Smithton Football Ground
Circular Head Football Association 1919-50; NWFU 1949-51; CHFA 1952-79; NWFU 1980-86; NTFL 1987-present
Red, white and black
250 by Garry Young
Smithton’s half a century plus stint in the Circular Head Football Association - a competition in which the standard of play was regarded for much of the time as being just below that of Tasmania’s three major leagues1 - yielded a total of eighteen senior premierships from thirty-seven grand finals. When the club moved up a level in 1980 by rejoining the NWFU (in which it had previously competed between 1949 and 1951) it did not take it long to find its feet. In 1983, it reached the grand final for the first time and, after a classic, 1980s style ‘shoot-out’, overcame the challenge of Cooee by the smallest margin possible, 20.17 (137) to 21.10 (136). Not satisfied with this, the Saints (as they had become known on their elevation in 1980) also provided the season’s Wander Medallist in the shape of Stephen Parsons, and the top goal kicker in Tony Maguire, who booted 93 majors for the year.
Smithton continued to challenge strongly for the flag in each of the NWFU’s final three seasons, albeit without further success after grand final losses against Cooee (by 9 points in 1984), Penguin (8 goals, 1985) and Ulverstone (15 points, 1986).
Since 1987 the club has competed in the NTFL, reaching the grand final twice, in 1989 (lost to Scottsdale by 3 goals) and 1991 (won by 8 goals against Ulverstone). Recent performances have been significantly less noteworthy, however (although the side did manage to qualify for the finals in 2006, before eventually finishing fifth).
1 In 1950, for example, Ron Phillips of CHFA club Stanley was selected in Tasmania’s squad for the Brisbane carnival.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications