Formed in 1926, Jervois competed initially in the Murray Downs Football Association, claiming a hat trick of premierships between 1929 and 1931. The 1932 season saw the club transferring To the River Murray Football League, which had been established the previous year, and which contained only two other clubs, Imperial and Ramblers. Jervois promptly hit the ground running by winning the flag with a 13.9 (87) to 5.12 (42) grand final defeat of Imperial. Further success followed soon after as Jervois went on to qualify for the next five grand finals, winning all of them on the scoreboard, although not as far as the league’s official records are concerned. In 1933 Jervois defeated Ramblers in the grand final by 38 points, 14.15 (99) to 9.7 (63). However, after the match Ramblers officials protested to the league that Jervois had fielded an ineligible player, and after much argument and discussion their complaint was upheld. Consequently, both the match and the premiership were awarded to Ramblers.
Jervois’ response to this humiliation was a sequence of four consecutive grand final victories, achieved at the expense of Ramblers in 1934 and 1936, Mypolonga in 1935, and Imperial in 1937. Perhaps still nursing a certain sense of irritation at the events surrounding the 1934 grand final, Jervois elected to leave the RMFL in 1938 and rejoin the MDFA, where they resumed where they had left off seven years earlier, winning flags in their first two seasons back in the fold.
After the war Jervois returned to the RMFL and the club has continued as a member of this competition ever since. It won the league’s first post-war premiership in 1946 but then endured an unprecedented thirteen year gap before again going top. The club’s 1959 grand final victory over Imperial was the prelude to a decade of success which almost rivalled the halcyon era of the 1930s. Between 1961 and 1968 Jervois contested every senior grade grand final but one, emerging triumphant from five of them.
The 1970s proved to be the first decade in the club’s history not to spawn a premiership. Indeed only once, in 1973, did Jervois make it as far as the grand final, losing by 8 goals to Tailem Bend. The 1980s saw some improvement as the Bloods captured two flags from four grand final appearances, only for the 1990s to emerge as the worst decade in the club’s history up to that point yielding not a single grand final appearance.
Jervois was far from a spent force, however, with another majestic era just around the corner. Starting in 2004 the Bloods qualified for four consecutive grand finals and won them all. These triumphs included a league record 26.17 (173) to 5.8 (38) annihilation of Tailem Bend in 2005. Since downing Imperial in the decisive match of 2007, however, there have been no further grand final appearances.
In 2016 the Bloods' season was brought to an end in the elimination final by Imperial. A year later they won both their elimination final clash with Ramblers and their first semi final encounter with Mannum before coming unstuck in the preliminary final against Meningie, who won by 40 points, 15.13 (103) to 9.9 (63). Another losing preliminary final clash followed in 2018, this time against Imperial who prevailed by 53 points.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications