Stats and stories: League launch 100-year book

CENTURY COMPLETE: From left, 100 Years of Whyalla Football History authors Robert Brereton, Ian 'Spider' Saunders, Jock Sleep, Teresa Sleep and WFL President Jack Velthuizen.
CENTURY COMPLETE: From left, 100 Years of Whyalla Football History authors Robert Brereton, Ian 'Spider' Saunders, Jock Sleep, Teresa Sleep and WFL President Jack Velthuizen.

A full century since the first siren rang out in Whyalla and the footy was bounced for the first time, the Whyalla Football League have created a keepsake every fan of local footy should have.

From The First Bounce - 100 Years of Whyalla Football History documents the first 100 years of organised football in the steel city, including the matches, events and characters that have shaped Whyalla's football history.

The WFL first began in 1919 under the name of the Whyalla Sporting Association, making 2019 the 100th anniversary of the league.

WFL statistician Ian 'Spider' Saunders began putting the book together in 2014, having been the league's main record holder for over 30 years.

Teresa and Jock Sleep came on board in 2018, and a group was formed to produce the book.

They spent countless hours researching the early years of the league, with Teresa undertaking the design and layout for the 470-page book - a very challenging task.

Spider Saunders, Robert Brereton and Julia Gray also made significant contributions to the book.

WFL President Jack Velthuizen said he was 'extraordinarily grateful' to the team who put the book together.

"It's a wonderful piece of history and we encourage the families who have lived in Whyalla for a long time to read it," he said.

"There's even a few jokes and funnys in there, mostly attributed to Jock Sleep, so it's a really good read."

Co-Author Jock Sleep said the group had spent a lot of time and energy producing the book over the past 14 months.

"This book offers a wonderful collection of historical and informative stories of Whyalla football," he said.

"Whilst the book has plenty of statistical information, it also contains many interesting articles about the games great players, controversial incidents, and some humor.

"I would like to thank the business community of Whyalla, who have been through some tough times over the past couple of years, for their financial support.

"I strongly recommend anyone associated with Whyalla football over the years to purchase a copy and support not just local football but the city of Whyalla."

Spider Saunders said the book mentioned a number of famous players in Whyalla's history, including Graeme Cornes, Harry Kernahan and Levi Greenwood.

"There's a lot of stories we dug up from the Trove website, and a lot of that, especially from the early years from 1920 onward, was a really big help," he said.

"Newspapers such as the Whyalla News, the Transcontinental, the Port Pirie Recorder and Eyre Tribune gave us a lot of information for the book."

The book can be purchased for $60 directly from any of the WFL clubs or the Whyalla Football League by emailing whyallafooty@bigpond.com.