Grand Final day at Victor Harbour is probably the proudest achievement in the long history of the SFC.
When the Junior Colts won their Preliminary Final match replay, having previously drawn with Encounter Bay, they ensured all five Strathalbyn teams would contest their respective Grand Final, a truly outstanding achievement.
The SFC won the Hollostone Trophy as the GSFL most successful club by a considerable margin.
The SFC Mini Colts, coached by Kurt Kube, got Grand Final day off to a good start, defeating Langhorne Creek 4 – 3 to 2 – 1.
The Junior Colts, coached by Alan Bell, were beaten by Victor Harbour, but represented their club well all season.
The Senior Colts, coached by Graeme Vivian, had been unbeaten all season and demolished Yankalilla to win by 99 points.
The Reserves had provided great support to the A Grade team all year, but on Grand Final day found Victor Harbour too good. Late season injuries to several A Grade players did not help the Reserves cause.
The A Grade Grand Final got underway before an enormous crowd, with Mt Compass starting the better but wasting opportunities with inaccurate kicking.
John Lindsay, Glen Rayner and Jason Schofield were defending well and Chris Allen and Kym Thyer soon established a ruck ascendancy for Strathalbyn.
This created many opportunities for Kym Smith, Nick and Roger Weckert and with great teamwork they quickly established a 21 point lead by quarter time.
Again Mt Compass started the second term well with two early goals, but an incident which resulted in Dennis Bronca being reported, seemed to galvanise the Strathalbyn players.
Peter Overall, having replaced Bronca, goaled, and then John Lindsay outmarked two opponents, hit the ground running, took three bounces and then goaled from 50 metres out, to the amazement of all.
Robbie Elliott and Kym Smith had assumed total control around the centre and the game was rapidly slipping away from Mt Compass.
A behind the play, king hit, saw Brenton Smith go down and he was in the trainers hands for some time. This instigated a free for all and, in short order, the instigator was off on a stretcher and Peter Gilbert for SFC and Bernie Viede from Mt Compass were both reported.
Calm was eventually restored and Brenton Smith regained his feet just as play was about to restart.
By half time SFC had built a thirty seven point lead, but during the break, Smith instilled the understanding into his players that the job was far from completed.
With Fitzgerald back in the fray, Mt Compass scored two quick goals but Strathalbyn soon regained the initiative with Roger Weckert, Russell Hagger and Peter Gilbert creating scoring opportunities and goals flowed.
Brenton Smith scored five incredible goals during this term and the flamboyant John Lindsay rebounded from defence, well supported by Glen Rayner.
By three quarter time Strathalbyn had established a commanding twelve goal lead.
Knowing the Premiership was theirs, the SFC players undoubtably relaxed, but it was also to the credit of the opposition that Mt Compass kept at it, scoring six goals in the last term.
Strathalbyn also added another three goals in that time to maintain control and the final siren saw them having scored a GSFL Grand Final record score.
The Strathalbyn Football Club had achieved their dream of winning the Premiership in the clubs Centenary Year, playing the relentless style of skilled football demanded by coach Brenton Smith.
It was a personal triumph for Smith, having lead his team magnificently, with his great play and courage, coupled with scoring seven goals, all despite having been heavily felled during the second quarter.
Mention must also be made of the exceptional game played by John Lindsay.
He was not at his best in the Second Semi Final and at the final training session prior to the Grand Final seemed unable to handle the ball cleanly.
But from start to finish in the Grand Final, he marked every ball that came near him, played on with his customary dash, regularly rebounded the ball from defence and scored an unforgettable goal, to probably shade B. Smith as the Best on Ground.
Strathalbyn 7-3 12-6 20-10 23-20 = 152
Mt Compass 3-5 6-5 9-5 15-9 = 99
Goal Scorers SFC :- Brenton Smith 7, Nick Weckert 4, Dennis Bronca , Russell Hagger, Peter Overall each 2, Chris Allen, Robbie Elliott, John Lindsay, Kym Smith, Graeme Vivian, Roger Weckert each 1.
Best Players SFC :- John Lindsay, Brenton Smith, Robbie Elliott, Roger Weckert, Nick Weckert, Glen Rayner, Alan Bell.
The Strathalbyn Premiership team :-
Brenton Smith (Captain Coach), Chris Allen (Vice Captain), Alan Bell, Dennis Bronca, Noel Elliott, Robbie Elliott, Peter Gilbert, Russell Hagger, Peter Hendy, Phil Jenner, John Lindsay, Glen Rayner, Jason Schofield, Kym Smith, Kym Thyer, Graeme Vivian, Nick Weckert, Roger Weckert,
Reserves :- Chris Cordwell , Peter Overall.
The following played 10 or more Senior matches for the season :- Chris Allen, Alan Bell, Robbie Elliott, Glen Rayner, Brenton Smith, Kym Smith, Graeme Vivian, Nick Weckert (each 20), Kym Thyer (19), Noel Elliott, Phil Jenner, John Lindsay, Stephen Weckert (18), Jason Schofield (17), Ashley Nisbett, Roger Weckert (16), Peter Gilbert, Russell Hagger (15), Peter Hendy (11), Peter Overall (10)
32 Players for the season.
The Strathalbyn Reserves finished in second position at the end of the minor round, winning thirteen matches and losing five.
They scored a surprise five point victory over Victor Harbour in the Second Semi Final but were well beaten by Victor Harbour in the Grand Final by 43 points.
Victor Harbour 3-3 7-8 8-8 10-12 = 72
Strathalbyn 1-1 2-2 4-5 4-5 = 29
Goal Scorers SFC :- Michael Catford, Colin Sibly, Nick Smith, Greg Tucker each 1
Best Players SFC :- Brenton Peek, Trevor Heinrich, Nick Smith, Peter Graney, Peter Blaser
Reserves Captain Trevor “Fritz” Heinrich played his 265th and final game for the SFC in the Reserves Grand Final. He began his playing career in 1962 and was a member of the SFC A Grade Premiership teams in1966, 1968 and 1971 and also the SFC Reserves Premierships in 1963, 1965 and 1977.
The Strathalbyn Senior Colts had an outstanding unbeaten season finishing on top at the end of the minor round.
They scored a comfortable 54 point win over Yankalilla in the Second Semi Final and scored a resounding Grand Final win again over Yankalilla by 99 points.
Strathalbyn 6-2 9-5 11-9 18-12 = 120
Yankalilla 0-2 1-2 3-2 3-3 = 21
Goal Scorers SFC :- Doug Abbott 6, Layne Abbott 5, Michael Franklin, Rob Clark each 2, Daryl Phillips, Paul Pike, Brenton Shapter each 1
Best Players SFC :- All played well
The SFC Senior Colts scored a number of huge wins during the season and on 18th August they defeated Victor Harbour 25 goals 11 points to nil.
Layne Abbott scored 19 goals in that match which remains the greatest individual goalscoring feat in the history of the SFC.
Layne won the GSFL Senior Colt Goal Scoring with an incredible 112 goals for the season, while his brother Doug also scored 45 goals.
The SFC Junior Colts finished second at the end of the minor round, winning sixteen matches and losing two.
They lost the Second Semi Final to Victor Harbour by 42 points and in the Preliminary Final against Encounter Bay just held on to draw the match.
In the replay the following day the SFC build a 25 point lead at half time to go on to reach the Grand Final by 24 points.
They put up a good effort but were beaten by Victor Harbour by 24 points in the Grand Final.
Victor Harbour 1-5 3-8 3.8 5-8 = 38
Strathalbyn 0-1 1-1 2-2 2-2 = 14
Goal Scorers SFC :- Rick Clark, David Oppatt each 1
Best Players SFC :- David Norton, Bevan Golding, Michael Rainsford, Clive Berry, Brendan Haines
The Mini Colts defeated Langhorne Creek
Strathalbyn 4-3 = 27
Langhorne Creek 2-1 = 13
Following the official presentations on the ground, pandemonium reigned in the change rooms. The Sturt Recruiting Officer wished to sign a few SFC players, but his sense of timing was misplaced and he was quickly ejected.
The astute SFC President, Ken Haines, was quick to praise Coach Brenton Smith as “The greatest thing to happen to the Strathalbyn Football Club” and all agreed.
Haines was lavish in his praise of the two young guns Nick Weckert and Robbie Elliott and also of Peter Gilbert standing up for his teammates when needed.
Celebrations continued back at the club rooms, where it was standing room only, until late into the night and continued again on Sunday.
A highlight on Saturday night was an extremely generous donation by Mr Sandy Hancock, to be shared by the players, which was greatly appreciated.
An interesting aside to all of this was, that unknown to Brenton Smith and the selectors, Peter Overall’s mother Pat, had, during the season, forbidden him from playing in the A Grade. Peter had never advised the club of this, and he was duly selected for the A Grade Grand Final team.
On the morning of the Grand Final to the best of Pat’s knowledge, he departed from home to go to play in the SFC Reserves, she being totally oblivious to his selection in the A Grade team..
Imagine her horror, when in mid afternoon, she switched the radio on to 5MU to hear how Strathalbyn were faring, just in time to hear that Peter Overall had just scored his second goal, followed by an almighty brawl occurring.
What was said when he got home late that night (or, more probably, early the next morning) has never been revealed.