Football NSW is pleased to join its Queensland equivalent, Football Queensland, in reinvigorating a ‘State versus State’ match for senior male and female players in the National Premier Leagues.
As with other sports, where state against state takes on a special rivalry and provides a highlight in any player’s career, the two Member Federations have combined to create an annual event for the best men’s and women’s players competing in their respective NPL Competitions.
The inaugural event for this year’s challenge will take place on Saturday 12 December with Queensland hosting both matches consecutively at their iconic venue, Perry Park. It will serve as the highlight and conclusion to a three week ‘Football Festival’ being conducted by Football Queensland.
Next year, Football NSW will host the 2021 event and hosting rights will be shared on an alternate year basis.
The first Intercolonial match between NSW and Queensland took place at the Sir Joseph Banks Park in Botany on August 16, 1890, with Queensland winning 3-1.
Over the years, both states have provided many of the game’s great Socceroos and Matildas, and indeed Australia’s first international captain was Alec Gibb from the Bundamba Rangers club in Ipswich, Queensland. Gibb’s place in Australian football history is immortalised with the FFA awarding him Cap number one.
NSW has its own legend with James “Judy” Masters. Masters served on the front line in Gallipoli and is well known in the Illawarra/South Coast area, having the Balgownie club’s home ground named in his honour. He captained NSW and Australia in later matches after being unable to take up his selection on the first tour by the national team to New Zealand due to business reasons.
In women’s football too, many of the game’s legends have been forged between the two states, first commencing in the 1974 National Championships. Ms Elaine Watson OAM, referred to as the ‘matriarch’ of women’s football in Australia, managed her first Queensland side in 1964 and was the dominant figure in the women’s game (and later Australia where she served as President of the Australian Women’s Soccer Association) for decades.
For New South Wales, there are no bigger names than Pat and Joe O’Connor. Pat captained the first NSW side, which her husband Joe coached. They duo then took the team, representing Australia to the Asian Cup in Hong Kong the following year. Both Elaine and Pat are inductees the FFA’s Hall of Fame.
Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge was looking forward to reigniting that healthy ‘State v State’ rivalry in a bid to further promote our game with this exciting initiative.
“We all know how intense the contest gets when Queensland and New South Wales share a pitch.
“This is a great opportunity for our players and coaches to get up there, represent their state and exhibit the quality that exists in the NPL.
“Football NSW is pleased to work with our colleagues in Queensland to reinvigorate this concept after what has been a difficult season for all involved in the sport, and I am sure that over the years it will grow in stature and become an important event in our annual football calendar.”
Following next weekend’s Men’s NPL Grand Final, Football NSW will appoint and announce a Coach for both teams and commence the selection process of which players will represent the state.