MFNC History

Saints History 1886-1950

Myrtlefords initiation into football was on a cold, wet day in June, 1886 in Bright which saw the local team put up 10 goals to the Myrtleford team's one. The Team had two champions then in "Griffo" Edwards and "Baldy" Reid and other memorable names in "Son" McAlpine, Jimmy Brady, Bob O'Donnell and "Bish" Puzey, five Milne and four Wallace brothers were numbered in the team. The association was later known as the Myrtleford Bright District Football League and engaged such teams as Bright, Wandiligong, Harrietville, Porepunkah and Myrtleford. More teams were formed and joined later on.

In 1890, the church of Englands Reverend Chambers gave the land which is known as Memorial park to the people of Myrtleford to be used as a football and sports oval. After the association had become a reality, Josepf Ferguson, Mp for the Ovens Electorate donated a very fine cup to be won three years in succession. This was won by Myrtleford and is still in the clubs possession. After this trophy was won by the Myrtleford team, Sir Isacc Presented a cup for the competiotion and after a further three years was won by Myrtleford on the 13th of September 1895. The game was one of the most memorable battles that has ever taken place on the Bright ground. The Myrtleford team went by special train to bright and were accompanied by an army of supporters led by Mr Joe Rothery (President) to witness the battle between Myrtleford and Wandiligong. Yellow and Black colours dominated the ground and attendence was said to be at about 1200. The Myrtleford Tigers were a force for years to come.

After the turn of the century a Mr Farley donated a trophy again to be kept by the team who won the Premiership three years in Succession and once again Myrtleford took out the honour. The Myrtleford club continued to have their share of success untill th 1914-1918 war broke out and competition was suspended untill 1919. After the war, competition slowly came into being once again with quite a few changes taking place. At this point in time Myrtleford club become two. Myrtleford, playing in the blue and white guernsey of the Vctorian team they joined the Ovens and King League and won the premiership in 1923. The Myrtleford Wanderers, a team of mainly young players plus a few senior players from the Myrtleford team stayed in the Myrtleford Bright District Football League, their colours were Maroon with a yellow V. The Ovens and King Football League consisted of Myrtleford, Beechworth, Eldorado, Milawa, Whorouly, Waratahs, Moyhu and King Valley United. While the Myrtleford Bright District Football League consisted of Gapsted, Wanderers, Harrietville, Bright, Porepunkah, Valley Rovers, Buffalo River, Whorouly Rovers with Beechworth Stars joining in 1938. A major event occured in 1933 with the first ever league club to visit Myrtleford. North Melbourne made the journey on a day that was marred with constant drizzle, effectively depleting the large attendence that was expected. The Myrtleford Times reported that the visitors were superior and that their systematic team work at times completely dazzled the locals. teh Final score was North Melbourne 20.23 to Myrtleford 16.11.

Since Myrtleford success in 1923 another Premiership seemed a long time coming but by 1934 the strength of the team was improving with J. Morrison as captain and R. Glazebrook as vice, the Myrtleford team's tally in the Ovens and King was 182 goals 224 behinds for and 137 goals 147 behinds against. 1935 was a step closer with Myrtleford coming runners up to the Waratahs.The following year was to see success and the Blue and White team won the premiership against Whorouly. 1939 and once again Australia was caught up in War. Because so many of the Myrtleford Team joined the army, the club went into recess for the wars duration. The Wanderers continued on, loosing the Premiership to Towonga by two points in 1940 and then joined the Ovens and King in place of the senior team. The entire league went into recess from 1942 to 1944. In 1945 the Ovens and King League and the Wanderers reformed, with Len Ablett as Captain Coach. President of the club was Mr. Harry West and Secretary Mr. Jack Wacker. This was their Year and the Wanderers adopting the original Myrtleford Colours of Black with a Gold Sash, took out the flag with a win against Milawa. During the 1946 season, The Myrtleford Football Club reformed once again and it was resolved that the Wanderers would arrange a meeting with the newly reformed club with a view of amalgamating the two clubs for the next season. The end of the 1946 season saw the Wanderers runners up to Greta. The 1947 Season saw many changes. During the AGM of the Wanderers Football Club a discussion took place to the desirability of running the two clubs under one name and whether the majority desired to change the name from 'Wanderers' to 'Myrtleford Football Club Firsts'. It was suggested that both teams be disbanded and a conference of both teams be organized. It was pointed out that such a conference had already been held and the result had not proved successful. Nevertheless the conference did take place on the 21st of Febuary 1947 and the Myrtleford Football Club agreed to the formation of one club.

The teams were merged and called the Myrtleford Football Club with the first eighteen to compete in the Ovens and King and the second eighteen in the Myrtleford and Bright District Football League. Myrtleford First Team went through their first season winning nearly all their games but a controversial issue saw them loosing all their points and ending up on the bottom of the ladder instead of first place. A player named A. Janides was registered under his nickname 'Mick' resulting in the points been deducted. The Second eighteen become runners-up to Harrietville. 1948 and 1949 saw both teams competing in their respective leagues with both being runners up in 1948. The senior team lost to the Wangaratta Rovers. In 1949 Myrtleford put an application towards the Ovens and Murray Football League to be included in the 1950 season.1949 aslo saw the beginnings of a junior league in the District. A match was arranged as a curtain raiser which led to more Junior games been played and a junior knock out competition to be held on the Kings birthday. Invitations went out to Bright, Beechworth, Whorouly, Wodonga and Myrtleford. The end of the 1949 season saw the Myrtleford Seniors finally defeat the Wangaratta Rovers in the Grand Final to become Premiers. A fitting Climax for they also created a record in the Ovens and King league by not being defeated in a single match for the entire season.


1950 and the Myrtleford Football Club made an impressive debut into the Ovens and Murray League by being narrowly beaten by the previous runner-up in Wodonga. The scores Wodonga 12-9-81 defeated Myrtleford 11-10-76. The saints had to adapt to new colours with Albury Tigers already wearing the black and gold colours, the Myrtleford team sported the colours we now are associated with and take pride towards the mighty Red, White and Black. The era of the Myrtleford Saints had begun!!! L. Ablett polled well in the Morris Medal finishing close behind the place getters with 16 votes. This year was also to see success of the Second Eighteen team, captained by 'Dooley' McIntyre, they defeated Bright in the Grand Final of the Myrtleford and Bright League.

It had become obvious that the ground in Prince Street was not of suitable standard for Ovens and Murray football and after complaints had been lodged with the league, moves were made to seek a new location. After many hours of negotiation, the present ground along Lewis Avenue was purchased from Mr Scuito for 4,000 pounds. There followed thousands of volunteer man hours and a great debt is owed to those wonderful club men. In 1954, the fine new ground was probably the only ground in Victoria to be independently owned by a football club. The entrance gates were kindly donated by the Italian Community of Myrtleford.The building was named the L.G Ablett pavillion. It was opened by Hon. Rupert Hamer on the 15th March 1974.

1953 saw the introduction of a second eighteen competition in the Ovens and Murray. and in 1975 a thirds competition was introduced. Myrtleford where the first in the Ovens and Murray to appoint a big name coach and did so in 1951 with Alby Rodda who was captain of a Melbourne team and State team. Slowly with his help and other coaches such as Doug Palmer, Jimmy Deane, Ron Branton and Martin Cross, the Myrtleford Football club started to improve. They were always in or about the top four for many years. There first and only success to this day was in 1970 against the Wangaratta Rovers. That year Myrtleford finished 3rd on the league ladder and had a daunting task of having to win all their finals games. The saints were convincing victors over Benalla 11.11 to 7.15. Then came the heart stopper at the Albury Showgrounds in the preliminary final clash against Wodonga Myrtleford scraped home by one point 14.10 to 14.9. Nearly all of Myrtleford were at the Wangaratta showgrounds for the Grand Final which saw the saints trail up to three quarter time. The Last quarter suddenly saw Myrtleford come alive they were yards faster then the tired Rovers with the saints forwards on target the saints came out on top.

1970 Premiership Team: Captain/Coach- Martin Cross. P.Quirk, K.Smith, D.Piazza, D.Radford, A.Crisp, A.Heberle, W.Lamb, D.Walker, D.Cooper, J.Pelos, J.Doodewaard, T.Burgess, D.Taylor, N.Holmes, D.Chamberlain, B.Waite, G.Ward, R.Crisp, J.Bianco.

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