Friday, September 24, 2010

C'arn the Saints!

It's the eve of the Aussie Rules Grand Final - Collingwood against St Kilda - and people are pretty excited down St Kilda way. St Kilda is the most losingest team in the AFL so I'm not really sure how that's going to work out. I was looking for a photo of the Saints during the 1940s but, given their losingness, it seems they're not keen on remembering the past. What I did find was lots of AFL among the armed forces and POWs.

Western Desert, Africa 1943. Squadrons would travel for miles to get a game.

Flight Lieutenant Bruce Andrew has a shot at goal in the first AFL match in England, in Hyde Park.

Bless the librarians at the Australian War Memorial. Their catalogue records are very whimsical: 'Romani, Sinai. An Australian Rules football match between the Australian 8th and 9th Light Horse Regiments. The camels were not interested.'

Former Fitzroy captain Frank Curcio and former Collingwood player Ron McCann listen to the Grand Final in New Guinea.

A game in the Dutch East Indies

Most important of all, the Changi Brownlow awarded to Peter Chitty in the Changi POW camp. The Japanese initially banned sport in the camp but soon a six team AFL competition sprang up. Among them was St Kilda player Peter Chitty. Officers soon put a stop to the games after a high rate of resulting injuries, not the least from sneaking into the jungle to kill pigs to make the balls. Before the last match Chitty was presented with this version of the Brownlow (the revered best and fairest award of the AFL) made from a modified soccer medal found in the camp. The match was played with a record attendance of prisoners and guards and the result was Victoria 14-9: 93 defeated The Rest 10-5: 65. Chitty was later awarded the British Empire Medal for helping save lives while working on the infamous Burma Railway.

Oh. Just realized. In those days it wouldn't have been the Australian Football League, it's the Victorian Football League.

Anyway, c'arn the Saints!

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Sailor Lily said...

wasn't the outcome a bummer, after such a fantastic come back in the second half I was devastated the Saints couldn't get a clear win. lily

Curvy Kitty said...

I was there shouting at the tv, too nervous to sit down and then... A draw! Thought the Saints were brilliant! I'm going to miss the rematch next weekend which is a shame.

Proud Womon said...

oooh you're a harsh womon - sainters don't hold the title "the most losingest team" - they share it with footscray (aka western bulldogs) who have only won 1 grand final too!!!!