May 29, 2019
South Burnett Saints AFL marked their annual Heritage Day in Kingaroy with a new “old” playing strip and a visit by Brownlow medallist Jason Akermanis, but neither helped much on the paddock.
The men were defeated by the Warwick Redbacks 16.11-107 to 6.12-48; while the women obviously had fun but kicked just one behind.
The AFL Indigenous round was recognised with local player Sharlene Smith tossing the coin in the women’s game.
Akermanis did the coin toss for the men’s game and was also popular on the sidelines, signing autographs for spectators.
South Burnett goals were kicked by Jarryd Hill (4), Keegan Wright and Jordan Brooker.
Club president said Andrew Foley said Bulldog Spirit medals on the day were presented to Kiara Wright from the women’s game and Jarryd Hill from the men’s.
“The bumper crowd ended with a record take in the canteen, over double a normal home game,” he said.
Replicas of the first guernsey worn by a South Burnett team, from 1981-89, were worn proudly in the men’s game.
The previous Heritage jumpers, replicating the 1990-96 strip, were auctioned to raise funds for the club.
To coincide with the Heritage Round, club president Andrew Foley pulled together a brief history of AFL in the region:
AFL footy was first played in the South Burnett in 1981.
The South Burnett Bulldogs played at Cheers Triangle and won the premiership in their first season. Midfielder Andy Waschl played 11 games and won the DDAFL best and fairest medal with 32 of a possible 33 votes!
The club also won the premiership in 1985, as well as Under 14 (featuring current team manager Heath Kassulke) and Under 16 premierships, but folded with the end of construction of the Tarong Power Station.
The first club’s existence was bookended with premierships.
The Kingaroy Bulldogs re-emerged in 1988, moving to Lyle Vidler Oval and were initially coached by ex-Windsor-Zillmere ruckman Chris Hunt.
They stayed in that configuration for about 15 years, picking up a premiership in 2001.
In the late 1990s, the Kingaroy-Nanango Jets junior club also appeared on the scene.
They played back at Cheers Triangle and were aligned with the (now defunct) North Shore Jets club at Mudjimba.
AFL footy in the South Burnett went into a hiatus in the late 2000s, but re-emerged with the creation of the South Burnett Saints, whose inaugural season was 2013.
Their first premiership was in 2015, coached by Steve Humbler (also ex-Zillmere) and captained by Adam Branch.
All the initial football jumpers, socks, shorts and much of the Saints equipment to start the club was paid for by a few ex-Bulldogs players, thereby cementing the link between old and new.