedan /Cambrai and later Mt Torrens. In 1967 Captain Coach was Brian “BG” Davies and Vice Captain Len Jones. No B Grade side The colts, U16, used Kersbrook Jumpers, double blue, as Kersbrook were not using them at the time. The Club couldn’t afford to buy guernseys for the colts. The committee had a busy bee to put concrete on the floor of the change rooms as previously they were dirt floors. Two showers per team which were quite often cold and when you went to use them possums had to be chased out first. The change rooms were an iron shed situated at the entrance of the oval on the left as you come in. These change rooms were used until the early 80s when new clubrooms were built.
1968-69: From my recollection Jim Marshall was captain coached, ex-Pleasant Valley and was a very tough player and a good coach. I remember Aldo Baraglia lining up David French a starry ex league footballer with Norwood, from Pleasant Valley. One day on the Eden Valley Oval as Frenchy was bouncing the Ball down though Centre half forward dodging players Aldo knocked him out cold. The stretcher came out and he was taken straight off. Aldo said you never let the opposition know how much it hurts you and always make out it doesn’t hurt. ***Editors Comment. Not a bad achievement. I played with David French and he was one of the toughest players I ever played with.
1970: Captain Coach- David, Clumsy, Wilkin, uncle to Shane Wilkin, coached the team into Finals. Clumsy won 2 or 3 mail medals I think and also a reserves medal in the Gawler League. Clumsy was a great player and specialized in looking after the young players. I remember him chasing a player around Cambrai oval one day trying to hit him because this player hit me! Speaking of playing at Cambrai oval it was that windy one day the boundary Umpire could not throw the ball in as it always went back over his head. The ball would continue roll to along the ground it was that windy. Players also had the ball go back over their heads when they kicked the itl!
1971: Coach was Neil Green, came from down Cudlee Creek way. This was my first year in Seniors and we played off in the 1st Semi and lost at Birdwood. I do remember some rivalry with Birdwood and an all in brawl of spectators after a game at Williamstown out in front of the Change rooms after a game. I remember Des Rehn getting a bit “fired up” that day.
1972: Trevor Polkinghorne was Captain Coach. It was a lean year for the club only winning 2 games as I remember. Somewhere here I remember Reg Smith playing his last game for the B Grade at Sedan Oval at the age of 56 years and he was best on ground. Sedan had an ex league footballer by the name of Ron Jantke who would allegedly hit players behind the play. My Dad was president of the club at the time and was that angry with him in one match at Sedan he ran out and put a headlock on him, couldn’t do that now.
1973: Captain Coach,Trevor Stanton, previously All Australian ruckman and Vice Capt Trevor Polkinghorne. This is the final year that WRFC played in the hills league. Won the 2nd Semi at Gumeracha oval and lost the Grand Final to Birdwood at the Lobethal oval. We lost our Captain with a broken bone split through the finger and Vice Capt with 8 stitches to the head before half time, wasn’t our day.
1974: Joined the Gawler and District League. Captain Coach, Bob Betson. Lyndoch were Blue and Gold so Williamstown chose St Kilda colours for their guernseys. We beat every club that year in the minor round and played Willaston in the 1st Semi which was drawn. We played off the following week and won by 6 goals then played Lyndoch in the prelim final on the Gawler oval and lost.
1975-1976: Brian Harris coached. Buck or Buckets as he was known played with both his sons Randy and Chris in one of these years. Buck was a very tough and talented footballer.
1977: Peter Sheperdson was Captain Coach
1978: Jon Spry captain coach
1979: Jon spry coached the 1st half of the season and then had a job transfer to Victoria. Merv Alcorn was playing coach for the rest of the year. There was always “friendy” rivalry between Lyndoch and Williamstown and we looked forward to these games. The round 1 game was played at Lyndoch oval and we were up by 6 goals at 3quarter time and cars were driving out the gate. Lyndoch came home in the last quarter and won by 8 points. The return Game at Williamstown was a huge game for us as amalgamation was being rumoured. We were desperate to win and did so by 3 points in a very exiting game it, it was really like a final. I remember a meeting in the Williamstown hall, 7th Nov 1979 I think, where it was passed that the Lyndoch Football Club and the Williamstown Rovers Football Club would amalgamate to become Barossa District Football Club. The colours were selected to follow Central District Football Club colours, red white and blue, the club wanted “neutral colours”. The feeling among the players about the amalgamated Club was great and very exciting as at least 60 players came out to training both on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Hence the BDFC was born.
As remembered by Cyril Minge
1947- 54: Lyndoch reformed in 1947 playing in what was the Lower North Ass with teams from Smithfield, Greenock, Kangaroo Flat, Roseworthy, Truro, Sandy Creek and Lyndoch. Lyndoch won three premierships in a row with Jack Filsell Captain then in 1954 that Association finished so Lyndoch Football Club went into recess.
1960 – 1969: In 1960 Lyndoch started up again this time playing in the Gawler and District Football Ass. Brian, Buck, Harris coached in 1963. I joined Lyndoch as did a lot of players from Williamstown colts. In 1963 – 65 I was honoured to be appointed as Vice Captain. In 1964 with 7 Colts from Williamstown the U17 won the Premiership with Brian (Buck) Harris coach. The A Grade won a premiership with Kevin Ablay as coach. In late 1968 the Gawler and District Football Association started up as Primary Schools and Mini-league competition with teams from Evanston Green, Evanston Gold, Gawler Primary, Gawler East, Hamley Bridge, United Rurals and Lyndoch Valley Little League. Lyndoch was sponsored by the Lyndoch Football Club and Williamstown Rovers Football Club. Rurals won the premiership in 1969, then they did not have the numbers to carry on so some of their players came to LVLL. The first coaches were Brian, Buck, Harris, Ivan Dicker and Cyril Minge. The schools that participated in the LVLL where Sandy Creek, Williamstown, St Jacobis, Lyndoch and later Rosedale in 1970.
1970 – 1979: Lyndoch were runners up in 1970 and premiers in 1971. Ivan Dicker was coach in 1970 and Cyril Minge in 1971. In 1972 Lyndoch A Grade were runners up with Frank Howard Captain Coach. In 1974 Lyndoch B Grade were runners up. Lyndoch had many good years but could not gain many premierships.
Coaches I can remember from 1960 – 79 include Brian ( Buck) Harris, Kevin Alby, Frank Howard, Graham Thomas, Lyndsay McGee, Sam Meniel, Lyndsay Turner, Geof Gerlach and Alf Skase. I had many great years at Lyndoch playing with some great players until 1979 when I retired at age 42. In 1979 Lyndoch and Williamstown had a meeting together with 83 players and supporters present and formed the Barossa District Football Club.
Barossa Districts Football Club
1980 to 1986
The first season for the new club in 1980 the inaugural President was Mr Richard Filsell, Patron was Ian Ross and Frank Leonard the Club’s first A Grade Coach. The A Grade, which consisted mainly of local players, had a slow start but won it’s last 8 games straight to take part in the finals series in its first year. Frank Leonard won the A Grade Mail Medal. Not a bad start for a new club, but unfortunately we were eliminated in the first semi final. During the early years half the games were played at Williamstown and half at Lyndoch. In 1981, J Marshall took over as President and Frank again Coached the A Grade. While we had good numbers we lacked sufficient quality players to be competitive enough to make the finals. The U17s had success winning their grand final. In 1982 the club changed policy and paid players. Mike Burns took over as a playing coach and a good squad of local players were supplemented by recruited players, Chris Kellet, Kym Liernet, Roy Burns, Kerry Burns, Kerry Puddy and Neville O’Brien. The club successfully won its first A Grade premiership, C Grade premiership and A Bugg won the B Grade Mail Medal. In 1983 the club continued with most of the premiership players from the previous year but unfortunately was plagued by injuries and didn’t make the A grade finals, however Rob Della-Mina coached the C Grade to their second Grand Final win. 1984 was an exciting year off the field with a heavy commitment to upgrade the old pavilion to include Clubrooms, change rooms and a new kitchen. J Emms who took over as President and Reg Smith were the driving forces in the building work.. Unfortunately funds were tight, most of the paid players left and we had an ordinary year. The C Grade created a record with a hatrick premiership. In 1985 Peter Roberts took over as President and Theo Moskos took over as coach but again success on the field elluded us, C Pyman won the U17 Mail Medal. Wayne Hughes coached 1986 but again without too much success.
1987 to 1990
In 1987 the Gawler Association amalgamated with the Barossa and Light football association to make a 10 team competition forcing the Barossa District Football Club to move to the Hills Zone 2 league. While being very disruptive it was a successful year on the field with Wayne coaching the team to our second Premiership. Despite losing a significant number of local players to paid positions at other Clubs. Wayne Hughes coached the team in 1988 to our third premiership . 1989 was not as successful for Wayne and the team and the club missed out on the finals. The U17s had another good year winning their second Grand Final. In 1990 Shane Wilkin became President and local player Mark Green stepped up to be playing coach winning our fourth premiership and third in the Hills League.
1991 to 1999
In 1991, despite a premiership the previous year, there was increasing unrest and growing pressure to move back to the Barossa Light & Gawler Association. The Senior and Junior Football and Netball all played at different venues in the Hills League and many within the club wished to move back to the Barossa, Light and Gawler association which provided a more family orientated environment. Club stalwarts Shane Wilkin, John Groverman, Barb Fromm, Deb Stephens and Lyn Downy put a lot of work into amalgamating the local football and netball clubs into one club under the BDFC banner. The Club gained support to move to the recently formed Barossa, Light and Gawler Association, which supported collocated football and netball competitions. Frank Leonard coached a young side of local players and managed to win a couple of games. In 1992 Frank and his young side worked hard but struggled against clubs who were importing quality players. In 1993 Barry Pilgrim took over as coach with a couple of paid import players and started to rebuild but didn’t have too much success. 1994 saw Rene Van Dommelle step up to be playing coach and with a few more recruited imports on the A grade just missed out on the finals by percentage. D Wagner won the B Grade Mail Medal. In 1995 John Grovermann took over as President and with a more realistic football budget we had a very successful minor round but unfortunately went out in straight sets in two finals appearances. The U17s played in the Grand Final this year. In 1996 G Fleet became President and because of the success in the previous year we lost two import positions and struggled to retain quality imports. New playing coach Grant Coffee managed to coach the lads to 5 wins. M Turner won the U15 Mail Medal. In 1997 we had yet another coach in Jason Blair who also managed to win 5 games but with the lack of success twenty seven players left at the end of that season. In 1998 Brian Harris became President and Reserve Coach Dave Williams stepped in as coach but with no imports and a depleted local squad we only won one game. 1999 was a year of upheaval with Matt Harris taking over from Dave Williams as playing coach during the season but again we only won one game. Paul Stelzer won the U17 Mail Medal.
2000 to 2004
In 2000 Trevor Fromm became President and Steve Lubcke was recruited under a three year plan to provide some stability and to promote club development through fund raising and Junior development. We had a good mix of imported and local players and the A Grade won 5 games. In 2001 the fund raising proceeded well and while the players gelled into a cohesive squad under Steve we still only won five games. Matt Laurie won the U17 Mail Medal. In 2002 we again extended our facilities by improving the umpires change rooms, trainers facilities, committee room and adding a handicapped toilet. Unfortunately real success on the field elluded us with no improvement in the number of games won which was compounded by the loss of funds raised within the club. In 2003 Gene Madgen stepped up to be President and Jack Daniels reluctantly took up the coaching role but the A grade again struggled due to a lack of funds and the exodus of players due to the lack of on field success. Bob Ellis assumed the coaching role in 2004 with an emphasis on junior development but again we had no on field success.
2005 to 2008
2005 saw the Club turn around with an injection of funds from a loaned vineyard, hosting the Grand Final at Nuriootpa and the recruitment of Steve O’Connor an A Grade coach with a good track record. Steve brought with him a winning ethos, a capacity to recruit well and contacts for additional sponsorship. It was a good turn around year, missing out on the finals by ½ a game. In 2006 along with the professionalism of Steve, a successful recruiting campaign which included the return of a number of locals, the maturing of a number of our local lads and a successful sponsorship effort culminated in our fifth premiership and our first in the B,L&G. In 2007 the successful formula continued and we won back to back premierships. In 2008 Chris Gill became President and Rian Nelson stepped up from assistant coach to A Grade Coach. The “A” Grade made it to another Grand Final but unfortunately were beaten to the Premiership Flag by Tanunda. The “B” Grade made it to the Preliminary Final and the Under 15 side made it to the First Semi-Final.
Chris Gill continued as President, Simon Taylor as Secretary and Fleur Moran was appointed as Treasurer, unfortunately the position of Vice President was not filled. Rian Nelson commenced the year as Senior Coach but resigned with four games to go after the club announced that it had appointed Roger James as Coach for the following 3 years. Phil Thwaites was appointed as caretaker Coach to finish the season. The “A” grade finished in sixth position and the Reserves finished bottom. The Under 15’s played off in the Grand Final against Nuriootpa but were defeated and the Under 17’s just missed out on the final 4. Sponsorship income was down considerably due to the Global Financial Crisis and other reasons but despite this the club finished the season on a sound financial footing. Darren Sharp won the Reg Smith Medal for the clubs Best & Fairest and Adam Spencer was runner up
Simon Taylor was appointed as President, Mark Slade Secretary and Fleur Moran continued as Treasurer. There was a great deal of excitement around the club with the appointment of ex AFL player Roger James as Coach and several players came back to the club to play and support staff was the best it has been for a couple of years. Adam Grovermann was Assistant Coach, Phil Thwaites Reserves Coach with Steve Page his Assistant. The club commenced the process of formulating a 10 year strategic plan and started to put in place several Job Statements etc. Under the management of Simon Carpenter Sponsorship was was up on last year and left the club in a comfortable financial position.The club also introduced a new Guernsey. The “A” Grade finished 2nd and were beaten by Tanunda in the Grand Final. The Under 17’s finished second and were beaten by South Gawler in the Grand Final. The Reserves finished in 5th place. Adam Spencer won the Reg Smith Best & Fairest and Matt Stelzer was Runner Up.
Simon Taylor was re-appointed as President, Mark Slade Secretary and Sandra Zachopoulos as Treasurer and Fleur Moran continued as Finance Manager. Roger James continued as Senior Coach with Adam Grovermann as Assistant Coach, Jeff Woods was appointed Reserves Coach and Richard O’Driscoll as Reserves Assistant Coach. Bronte Emes was re-appointed as Senior Colts Coach and Bill Byrum re-appointed as Junior Colts Coach.The club continued the process of developing a 10 year strategic plan which was adopted later in the year by Management. Under the management of Simon Carpenter Sponsorship was very good again and left the club in a comfortable financial position. The “A” Grade finished 3rd and were beaten by Willaston in the 1st Semi Final after a player count was called by Willaston at the start of the 3/4 quarter. Barossa District were deemed to have had 19 players on the field even though the game had not technical started when the count was called and the extra player was only a few metres from leaving the field of play. It caused a great deal of controversy in the League but the club and players were highly commended on the way they presented themselves during the final quarter and after the game. The Reserves finished a commendable 4th but were beaten by Nuriootpa by 1point in the last minutes of the game. Under 17’s finished 5th. Matt Stelzer won the Reg Smith Best & Fairest and Heath Commane was Runner Up. Heath Commane won the Leagues Goal Kicking and Will Roberts was the Senior Colts League leading Goal Kicker.
Simon Taylor was re-appointed as President, Pam Rowe as Secretary and Sandra Zachoplolous as Treasurer. Roger James continued as Senior Coach and Adam Grovermann as Assistant Senior Coach, Jeff Woods was also re-appointed as Reserves Coach. Bronte Emes continued as Senior Colts Coach and Phil Olner was appointed as Junior Colts Coach. Under the management of Sponsorship Manager Simon Carpenter this area of the club continued very strongly underpinning the financial stability of the club. The club was pleased to welcome Jesse Aish as a player to the club. The U15’s finished 2nd and only lost the GF by 1 point. The U17’s finished 6th. The Reserves finished 3rd but were put out in the 1st Semi Final by Angaston. The “A” Grade finished 4th and went on to defeat South Gawler in the 1st Semi Final, then decisively defeated Kapunda in the Preliminary Final. The Grand Final was against Tanunda who were going for their 5th Premiership in a row. We defeated them soundly with a very strong effort taking out the 2012 Premiership. Heath Commane again won the Leagues leading Goal Kicker Award. Michael Taylor won the Barraker coaches award and Matt Stelzer won Reg Smith Club Best & Fairest and Heath Commane was runner up.
2013 (Double Premiership Year)
Simon Taylor was reappointed as President, Pamela Rowe was appointed as Secretary, Gervase Mallen as Treasurer. Roger James appointed as Senior Coach, Adam Grovermann as Assistant. Drew Koch was appointed as Reserves Coach with Richard O’Driscoll as assistant. Simon Wills as Senior Colts Coach and Peter Hunt as Junior Colts Coach. The club welcomed players, Dean Cutting and Brad Coles to its player list. The club commenced discussions about its future location. The “A” Grade finished in top position, the Reserves finished in 3rd place, Senior Colts in 6th place and Junior Colts finished in top position. The “A” grade lost the 2nd Semi against Gawler Central, won the Preliminary Final against South Gawler and the went onto defeat Gawler Central in the Grand Final 16.14 to 17.3. Dean Cutting won the Hearn Best Player Award. The Reserves won the 1st Semi against Freeling in a close result, defeated South Gawler in the Preliminary Final. At the final siren of the Grand Final, against Gawler Central, the game was drawn. Extra time was played with the Reserves winning 11.8 to 8.12, Gawler Central were undefeated before this game. The Junior Colts were defeated by Angaston in the 2nd Semi, defeated Willaston in the Preliminary Final and were defeated by Angaston in the Grand Final. Ross Christie won the Peter Vivian Coaches Award.