Team members - The 'Greatest South Adelaide Team'
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Described by his contemporaries as short and strong and as someone who would not give the resting rovers an inch, and as a brilliant back pocket player at both club and state level, George Mulcahey joined South in 1930 and played for them for the next ten years. In that time he shut down the opposing Port rovers (including the mercurial Bobby Quinn) in the two South premiership sides of 1935 and 1938, and won the Knuckey Cup as South’s best and fairest in 1936. A carpenter by trade, he was a great team man who liked his game of poker on trips away, and was affectionately regarded by younger players in the 1938 side like Len Lapthorne and Don Pryor as the elder statesman of the team who protected them both on the field, and off the field as well from the villains on the team like Laurie Cahill.
Bill Oliver began his footy with Uraidla at age 16 in 1913, but his career was interrupted in 1914 when the World War broke out and he joined the First AIF in 1914 at the age of 17. On his return, he began with South Adelaide in 1920, his father bringing him and a team mate, Arnie Caust, to training and matches in his T model Ford. Bill quickly cemented his position at full back in the tough 1920's competition, representing the state in 1922 and 1923 along with his team mate and fellow defender Dan Moriarty, and again from 1925 to 1927. He won the Knuckey Cup in 1925 and 1926, and was club captain in 1926, 1927, and 1929. In 1927 he also coached the side. A tough, rugged and determined full back, he played in 135 consecutive league matches from 1921-1927, and completed his 149 game career with South in 1929. This same devotion to a cause and tenacity was evident in his decision in 1939 to sell his market garden property and enlist again in the army in the Second World War, only to be discharged when it was discovered he was 42 years of age.
John "Dinny" Reedman
Widely regarded as the most remarkable South Australian sportsman to emerge in the first 70 or 80 years of the state's history, John Cole Reedman captained his state at both football and cricket, played Test Cricket for Australia, and was a champion long distance swimmer. His football career spanned 23 years with four clubs, during which time he could only recall missing one game. A ruckman of great ability and toughness and a skilled defender, Dinny Reedman played for South Adelaide from 1889 to 1898, captaining them over those same 10 years to five premierships; he was forced to leave South Adelaide under the Electorate System which came into effect in 1899, and went on to captain North Adelaide for 5 years to 2 premierships, and later coached West Adelaide from bottom to top and to Champions of Australia. Widely respected by his contemporaries for his leadership abilities, Dinny is credited with introducing the concept of the loose man which has become so much a part of today's game. He was one of the original inductees into the AFL Hall of Fame in 1996.
Jack began his football at Blyth at the age of 14, and was recruited from Georgetown at the start of the 1934 season as a centreman, but was soon shifted to centre half back where he made a real name for himself, coming third in that year's Magarey vote. He represented the state in that position in that same year, and so impressed in the way he closed down Victorian half forward Keith Shea (from Carlton) that he was immediately approached to join that club. He also won the Knuckey Cup in his first season, and again in 1941. He went on to represent South Australia in 1935 (at centre, just to show his versatility), 1937 and 1938, and to play in the two South premierships of 1935 and 1938. He won the Magarey Medal in 1935, a result of speed, brilliant high marking and long kicking, and is recognised as one of the first proponents of running on after taking a mark. Courageous, 'tough as old boots' to use the late Len Lapthorne's words, and possessed of enormous leaping ability, he finished as a knock ruckman in spite of his modest height of 5'10". Jack served in the RAAF in WW2, and returned to complete 167 games with the club.
Persuaded to have a kick with South Adelaide by the 1915 Magarey Medallist Frank Barry, a shy young Dan played a few games for South's association side before the competition wound up as the First World War began. In the Patriotic League in 1917 and 1918, he made a bit of a name for himself as a centre half back, and then when the competition recommenced after the war in 1919, Dan went on to become the only player to ever win three consecutive Magarey Medals, the first being in his very first season of league football. In that first season, Dan also captained South Adelaide in his first match, played two interstate matches, and won most of the press awards as well. The key to much of his success as a strong rebounding centre half back was not only his close marking and vigorous play, but his anticipation and his reading of the play down the ground, and his unwillingness to relinquish the ball unless he could be sure of disposing of it to the team's advantage. Another of the initial inductees into the AFL Hall of Fame, and regarded by Vic Richardson as the best footballer he had ever seen, Dan represented the state from 1919 –1925, in every year of his brief but explosive 97 game career.
Described by Ray Barber in the 'News' after his first game for South Adelaide in 1962 as 'an outstanding player in the mould of a typical Victorian half back flanker,' Bob made that position his own over a 164 game 10 year career with the Panthers. As part of the bottom to top 1964 turnaround side, his coach Neil Kerley called him 'the best half back I have seen in the league…he's the most efficient player, with no weakness in his game.' He also had a four year, 11 game state career which included the 64 point win over Victoria in 1965 when he so thoroughly stitched up Ted Whitten that he was shifted into ruck to try to get him back into the game. Bob won the Knuckey Cup in the same year, demonstrating a fearless, rugged approach that tended to intimidate opposing players. He is well remembered around the club for his enthusiasm, club spirit, and extreme fitness, typified by his reappearance on the training track two days after having a finger amputated.
Recruited from the Nuriootpa Rovers in 1947, Ray at 6'0" and 13 stone soon established himself as a dashing half back flanker in South sides where the half backs got a lot of work. His pace was quickly noticed by Laurie Cahill, his first coach at South, who encouraged him to take up professional running and he narrowly missed winning the Bay Sheffield. His ability in restricting opponents (playing across the half back line or at full back) so impressed state selectors that he was selected in a number of state sides, including the 1952 one which beat Victoria. Press reports from those years stress his marking, his pace, his rugged ground play, and his accurate kicking. He won the Knuckey Cup on three occasions in 1950, 1952, and 1954, and was runner up to Len Fitzgerald in the 1954 Magarey count.
Alfred "Bulla" Ryan
One of five brothers who played league football for South Adelaide over a 17 year period in the early part of the last century, Alf Ryan (or ‘Bulla' as he was better known) began with South in 1922 and soon proved himself to be an outstanding centre half forward and full forward, and sometimes even used with telling effect as a rover. He won the recently instituted Knuckey Cup on two occasions (1924 and 1928), and topped the club's goalkicking from 1924 to 1927, scoring over 50 goals in each of those seasons. His natural footballing ability, tenacious play and effortless drop kicking for goal soon caught the eye of the state selectors, and he represented the state in the carnival of 1924, and in all subsequent state matches over the following six years. Bulla completed 146 games and 10 years with the club in 1931; a cricketer of note who began playing Sheffield Shield in 1925, he continued as a state player until 1937, a team mate of Bradman for the last three years.
Recruited from Moonta as an 18 year old in 1937, Don was a one of a number of country players who came to South in the 1930's and who had such a telling effect in their premierships in that decade. Described in that first year by Vic Johnson in ‘The Mail' as a thrilling high mark and a beautiful long kick, and able to leap over his opponents with ease, Don made his mark as lead ruckman in the 1938 premiership season, named amongst the best players in the grand final not just for his ruckwork but for his goal scoring ability as well. His impact on South Australian football was such that he was targeted by both Carlton and St. Kilda, but he stayed with South and held down the centre half forward position for the remainder of his 157 game career with the Panthers which continued until 1950. He topped the club's goalkicking in 1947, and captained the team in 1947 and 1948.
Max did not play football at all until after his fifteenth birthday. However, he was a natural, and when he was asked by South Adelaide to come and try out with them, he did so in 1932, and made his league debut at the age of 16, one year after he started playing! Tall for the time at 6'2.5" and a left footer, he made his mark at half-forward, particularly at half forward right where his long, raking kicks soon became a feature of his play. Max played in what was South's most successful period of last century, being a member of the premiership sides of both 1935 and 1938. In all, he played in 147 games and kicked 275 goals for the blue and whites, and was runner-up for the Magarey Medal on three occasions. He won the Knuckey Cup in 1940. His interstate career was just as spectacular, beginning with the state game in 1934 in which South Australia beat a star studded Victorian lineup, containing players like Haydn Bunton Snr., Dick Reynolds, Jack Dyer and Jack Regan. He went on to play another 14 games of interstate footy up until 1938. He retired from football at his prime in 1941 to enlist in the Army.
Another of the 1930's country recruits, Jack followed his brother Jim (whose own significant football career Jack's in many ways reflected) down from Jamestown to begin with South in 1935, and to play a telling role across the half forward line to help win the grand final. It was either in the forward line or as a follower that Jack played his best footy for both South Adelaide (captaining them for four years from 1938-1941) or the state (in the 1937 carnival and in 1939 when he was state captain). An accurate left foot kick who had good goal sense, Jack topped the club goalkicking in 1937 with 54 goals, and won the Knuckey Cup in the same year. He played in total 141 games and kicked 267 goals for South before he retired in 1944. His team mates like Jack Boyle and the late Colin Haines paid testimony to his fitness and endurance, his popularity and inspiration as a captain, and the fact that he was greatly respected by his opposition alike both for his footballing ability and his temperament.
Christopher "Diddy" Munro
Recruited from West Adelaide after an inauspicious three years in which he played only 9 games, C.C. (Diddy) Munro began his football career with South Adelaide in 1932, and immediately found a niche for himself as a full forward. In a brief but explosive 380 goal career of just 69 games with the blue and whites, he topped the club's goalkicking list from 1933 to 1936, and became the only South Adelaide player to ever kick 100 goals in a season, booting 115 in the premiership side of 1935, only to be pipped by the great Ken Farmer's 128. Included in this were 6 goals straight in that year's grand final. Even though he was not six foot in height, he had a great leap and made his mark in interstate competition, representing the state with distinction from 1933 to 1936.
From Sacred Heart College, Mark joined South Adelaide where he progressed through the junior grades to the successful 1979 Reserves side which won the Grand Final, before making his league debut with South Adelaide in 1980. He was a member of the State Youth Team in that same year, and played his first game as a state footballer in 1981. He continued to represent the state right through until 1989, and then again in 1991 and 1992; he showed himself to be very competitive at this top level, winning the Tassie Medal as Best and Fairest in the 1987 National Football League Carnival, All-Australian selection in 1986 and 1987, and the Fos Williams Medal as South Australia's best player in 1991. At the end of a highly successful 65 game and 74 goal career with Carlton between 1987 and 1990, in which he was part of the successful premiership drive of 1987, he returned to South in 1991. After having previously won the Knuckey Cup in 1984 and been runner-up for the Magarey Medal in both 1981 and 1982, in 1991 he finally won the Magarey for himself. Mark played in a total of over 250 games for South Adelaide before he retired in 1993.
Winner of the McCallum Medal for Best and Fairest in the U17 competition in 1960, Lindsay Backman graduated to league football in the following year to begin a 203 game career with the Panthers that saw him play a significant role in the 1964 Grand Final win over Port Adelaide, where Merv Agars in his report of that match in The Advertiser said that ‘in attack, it was the pace, brilliance and elusiveness of centreman Lindsay Backman that Port could not subdue.' Overcoming a knee injury in 1966 and playing most of his matches across centre or in the forward lines, Lindsay amassed 347 goals for the Panthers during his career, in which he also topped South's goalkicking on 5 occasions. In 1970 he won the Knuckey Cup, captained South Adelaide and represented the state in the same year. Remembered for his smooth ball handling ability, excellent disposal and speed – even in the wet – Lindsay completed 13 years with South in 1972.
In 1970 at the age of 19, Mark Coombe was in his third year of league football for South Adelaide and had played over 40 league games. In the previous year as an 18 year old he had won the Knuckey Cup, after having been runner-up for that same award in his first year of senior footy the year before. He had had an outstanding record as a junior footballer. A graduate from the local Saturday morning Association and Forbes Primary School (which has given us the likes of Craig Cock, John Reid, Peter Jones and the Foster brothers), Mark had represented the state at junior level, and like Lindsay Backman had won the McCallum Medal for Best and Fairest in the Colts competition. Playing most of his 119 league matches across the centre, Mark went on to represent the state in 1972, and to demonstrate to all those who saw him play the skills of a true double sided footballer, and an unerring ability to read the play. That, and his absolute dedication to the game, made the shoulder injury that finished his career in 1975 at the age of 24 all the more devastating.
Jimmy Deane began with South in 1945, stamping his class on the local footy scene immediately by winning the colts grade medal, even though he played the last seven matches of the season in the league side. During his football career, he won the Knuckey Cup on six occasions, which at the time was a record. He was coach of South from 1951 – 1953, and again in 1970 and 1971, and captained the club through five of its seasons, playing a total of 157 games, mainly as a centreman; a dynamic left footer, he has been acknowledged as one of the finest exponents of short and long distance passing that the game has seen. At the same time he had a remarkable record as a state footballer, representing the state in the carnivals of 1950 and 1953, and in all the interstate matches played in 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952 and 1957. In two other years he was selected in the interstate teams but had to withdraw because of injury. He went to Victoria in 1954 and 1955 and had two very successful seasons with the Richmond club. Three times runner up for the Magarey Medal, he won the honour himself in 1953 and 1957, and continues to win hearts with his personality and support of all things South Adelaide.
Judged by many of his contemporaries and commentators as the best wingman they had ever seen, Laurie Cahill's 174 game career with South Adelaide began in 1933. He played in the 1935 premiership side, and was best on ground in the 1938 grand final. Known particularly for his powerful and well directed kicking into attack, and a blistering turn of speed (Laurie won the Centenary Bay Sheffield in 1936), he was a regular state player from 1936 to 1939. A real character around the club as well as on the field, one of Laurie's favourite on-field tricks would be to tap the ball on instead of marking it, as he knew that with his pace and dash he could be where the ball landed, and no one could catch him. Laurie won the Knuckey Cup in 1938 and 1939, and his playing career finished in 1947; in that same year he coached the club (and the Greatest Team centreman Jim Deane) as he did again in 1948 and 1957.
Peter began his league career with South Adelaide in 1962 while still a schoolboy at Prince Alfred College. One of South Australia's greatest footballers, he was an integral part of the 1964 premiership side. His dependable marking, strong bodywork, and endless stamina were a feature in that game and throughout his career. In spite of serious cartilage problems in the following year he came back to complete 206 league games and 13 state games before he retired in 1974. He was captain-coach of South Adelaide from 1967 to 1969, and captain again in 1971; he went on to top the club's goalkicking in 1974. Peter was South Australian captain in 1968 and 1970; he won All-Australian selection in 1969. Runner up for the 1964 Magarey Medal, he tied with Barrie Robran in 1968, but was ineligible because he had received a one match suspension for telling an umpire what we all knew about him in any case. Peter's services were sought by Fitzroy, Hawthorn, Geelong and Richmond, but his winning of the Knuckey Cup a record seven times typified his intense loyalty to South Adelaide, which has been reflected in his decision to donate those trophies back to his club.
Considered to be one of the best utility players ever seen in South Australia, Jack Tredrea's league career began in 1903 at the age of 19; over the next 20 years, in a footy career interrupted by the First World War, Jack became the first player to complete 200 games. During those years, he captained South Adelaide from 1910 to 1915, and coached the side from 1921 to 1923. A first class exponent of the stab pass, agile, tough, and absolutely fearless in his approach to the game, Jack quickly made an impact in interstate football, which he played from 1905 to 1914, and again in 1919-1920, captaining South Australia and playing in every match of the 1908, 1911, and 1914 Carnivals. Testimony to the admiration and respect in which he was held by interstate compatriots he played against was his friendship with the great 230 game/707 goal Dick Lee of Collingwood that resulted in a photograph of Jack Tredrea being hung for many years in the Collingwood Committee Room. Durable and evidently able to run all day, Jack missed only two interstate and two club games in his entire career.
Frank Tully began his football with South Adelaide in 1927, travelling down from Gawler for matches and practices. A courageous and quick rover, he won the Knuckey Cup on four occasions, and captained the side in 1935 and 1936. His roving was a deciding factor in that 1935 premiership victory over Port Adelaide according to press reports – ‘the fast intelligent roving of Tully was a feature of South Adelaide's play. To dive in to gain possession of the ball in the hard bumping crushes on Saturday was no mild test of courage, yet Tully gained possession in this manner on many occasions.' He played interstate football for 6 years, captaining the state side in 1935 and 1936. Testimony to the courage and grit of the slightly built rover was the fact that, in spite of the tenacious way he played the game, he holds the record for the most consecutive league games ever played – he never missed a match in his 168 game career.
A true blue Panther, Len's father, grandfather and son also played for South Adelaide. Recruited from the Fullarton Football Club in 1937, Len could remember getting only three kicks in his first match against West Torrens – and it was only the fact that they were goals, he used to say, that kept him in the team! However, he went on to score a further 360 goals in 208 matches as a rover for South, in a career that extended to 1952, and to play in the carnival side of 1947. He was a courageous, pacy rover who was hard at the ball, reflected in a piece of Vic Johnson's reporting of the 1938 Grand Final: 'while a trainer replaced a lace in his boot, Lapthorne went into the fray and goaled with a snapshot from his stockinged left foot.' Like many others in the 1940's, Len's football career was interrupted by the Second World War when he served as a Lt. Commander in the R.A.N.R. On his return to civilian life, he resumed with South and played until 1952, topping the club's goalkicking list in 1946,1948, 1950 and 1951 and serving as captain in 1949 and 1950.
2004 Hall of Fame inductees
The first full-blooded Aboriginal to make a mark on Australian Rules Football in South Australia, David Kantilla was a difficult opponent to match up on, being both quick and agile as well as tall and powerful. David, or "Soapy" as he was affectionately known, formed a crucial part of the 1964 South Adelaide premiership team with Peter Darley a ruck division that was the envy of the league.
Alan has been almost all things to South Adelaide - player, administrator, president and club patron. Alan was responsible for starting the Panther Club many years ago and was involved in the creation of Football Park. "Hicky" as he is affectionately known around the club, was also a Knuckey Cup winner, played for the Geelong Football Club and coached the Panthers as well. What else is there to say?
2009 Hall of Fame inductees
Jack Kay, Frank Marlow & Stuart Palmer
2011 Hall of Fame inductees
Jim Dawes, Alf Skuse & David Kappler