Grafton Athletic

Grafton Athletic was a rugby league club in Auckland. They competed in the Auckland Rugby League competition from 1914 to 1920 as Grafton Athletic, and as Fire Brigade in 1921–22 before they folded.

Grafton Athletic
Club information
Full nameGrafton Athletic Football Club
ColoursBlack and White
Founded1914
Exited1922
Former details
Ground(s)
CaptainKarl Ifwersen
CompetitionAuckland Rugby League
Records
Premierships1915
Minor premiership1915

Club historyEdit

FormationEdit

Grafton were formed to compete in the 1914 Auckland Rugby League season. Their first ever annual meeting was held on March 27 of that year.[1] Its first president was Mr. John Endean and international Karl Ifwersen was on its committee as well as being its star player in its early years. They wore black and white uniforms. Ifwersen was said to be instrumental in the forming of the club. He had played for North Shore Albions the previous season after switching from rugby to league. The NZ Herald indeed stated "Ifwersen has been very busy for some time past organising the Grafton Club, which he formed practically by himself, and of which he is now the energetic secretary".[2] Like many of the clubs at the time they did not have their own ground per se and played the majority of their matches at Victoria Park with some at the Auckland Domain before the creation of Carlaw Park as the headquarters of Auckland Rugby League.

Playing record and lone titleEdit

In their first season (1914) they came 4th with a 3 win and 6 loss record. That same season they also fielded a side in the second grade who finished towards the bottom of the table, and 2 sides in the fourth grade who also finished down the table.

In 1915 they won the senior championship with a 7 win, 1 draw, and 2 loss record. They defeated City Rovers in the final 10 points to 5 in front of 4000 spectators at Victoria Park.[3] They were led by the talented Karl Ifwersen who was the competition's top point scorer and Dougie McGregor. George Iles who later went on to play for New Zealand also played for Grafton in this 1915 season. Bob Mitchell played with them from 1914 to 1919 after transferring from City Rovers during the 1914 season. Tom Haddon also joined the side in their inaugural season and was part of the committee and selection committee. He played 2 seasons before departing for the war. Ifwersen top scored in the senior competition in the 1914, 15, and 16 seasons. The 1915 win was to be their only title.

In the 1915 season they also fielded a handful of junior teams. Their second grade side finished last, their fourth grade team withdrew after 2 weeks, though this was not uncommon in the war years due to many players enlisting in the military. Their fifth grade side also struggled though they improved later in the season registering a win over Manukau, and a draw with North Shore Albions.

Ernie Herring transferred from rugby in 1919 and was to play for them for two seasons before departing for the Maritime club. Another Kiwi, Charles Woolley also spent three years playing for them from 1920 to 1922. In the remainder of the decade they struggled to be competitive and some years defaulted matches. In 1921 they asked for permission to change their name to "Fire Brigade Club".[4] They did not fare any better under their new name and finished last with a 1 win and 7 loss record in 1921 and again came last in 1922. Bill Te Whata switched codes and moved to Auckland joining the club whoever he only played 3 matches as he spent much of the season playing in representative matches including the New Zealand Māori tour of Australia where he played 9 matchs. This was to be the last year that the Grafton Athletic/Fire Brigade club played.

In the mid 1920s the Maritime club which had changed its name to Athletic took on the name 'Grafton Athletic' before they eventually amalgamated with Kingsland, and then they later amalgamated with Marist Old Boys and ceased to exist as a stand-alone club.

The Grafton Athletic/Fire Brigade club finished after 9 seasons in the first grade competition with a 22 win, 2 draw, 59 loss all-time record, scoring 715 points and conceding 1,334.

Myers Cup/Monteith Shield (first grade championship)Edit

Season Name Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Position (Teams)
1914 Grafton Athletic 9 3 0 6 75 115 -40 6 Fourth (Six)
1915 Grafton Athletic 10 7 1 2 118 70 +48 15 First (Six)
1916 Grafton Athletic 10 5 0 5 101 85 +16 10 Third (Six)
1917 Grafton Athletic 7 0 0 7* 21 144 -123 0 Fifth (Six) (1 lost by default)
1918 Grafton Athletic 8 2 0 6 94 125 -31 4 Fourth (Six)
1919 Grafton Athletic 6 1 0 5 36 75 -39 2 Sixth (Eight)
1920 Grafton Athletic 11 1 0 10** 78 228 -150 2 Seventh (Seven) (2 lost by default)
1921 Fire Brigade 8 1 0 7 49 179 -130 2 Seventh (Seven)
1922 Fire Brigade 14 2 1 11 143 313 -170 5 Eighth (Eight)
1914-22 Total 83 22 2 59 715 1334 -619 46 N/A

Roope Rooster recordEdit

Season Name Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Position (Teams)
1915 Grafton Athletic 3 1 1 1 28 28 0 N/A Lost in 2nd semi final to North Shore
1916 Grafton Athletic 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 N/A Defaulted to City Rovers in R1
1917 Grafton Athletic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A Did not compete
1918 Grafton Athletic 1 0 0 1 11 16 -5 N/A Lost to Maritime 16-11 in R1.
1919 Grafton Athletic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A Did not compete
1920 Grafton Athletic 1 0 0 1 3 14 -9 N/A Lost to City Rovers in R1 14-3.
1921 Fire Brigade 1 0 0 1 7 12 -5 N/A Lost in the semi final to Maritime 12-7.
1922 Fire Brigade 1 0 0 1 12 15 -3 N/A Lost to Athletic 15-12 in R1
1914-22 Total 8 1 1 6 61 85 -24 N/A N/A

Representative playersEdit

New ZealandEdit

 
Karl Ifwersen
 
Ernie Herring
 
Charles Woolley

AucklandEdit

New Zealand MāoriEdit

Auckland ProvinceEdit

AustraliasiaEdit

George Iles also played for Grafton Athletic from 1914 to 1915 but did not represent Auckland or New Zealand in that time. While Horace Neal also played for the club briefly in 1920, the year after his lone appearance for New Zealand. Tom Haddon played for Grafton in 1914 and 1915 before leaving for World War 1. When he returned from the war he joined the City Rovers club and made the New Zealand side in 1919. William Johnston also made one controversial appearance for Grafton in 1920. Maritime protested his appearance claiming he was not registered but as he had returned from England in 1914 (where he had played with Wigan and Warrington) the Auckland Rugby League was satisfied that he was not registered with any other club.

All time top point scorers (1914-1922)Edit

The point scoring lists are compiled from matches played in matches from the first grade championship, the Roope Rooster and Phelan Shield. One off matches and exhibition matches are not included.

Top point scorers
No Player Start End Games Tries Con Pen DG Mark Pts
1 Karl Ifwersen 1914 1920 55 34 42 54 0 4 302
2 J Wareing 1921 1922 - 7 7 11 0 0 57
3 Dougie McGregor 1915 1918 37 10 3 0 0 0 36
4 Charles Woolley 1920 1922 20 4 4 2 0 0 24
5 Henderson 1921 - - 4 2 2 0 0 20
6 John McGregor 1914 1915 - 5 0 0 0 0 15
6 H Simpson 1918 - - 5 0 0 0 0 15
8 R Coates 1921 1922 - 4 1 0 0 0 14
9 Tremain 1918 - 4 0 0 0 0 0 12
10 Brady 1920 1922 - 3 1 0 0 0 11
10 Cargill 1921 - - 3 1 0 0 0 11
10 F Collins 1915 1920 - 3 1 0 0 0 11
10 Lovett 1921 - - 3 0 1 0 0 11
10 C Owen 1914 1920 - 3 0 0 0 1 11
10 J Woolley 1921 1922 - 3 1 0 0 0 11
16 Ernie Herring 1919 1922 29 3 0 0 0 0 9
17 Bob Mitchell 1914 1919 28 3 0 0 0 0 9

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Grafton Athletic Club". The New Zealand Herald. Vol. LI, no. 15569. 28 March 1914. p. 10. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Under League Rules/Notes and Comments". The New Zealand Herald. Vol. LI, no. 15601. 6 May 1914. p. 5. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Grafton Wins Competition". The New Zealand Herald. Vol. LII, no. 15985. 2 August 1915. p. 4. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  4. ^ "The Management Committee". Vol. LVIII, no. 17755. The Management Committee. 14 March 1921. p. New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2019.