nz-natives-1888

THEY WORE ALL BLACK BEFORE THE ALL BLACKS

The 1888-89 “New Zealand Natives Football Team” took their final curtain bow on British soil on 27 March 1889. They were the first team of footballers from New Zealand to travel to the Northern hemisphere, and apart from hearing of their ferocious fighting against British forces during 1860s “Land Wars”, most Britons knew nothing of…

Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard

“WE ARE GOING TO KILL RUGBY DEAD”

“We are going to kill Rugby as dead as Queen Anne.” So reportedly said Essendon football club president, Dr Wilfred Kent Hughes, in Sydney in the late autumn of 1904. The Victorian Football League (now AFL) had sent the Essendon and Melbourne clubs to Sydney to play a competition match at the SCG, in the…

1908-wallabies

BAD LUCK DOGGED FIRST WALLABIES

“The original Wallabies that flashed off to England in 1908-9 were not the luckiest lot — but they were tip-top fighters, with great courage,” wrote Sydney’s The Referee looking back at the tour two decades later. Losing players to long term injuries were the bane of all early touring teams in the era of six…

Halifax v York 1877

RUGGER, SOCCER & FOOTER

‘Rugger’ – along with the etymologically linked ‘soccer’ – came into popular use well over a century ago – from ‘footer’… Few would be unfamiliar with ‘rugger’ as an informal name for Rugby. For the most part ‘rugger’ is seen as a jaunty and good-humoured word, evoking Rugby’s historical ties to England’s upper social classes…

Saint Ignatius College first xxii in 1889 (Australian rules football team)

RUGBY WAS TABOOED AT RIVERVIEW

For a time ‘football’ at some of Sydney’s now most famous Rugby schools was Australian rules. At Saint Ignatius’ College its founder Father Joseph Dalton is purported to have openly declared his distaste “for that horrid Rugby Rule” and the Australian game of football was the only code played. Both Saint Ignatius (at Riverview) and St…