Dudley colts breakthrough

A special anniversary is happening this year for one of the islands oldest clubs.

Dudley United have won many premierships in the senior grades but unfortunately success in the colts has been few and far between.

The colts competition has been running on the island since 1967, but in the 53 years Dudley has won just one premiership; in 1980.

This side were a young richly talented team that finished top of the table, coached by Dutchy Howard and captained by David Stoeckel. Their opponents, Wisanger, wouldn't be easy beats however, Nick Wooley was the massive key for them.

Wooley had won the Pharmacy Medal playing out of the ruck, but against the Dudley side he played loose in defence to help set up Wisangers plays.

The key question would be, would he have enough helpers on the day?

Dudley had first use of the breeze, but both teams started nervously and it was five minutes into the quarter before a score was registered. Dudley attacked constantly, but they were usually thwarted by Wooley, Edwards and Kildea. Dudley led at the first change by seven points.

The Dudley pace men started getting on top in the centre, but once again the Wisanger defence stood strong. Wisanger used the ball well out of the defensive line, and broke through on the scoreboard a couple of times to be down by just one point at the long break.

The Eagles started the third in style, Howard kicking the first from the first play but it was to be the only joy for the term.

It was then that the Eagles coach could stand it no longer, his team should have been doing better and he told them so! The message got through and two rapid fire goals was all it needed to break the Panthers spirit.

In just 15 minutes the Eagles had gone from a nervous fumbling rabble into a smooth goal kicking machine and more than doubled their score in the final quarter.

The final margin was 39 points, but Wisanger greatly lacking the firepower of the Eagles did so well and must have been disappointed the result was not closer.

The Wisanger side, while disappointed on the day would win four of the next five premierships, many featuring players that played on this day.

Many of this Dudley side would feature in very powerful sides over the next few years, especially the 1984 and 1988 A Grade premiership sides.

David Stoeckel would dominate the 1984 grand final (Dudley defeating Wisanger by 120 points), kicking eight goals in his last game on the island. Stoeckel would go on to play 267 games for South Adelaide from 1985-1997 and captain the side for two seasons.

The Dudley colts have sadly lacked in success since this day 40 years ago, but not through lack of trying. They have finished second on a number of occasions, including last year.