The Tasmania team of 1958 was the most successful Tasmanian football team to compete in an Australian National Football Carnival and included some of Tasmania’s all-time legendary footballers.
Tasmania emerged in a blaze of glory from the 1958 Carnival, played in Melbourne to celebrate the centenary of football. The state maintained third spot following on from its 1956 Carnival achievements and toppled the might of both West and South Australia for the first time at the same competition.
Tasmania’s National Carnival Campaign, 1958
Tasmania began the Carnival poorly with an upset loss to the Victorian VFA. The Tasmanians could not match the VFA combination, which at that time was nearly as strong as the VFL. In this game the VFA received tremendous drive from Bob Withers, who later became one of the greatest players to ever cross to Tasmania when he became coach of North Launceston. John Coughlan and Kevin Symons also moved to Tasmania from the VFA and carved out great careers in their adopted state.
Tasmania v Victoria (VFA) Date: Wednesday 2 July
Tasmania: 3.2 5.5 9.14 13.16 (94)
VFA: 5.4 6.7 11.9 15.12 (102)
Tasmania: J. Ross, R. Garwood, D. Gale, G. Hill, C. Moore, J. Murphy, D. Baldock, W. Williams, J. Leedham.
VFA: B. Withers, C. Love, J. Coughlan, B. Metcalfe, K. White, P. Box, T. Devery.
Tasmania: J. Ross (4), S. Spencer (2), R. Garwood (2), D. Baldock, T. Leo, W. Williams, G. Long, C. Moore.
VFA: J. Coughlan (4), P. Box (3), R. Bonnett (2), T. Devery (2), K. Symons, K. Ross, F. Bourke.
Tasmania caused the first major shock of the Carnival when, under lights, it defeated the powerful Western Australia team in a game that was full of excitement to the final bell. Tasmania conceded an early three-goal advantage, but fought back and went on to become deserving winners.
Tasmania v Western Australia Date: Saturday 5 July
Tasmania: 3.4 8.10 9.10 13.16 (94)
W.A: 5.4 6.5 10.9 11.12 (78)
Tasmania: S. Spencer, J. Ross, T. Leo, J. Leedham, N. Conlan, R. Garwood, R. Chapman, G. Hill, M. Griffiths, J. Patterson.
WA: Clarke, Farmer, White, Preen, Foley, Rogers, Harper.
Tasmania: S. Spencer (4), M. Griffiths (3), G. Long (2), J. Leedham, J. Ross,
T. Shadbolt, N. Conlan.
WA: White (3), Gerovich (2), Preen (2), Foley (2), Munne, Johnson.
Tasmania defeated South Australia, for the second Carnival in succession, in another thriller.
Tasmania v South Australia Date: Monday 7 July
Tasmania: 3.3 5.5 9.13 11.18 (84)
S.A: 2.8 5.11 10.13 11.16 (82)
Tasmania: G. Long, J. Ross, S. Spencer, J. Leedham, D. Gale, J. Patterson, J. Murphy, R. Garwood, G. Hill.
SA: G. Motley, K. McGregor, D. Rattigan, A. Whelan, N. Hayes, K. Tierney, H. Bunton, R. Rogerson.
Tasmania: J. Ross (3), J. Leedham (3), G. Long (3), B. Eade, R. Chapman.
SA: D. Kerley (3), G. Williams (2), H. Bunton (2), D. Rattigan (2), R. Kitchen, G. Christie.
Tasmania’s final game was ruined by injury to numerous players before the first bounce. Stand-in player Don ‘Mopsy’ Fraser could not avert a sound beating by the Victorian VFL team who went on to win the Carnival.
Tasmania v Victoria (VFL) Date: Wednesday 9 July
Tasmania: 1.3 2.4 4.7 8.14 (62)
VFL: 4.5 12.9 22.10 25.14 (164)
Tasmania: S. Spencer, D. Gale, R. Garwood, T. Leo, N. Conlan, J. Fitzallen, J. Patterson, J. Murphy. R. Apted, J. Fitzallen.
VFL: A. Aylett, B. Skilton, O. Abrahams, E. Whitten, J. Clarke, R. Davis, B. Edwards, J. Dugdale.
Tasmania: R. Garwood (3), R. Apted (3), J. Ross, J. Leedham.
VFL: J. Dugdale (8), O. Abrahams (5), A. Aylett (5), B. Skilton (2), E. Whitten (2), R. Davis, B. Edwards, R. Barassi.
Other achievements of the team
> All Australians: Jim Ross, Stuart Spencer, Don Gale.
> Carnival record: Arthur Hodgson played in his fifth carnival, having also played in the 1947, 1953 and 1956 carnivals for Tasmania and the 1950 Carnival for Victoria while playing for Carlton. Hodgson was the first Tasmanian to play in five carnivals and one of only three players to do so.
> Lefroy Medal for Tasmanian best and fairest at a carnival: Jim Ross.
> Australian Football Hall of Fame: Darrel Baldock (Legend) and Stuart Spencer.
> Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame: Darrel Baldock (Icon); Arthur Hodgson, Geoff Long, John Leedham (Legends); Trevor Leo, Stuart Spencer, Brian Eade, Rex Garwood, Don Gale, Neil Conlan, John Fitzallen, Jim Ross, Colin Moore, Keith Dickenson [Manager] (Inductees).
> Players in the VFL/AFL: Arthur Hodgson, Carlton; Darrel Baldock, St Kilda; Don Fraser, Richmond; Geoff Hill, Fitzroy; Jeff Patterson, South Melbourne, Richmond, Fitzroy; Jim Ross, St Kilda; Joe Murphy, Fitzroy; Roy Apted, St Kilda; Stuart Spencer, Melbourne.
> Stuart Spencer:
“Unlucky not to finish second as the team only began training together when they arrived in Melbourne two days before the Carnival began. We lost narrowly to the VFA and then the gruelling schedule of four games in eight days saw us lose a number of players to injury. By the time we played the VFL we were crippled and had to call in 36-year-old Don Fraser who hadn’t played for a couple of seasons.”
> Keith Dickenson, Manager:
“The Tasmanian team of 1958 was clearly the best from this state to participate in a national competition. The opportunity to represent the state was hard fought for and the players’ pride in representing Tasmania was pronounced.”
North Launceston/St Kilda, Ruck Rover/Half Back
Roy Apted was a rugged defender from North Launceston who was able to break into the emerging St Kilda team and then returned to Tasmania. He coached junior football with success before concluding his career.
> North Launceston, 1956-58 (including 1956 and 1958 NTFA grand finals)
> St Kilda, 44 games, 1 goal, 1959-63
North Hobart/Penguin/Wynyard, Centreman/Forward, 1952-65
Colin Moore was a fabulously skilful player of his time who dominated the centre and wing positions and was selected in both the North Hobart and Penguin Teams of the Century, announced 2000 and 2003 respectively. Although Moore was a highly decorated player who achieved state representation and league and club best and fairests, the joy of a premiership escaped him.
> North Hobart, 102 games, 1952-56 and 1964-65
> Penguin, 70 games, 1957-61
> Wynyard, 30 games, 1962-63
> Coached Penguin, 1957 and 1961
> Coached Wynyard, 1962
> Captained North Hobart, 1964
> Represented Tasmania 24 times
> NWFU Wander Medal, 1958
> North Hobart best and fairest, 1953 and 1955
> TFL Weller Arnold Medal, 1954
> Represented the TFL 11 times and NWFU 18 times
> Member of North Hobart and Penguin ‘Teams of the Century’
Port Melbourne/North Launceston/Launceston, Centreman, 1951-69
Originally from Victoria, Withers played 140 senior games with Port Melbourne and represented the VFA on numerous occasions before transferring to Tasmania. He was named All Australian in 1961 and was a key figure in Tasmanian football for more than a decade.
> Captain-coach of North Launceston, 1960-67
> North Launceston premierships, 1961 and 1963
> Coached Launceston, 1968-69 and 1971-74
> Launceston premiership, 1969
> Coached Devonport, 1975 and part of 1976
> Coached East Devonport, 1979
> Represented Tasmania 15 times, including the 1960 game where Tasmania beat Victoria for the first time
> Lefroy Medal for Tasmania’s best player, 1963
> Credited with a total of 255 senior games
> All Australian, 1961