David slays Goliath - 1924 SANFL Grand Final
West Torrens, which was formed in 1894, had to wait until 30 years later to play off for a premiership, and even then they had to rely on the right of challenge. After qualifying for the major round in pole position with an 11-2-1 record the side played poorly in the 1st semi final against 3rd placed Norwood to go under by 15 points. As minor premiers, however, the players were then afforded the luxury of licking their wounds and sitting back and watching as the Redlegs and Sturt slugged it out in the following week's final with the eventual victors - Sturt - then qualifying to meet Torrens in the premiership deciding challenge final.
The Double Blues - formed almost a decade after Torrens, in 1901 - had already earned premiership honours on two previous occasions and included a solid nucleus of finals hardened competitors in their line up. 'SA Footballer' writer 'the Wizard' previewed the encounter thus:
Across the centre and in the rucks the teams look to be evenly matched. Sturt are probably Torrens' superiors in the air, but the Blue and Golds I think put a little more snap and vim into their ground play than the Unley men do. So it resolves itself into a question of how the forwards will fare against the opposing defence lines, and..........I am inclined to think that it is here that Sturt will gain the advantage. Most pundits concurred with this view, but Torrens, given the mediocrity of their track record, were the warmest of sentimental favourites.
The prospect of a classic 'David slays Goliath' scenario attracted a record South Australian sporting crowd of 44,300 to the Adelaide Oval and, after the blue and golds opened well, kicking 3 goals to 1 in the first term, they were treated to a tense, closely fought game. The sides were evenly matched but favoured contrasting styles of play. Sturt preferred a strictly traditional, kick and mark approach, while Torrens were renowned for their expedient use of the flick pass (although some claimed that their over-indulgence in this skill was a weakness).
At half time the Double Blues had narrowed the margin to 4 points, and although the blue and golds had increased this slightly to 6 points at the last change the match was still clearly in the balance. Sturt seemed to be gaining the upper hand early in the final quarter only to undermine their prospects with 5 successive behinds. Gaining confidence from this, Torrens steadied to run out winners by 8 points, 9.12 (66) to 8.10 (58).
Hollis top scored with 3 goals, while full back Daviess, ruckman Karney, rover O'Grady and half forward Adams (2 goals) all made sterling contributions. Sturt skipper Vic Richardson visited the victors changing rooms afterwards and, after offering his congratulations, offered the unusual - indeed almost unprecedented - observation that "We would have rather lost to you than any other team".
West Torrens went on to win three further premierships - in 1933, 1945 and 1953 - before merging with Woodville at the close of the 1990 season. As the Woodville-West Torrens Football Club a further premiership was added in 1993.In this article: