South Fremantle Football Club

The South Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed the Bulldogs, is an Australian rules football club, based in Fremantle, Western Australia, playing in the West Australian Football League (WAFL). It was formed in 1900 and plays its home games at Fremantle Oval.

South Fremantle
Full nameSouth Fremantle Football Club
Nickname(s)Bulldogs, Souths
2019 WAFL season
After finals2nd
Home-and-away season2nd
Leading goalkickerMason Shaw
Best and fairestHaiden Schloithe
Club details
Founded1900 (1900)
Colours     White,      Dark red
CompetitionWest Australian Football League
PresidentPeter Christie
CEOCameron Britt
CoachTodd Curley (2015–)
Captain(s)Dylan Main
Ground(s)Fremantle Oval (capacity: 18,000)
Other information


The Fremantle Football Club (originally known as Unions and unrelated to either an earlier club and the current AFL club of the same name) had won ten premierships in the fourteen years that they were in the WA Football Association (now known as the West Australian Football League). By 1899, however, the club suffered from financial problems that caused the club to disband. The South Fremantle Football Club was formed to take their place following an application to the league by Griff John, who would be appointed secretary of the new club, with Tom O'Beirne the inaugural president. Most players, however, were from the defunct Fremantle club.[1][2]

The new club did well in its first year, finishing runners-up.[3] However, over the next three seasons the performance fell away badly and, in April 1904 a Fremantle newspaper confidently reported that South Fremantle would not appear again. However, the club decided to carry on and centreman Harry Hodge took over as skipper, but the season was a disaster. The club won only one game.[4]

They won their first premiership in 1916 and went back-to-back in 1917, both times defeating their local rivals, East Fremantle in the final and challenge final.[5] The 1930s were not as successful, marred by the death of the 23-year-old captain-coach Ron Doig as a result of injuries sustained in a match.[6] After World War II, South experienced their greatest era, with the arrival of future Hall of Fame members Steve Marsh, Bernie Naylor, John Todd and Clive Lewington.[7] Between 1945 and 1956 they would win six premierships, be runners-up three times and make the finals in every season. Since then, however, they have won five more premierships, in 1970, 1980, 1997, 2005 and 2009.[8]

South Fremantle was the first WAFL club to have won 10 grand finals since World War II. Four of their 13 premierships were won against the club's traditional rivals, East Fremantle.

In 2009 South Fremantle's League and Reserves sides won their respective Grand Finals. This was the first time the club had taken the Premiership double since 1954.

Fremantle Derby

The Fremantle Derby, is traditionally one of the biggest game of the year on the WAFL calendar. The derbies still have a great following but have decreased in importance compared to the Western Derby, the match between WA's two AFL teams.

The Foundation Day derby on the first Monday in June (a public holiday to mark the Foundation of Western Australia in 1829) is commonly the highest attended game of the home and away season. To the end of the 2006 season the two clubs had met 344 times with South Fremantle winning 156 to East Fremantle's 184 wins, 4 Draws have occurred between the two sides.

The club

Club guernsey & colours

South Fremantle's Guernsey (shown right) used for all WAFL matches is all white with a red V in the centre of the guernsey. During the 1990s they also introduced the reverse of the traditional guernsey with a white V on a red jumper. The South Fremantle colours of red & white stem from the first Fremantle based team who wore red and white in the mid-1880s.


South Fremantle are one of the most supported clubs in the WAFL.

South hold three notable WAFL Grand Final attendance records, 1979 v East Fremantle, 52,781, the highest ever attendance at a WAFL Grand Final, 1975 v West Perth, 52,322, the second highest ever Grand Final attendance and 1989 v Claremont, 38,198, the highest ever Grand Final attendance in the post AFL period.[9]

On Foundation Day v East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval, South played in front of the biggest crowd of the 2009 WAFL home and away season 11,300.[9]

Souths average attendance at home and away fixtures is 3000, which is amongst the highest for the WAFL.[9]

Club song

"We're the Bulldogs" is the theme song of the South Fremantle Football Club, played as the league team comes to the field at home and away games, and after a victory.

We are the mighty bulldogs
Always fighting on
With victory and flag our goal
With guts and determination
We put the rest to shame
Because our fighting spirit wins the game.
We're the bulldogs (yes we are)
And we're the greatest (yes we are)
The mighty red 'v' which stands for victory
The rough tough bulldogs (yes we are)
South Fremantle (yes we are)
The southerners for ever more
Down by the port of Fremantle
We hit them really hard
With true grit and courage we win
So come on Souths let's show them
How to play the game to win
South Fremantle for ever more
We're the bulldogs (yes we are)
And we're the greatest (yes we are)
The mighty red 'v' which stands for victory
The rough tough bulldogs (yes we are)
South Fremantle (yes we are)
The southerners for ever more.


Club honours

  • WAFL Premierships: (13 total) 1916, 1917, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1970, 1980, 1997, 2005, 2009
  • WAFL Runners-up: (17 total) 1914, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1940, 1945, 1951, 1956, 1975, 1979, 1981, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2019
  • Reserves Premierships:[10] (10 total) 1936, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1992, 2004, 2009
  • Colts (U-19) Premierships:[11] (9 total) 1970, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 2002, 2003, 2011, 2012
  • Rodriguez Shield: (6 total) 1983, 1984, 1992, 2001, 2004, 2009, 2016

Individual honours


  • Highest Score: Round 21, 1981 – 40.18 (258) vs. West Perth at Fremantle Oval
  • Lowest Score: Round 5, 1904 – 0.4 (4) vs. East Fremantle at Fremantle Oval[12]
  • Greatest Winning Margin: Round 3, 1999 – 195 points vs. Peel at Fremantle Oval
  • Greatest Losing Margin: Round 1, 1944 – 256 points vs. East Perth at Perth Oval
  • Most Games: Marty Atkins 266
  • Most Goals: Bernie Naylor 1,023 (1941, 1946–1954)
  • Longest winning streak (league): 17 games from Round 2, 1953 to Round 18, 1953
  • Longest losing streak (league): 18 games from Round 4, 1987 to Round 21, 1987
  • Most goals in a season: 167 by Bernie Naylor in 1953
  • Most goals in a game: 23 by Bernie Naylor vs. Subiaco in 1953
  • Record Home Attendance: Round 10, 1979 – 23,109 vs. East Fremantle
  • Record Finals Attendance: 1979 Grand Final – 52,781 vs East Fremantle at Subiaco Oval [ Highest Ever WAFL Game Attendance Record]

Notable players and coaches

Australian Football Hall of Fame

Ten former South Fremantle players have been inducted in the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Stephen Michael was the first to be inducted in 1999. Steve Marsh and Peter Matera were both in inducted in 2006 followed by Glen Jakovich in 2008, Hassa Mann in 2013, Peter Bell in 2015, Maurice Rioli and Ray Sorrell in 2016 and Bernie Naylor in 2018.[13] John Todd was inducted in the coaches category in 2003.[14]

West Australian Football Hall of Fame

With the exception of Hassa Mann, each of the South Fremantle players in the Australian Football Hall of Fame is also an inductee in the West Australian Football Hall of Fame, with Marsh, Todd and Michael awarded legends status.[15]

South Fremantle Football Club Hall of Fame

The South Fremantle Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2011 with an initial induction of 45 players, coaches, administrators and staff from the club's inception in 1900 to 1979. A further induction will occur in 2016 covering the more recent years.[16]


NamePlaying careerGames for SFFCAchievements with SFFCYear inducted
Frank 'Scranno' Jenkins1937-491501937 Sandover Medal; 1947 Simpson Medal; 1937, 38, 39 Fairest & Bests; 1947, 48 Premierships2011
Clive Lewington1939-511821947 Sandover Medal; 1940, 46, 47 Fairest & Bests; 1950 Simpson Medal; 1947, 48, 50 Premierships; 1950, 52, 53, 54 Premiership Coach2011
Bernie Naylor1941-541941162 goals; 10-time club leading goalkicker; 6-time WAFL leading goalkicker; 1953 Fairest & Best; 1947, 48, 50, 52, 53, 54 Premierships2011
Frank Treasure1942-57254Premiership Captain; 1947, 48, 50, 52, 53, 54 Premierships2011
Steve Marsh1945-562261952 Sandover Medal; 1950, 51, 52, 56 Fairest & Bests; 1953 Simpson Medal; 1947, 48, 50, 52, 53, 54 Premierships2011
John Todd1955-661321955 Sandover Medal, 1955, 58, 61 Fairest & Bests; 1997 Premiership Coach2011
John Gerovich1955-6922111-time club leading goalkicker; 3-time WAFL leading goalkicker2011
Stephen Michael1975-852431977, 78, 79, 81, 83 Fairest & Bests; 1980, 1981 Sandover Medals; 1983 Simpson Medal; 1980 Premiership, 1983 Tassie Medal2011


NamePlaying careerGames for SFFCAchievements with SFFCYear inducted
Harry Hodge1900-09100Club's first 100-game player; Secretary 1902; Treasurer 1902-062011
Johnny Campbell1916-291671926 Fairest & Best2011
Sol Lawn1925-321237-time club leading goalkicker, 2-time WAFL leading goalkicker2011
Jack Rocchi1926-29631928 Sandover Medal; 1928, 29 Fairest & Bests2011
Ron Doig1927-3299Captain; 1932 Captain/Coach2011
Neil Lewington1936-451401936 Fairest & Best2011
Jack 'Corp' Reilly1937-512041945 Fairest & Best; 1947, 48, 50 Premierships2011
Dave Ingraham1940-511351947 Simpson Medal; 1948 Fairest & Best; 1947, 48, 50 Premierships2011
Eric Eriksson1942-542101947 Simpson Medal; 1947, 48, 50, 52, 53 Premiership2011
Norm Smith1942-571291950, 52, 53, 54 Premierships2011
Harry Carbon1945-521411947, 50, 52 Premierships2011
Len Crabbe1946-531401948, 52 Premierships2011
Charlie Tyson1948-55, 611521954 Fairest & Best; 1954 Simpson Medal; 1948, 50, 52, 53, 54 Premierships2011
Laurie Green1948-54991949 Fairest & Best; 1948, 50, 53 Premierships2011
Des Kelly1949-541021952 Simpson Medal; 1950, 52, 53, 54 Premierships2011
John Colgan1951-612201953, 54 Premierships2011
Cliff Hillier1951-601601959 Fairest & Best; 1952, 53, 54 Premierships2011
Ray Richards1951-581471952, 54 Premierships2011
Tony Parentich1952-611621956 Simpson Medal; 1957 Fairest & Best; 1952, 53, 54 Premierships2011
Barry White1952-611601952, 53, 54 Premierships2011
Gary Scott1957-692551964 Fairest & Best2011
Tom Grljusich1960-762581968, 72 Fairest & Bests; 1970 Premiership2011
Brian Ciccotosto1967-782111970 Simpson Medal; 1970 Premiership2011
Joe McKay1974-821691976 Fairest & Best; 1980 Premiership2011
Maurice Rioli1975-81, 88-901681980, 1981, 1983 Simpson Medals; 1980 Premiership2011
Noel Carter1978-851551980, 84 Fairest & Bests; 1980 Premiership Captain2011
Brad Hardie1979-84, 931401984, 86 Simpson Medals; 1982 Fairest & Best; 1980 Premiership; 1985 Brownlow Medal2011
Norm McIntosh1910-191331916, 17 Premierships; Captain; Coach 1929, 332015
Frank Collins1912-19115Captain 1916-19; Premiership Captain 1916, 172015
Jerry Sunderland1918-281144Captain-Coach 1926, 282015
Ron Edgar1924-361733-time Fairest and Best; Captain-Coach 1934-352015
Cyril Jennings1924-37178Fairest and Best2015
George White1928-39183Captain 1936-372015
Percy Renfrey1936-481261947 Premiership; Champion Team 1946-762015
Don Wares1945-511071947, 48, 50 Premierships; Vice-President 19682015
Jack Murray1946-53981947, 48, 52, 53 Premierships; Colts Coach 1958-592015
Bob Mason1947-521211947, 48, 50 Premierships2015
Alby Western1947-511021947, 48, 50 Premierships2015
Don Dixon1948-571341950, 52, 53, 54 Premierships2015
Don Byfield 1950-632391953, 54 Premierships; Vice-Captain 1959, Committee Member 1972-732015
Colin Beard 1959-67, 1972168Fairest and best; League Coach 1974-762015
Fred Seinor 1961-742191970 Premiership; Captain 1968, 73-74; Fairest and Best2015
Don Haddow 1969-801681970, 80 Premierships; Colts Premiership Coach 1982, 83; Reserves Coach 1984; League Coach 1985-862015
Stan Magro 1970-76105Simpson Medal; Vice-Captain 1975; Reserves Premiership Coach 1986; League Coach 1987-902015
Tony Morley1971-812001980 Premiership; Captain 19782015
Rod Barrett1975-841951980 Premiership; Vice-Captain 1983-842015
Basil Campbell1975-811021980 Premiership2015
Benny Vigona 1977-861651980 Premiership2015
Jon Dorotich1981-971511997 Premiership Co-Captain; 2-time Bernie Naylor Medal; 3-time Leading Goalkicker; Simpson Medal2015
Wally Matera1982-941423-time Fairest and Best; Captain 1993-942015
Brad Collard1984-95202Fairest and Best; Captain 1987, 90-91; Director 2010-132015
Craig Edwards1984-921632-time Fairest and Best; 2-time Leading Goalkicker; Sandover Medal2015


NamePlaying careerGames for SFFCAchievements with SFFCYear inducted
Griff JohnClub co-founder 19002011
Joe Coates1904-08;43Committee 1910-11; Head Trainer 1913; Coach 1913-19 (1916, 17 Premiership coach); Secretary 1916-192011
Jack PolinelliAdministrator between 1916–662011
Frank Fuhrmann1924-31114Administrator between 1947–602011
Bill Hughes1925-2746Administrator between 1929–712011
Bill Collins1926-3388Administrator between 1938–662011
Frank HarrisonAdministrator between 1929–692011
Tom Bottrell, Sr.Trainer 47 years; Head Trainer 27 years2011
Ron GreerAdministrator between 1955-20112011
Dr Dick ReidClub doctor for 33 years2011
Bev Morris Secretary 1925-28, 42; Treasurer for 28 years; League delegate; Life Member2015
Don GillanTrainer 1933-42, 58-66; Head Trainer 1943-50; Committee Member 1945-452015
Claude Law Assistant Secretary 1936-42, 45-50; Secretary 1943-44; Committee Member 1950-57; Vice-President 1959, 62-67; League delegate 1962-672015
Tom GoldieTrainer 1948-50; Head Trainer 1951-572015
Dr Ernie HodderClub Doctor 1961-812015
Joe MaffinaSecretary/Manager 1962-67; Donation Bonanza organiser 1990-922015
Richard Woodgate 19642Treasurer 1969-71, 77-81; Director 1982-85; Vice-President 1986-912015
Chris MartinovichClub Chiropractor 1965-20112015
Terry DeanManagement Committee 1981; Director 1986-91, 2009; Vice-President 1992-95; President 1996-20082015
Ron PorterPropertyman 1987-20112015
source: South Fremantle Football Club 2016 Yearbook, page 19

South Fremantle Indigenous Team of the Century

During NAIDOC Week in 2009, South Fremantle celebrated their long and extensive link to Indigenous Australians by naming an Indigenous Team of the century from the 78 Indigenous players that had played for them since Jimmy Melbourne first played in 1902. Selected by former club captain and chief executive Brian Ciccotosto, premiership coach Mal Brown and journalist Ray Wilson.[17] Four of the players selected, Stephen Michael, Maurice Rioli, Nicky Winmar and Peter Matera, were also selected in the Australia-wide Indigenous Team of the Century.[18]

South Fremantle Indigenous Team of the Century
B: Roger Hayden Shannon Cox Ashley McGrath
HB: Willie Roe Basil Campbell Toby McGrath
C: Peter Matera Maurice Rioli Nicky Winmar
HF: Benny Vigona Stevan Jackson Dean Rioli
F: Jeff Farmer Mark Williams Phil Matera
Foll: Stephen Michael (c) Brad Collard Wally Matera
Int: Cliff Collard Clem Michael Sebastian Rioli
Bill Hayward
Coach: Mal Brown[19]

References and notes

  1. Christian, Geoff; Lee, Jack; Messenger, Bob (1985). Jordan, Ray (ed.). The Footballers: A history of football in Western Australia. St George Books. p. 15.
  2. "FOOTBALL". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 28 May 1900. p. 7. Retrieved 16 March 2011. The South Fremantle club, which has risen out of the ashes of the once redoubtable, but now defunct, Fremantle Club, possesses practically the same combination of players who wore the red and white colours last year. The name is changed but that is all
  3. "FOOTBALL". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 17 September 1900. p. 6. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  4. Christian, Lee & Messenger (1985), p 161
  5. Christian, Lee & Messenger (1985), p 23
  6. Christian, Lee & Messenger (1985), p 32
  7. WA Football Hall of Fame
  8. List of Premiers
  10. from 1925
  11. from 1957
  12. lowest score was also recorded Round 2, 1904 against North Fremantle
  13. "Australian Football Hall of Fame – Players".
  14. "Australian Football Hall of Fame – Coaches".
  15. "WA Football Hall of Fame Legends".
  16. "Hall Of Fame".
  17. Wilson, Ray (3 July 2009). "South Fremantle Bulldogs announce Aboriginal team of century".
  18. Moncrieff, Darren (19 June 2009). "South Fremantle to unveil Bulldogs Team of the Century".
  19. Moncrieff, Darren (3 July 2009). "Bulldogs reveal Indigenous Team of the Century".
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