Celebrating the Great Southern Football League’s Centenary Season

Jul 1, 2023

I guess that everybody knows that the Great Southern Football League is 100 years old this year. The league was set up in 1923 to manage the competition between the five inaugural clubs.


On 24th April 1923, a meeting at Port Elliot, agreed “That this Association of 5 Clubs namely Encounter Bay, Goolwa, Hindmarsh Valley, Port Elliot, and Victor Harbour be called the Great Southern Football Association”. Mr Bamford was elected President. Hindmarsh Valley pulled out after only two games due to lack of players so the competition reduced to 4 teams.

Setting up the league and programming the first rounds of matches and getting people to agree on things did not happen by itself, which is clear when reading minutes of the early meetings. The first few years were developmental, and a lot of rules were made to manage and run the League and game. Among other things, there had to be rules about player transfers and a system to determine who would be the Seasons Champions.

That has culminated in what is now the Great Southern Football League, which, is held in high regard by other Leagues in the state due to the professionalism some of our past committee members have shown at Zone and State level and the on-field results of inter-league and zone competitions, where the GSFL has been extremely successful over years. We have been seen as a leader in some of the major initiatives over the last 20 years, such as the Players Points System and were in fact the first League in South Australia (we think) to have a computerised players record system, well before Play HQ and its predecessors came along. All this has been achieved in the most democratic of systems.

People may think that the League rules and decisions are made by the Executive Committee but that is far from correct. Our League is made up of Delegates nominated by the clubs, plus an Executive elected by those delegates.

The Executive are the people charged with making the League function. Their role is to manage meetings, manage the Leagues finances and organise the playing fixture and end of season celebrations, including the finals. And whatever the delegates want done.

The Executive is also charged with upholding the rules of the Game and the League.

The Rules that govern the Leagues operations come from Government, AFL, SANFL, and the League Constitution and By-Laws. The League rules are always made by Club Delegates and while the Executive may have an opinion, the Delegates are the final decision makers.

The Executive Committee must ensure rules are upheld. When a player is reported the League organises a tribunal made up of Commissioners elected by the Delegates. Penalties are not handed out by the League Executive. When there are administrative infringements, the Secretary manages an investigation to decide on action to rectify any issues and sometimes clubs can be fined according to the rules the Delegates approved.

The Delegates make the rules, and the League upholds them. So please remember that when something doesn’t seem to have gone right.


GSFL Treasurer

Photo above: 125 Years of Football – a story of the Victor Harbor Football Club
by NOEL PEARSONS (100 years) & JEFF KAIRL (25 years).

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