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BECAUSE of the serious call war is bound to make on the
personnel of our football teams, the W.A. Football League must surely face the fast approaching season with an uncertainty not felt for many years. However, if the keenness of clubs and individual players count for anything, the 1940 football season should be an extremely successful one.
lt is rather unfortunate that increased demands have been made on two leading clubs by our "city fathers." The demands appear to be ill-timed in view of the doubtless loss of revenue clubs must suffer this year.
lt is sincerely hoped by all enthusiasts that a satisfactory agreement will be reached before the season opens.
Even in war time recreation is a necessity for the welfare of the community, and anything that endangers that welfare should
be given close attention.
TOURING the week it was learnt, with a
good deal of disappointment in foot- ball circles, that Perth was to lose the services of their coach, Austin Robert- son. A business transfer takes Robert- son back to Melbourne. What this loss means to Perth can only be guessed at, but I can say with great certainty that the loss is an irreparable one. Last sea- son Perth was easily the best "outside" team in the competition, and was de- cidedly unlucky in missing the final four. Much of the success of the team can be directed to Robertson's fine cap- taincy and his splendid defensive work in the full-back position. Probably the best all-round kick in the league, it was a treat in itself to watch him put the ball hito attack by perfect stab passes to his team mates. His combination with Doug Oliphant in this respect often put Perth into immediate attack, resulting in the ball being transferred to Gook in two kicks. Altogether, Robertson's loss is a blow, not only to his team, but to football in general, as he was an ideal club man and an ornament to the game.
Robertson's resignation coincides with Doug Oliphant's appointment to replace him. The perth football club is wise in the selection of a local player, and, though Oliphant has already played 13 years of league football, I venture to suggest that the coming year will be his best. Oliphant's appointment will meet with the approval of players and sup- porters alike, and the coming season should be a very successful one.
After much deliberation, "Old Easts" have appointed George Doig coach for this season. It was thought that the final choice would come from George or Char-
lie Doig, or Roy McGlynn. many giving, preference to the latter player. ¡
However, Doig's selection is a pleasing i one, as he lias rendered magnificent ser- j
vice to East Fremantle for a number of
years. In a practice match on Saturday ¡ he showed uncanny accuracy in getting ! six goals, and said afterwards that he has rarely felt better in the early season.
Incidentally, East Fremantle easily de- feated Claranont in this game, and though, obviously, little importance is attached to this victory, the brand oí football displayed by the winners leaves no doubt in my mind as to one team who will contest the 1940 final.
The appearance of Fred Williams at Subiaco on Saturday created consider- able interest, and came as a complete surprise to those "not in the know." It was generally accepted that Williams would play for Geelong this year in the Victorian competition. However, Wil- liams was very unsatisfied with his treatment in Victoria, and jumped at the opportunity afforded him to return to this R'ate. Williams will strengthen Subia'.i materially this-year.
I wander If George Doig's appointment at East Fremantle will clear the way for Ross Hutchinson's clearance to West Perth? East Fremantle would be doing the game a service if they allowed Hut- chinson to transfer to the Westerners, as that team is badly in need of added strengthening.
It appears certain that the captaincy of the Subiaco team lies between Johnny Bowe and Haydn Bunton. However, Lyyod Strack and Les Hardiman have also been mentioned. It ls felt that the choice of Bowe would be an ideal one from all points of view, and Bowe is a good bet for the job.
There is no word of Keith Shea's clearance to South Fremantle as yet. However, Shea appears determined to coach the Southerners, clearance or not. Although Subiaco is loth to lose the ser- vices of Shea, it would do football little harm if the half-forward was granted permission to play with his new club. '
Claremont will probably lose the ser- ' vices of several of their leading players this season, due to enlistments and mili- tary duties. However, the club remains optimistic, in view of many promising juniors in their association team. Ber- mingham and Lovegrove, who gave such splendid service last year, »re doubtful starters. Sammy Clerke's retirement will also leave a gap that will be hard to
East Perth, too, have their losses, Dave Miller, Hector Smith, and Alf Neeson being certain absentees. There is no cer- tainty that "Mick" Cronin will stand up to another season of hard football. This in view of a serious operation in the latter stages of last season, which de- prived East Perth of his services in the tt>!9 final. Incidentally, Cronin entered the bonds of matrimony last week, and enthusiasts all will wish him good luck in Iiis new sphere.
Saturday's trials will be (umpires J
shown in parentheses) :-Subiaco v. Clare- mont, at Subiaco (Kneale and Owens), East Fremantle v. South Fremantle at Fremantle (Duckwood and VV. Collins), Perth v. East Perth at Perth Oval (Hart and Black), West Perth Possibles v. Pro- bables at Leederville (Donoghue and Sparrow), Swans Possibles v. Probables at Bassendean (Bec and Chapman).
Baseball like all other sports will suffer serious losses in the personnel of teams.
Chevs have already lost Frank Nelligan, last year's skipper, Trevor Limb, and there is a definite possibility that Wally Nightingale will not be available. The last named player has joined the R.A.A.F. Nightingale's loss will be keenly felt as he proved a tower of strength last year.
Keith Jeffreys, now at Pearce, is an- other who may be affected but it is ex- pected that the interstate cricket-base baller will appear with his old team,
Owing to an appendix operation Tom O'Connell may miss the first three or four games. However, as the big catcher is rapidly regaining complete fitness his ab- sence should be only a temporary one.
Press will have most of their regulars available again. After leading the Press nine into two grand final games-one of which they won-Glen Dunstan has re- signed the captaincy of the team. Dun- stan has had a highly successful run as a captain, and earned for himself the hon- our of being selected as captain of last season's interstate nine.
Eddie Scharf has also joined the R.A.A.F., and will be lost to Victoria Park.
On the executive side of the baseball world two serious losses have been sus- tained. First and foremost is the loss of the league's president, popular Tom Mer- ritt, already on service in Egypt. Shane Paltridge, Victoria Park president and executive member, is another to Join the services, this time the Air Force.
Two losses to the umpires' association are Len Hummerston, A.I.F., and George ("Esplanade"), Pascoe who has transferred back to his home state, Vic- toria. These two umpires have rendered invaluable service to baseball and their loss will be keenly felt.
Nevertheless the league is "carrying on" and grade games are to commence on May 12. Also it was decided at this week's executive meeting to send a team to the Sydney carnival.
Who is Lightweight Champion?
When one pauses to consider the treat- ment meted out to Tod Morgan one is caused to ponder just who is lightweight champion of Australia? Going to the East to defend his title against Johnny Hutch- inson, Morgan has been pushed all over the place by those in authority in the East. In the first instance dates for his fights with Hall, la Verne and Hutch- inson were always "to the air" and Mor- gan hardly knew where he stood. He was then matched with a second-rater, Fight tog Carlos, who received a lacing at Mor- gan's hands. Perhaps the promoters in the East have forgotten that Morgan is the champion, and is not just a mere con- tender for a chance at the title. The best thing Morgan could do is to pack up and come back to the West, then if Hutchin- son and Co., are so keen to take his title, let them come to the West and get it.
In passing congratulations are due to Geoff Hammond, once again Public Schools -tennis champion. Winning both singles and doubles Hammond completes
an amazing sporting year. He must surely < be one of the finest all rounders ever pro- duced in this State.
While on Public School sports it would not be fitting if I passed over the per- formances of Allan Edwards in Darlot
Cup cricket, who has by far ex- ' ceeded the previous highest total in Cup matches, held for so long by Jennings, also of Aquinas. Edwards is a State player of the near future.