Saints to honour South Burnett's Aussie rules history
THIS year marks seven seasons of the South Burnett Saints playing in the AFL Darling Downs competition.
However, the history of Aussie rules in the region extends beyond the Saints and will be at centre stage for the club's annual Heritage Round.
The women's and men's teams will play at Lyle Vidler Oval on Saturday, but Saints president Andrew Foley said the day was also about inviting past players and supporters back to the club, to catch up with old friends and support the players of today.
"AFL footy was first played in the South Burnett in 1981, so there's a bit of history around to share and celebrate these days,” Foley said.
"So whatever and whenever a person's involvement was in South Burnett AFL footy, we would love to see them back at the footy club on Saturday.”
One side from the region's footy history was the Kingaroy Bulldogs who won two premierships and played at Cheers Triangle at the Kingaroy Showgrounds until 1985.
When construction finished at Tarong Power Station, the club folded.
The Kingaroy Bulldogs re-emerged in 1988 and played at Lyle Vidler Oval where they remained for 15 years.
They also established the Kingaroy-Nanango Jets junior club in the late 1990s.
Aussie rules in the South Burnett went into a hiatus in the late 2000s, before re-emerging as the Saints in 2013.
"While most former players had moved on from the district by the time the Saints came into existence and the new club had to pretty much start from scratch, all the initial uniforms and equipment were paid for by a few ex-Bulldogs players, so this helped to cement the link between old and new,” Foley said.
"We now want that link to continue and grow, as tradition and heritage is very important to a football club.
"So, making that link and completing that circle is what Heritage Day is all about, a celebration of the game in the region and the friendships it has formed.”
The Saints women's team will play the winners of the last four premierships, Toowoomba Tigers, at 12.30pm on Saturday, before the men take on last year's preliminary finalist, Warwick, at 2.30pm.
Brisbane Lions triple-premiership player and Brownlow Medallist, Jason Akermanis will join the footy action at Lyle Vidler Oval on Saturday and at a heritage jersey auction in the evening at the Carrollee Hotel.
Bulldog Spirit medals will be given out on the day to the best Saints player in both games, and AFL Darling Downs president Pat Gipps will be in attendance to help with the presentations.
"We hope that past players and supporters, whether they were Bulldogs, Jets or Saints, will also take a more active interest in the footy club and perhaps even become members or volunteers,” Foley said.