To celebrate 100 years of the Perth Football League, the two longest serving clubs in the League, University and Fremantle CBC, will battle it out in an A Grade clash at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Friday 7 May at 7:00pm. Free Entry.
University proudly holds the record of the most A Grade premierships in the history of the league (20).
Neil Donaldson joined University as a first-year student in 1954 – the same year the football club had entered an U20s team. His legacy is as rich as the club’s history, having been a player and a committee member, as well as the club’s Vice President and President over his 66 years and counting.
The club formed in 1913 but they could not compete in any competitions, as they did not have a home ground, according to Mr Donaldson. “What the University club used to do was play the schools,” he said. “We used to play the games at Lotus Park at Hale School and always had to try and find somewhere to play.
“It was only in 1928 that James Oval was going to be ready, so we joined the amateur league and started off in 1929 and went on from there.”
It would be a hint of what would follow over the next 70 years, with the club winning the 1929 premiership in its first season.
After some time back and forth between B Grade, University returned to A Grade in 1961, which would begin an era of dominance in the 60s, winning six premierships in that decade.
“Since 1961, we’ve never been out of the A Grade, yet we were so close in 1997 and 2020.”
Mr Donaldson, who received an Australian Sports Medal from the Federal Government in 2000 and was awarded an AFL Recognition to Volunteers of Australian Football in 2003, said he was confident University could make it 100 premierships for the club this season.
“We’ll be celebrating long and hard,” he said.
Fremantle CBC started in 1932 and became a powerhouse club under the reforms of Tommy Naylor.
This year, Fremantle CBC President Brad Grant will celebrate his 20th year as Club President and said the club really grew once it merged with Kardinya Junior Football Club.
“From there, we became one of the biggest amateur football clubs in Western Australia, fielding nine sides a week,” he said.
Fremantle CBC have only won two A Grade premierships in its long history, with the last one coming in 2000. However, Mr Grant said now was the club’s most stable period in A Grade.
“Since about 2012, we’ve been an A Grade club and generally in the top three,” he said.
University’s long successful history will not make them favourites in this centenary match, having finished second bottom with two wins, while Fremantle CBC finished third on the ladder last season.
Mr Grant said he looked forward to the game come May 7.
“I think there will be a pretty good crowd to come along for both teams. Being a Friday night, a lot of other footy clubs will come along in celebration of it,” he said.
“We’ve never had a game like this focusing on amateur footy, so it will be great.”