2015 Legendary Team – Launceston Team of 1933

The Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame ‘Legendary Team’ for 2015 is the Launceston team of 1933.

Launceston’s record in northern Tasmanian football was already impressive going into the 1933 season, with the club boasting 14 NTFA flags between 1888 and 1929. Initially held by Ken Roberts, the coaching reins were taken part way through 1933 by future Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame inductee Leo McAuley. McAuley took control of a side bristling with fellow future Hall of Fame inductees, including Trevor Ranson, Roy Cooper, Jim ‘Dodger’ Williams, Albert Waddle, and Launceston stalwarts Joe Cahill and Doug Wheeler. And yet, even with history and a star-studded side in their corner, no-one could have imagined the extent to which Launceston would dominate Tasmanian football in coming years.

Having defeated City to take out the 1933 NTFA flag, Launceston backed up their success with another five consecutive NTFA premierships between 1934 and 1938 – including four in a row against traditional rivals North Launceston – cementing Launceston’s position as the premier side of their generation in northern Tasmanian football. Not satisfied with purely local ascendancy, however, the Blues proceeded to dominate the state premiership race as well, winning five of the six titles on offer during the same six-year period. A landmark maiden state triumph over Cananore in 1933 was followed by victories over North Hobart in 1934 (17 points), New Town in 1935 (65 points), Lefroy in 1937 (21 points) and North Hobart again in 1938 (66 points). A 17-point defeat to North Hobart in trying conditions in 1936 was their only loss in a premiership decider for six years.

Never before or since has a club been so dominant as to win 11 of 12 senior premierships over a six-year period. 47 players tasted success in the navy blue guernsey between 1933 and 1938, and of those 47, 16 appeared in no less than five premiership sides. Quartet Roy Cooper, Joe Cahill, Doug Wheeler and ‘Dodger’ Williams each appeared in 10 or more premiership sides, while Cooper, Cahill and Wheeler played in all 12 league and state grand finals, and as a result, all 11 premierships.

1933 Launceston 12.14 (86) City 7.8 (50) York Park
1934 Launceston 14.22 (106) North Launceston 6.15 (51) York Park
1935 Launceston 14.9 (93) North Launceston 12.12 (84) York Park
1936 Launceston 15.21 (111) North Launceston 10.15 (75) York Park
1937 Launceston 10.11 (71) North Launceston 10.10 (70) York Park
1938 Launceston 12.14 (86) City 8.13 (61) York Park


1933 Launceston 13.16 (94) Cananore 12.13 (85) North Hobart Oval 5,860
1934 Launceston 8.11 (59) North Hobart 5.12 (42) York Park 3,000
1935 Launceston 15.17 (107) New Town 6.6 (42) North Hobart Oval 5,253
1936 North Hobart 9.7 (61) Launceston 6.8 (44) York Park 4,000
1937 Launceston 16.9 (105) Lefroy 12.12 (84) North Hobart Oval 7,600
1938 Launceston 16.9 (105) North Hobart 5.9 (39) York Park 4,000


Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame Inductees: Roy Cooper, Leo McAuley, Trevor Ranson, Albert Waddle, Jim ‘Dodger’ Williams.

Tasmanian Carnival Representatives: Lou Kelly, Trevor Ranson (1933).

NTFA Leading Goalkickers: Hilton Ranson (1933), Albert Waddle (1935), Les Smith (1937 and 1938).

Tasman Shields Trophy Recipients (NTFA Best and Fairest): K. W. Cahill (1933 and 1936).

LFC Life Members: Joe Cahill, Roy Cooper, Leo McAuley, Roy Marriner, Trevor Ranson, Albert Waddle, Jim ‘Dodger’ Williams.

LFC 100 Game Players: Leo McAuley (203), Roy Cooper (181), W. ‘Bill’ Gurr (176), Trevor Ranson (140), Albert Waddle (137), Joe Cahill (136), Lou Kelly (132), Ron Swinton (129), Doug Wheeler (127), W. ‘Bronco’ Phillips (124), Doug Elmer (123), Keith Russell (118), W. ‘Bill’ Cahill (114), Jim ‘Dodger’ Williams (112), Roy Marriner (100).

1933 NTFA Grand Final – Launceston vs. City – 30th September 1933
Launceston: 4.1 (25) 4.4 (28) 7.13 (55) 12.14 (86)
City: 1.2 (8) 4.5 (29) 5.6 (38) 7.8 (50)

Launceston: H. Ranon 5, J. Cahill 2, B. Norquay 2, J. WIlliams, A. Waddle, R. Swinton
City: Dodd 2, Brown 2, Rosevear, Ferguson, Connell.

R.Ward, J. Williams, D. Wheeler, L. Kelly, R. Cooper, T. Ranson
City: H. Smith, Connell, Lewis, McMahon, Pedder, Stocks

Launceston decisively won their first NTFA premiership since 1929 on Saturday, defeating City by 36 points at York Park and thus earning the right to play Cananore in Hobart next Saturday for the state premiership. Played in fine and warm conditions, the match was a fast and strenuous one for the first three quarters, calling for speed and stamina. Launceston outstayed City in the slower final term, and although easing up slightly scored three goals at the finish with little opposition. On the day, Launceston was the superior team in every department, excelling in combined play and beating City in the air. Despite 13 previous NTFA titles, Launceston has never won a state premiership.


1933 State Grand Final – Launceston vs. Cananore – 7th October, 1933
Launceston: 1.6 (12) 5.12 (42) 8.15 (61) 13.16 (94)
Cananore: 2.5 (17) 4.8 (32) 10.11 (71) 12.13 (85)

Launceston: J. Cahill 4, A. Waddle 3, H. Ranson, J. Williams, R. Swinton, P. Doyle, B. Norquay, W. Phillips.
Cananore: Tuttle 3, Gardiner 2, Geappen, Coombes, Hill, Terry, Hartnett, Riggs, Knight.

Launceston: R. Cooper, C. Clarke, W. Cahill, J. Cahill, R. Ward, L. Kelly.
Cananore: Reid, Jackson, Warner, Evans, Billett, Tuttle.

Although many stirring state premiership matches have been witnessed on the North Hobart Oval, it is doubtful if any have produced such a high standard of football as that shown this afternoon when Launceston, for the first time in its 54-year existence, won the state premiership by defeating Cananore by nine points. The day was ideal for football for both players and spectators, with warm sunshine tempered by a mild breeze prevailing throughout the afternoon, resulting in 5,860 persons being present for a gate of £350. From the opening bounce until the final bell the game was of a most even nature, although it was apparent from the early stages that, despite the strange ground, Launceston were the better combination. Cananore fought back strongly, however it was in general team work that they failed, and so gradually lost their grip of the game. Launceston were also slightly superior in the air, whilst their main strength lay in their centre line of Cooper, Kelly, and Clarke. These three players dominated this division throughout, and played a most important part in the victory. With 15 minutes to go the northern representatives were 21 points in arrears, but staged a remarkable recovery to overwhelm Cananore in the last few minutes. At the conclusion of the game, wild scenes of enthusiasm marked the northerners’ victory, which, despite the strong southern support, was a most popular one.


The following players represented Launceston FC in NTFA and/or state grand finals between 1933 and 1938:

Player Premierships Player Premierships
Joe Cahill* 11 Tom Ryan 3
Roy Cooper (HOF)* 11 Ron Swinton 3
Doug Wheeler* 11 Jack Beveridge 2
Jim ‘Dodger’ Williams (HOF) 10 C.J. ‘Cocky’ Billett 2
Doug Elmer 9 Eric Billett 2
Lou Kelly 9 C. Clarke 2
Trevor Ranson (HOF) 9 N. Cruse 2
Keith Russell 9 P. Doyle 2
Jock Elmer 8 H. ‘Hackie’ Gee 2
Roy Marriner 8 Maurie ‘Mocha’ Johnson 2
K. W. ‘Bill’ Cahill 7 Tom O’Byrne 2
Viv Burke 5 W. ‘Bronco’ Phillips 2
W. ‘Bill’ Gurr 5 R. Philpott 2
Roy Horton 5 Hilton Ranson 2
Les Smith 5 Alf Thurstan 2
Albert Waddle (HOF) 5 Ron Ward 2
R. Bonner 4 E. Williams 2
P. H. Dean 4 Max Cox 1
Leo McAuley (HOF) 4 Frank Davies 1
F. McKenna 4 Alan Newman 1
Dick Clemons 3 C. ‘Cizzy’ Williams 1
R. Gossage 3 B. Geeves 1
Bill Norquay 3 R. J. Quinn 1
L. Ride 3

* Three players – Joe Cahill, Roy Cooper and Doug Wheeler – played in all 12 NTFA/state grand finals that Launceston