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Barwon Football Club

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Barwon Football Club

Barwon Football Club
Names
Full name Barwon Football and Factories United Cricket Club
Nickname(s) Riverites
Club details
Founded 1874
Dissolved 1879
Colours      White,      navy blue and      pink
Competition Unaffiliated until 1876
Victorian Football Association (1877–1878)
Premierships Challenge Cup: 1876-77
Ground(s) Communn-na-Feine ground

Barwon Football Club was a 19th-century Australian rules football club based in South Geelong, Victoria. For brief period during the mid-1870s, Barwon was the provincial Victoria's strongest football club, and it was an inaugural provincial member of the Victorian Football Association.

The club was established in 1874 in the growing industrial district of South Geelong, and it played the majority of its games on the Communn-na-Feine ground, near modern-day Kardinia Park. By 1875, the club had developed the on-field strength to compete with the city's hitherto pre-eminent club, the Geelong Football Club, and a strong rivalry between the two developed. Due to Barwon's location in the industrial part of Geelong, the club was built on a working class character; and its social distinction from the middle-to-upper class Geelong Football Club, which was aligned heavily with the local private schools, was a contributing factor to the clubs' rivalry.[1] This rivalry was heightened after the match between the clubs in late 1875, when Barwon players were criticised for their rough behaviour, constant disputing of umpiring decisions, and for having placed bets on themselves to win the match – all of which were averse to the prevailing view among Geelong fans of the game as a gentlemanly amateur pursuit.[2] In 1876, Barwon adopted a guernsey of navy blue and white hoops, and was forced to add a pink sash when Geelong adopted the same colours.[1]

In the following two years Barwon surpassed Geelong to establish itself as the strongest provincial club in Victoria. The rivalry between Barwon and Geelong heightened in their 1876 Challenge Cup match, when Geelong accused Barwon of repeatedly and intentionally kicking the ball out of bounds to waste time throughout the entire second half to defend a 2–1 lead, which was still legal at that time but was considered unsportsmanlike; Geelong refused to play against Barwon again until 1878 in the aftermath.[1] Barwon was the permanent winner of the 1876–77 Geelong, Ballarat and Wimmera District Challenge Cup, which won by the provincial club with the most wins across those two seasons; and, after recording two wins and two draws against metropolitan teams in 1877 was considered to be one of the best clubs in the colony that season.[3] With the establishment of the Victorian Football Association in May 1877, Barwon was an inaugural provincial member, and it formed an off-field amalgamation with the Factories United Cricket Club, which also played at Communn-na-Feine.

In 1878, a decline in form by Barwon coincided with a revival by Geelong. Brawls initiated by Barwon players at the end of the Barwon vs Geelong match in September, and later the same night between players on Moorabool Street, further harmed the club's reputation.[4]

In April 1879, faced with rising costs to upgrade its ground and declining crowds due to Geelong's success, the club merged with the Chilwell Football Club.[1] It has a continuous historical link to the Newtown & Chilwell Football Club which as of 2015 still competes in the Geelong Football League.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Mark Pennings; Trevor Ruddell (2007), "Anyone but Barwon", Sporting Traditions 25 (1): 41–55 
  2. ^ "Football – Geelong vs Barwon". Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC). 13 September 1875. p. 3. 
  3. ^ Peter Pindar (20 October 1877). "The Football Season of 1877 – Part 2". The Australasian. XXIII (603) (Melbourne, VIC). p. 492. 
  4. ^ "A football fight". Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC). 30 September 1878. p. 3. 
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