Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Interstate Soccer Carnivals

Firstly, a link to the file of what I have found out about the old Interstate Soccer Carnivals, timely given some were staged over Easter long weekends:


The first Interstate Soccer Carnival was staged by the New South Wales State League in 1932 at various grounds in Sydney and Newcastle. Five states competed, namely New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. As with the N.S.L. in the future, the tyranny of distance proved too far to see Western Australia included.

New South Wales topped the table and then crushed South Australia in a Grand Final. With the game progressing well in two major centres of Sydney and Newcastle, the depth at their disposal was critical. For example G.Smith, after scoring five goals and then another in his first two appearances was replaced by Alf Quill who came in and knocked in four goals in his first start.

The traveling teams struggled with a tough schedule, with Victorian team manager Harry Bingham making a comeback in goal for their last game after an injury to George Sheppard (more about him in another blog).

The next Carnival was held in Adelaide in 1936, though it is not included in those covered in Jack Pollard's Soccer Records. Perhaps it was considered unofficial, as only three teams, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria took part?  In any case, New South Wales defended their title by winning both their games.

A clearly more unofficial event took place in Adelaide again in 1948. Featuring the hosts and Tasmania and Western Australia, it was the Sandgropers triumphant 6-2 over Tasmania in the Grand Final.

The first official post-WWII Carnival took place in Melbourne in 1952. Staged at Olympic Park and Toorak Park, Victoria were crowned Champions after heading the table from New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. Legendary New South Wales centre-forward Reg Date was top scorer with seven goals.

1954 saw six states meet in Adelaide again, with New South Wales once again to the fore. Western Australia and Victoria followed on the table ahead of Queensland. The struggling hosts finished ahead of only lowly Tasmania.

The 1956 Melbourne Olympics saw Carnivals put on the backburner for a few years, until a 1960 gathering back in Melbourne again. Once again Victoria flourished as hosts, heading the table ahead of three rivals, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

In 1962 the Carnival approach was abandoned for a National Championships, with four states playing each other once across the country. This saw New South Wales head the table to meet runner's-up Queensland in a two-legged Grand Final. South Australia came third whilst Victoria finished on the bottom, losing all three of their games. New South Wales defeated Queensland 3-1 in Brisbane before winning 4-3 in the second leg at the Sydney Sports Ground to seal a 7-4 aggregate win.

The Carnival concept was further expanded into a National Championship for 1963-64. Northern New South Wales were included with the six states. Staged across the country, everyone played each other once over the course of two years with the champion determined by final ladder position. New South Wales once again took honours, with Victoria runner's-up. It would prove to be the final Interstate Carnival or National Championships to be conducted.

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