Remember When? Round 10!

This week we look way back to last century and beyond, to some of the non-traditional OMFL premiership teams that have won premierships before World War 1, and some of the happenings at the time.

To kick things off we need to look at the very first premiership which was won by Beechworth Wanderers who wrapped up the premiership when they beat Rutherglen 6-9 to 1-2. In that era, the team topping the table were declared premiers. The other foundation clubs were Wangaratta West End, Chiltern, Wangaratta City and Eldorado.

Yarrawonga, the winners of the Yarrawonga Football League, challenged Beechworth Wanderers a few weeks later with the O&M premiers Beechworth winning comfortably 10-13 to 1-5.

For the first seven years of the competition Rutherglen won four and Beechworth three premierships. The sequence was broken in 1900 when Excelsior finished on top. Excelsior was a mining freehold near Rutherglen and wore black and white jumpers.

In 1903 the Rutherglen District side held matches against three VFL clubs – Collingwood, Geelong and St Kilda. The secretary of the Geelong club at the time was Charles Brownlow – whom the Brownlow Medal is now named after.

For the record Collingwood and St Kilda both beat Rutherglen by four goals, however Rutherglen did beat the Geelong side by 20 points.

The 1905 premiership decider was abandoned at three quarter time with Excelsior refusing to play anymore due to the ability of umpire Yates to control the game – Lake Moodemere leading by 11 points were declared the premiers.

The Rutherglen Sun reported “the umpiring of Yates was simply outrageous – the game during the period it was contested could not be called a game of football, but rather foes, wagering war against one another, while for spitefulness and roughness it has seldom or if ever had its equal in the annals of Rutherglen District.

The match review panel would have been busy back then!! Excelsior did not play the following season where the Lake boys went back-to-back premiers.

In 1911, the competition was split into two divisions – Division B teams Howlong and Barnawartha defeated the Division A sides Springhurst and Southern respectively in the semifinals. In the final at Rutherglen, Howlong handed out a football lesson to Barny winning 7-11-53 to 1-1-7.

In this period from foundation in 1893 to the beginning of WWI it was dominated by Rutherglen who won 13 premierships and were runners up 5 times. Beechworth and Albury won three each.