1946 Season That Was
The Henley Rovers
Located: Grange Oval
Affiliation: Independent Sunday Football Association
1946 was the beginning of a new era. The Second World War was officially over as the Australian service men & women began returning home. On the Henley football scene their hadn’t been a local team since 1941 when Grange played in the Adelaide & Suburban Association.
The return home of soldiers saw team members reunite and create a team known as the Henley Rovers. It was the first independent Henley team since the early 1900s. A Grange team was also revived as both teams joined a new competition known as the “Independent Sunday Football Association”.
The competition caused an uproar amongst some members of the community who believed such sporting activity on a Sunday was inappropriate.
Religious beliefs considered Sunday to be a rest day. Nevertheless the competition was likely played with enormous enthusiasm considering what some of the men had recently experienced serving in the war.
The Henley Rovers home ground was at the Grange Oval along side the Grange team as the Henley Memorial Oval had yet been created.
Captained by Jim Cassidy, the team included the infamous names of David and Peter Ardill. Peter was not only the team’s Vice Captain but also the Club’s Secretary. Their brother John Ardill, a member of the Royal Australian Air Force, also played for the Rovers, in his return home from the War.
The minor rounds were a great success as the Henley Rovers won 11 games to win the minor premiership.
By winning its semi-final against 2nd placed Grange, the Rovers went straight through to the Grand Final. The opponent was determined by a Semi-final match between Grange and the East Adelaide Ramblers at the Albert Druids Garden, which was a playing field behind the Adelaide Gaol. Grange took the honours.
The Grand Final was played at the home ground of both teams, being the Grange Oval, as the Henley Rovers took victory over Grange to win the 1946 Independent Sunday Football Association Premiership. The final scores are not known.
After the season the league held an end of season dinner at the Caledonian Hall in King William Street, City.
After all 1946 local suburban football seasons concluded, 12 clubs in the West Torrens district agreed to reform the once folded ‘West Torrens District Football Association’ for the 1947 season. The league would be kept under the watchful eye of the SANFL’s West Torrens Football Club, who also provided a financial backing.
After the agreement, a football meeting was held at the Henley Town Hall on Thursday the 8th of March 1947, with discussions aiming to revive the former Henley & Grange Football Club and consider playing from a yet to be built Henley Beach oval.
Also in 1946, former Club Secretary Perce Johns Senior was now regarded as a leading official for the South Australian National Football League (SANFL). Since leaving Henley after 1933, he had been Secretary for the West Torrens Reserves Football team for 11 years until 1945. He now was working as an assistant secretary for the SANFL as well being its public reporter. In other local memberships, Johns was also a Captain of the Henley Sailing Club and played cricket for Grange as a batsman-wicket keeper. Celebrated as a Life Member of the Henley & Grange Football Club, Johns also saw 4 years service in the Australian Air Force serving in New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies. In 1947 Perce Johns became the inaugural President of the new Henley Two Blues Football Club located at the newly created Henley & Grange Memorial Oval.
Other known Football Associations in Adelaide
- Adelaide & Suburban Football Association