City v Country - Australia's oldest football match-up

Rugby league's annual City v Country game continues a football tradition in Australia in the 1830s - decades before the first notions of forming clubs and football codes were even contemplated.

The first recorded football games in Australia were in Sydney in 1829 and in the decade that followed. Still closely tied to their British origins, the people of NSW indulged in the traditional folk football games of their former homelands.

Football games were special occasions; the playing of them was linked closely to community festivals, fetes and holidays, particularly Shrove Tuesday ("Pancake Day"). Predominantly a young man's game, two teams were usually picked along social lines such as "soldiers v tradesmen".

The very first instances of territorial match-ups in folk football, which ultimately led to the idea of district based football clubs and representative matches, were football games played out between "Countrymen" against "Townsmen".

Very much like the country and city crowds drawn to the Royal Easter Show, it made sense to organise the men (and supporters) into football teams at Sydney's holiday festivals along the natural divide of bush v city.

While folk football died out, the tradition and rivalry continued across NSW when organised football began, by the 1880s annual battles between "Combined Countrymen" against "Metropolis" were being played in Sydney.

When rugby league was founded a strong effort was made to ensure this tradition lived on, and in 1911 "City v Country" made its debut on the league calendar.

By the 1920s the City v Country contest was a regular occurrence, and was seen as a vital means for country footballers to display their skills against the flashy and well-known players of the city. In 1928 City v Country became a permanent fixture, and rural fans began making the annual trek to Sydney to cheer for their own men, and to barrack against City.


ORIGIN ERA (1987- present) Matches: 18 City: 11 wins / NSW Country: 7 wins 1987: City 30 d. Country 22 @ Parramatta 1988: City 20 d. Country 18 @ SFS 1989: City 16 d. Country 8 @ Newcastle 1990: City 28 d. Country 26 @ SFS 1991: City 22 d. Country 12 @ SFS 1992: Country 17 d. City 10 @ SFS 1993: City 7 d. Country 0 @ Parramatta 1994: Country 22 d. City 2 @ Newcastle 1995: City 16 d. Country 8 @ Wollongong 1996: Country 18 d. City 16 @ Wollongong 1997: Country 17 d. City 4 @ Newcastle 1998: not held 1999: not held 2000: not held 2001: Country 42 d. City 10 @ Bathurst 2002: City 26 d. Country 16 @ Wagga Wagga 2003: City 17 d. Country 16 @ Gosford 2004: Country 22 d. City 18 @ Gosford 2005: City 29 d. Country 22 @ Lismore 2006: Country 12 d. City 10 @ Dubbo 2007: City 12 d. Country 6 @ Coffs Harbour

TRADITIONAL ERA (1928-1986) Matches: 64 City: 53 wins / NSW Country: 10 wins / Drawn: 1 All matches were held at the Sydney Cricket Ground or Sports Ground except where otherwise noted 1928: Country 35 d. City 34 1929: City 16 d. Country 5 1930: Country 35 d. City 26 1931: City 17 d. Country 15 1932: City 27 d. Country 15 1933: City 47 d. Country 6 .........City & Country 17-all 1934: City 28 d. Country 14 ........ City 32 d. Country 29 1935: City 20 d. Country 5 1936: City 41 d. Country 8 1937: Country 20 d. City 12 ........ Country 15 d. City 5 1938: City 42 d. Country 12 1939: City 38 d. Country 17 1940: City 28 d. Country 10 1941: City 44 d. Country 21 1942: Country 14 d. City 11 1943: City 37 d. Country 25 1944: City 17 d. Country 10 1945: City 41 d. Country 12 1946: City 31 d. Country 10 1947: City 33 d. Country 10 1948: City 28 d. Country 13 ........ City 6 d. Country 5 1949: City 23 d. Country 2 1950: City 51 d. Country 13 1951: City 24 d. Country 6 1952: City 23 d. Country 21 1953: Country 28 d. City 27 1954: City 50 d. Country 9 1955: City 31 d. Country 18 1956: City 32 d. Country 17 1957: City 53 d. Country 2 1958: City 55 d. Country 14 1959: City 37 d. Country 7 1960: City 20 d. Country 2 1961: Country 19 d. City 5 1962: Country 18 d. City 8 1963: City 35 d. Country 11 1964: City 27 d. Country 4 1965: City 32 d. Country 2 1966: City 18 d. Country 14 ........ Country 16 d. City 12 1967: City 18 d. Country 17 1968: City 34 d. Country 14 1969: City 27 d. Country 20 1970: City 22 d. Country 18 1971: City 17 d. Country 0 1972: City 35 d. Country 8 1973: City 33 d. Country 17 1974: City 23 d. Country 0 1975: Country 19 d. City 9 1976: City 47 d. Country 0 1977: City 36 d. Country 0 1978: City 30 d. Country 13 1979: City 29 d. Country 0 1980: City 55 d. Country 2 1981: City 38 d. Country 7 @ Canberra 1982: City 47 d. Country 3 @ Newcastle 1983: City 30 d. Country 14 @ Newcastle 1984: City 38 d. Country 12 1985: City 18 d. Country 12 @ Newcastle 1986: City 34 d. Country 18 @ Newcastle

ALL-TIME RESULTS (1928-2007) Matches: 82 City: 64 wins / NSW Country: 17 wins / Drawn: 1

- http://www.RL1908.com

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