By Murray Bird
Queensland footballers have enjoyed a long history of competition with teams from South Australia at interstate and club level. And the men from the south have come out on top on every occasion… almost.
It was over a century ago when the Queensland interstate team first faced their South Australian counterparts. When the Sydney Cricket Ground hosted the interstate carnival of 1914, the Croweaters had a huge win over the Maroons.
Incidentally, at the same time as the carnival was played in Sydney, South Adelaide was playing a draw with Collingwood as part of a unique, widely-publicised carnival of club teams at the Gabba where Perth and Tasmania’s Cananore also took part.
Although Australian football had been strong in Queensland in the late 1800s, the code had eventually given way to rugby, becoming virtually dormant from 1890 up to its revival in 1903.
And so it was that the relative strength of South Australia became evident as the Maroons were given further football lessons in the carnivals of 1924 and 1930.
After the interstate teams were separated into Sections 1 and 2, Queensland did not meet South Australia again in a carnival. It was not until the mid-1970s that Queensland played two games against the South Australia Youth Team, consisting of players aged under 23. These games, played at Chelmer and Adelaide’s Football Park respectively, were both high-scoring affairs in which Queensland was highly competitive.
The Maroons suffered two more big defeats to the Croweaters in 1979 (Gabba) and 1980 (Football Park). The only interstate game between the two old rivals since then was played at Adelaide’s Richmond Oval in 2013 when a Queensland/NT team representing the NEAFL Northern Conference went down to a fast-finishing South Australia after an even first half.
The Queensland state team has also played games against SANFL club teams, going down on each occasion. These matches were against West Adelaide in 1921 (Exhibition Ground), West Torrens in 1935 (Exhibition Ground) and West Torrens in 1985 (Owen Park, Southport).
Queensland club teams have also been an integral part of the action. In 1957 at the Exhibition Ground, North Adelaide beat Sandgate while Port Adelaide easily defeated Kedron at the same venue two years later. Both were end-of-season games.
In 1979, the Escort Cup pitted club teams from various states against each other. The competition saw West Torrens beat Windsor-Zillmere and South Adelaide beat Western Districts in a double-header at the Gabba.
The Foxtel Cup, another competition for club teams from around the country, ran from 2011 to 2014. In the competition’s first year, North Adelaide had a convincing win over Labrador.
However, for success-starved Queensland fans, this article has a happy ending. Morningside scored the state’s first win over a South Australian team at interstate or club (QAFL/SANFL) level when the Panthers overcame Port Adelaide by sixteen points at Football Park in the Quarter-Finals of the Foxtel Cup of 2012.
Results in chronological order (from ‘More of the Kangaroo’)
Friday 7 August 1914, Interstate Carnival, SCG
South Australia 32.18 (210) d Queensland 2.9 (21)
Saturday 10 September 1921, Exhibition Ground
West Adelaide 18.20 (128) d Queensland 10.18 (78)
Friday 8 August 1924, Interstate Carnival, North Hobart Oval
South Australia 37.46 (268) d Queensland 4.2 (26)
Friday 1 August 1930, Interstate Carnival, Adelaide Oval
South Australia 19.18 (132) d Queensland 5.3 (33)
Saturday 28 September 1935, Exhibition Ground
West Torrens 13.18 (96) d Queensland 12.10 (82)
Thursday, 17 October 1957, Exhibition Ground
North Adelaide 18.20 (128) d Sandgate 13.7 (85)
Monday 12 October 1959, Exhibition Ground
Port Adelaide 27.27 (189) d Kedron 6.4 (40)
Sunday 13 May 1973, Chelmer
South Australia Youth Team 19.16 (130) d Queensland 15.14 (104)
Saturday 14 June 1975, Football Park, Adelaide
South Australia U23 22.17 (149) d Queensland 18.17 (125)
Wednesday 25 April 1979, Gabba (Escort Cup)
West Torrens 20.13 (133) d Windsor-Zillmere 12.7 (79)
Wednesday 25 April 1979, Gabba (Escort Cup)
South Adelaide 17.23 (125) d Western Districts 9.8 (62)
Sunday 3 June 1979, Gabba
South Australia 35.12 (222) d Queensland 12.17 (89)
Monday 19 May 1980, Football Park, Adelaide
South Australia 30.39 (219) d Queensland 3.3 (21)
Tuesday 5 February 1985, Owen Park
West Torrens 14.17 (101) d Queensland 6.15 (51)
Saturday 21 May 2011, Football Park, Adelaide (Foxtel Cup Round 1)
North Adelaide 16.11 (107) d Labrador 3.4 (22)
Saturday 2 June 2012, Football Park, Adelaide (Foxtel Cup Quarter-Final)
Morningside 12.4 (76) d Port Adelaide 9.6 (60)
Saturday May 11 2013, Richmond Oval, Adelaide
South Australia 21.14 (140) d Queensland/NT (NEAFL North) 9.4 (58)