Footy team from Sarsfield Image: A Rural Community p.28
On the 25th of September this year many Sarsfield residents who are long-suffering Melbourne Demons supporters bathed in the glory of the AFL Premiership. Very few in Sarsfield would be aware that 109 years earlier a Sarsfield Football team may have achieved similar glory.
For a short period before World War 1 Sarsfield had its own footy club. Local Sports and Community Historian Ian Forbes searched pre WW1 Local newspapers and was able to provide me with an interesting back story on the team. It seems the Sarsfield “aussie rules” football side only existed for a few years, entering the Bruthen Football Association in 1912. Bruthen at the time had plenty of players and fielded two teams- one badged Bruthen and the other Mossiface. Because the territorial rivalry was so fierce between those two sides it was decided to split the players differently. Many players were members of the Australian Natives Association, so an ANA team was formed. The competition was then made up of Bruthen, ANA, Sarsfield and Swan Reach.
Six rounds were to be played with the top two teams to play in a Grand Final. The Bruthen newspaper predicted with confidence that the two “Bruthen” sides would certainly play off in the Grand Final.
Early in the season Sarsfield were battling. They were unable to play “home” games as the Sarsfield Ground was being enlarged at the time and they lost their first three games including a thrashing by ANA- 84 points to 2. In the second half of the season Sarsfield footy team showed great improvement defeating Bruthen and Swan Reach before their home ground was finally ready for the final game against ANA. Sarsfield beat ANA to secure second place behind Swan Reach and head into the Grand Final in top form.
With neither of Bruthen’s teams in the final, the Association lost interest. It is unclear if the final was ever played as there is no mention of it in the Bruthen or Bairnsdale newspapers at the time.
It is more than possible that the rampaging Sarsfield Football team won the Premiership that no-one knows about.