West Adelaide’s 1927 SANFL flag

Peter Argent

Captain Coached by the legendary Bruce McGregor, with fellow Silver City exports “Sonna” Stokes, Harold Solomon, “Chilla” Payne and Harry Lee as premiership team mates, the 1927 was a highlight of the immediate post war years for the West Adelaide Football Club.

A major influence in the ’27 SANFL premiership was this “Hill” factor.

The club had moved to Wayville Oval at the start of the season and at this home base, they won all eight games during the campaign, making the ground a fortress for opposition clubs.

The Bloods only endured three losses in the 17-game minor round season and finished minor premiers for the first time in the club’s rich and diverse history.

West easily won its semi-final, defeating Port Adelaide by 50 points, but went down to North in the Final by four points in a thriller.

Exercising their right to play a Challenge Final as they were top at the end of the regular season, they came back the following week and defeated North by seven points.

The final score in the Challenge final was West Adelaide 10.11 (71) defeating North Adelaide 9.10 (64).

This game the club a first premiership in 15 years, with the previous triumph being before World War I, back in 1912.

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“It was my best year in football,” a proud McGregor said in Merv Agars history of the Club – Bloods Sweat and Tears

“There was a great team spirit within the club that year.

“We had a lot of good players, but no-one was looking for personal glory.

“They didn’t care how were scored goals or who kicked them, so long as we got them.”

McGregor was the son of a miner, Peter, and had 1922 Magarey Medalist Bobbie Barnes as his hero went he played with West Broken Hill before coming to Adelaide.

By the time he was 19 McGregor was vice captain of the West Robins A grade team and that season also won the Hurley Medal for the best and fairest player in the Barrier league.

McGregor played state football for the SANFL after just three league games, and would win back-to-back Magarey Medals in 1926-27.

His magnificent ’27 season included the flag and captaining SA at the National Football Championships in Melbourne.

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A significant knee injury finished his playing day in 1929. He had a stint as South Adelaide no playing coach the next year, and then accepted an appointment as the North Hobart playing coach in 1931.

He took over at Glenelg in 1933 and led them to the ’34 flag, where they were distinct underdogs.

Lee played as a robust half back in the premiership team, while the trio of rover, Payne, wingman Solomon and utility Stokes all arrived at the club in 1926.

Lee played 97 games across nine years from 1920, Payne notched up 64 games from ‘26 to ’29, kicking 94 goals, while Stokes would play 106 matches in the black and red, kicking 62 goals.

The other member of this quintet Harold Solomon led the way with 119 games between 1926 and 1932, kicking 52 goals.

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