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Central District Football Club

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Central District Football Club

Central District
Full name Central District Football Club
Nickname(s) The Bulldogs
Motto Yield to None
2014 season
Leading goalkicker Bryce Retzlaff - 41 goals
Best and fairest Jarrod Schiller
Club details
Founded 1959 (first SANFL League season in 1964)
Colours      Red,      White and      Royal Blue
Competition South Australian National Football League
President David Cavenett
Coach Roy Laird
Captain(s) Paul Thomas
Premierships 9
2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Ground(s) Playford Alive Oval (capacity: 16,000)
Other information
Official website

Central District Football Club is an Australian rules football club based in the city of Elizabeth about 25 km to the north of Adelaide, South Australia.


  • Origins and Background 1
  • Little initial success 2
  • Recent successes 3
  • Home Ground 4
  • 2014 League Players 5
  • Premierships 6
  • Runners Up 7
  • Minor Premierships (top of the table before Finals Series) 8
  • Magarey Medalists 9
  • Jack Oatey Medalists 10
  • Ken Farmer Medalists 11
  • Coaches 12
  • Club records 13
    • Club Song 13.1
  • Honour Board 1974–2015 14
  • SANFL Grand Final Wins 15
  • Feeder Leagues 16
  • References 17
  • External links 18

Origins and Background

Although footy had long been first established at Kapunda and Gawler who fielded clubs in the early years of what would eventually become the SANFL back in the 1890s, the areas to the north of Adelaide – including the towns of Elizabeth, Salisbury and Gawler, were noticeable by their absence from SANFL ranks during the late 1950s. To rectify this situation the Central District Football Club was formed in 1959, and served a five-year apprenticeship in the SANFL reserves competition, before entering the senior ranks for the 1964 season.

According to crowd attendances for the 2007 season, Centrals now have the largest attending support in the SANFL. Uniquely for an Australian Rules club, Centrals have a very strong British migrant identity and supporter base as Elizabeth was a centre of UK migrant settlements in South Australia. The colours and emblem of the club also reflect this rich British background. The colours were adopted from a UK soccer side depicted on a souvenir card however the exact identity of which club inspired the colours has not been revealed. To this day, many Central supporters carry Union Jack flags at matches and sport UK soccer paraphernalia. The colours were also influenced by Footscray in the VFL, the new club's inaugural patron, and the same Bulldog emblem was adopted for its working class connotations.

With this British background, Centrals fans also have a reputation for singing and chanting in the manner of UK soccer supporters. The chants 'Ceeeeentrals' and 'You Dogs' are the most well known supporter chants/songs in Australian rules football.

Little initial success

From its first season of league football in 1964, Centrals usually struggled for success and became known as something of a choking team (i.e. it plays well except for when it really matters). Although often extremely competitive in the course of the normal season, Centrals lost every finals match they contested between 1973 and 1993, and were the last SANFL team to win their first SANFL Grand Final in 2000.

Centrals first season in the league ranks in 1964 ended without a single league victory, and Centrals finished last in the table (Centrals have won only one wooden spoon since, being in the 1977 season). The first victory came against Woodville early in the 1965 season.

Alan Stewart is the person most widely thought responsible for the upsurge in Centrals fortunes. Stewart only played two league matches for the Bulldogs and spent the rest of his career in the reserves, however it was as a coach in both the youth sections and eventually the league team that he is most revered for at the club. Taking over from Neil Kerley in 1991, Stewart transformed the ethos of the club in only a matter of years. In 1994, Centrals made the SANFL Cup Grand Final (now no longer a separate competition), their first ever Grand Final appearance, narrowly losing to Woodville-West Torrens. Later in the same year Centrals defeated Norwood in the First Semi Final, the club's first win in any final since beating the same team in 1972.

With this hoodoo finally broken, Centrals made their first League Grand Final the year after, an event of such significance in the SANFL that the 1995 Grand Final sold out (the first time this had happened since the Adelaide Crows had entered the AFL in 1991). Unfortunately, Centrals were beaten in the 1995 Grand Final by the Port Adelaide Magpies (13.16 (94) to 6.10 (46)) in front of 45,786 fans, and Alan Stewart left the club immediately afterward, ironically taking up a recruitment position with the Port Adelaide Power in time for their entry into the AFL in 1997.

Former Sydney Swans star player Stevie Wright became league coach in 1996 and this season saw Centrals make another Grand Final, once again facing Port Adelaide. Despite having a 4–0 win/loss record over the Magpies for the season, Centrals again lost to the Magpies 11.14 (80) to 6.8 (44) in front of 46,120 at Football Park. As of 2011 this is the record crowd for an SANFL match involving Central District and stands as the best attended SANFL Grand Final since 50,589 saw Port defeat Glenelg in 1990.

Recent successes

In recent years, Centrals have built a dynasty rivalled in SANFL history only by the great Port Adelaide teams of the 1950s and 1990s and Sturt teams of the 1960s. Centrals are clearly the dominant side in modern SANFL football winning 9 of the last 11 premierships, appearing in every Grand Final since 2000, and have become the wealthiest SANFL club by some considerable margin. Long established SANFL records broken by Centrals, and new records established, include: first club to win the League, Reserves and Under 19's titles in the same season (2003); biggest winning margin in an SANFL finals match (125 points in the 2004 Grand Final against Woodville-West Torrens), and on 30 June 2007, Centrals defeated Norwood by 158 points, the Redlegs biggest loss on record. In 2004 future club captain Paul Thomas was also the club's 5th Magarey Medallist.

2006 saw the introduction of night SANFL matches under lights at Elizabeth Oval. In the first league match under lights a crowd of 7,329 attended the match against Sturt. Also in 2006, Centrals played in their seventh consecutive SANFL Grand Final, equalling the record for the most consecutive Grand Final appearances, and setting a new SANFL record for a seven consecutive second-semi final wins.

In 2007, Centrals won the minor round premiership, and then their sixth premiership flag in their 8th consecutive Grand Final appearance. Centrals therefore became the only club in SANFL history to have contested 8 consecutive Grand Finals, and also the only SANFL club with 8 consecutive 2nd Semi Finals wins.

In 2008, Centrals extended this record run of consecutive Grand Final appearances to 9, also winning their 9th consecutive Second Semi Final. They also equalled the SANFL record of 7 Premierships in a decade by defeating Glenelg in the SANFL Grand Final before a crowd of over 34,000 at AAMI Stadium.

In 2009, Centrals further extended these records, winning their 10th consecutive second-semi final, making their 10th consecutive Grand Final and winning their 8th premiership when they defeated Sturt in the Grand Final. The club's record of 10 Grand Finals and 8 premierships in a single decade (2000–2009) is now the all-time record in the long history of the SANFL, surpassing the dynasties of Norwood in the 1880-90s, Port in the 1950s and 1980-90s, and Sturt in the 1960s.

In 2010 Central District (for the first time) won their 4th flag in a row beating Norwood by 6 points in front of more than 34,000 people. Ian Callinan won the Jack Oatey Medal for best on ground with 4 goals.

Brothers Chris and James Gowans equalled the record of career premiership medals won by Port Adelaide's Geof Motley when they collected their 9th SANFL Premiership Medal.

Centrals domination continues in the 2011 SANFL Season. They won the minor premiership with 17 wins from their 20 games to finish three games clear of Norwood who finished second while captain Paul Thomas finished third in the Magarey Medal count, only 3 votes behind winner James Allan from North Adelaide. This caused controversy as Thomas, who was judged by many to be best on ground for the Dogs Round 22 win over Norwood, was not awarded any Magarey votes (which are awarded on a 3-2-1 basis) by the umpires for the game as he was reported for a high tackle on Norwood's Darren Pfeiffer in the final quarter of the match. Ultimately Thomas didn't have to face the tribunal as the Match Review Committee, who viewed the video evidence from the ABC telecast, deemed he had no case to answer but by that time the votes were locked away leading many, including Thomas and the CDFC believe he was robbed of his second medal win.[1]

By finishing minor premiers, Centrals earned themselves a weeks rest before their Second Semi-final match on 25 September. The Bulldogs easily defeated Norwood 12.5 (77) to 4.9 (33) in the semi to move into their record 12th consecutive SANFL Grand Final and their 14th since 1995.[2] Unfortunately after a remarkable comeback against The Eagles on Grand Final day, they feel short by 3 points, losing their 3rd Grand Final since 2000.

Since 2000, such as been the domination by the Bulldogs that they have in fact been the first side to qualify for the SANFL Grand Final every year in their current 12-year run with only 2002, 2006 and 2011 not being premiership winning years. While their GF record since 2000 is 9-3, the Bulldogs currently hold remarkable a 12-0 record in the Second Semi Final for the same period.[3]

Home Ground

2014 League Players


2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

Runners Up

1995, 1996, 2002, 2006, 2011

Minor Premierships (top of the table before Finals Series)

1979, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011

Magarey Medalists

Six players from Centrals have won the Magarey Medal for best and fairest player in the League throughout a season.

Gary Window (1965)
John Duckworth (1979)
John Platten (1984)
Gilbert McAdam (1989)
Paul Thomas (2004)
Brad Symes (2012)

Jack Oatey Medalists

Players from Centrals have won the Jack Oatey Medal for best on ground during the League Grand Final on nine occasions, with Chris Gowans winning the award twice.

James Gowans (2000)
Rick Macgowan (2001)
Chris Gowans (2003)
Nathan Steinberner (2004)
Luck McCabe (2005)
Chris Gowans (2007)
Jason McKenzie (2008)
Trent Goodrem (2009)
Ian Callinan (2010)

Ken Farmer Medalists

Two players from Centrals have won the Ken Farmer Medal for leading goal kicker and the end of the minor rounds

Rudi Mandemaker (1989) [87 Goals]
Daniel Schell (2004) [63 Goals]
Daniel Schell (2005) [76 Goals]
Justin Hardy (2012) [59 goals]


Ken Eustice (1964–1967),
Dennis Jones (1968–1971),
Anthony Casserly (1972–1975),
Gary Window (1976–1977),
Daryl Hicks (1978–1983),
Kevin Neale (1984–1987),
Neil Kerley (1988–1990),
Alan Stewart (1991–1995),
Steve Wright (1996–1997),
Peter Jonas (1998–2000),
Alastair Clarkson (2001–2002),
Roy Laird (2003–)

Club records

  • South Australian Premiers: 9 – 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Home Ground: Elizabeth Oval (Playford Alive Oval) (1963–present) [SANFL league games]
  • Record Attendance at Playford Alive Oval: 16,029 v Port Adelaide in Round 18, 1984
  • Record Night Attendance at Playford Alive Oval: 7,329 v Sturt in April 2006
  • Record Attendance: 46,132 v Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, 1996 SANFL Grand Final
  • Most Games: 308 by Peter Vivian (1969–85)
  • Most Goals in a Season: 104 by Greg Edwards in 1982
  • Most Goals for the Club: 475 by Rudi Mandemaker (1986–92)
  • First player to kick 100 goals in an SANFL season: Greg Edwards (1982 - 104 goals)
  • Most Years as Coach: 12 by Roy Laird (2003–present)
  • Most Premierships as Coach: 7 by Roy Laird (2003–05, 2007–10)
  • Most Years as Captain: 8 by Paul Thomas (2007–present)
  • Most Premierships as Captain: 5 by Daniel Healy (2000–01, 2003–05)
  • Most Best & Fairest Awards: 2 by Robin Mulholland (1968, 1972), Barry Norsworthy (1975, 1976), Terry Moore (1974, 1981), John Platten (1984–85), Scott Lee (1987, 1990), Rick Macgowan (1994, 1996), Marco Bello (1999, 2005), Heath Hopwood (2000–01) and Ian Callinan (2007, 2010)
  • Highest Score: 35.23 (233) v West Torrens 4.11 (35) at Elizabeth Oval in Round 4, 1988

Club Song

The Central District Football Club Song is called "We're a winning team at Centrals". Sung to the tune of "Yankee doodle dandy"

We're a winning team at Centrals
We're the mighty fighting 'dogs
We love our Club and we play to win
Riding the bumps with a grin, at Centrals
Come what may you'll find us striving
Teamwork is the thing that talks
One for all and all for one
Is the we play at Centrals
We are the mighty fighting 'Dogs![4]

Honour Board 1974–2015

R Laird P Thomas
B Symes B Symes J Hardy 59
Year Pos Coach Captain Best & Fairest Top Goalkicker Goals
1964 10 ti K 个,ce jarden Johns 220
1965 10 Kice Eus Wiw 9 M Daly 547
1966 10 K it i Ee chxan aly 4 37
1967[p。// %29%2 %20K%20Eustic ic2 22 r没ljusic203 %2033 54。000 K Eustice K Eustice K Eustice T Grljusich 33]
1968 0 D Jones M Daly R Mulholland R Vidovich 62
1969 0 D Jones M Daly J Swinstead B Norsworthy 20
1970 7 D Jones T Stanton S Morey D Saywell 54
1971 0 D Jones A Casserly P Haughan G Jones 91
1972 0 A Casserly A Casserly R Mulholland R Mulholland 46
1973 0 A Casserly A Casserly jorden Jolyn 40
1974 5 A Casserly A Casserly T Moore D Saywell 68
1975 7 A Casserly W Cochrane B Norsworthy G Reed 63 D Hicks D Mobbs P Krieg G Edwards 104
1983 8 D Hicks D Mobbs
S Trigg
P Bubner W Wilson 45
1984 4 K Neale S Trigg J Platten W Wilson 67
1985 6 K Neale B Hannam J Platten J Platten 65
1986 6 K Neale R Van Dommele R Cousins R Mandemaker 40
1987 8 K Neale R Van Dommele S Lee R Mandemaker 94
1988 4 D Kerley R Van Dommele G Smith R Mandemaker 61
1989 4 D Kerley P Krieg G McAdam R Mandemaker 93
1990 7 D Kerley P Krieg S Lee R Mandemaker 52
8 A Stewart G Smith A Ingerson R Mandemaker 46
1992 8 A Stewart G Smith
R Girdham
T Lynn R Handley 40
1993 5 A Stewart R Girdham C Potter G Coffee 56
A Richardson 82
1995 Grand Finalist A Stewart R Girdham M Wakelin G Coffee 52
1996 Grand Finalist S Wright R Girdham R Macgowan M Conway 57
3 S Wright R Girdham D Hulm J Cotton 38
3 P Jonas S Lee
J Platten
S Schwerdt M Jones 26
5 P Jonas D Hulm M Bello S Lee 35
2000 Premiers P Jonas D Hulm H Hopwood S McArdle 65
2001 Premiers A Clarkson H Hopwood B Lockwood 37
2002 D Havelberg 25
2013 54 R ai

SANFL Grand Final Wins

  • 2000 - Central District 8.13 (61) d Woodville-West Torrens 5.9 (39) - Crowd: 34,819
  • 2001 - Central District 10.11 (71) d Woodville-West Torrens 4.8 (32) - Crowd: 26,378
  • 2003 - Central District 17.9 (111) d West Adelaide 11.11 (77) - Crowd: 28,199
  • 2004 - Central District 23.15 (153) d Woodville-West Torrens 4.4 (28) - Crowd: 24,207
  • 2005 - Central District 15.14.(104) d Woodville-West Torrens 11.10 (76) - Crowd: 28,637
  • 2007 - Central District 16.11 (107) d North Adelaide 5.12 (42) - Crowd: 30,478
  • 2008 - Central District 17.10 (112) d Glenelg 11.10 (76) - Crowd: 34,128
  • 2009 - Central District 13.14 (92) d Sturt 7.12 (54) - Crowd: 35,647
  • 2010 - Central District 10.11 (71) d Norwood 9.11 (65) - Crowd: 34,355

Feeder Leagues

Barossa Light & Gawler Football Association, Adelaide Plains Football League, North Eastern Football League, Northern Areas Football Association, South Australian Amateur Football League (northern metro clubs)


  1. ^ Thomas robbed of chance to win 2nd Magarey Medal
  2. ^ 2011 SANFL Finals Week 2
  3. ^ Here go the Dogs again
  4. ^ "The Club Song". Central District Football Club. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 

External links

  • Official Website of the Central District Bulldogs
  • In-Depth Look at the history of the Bulldogs
  • Full Points Footy History of Centrals
Preceded by
Port Adelaide
SANFL Premiers
Succeeded by
Preceded by
SANFL Premiers
Succeeded by
Woodville-West Torrens
Preceded by
Woodville-West Torrens
SANFL Premiers
Succeeded by
Woodville-West Torrens
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