Tasmanian State Premiership

The Tasmanian State Premiership was an Australian rules football tournament which was contested at the conclusion of the season, initially between the reigning Tasmanian Football League (TFL/TANFL) and Northern Tasmanian Football Association (NTFA) premiers, and then from 1950 also by the NWFU premiers, to determine an overall premier team for the state of Tasmania. The state premiership was contested 57 times between 1909 and 1978.

Tasmanian State Premiership
SportAustralian rules football
Ceased1978 (1978)
Most titlesNorth Hobart (12)


The Tasmanian State Premiership was an official match that determined the winner to be awarded the title of Tasmania's best domestic football team. It started as an unofficial North versus South club match in 1904, and from 1909 it gained official status on the Tasmanian football calendar.

It ran as a match between the premiers of the TFL/TANFL and NTFA, alternating between the TCA Ground (Upper Cricket Ground) and the NTCA Ground until North Hobart Oval and York Park became the premier venues in the South and North. A perpetual trophy known as the Bulldog Cup, established in 1915[1] but not awarded until the next State Premiership in 1920,[2] was awarded to the State Premiers throughout the competition's history.

In 1950, the NWFU was added to the state premiership on a trial basis; under the arrangements that year, the NTFA and NWFU premiers played off against each other in a preliminary final, and the winner faced the TANFL premiers.[3] The following year, due to feelings that the football season was too long, that the state premiership tended to draw lower crowds than other special fixtures, and a dispute over whether or not the Queenstown Football Association should also have been eligible to compete, it was decided to abolish the fixture.[4] However, the TANFL and NTFA premiers still played an informal state premiership game at the end of the 1952 and 1953 seasons, and the state premiership was formally re-instated in 1954 with the TANFL, NTFA and NWFU all competing.[5] On a rotating basis, one of the three leagues would host and qualify directly for the final, and the other two leagues would play off in the preliminary final.

There were a total of 57 formal State Grand Finals between 1909-1978, with sixteen different clubs taking out the title: North Hobart (12), Cananore (10), City/City-South (7, plus one unofficial), New Town/Glenorchy (5, plus one unofficial), Launceston (5) and North Launceston (3, plus two unofficial) won the most titles. TANFL clubs won 33 of the 57 state premierships; NTFA clubs won 17 state premierships; and NWFU clubs won 6 State Premierships from 24 opportunities.

There were several occasions when competing teams would have a guernsey clash; in these circumstances, it was most common for each team to wear its league's intrastate representative guernsey, rather than its own club guernsey.

In 1972, 1973 and 1975, the Tasmanian State Premiers were invited to contest the Championship of Australia, a knock-out tournament which featured the premiers of the VFL, SANFL and WANFL.

By the 1970s, the State Premiership had begun to show a decline in interest from football patrons and was taken less seriously by the clubs and on 1 October 1978, the final match was played at West Park Oval between Cooee and Sandy Bay in front of a crowd of only 3,860.

Controversial results

1913 Tasmanian State Premiership

The 1913 State Premiership decider was awarded to Cananore on forfeit after Launceston objected to the central umpire engaged for the match and refused to play. The umpire in question, C. Dwyer, had umpired in the North vs South intrastate match earlier that year, and his performance had been criticised in the North.[6] The off-field aftermath of the incident, which stretched for almost a year, resulted in a massive breakdown in diplomatic sporting relations between the North and the South. It began when the TFL imposed a suspension on the Launceston club and its players as penalty for its forfeiture.[7] Due to the nature of affiliations between their associations, the TFL's suspensions were recognised by the Tasmanian Amateur Sports Federation – which included cricket, swimming, rowing, tennis, etc. and was affiliated with all of the equivalent mainland sporting bodies – which meant that no sporting body in Australia was permitted to stage or compete in an event featuring a banned Launceston footballer, or they themselves could face suspension.[8] The North vs South cricket match on Boxing Day 1913, for example, was cancelled by the South because the North selected a Launceston footballer in its team.[9] The NTFA, which supported Launceston's right to forfeit, refused to recognise the suspensions, and called off all intrastate fixtures with the South; Launceston continued to play in the 1914 NTFA season, and each other NTFA club earned its own suspension from the TFL when it played against Launceston – suspensions which were also duly ignored by the NTFA. Launceston's suspension was lifted in June 1914 after a begrudging truce was reached, in which both sides conceded "expressions of regret" and neither side extended an apology.[10] By that stage, a farcical state of affairs existed under which many players, clubs and bodies had been issued suspensions by the TASF, and about half of the TASF's members had simply ended their affiliations to take themselves outside the influence of those suspensions.[11]

1967 Tasmanian State Premiership

The 1967 decider between Wynyard and North Hobart at West Park Oval in Burnie was declared a "no result" after a sensational finish to the match when Wynyard fans invaded the playing surface and tore the goal posts out of the ground to prevent North Hobart's David Collins from scoring the winning goal after the siren. Collins had remained on the field with the match ball tucked up his jumper waiting for umpires, players, team officials and police to clear the playing surface, but NTFA umpire Jack Pilgrim had already left the ground under police protection; after waiting for a lengthy period of time and with the crowd parading the posts around the ground, Collins also left the field.


Year Winner Score Runner-up Attend. Venue
1909Cananore6.10 (46) – 2.6 (18)LauncestonN/ANTCA Ground
1910Cananore7.14 (56) – 4.5 (29)City3,000Upper Cricket Ground
1911Cananore16.18 (114) – 1.4 (10)North LauncestonN/ANTCA Ground
1912Lefroy8.9 (57) – 4.10 (34)North LauncestonN/AUpper Cricket Ground
(Match cancelled) [lower-alpha 1]
1914North Hobart8.18 (66) – 4.9 (33)City5,000Upper Cricket Ground
1920North Hobart7.8 (50) – 2.14 (26)Launceston5,000NTCA Ground
1921Cananore13.14 (92) – 8.8 (56)City8,000Upper Cricket Ground
1922Cananore28.22 (190) – 9.8 (62)CityN/AYork Park
1923North Hobart20.13 (133) – 18.8 (116)North Launceston8,000North Hobart Oval
1924Lefroy6.3 (39) – 5.5 (35)Launceston6,000York Park
1925Cananore20.17 (137) 9.12 (66)North Launceston6,000North Hobart Oval
1926Cananore7.10 (52) 5.20 (50)LauncestonN/AYork Park
1927Cananore12.20 (92) – 10.15 (75)North Launceston5,700North Hobart Oval
1928City9.10 (64) – 3.14 (32)North HobartN/AYork Park
1929North Hobart11.12 (78) – 9.15 (69)Launceston6,000North Hobart Oval
1930City14.10 (94) – 5.6 (36)LefroyN/AYork Park
1931Cananore7.7 (49) – 7.6 (48)North Launceston3,070North Hobart Oval
1932City7.14 (56) – 7.8 (50)North HobartN/AYork Park
1933Launceston13.16 (94) – 12.13 (85)Cananore5,860North Hobart Oval
1934Launceston8.11 (59) – 5.12 (42)North HobartN/AYork Park
1935Launceston15.17 (107) – 6.6 (42)New Town5,253North Hobart Oval
1936North Hobart9.7 (61) – 6.8 (44)LauncestonN/AYork Park
1937Launceston16.9 (105) – 12.12 (84)LefroyN/ANorth Hobart Oval
1938Launceston16.9 (105) – 5.9 (39)North HobartN/AYork Park
1939North Hobart13.13 (91) – 12.13 (85)City5,800North Hobart Oval
1940North Hobart16.20 (116) – 9.6 (60)LauncestonN/AYork Park
1941North Hobart13.18 (96) – 12.19 (91)City3,960North Hobart Oval
1945North Hobart12.12 (84) – 11.11 (77)Launceston5,000York Park
1946Sandy Bay13.13 (91) – 12.13 (85)North Launceston7,852North Hobart Oval
1947North Launceston19.16 (130) – 10.9 (69)North Hobart7,500York Park
1948New Town16.9 (105) – 16.7 (103)North Launceston8,387North Hobart Oval
1949North Launceston13.17 (95) – 8.7 (55)New Town8,407York Park
1950North Launceston14.9 (93) – 8.10 (58)v Hobart10,006North Hobart Oval
1954City9.16 (70) – 6.10 (46)Hobart6,951York Park
1955Ulverstone19.12 (126) – 12.13 (85)Longford11,000York Park
1956New Town10.10 (70) – 8.10 (58)City7,350North Hobart Oval
1957Longford14.16 (100) – 12.7 (79)North Hobart12,546York Park
1958Glenorchy7.11 (53) – 6.11 (47)Burnie Tigers8,873Devonport Oval
1959Hobart14.11 (95) – 9.14 (68)Burnie Tigers13,223North Hobart Oval
1960City-South15.17 (107) – 12.17 (89)Burnie Tigers9,986York Park
1961North Hobart13.8 (86) – 8.10 (58)Cooee8,000West Park Oval
1962North Hobart11.10 (76) – 9.10 (64)Burnie Tigers7,640North Hobart Oval
1963Burnie Tigers8.25 (73) – 6.13 (49)North Launceston6,490York Park
1964Cooee15.16 (106) – 14.14 (98)Scottsdale9,700West Park Oval
1965Glenorchy11.16 (82) – 9.8 (62)Scottsdale13,762North Hobart Oval
1966City-South10.15 (75) – 9.13 (67)Hobart8,652York Park
No result (pitch invasion)
Wynyard led 13.14 (92) – 12.19 (91) against North Hobart
8,289West Park
1968New Norfolk9.13 (67) – 7.12 (54)Scottsdale11,395North Hobart Oval
1969North Hobart26.20 (176) – 6.13 (49)Launceston10,371York Park
1970Latrobe15.10 (100) – 9.11 (65)Clarence9,778Devonport Oval
1971Sandy Bay12.14 (86) – 8.17 (65)Latrobe11,629North Hobart Oval
1972City-South14.14 (98) – 8.14 (62)Latrobe10,551York Park
1973Scottsdale16.20 (116) – 15.13 (103)Cooee8,269West Park
1975Glenorchy18.24 (132) – 16.12 (108)North Launceston8,654North Hobart Oval
1976Ulverstone17.19 (121) – 10.14 (74)Launceston6,827York Park
1978Cooee19.25 (139) – 16.17 (113)Sandy Bay3,860West Park Oval
  1. Cananore awarded the State Premiership after Launceston objected to umpire chosen for the match and refused to play

Unofficial State Premiership Matches

The match was an official part of the Tasmanian football calendar between 1909-1978 but unofficial matches took place in 1904, 1905, 1906, 1952 and 1953.
There was no decider of any description in 1907, 1908, 1951, 1974 or 1977.

Year Winner Score Runner-up Attend. Venue
1904Wellington4.16 (40) – 3.5 (23)North LauncestonN/ANTCA Ground
1905North Launceston4.8 (32) – 3.10 (28)North Hobart2,000NTCA Ground
1906North Launceston6.25 (61) – 4.10 (34)North HobartN/ANTCA Ground
1952City11.14 (80) – 11.10 (76)Sandy Bay5,738York Park
1953New Town9.15 (69) – 8.9 (57)City4,833North Hobart Oval

Titles by club

Club Premiers Winning years
North Hobart121914, 1920, 1923, 1929, 1936, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1945, 1961, 1962, 1969
Cananore91909, 1910, 1911, 1921, 1922, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1931
City41928, 1930, 1932, 1954
City-South31960, 1966, 1972
Glenorchy31958, 1965, 1975
North Launceston31947, 1949, 1950
Cooee21964, 1968

See also


  1. "State Premiership Trophy Offered". Daily Telegraph. Launceston, TAS. 4 October 1915. p. 3.
  2. "Football: North Hobart Club". The Mercury. Hobart, TAS. 23 March 1921. p. 8.
  3. "North Launceston earns right to meet Hobart". The Mercury. Hobart, TAS. 9 October 1950. p. 12.
  4. Forward (29 January 1951). "State Football title out this season". The Mercury. Hobart, TAS. p. 7.
  5. "State title football to be official". Examiner. Launceston, TAS. 1 March 1954. p. 12.
  6. "Football: the club premiership". The Mercury. Hobart, TAS. 8 September 1913. p. 7.
  7. "Football friction in Tasmania". Referee. Sydney, NSW. 1 October 1913. p. 13.
  8. "Athletic Chaos in Tasmania". Sunday Times. Sydney, NSW. 28 December 1913. p. 32.
  9. "The disqualification trouble". Daily Post. Hobart, TAS. 25 December 1913. p. 7.
  10. "The Football Trouble". Examiner. Launceston, TAS. 5 June 1914. p. 7.
  11. "The football dispute". Daily Post. Hobart, TAS. 17 June 1914. p. 8.
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