Two wins started the year well before finals rival, the Eagles, gatecrashed Central’s birthday celebrations in round 3 at Elizabeth Oval. Rick Macgowan was been Central’s outstanding player through the ‘90s, while Damian Arnold, Michael Wakelin, Marco Bello, Steven Schwerdt, Brian Haraida, Craig Potter, Scott Lee, Damien Hicks and Tim Cook were outstanding contributors. Season 2008 was a prime example of perseverance and mental strength. The outlook from many quarters was that 2006 was to be a very difficult one for Centrals, according to Coach Roy Laird. With a grand final berth up for grabs, the second semi-final got off to a shaky start against North Adelaide follwing two weeks of byes. When the going gets tough, the tough get going – this cliche could not be more apt when identifying the clubs late season revival. Other record-breaking facts from the grand final included the Bulldogs kicking their highest score in a grand final, Eddie Sansbury’s five-goal haul – the most by a Central player in a premiership decider. He also had success coaching Central’s Under 17’s to two flags in the late ’70’s and was a successful Teal Cup Coach. And for the first time a pair of brothers have won the Jack Oatey Medal – James Gowans took out the club’s inaugural medal in 2000 and now brother Chris has made it a twin victory, with his best-on-ground performance. Promising players of this period were tall forward/ruckman Grant Coffee, rover Eddie Hocking, and classy future Captain Roger Girdham. The physical toughness would be the Bulldog’s area of attack against competition leaders Sturt and Glenelg, both very skillful teams that could be broken down by tackling, chasing and accountability. Sunday October 3 was a day for the record books. According to CEO Kris Grant, 2008 proved the most satisfying finish to any football season he had been involved in. Stewart played only two league games for the Club in 1969 and played in the Reserves Premiership side in 1971. In 2000 that came to fruition with Central District winning its first League Grand Final against Woodville/West Torrens. The colours of red, white and blue of Footscray in the VFL were suggested by Rogers. Stephen Wright, brother of former Bulldog Michael and an accomplished footballer with the Swans, took over in 1996 and did not miss a beat, leading Central District to its second straight minor premiership and grand final. John Delo was Centrals first Captain and Charlie Pyatt Coach. Rarely was the team able to play with consistency. John Platten, Peter Bubner, Steven Trigg, Peter Krieg, Trevor Roe, Mark Prior and Jamie Thomas provided refreshing support for the old reliables like Mark Norsworthy, Wilbur Wilson, Mobbs, and future Captain Rene Van Dommelle. Roy Laird said, “During all three finals, we were headed and concerningly faced these good sides with momentum, a dangerous situation in finals. The club also collected its fourth consecutive Stanley H. Lewis Memorial Trophy (for best performing club through all four grades) while the Under 17’s worked hard for the club’s 12th Under 17’s flag. Hicks’ run and reflex football allowed players to gain possession but too many opportunities were wasted on the flanks. While sentimental favourites it was the Eagles who were to have a dog of a day at the hands of a ruthless Central District who piled on 23.15 (153) to 4.4 (28) to record the biggest winning margin in any SANFL grand final of 125 points. Richard Cochrane, Stephen Brooks, Yves Sibenaler and David Kellett heralded a new generation of league regulars. The goal each year is to finish the minor round in the top three. The winning streak saw Centrals pinch its fifth consecutive Minor Premiership, establish a record 6 consecutive victories against Port Adelaide Magpies and a record six consecutive victories in second semis). On the positive side, the underage teams and the reserves developed well under the Jonas style of football. Twelve players made their debuts for the club, most notably Andrew Hayes, Chad O’Sullivan and Justin Westhoff, while Stuart Cochrane, Luke McCabe and ruckman Paul Scoullar called it a day. The 2007 campaign kicked off at home with an impressive 42-point win over highly favoured North Adelaide in front of over 6000 supporters. Down at quarter tiome the players slowly began to gain the ascendancy and won by 20 points awarding the club with its eighth consecutive grand final. In 1956 a junior football competition was founded by local football identities based at Salisbury Oval. In 1980 Duckworth was injured in the opening round and the club was unable to maintain the momentum due to the lack of key positional players. The 1991 season also saw a change to the coaching spot with the appointment of long time Club stalwart Alan Stewart. All rights reserved. Central District, with no team, no money, no supporters and no experience in League football, gladly accepted these terms. Then in 1982, with 104 goal-kicking youngster Greg Edwards, Centrals bounced back into the finals only to go down to Glenelg (only three weeks after hammering the Tigers by 18 goals!). Chad O’Sullivan was awarded the Norm Russell Medal in his third year with the club. After several meetings in 1958 both the Gawler League/Junior Competition and Woodville agreed to make a joint submission to the SANFL. His appointment and the start of the 2001 season was soured by the tragic death of 2000 Premiership Captain Daniel Hulm in London. The club put together its best two performances of the year against North and the Eagles with wins earning a place in its 7th consecutive grand final. His aim was to develop the youth of the district and lifted the Club to its first finals showdown. Footscray became the first Patron of the Central District Football Club, donating 30 long sleeve woollen jumpers and 30 pairs of socks to assist the new club. A hard fought loss to Sturt at Unley along with a 35-point loss to North at Prospect late in the season were the only two defeats of the year. The Club had also recruited established VFL stars Craig Braddy and Greg Smith, as well as fringe VFL players Scott Lee, Robert Handley, David Flintoff and cult hero Rudi Mandemaker, all who were substantial contributors to the Club. Schell and Healy kicked 6 and 5 goals respectively and Nathan Steinberner collected the Jack Oatey Medal for his best-on-ground performance. The club achieved that quite comfortably, but performed poorly at different times and looked to be falling short of the standards and skill level set by Sturt and Glenelg. This league had A and B grades but no junior structure or development. This new structure soon became a successful sporting activity and was quickly affiliated with the SANFL. It failed to win any of that first season’s 20 encounters. Centrals made its League debut against West Torrens in 1964 and was soundly beaten, 26:24(180) to 6:4(43). John Platten’s Magarey Medal and All-Australian selection were at least some consolation for the Club. Wright left to coach in the National under 18 competition in 1998, and was replaced with the clubs first All-Australian Peter Jonas as coach. Callinan was at his lethal best kicking goals when it counted, Brad Symes rebounded well while the backline, led by 100-gamer Richard Cochrane, was solid all game. The history of the first 50 years of the Central District Football Club (1959 – 2009) has been compiled in this outstanding 272 page book, written by former Club great Robin Mulholland and historian Robert Laidlaw. Three of the Clubs four grades were to contest the finals. The Norm Russell Medal went to Ian Callinan in his debut year with 59 goals. Knowing that the minor premiership was sealed Roy Laird gave the players hard running drills to make the super fit for the finals. It was known that a consortium from Woodville were also considering an application. The first print run was sold out. Haughan won Central’s Best & Fairest in his first season and tied for second in the Magarey Medal.

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