The 2020 WAFL grand final was held at Fremantle Oval and just about everything went right – perfect weather, close game and an engaged crowd. And without doubt one of the stars of the day was the big bold scoreboard that had Claremont’s score on top as they made it to the grand final first.
Two weeks after the big game the score was still up with a slight adjustment – South Fremantle’s score was in its usual place.
The idea is not new, in fact it would be law if scoreboardpressure.com had anything to do with it, for premiers to display the grand final score over summer. And try doing that with a digital scoreboard.
After South Fremantle defeated East Fremantle in the 1997 WAFL grand final at Subiaco Oval, Steve McCarthy added to the celebrations back at Fremantle Oval by bolting the score onto the scoreboard.
SF 13.7 (85)
EF 11.13 (79)
It turned out to be a very good idea.
Steve was not only the ground manager at Fremantle Oval but also the scoreboard attendant. Early the next season the weather was so wild at a game that Steve couldn’t see. “I went behind the scoreboard and was looking through those little drill holes – it was the only way I could see the game.”
Footy was first played at Fremantle Oval in 1895 when, after a couple of years of negotiations, the Fremantle Football Club got the go ahead to use the area then known as Barracks Field.
Fremantle shared the ground with Imperials who dropped out of the competition and were replaced in 1898 by East Fremantle. Fremantle folded in 1899 and South Fremantle was formed in 1900.
East and South shared Fremantle Oval until East moved to East Fremantle Oval in 1953, something they also did in 1906 but that move only lasted a year.
East Fremantle’s most famous team won 35 consecutive games, including two grand finals from half way through the 1945 season to round four 1947. The undefeated premiership team of 1946 was coached by Jerry Dolan, captained by Charlie Doig and included Jack Sheedy, Jim Conway and Allan Ebbs.
South’s golden era began with the 1947 premiership and included flags in 1948, 1950, 1952 and 1953. Ross Hutchinson coached the first two premierships and Clive Lewington the next three. The stars of the team were Steve Marsh, Charlie Tyson, Frank Treasure and Bernie Naylor.
Fremantle Oval was the original home of the Fremantle Dockers and is where Fremantle’s AFLW team play their home games.