The West

Golden years bound up for proud Bulldogs
Bulldogs champions Steve Marsh, left, and John Todd with the new book on South Fremantle Football Club’s first 60 years, Southerners Forever More. Picture: Sharon Smith/WA News

They were known as South Fremantle's golden years and a book celebrating the proud club's history has fittingly used the era's greatest player to grace its cover.

Sandover medallist Steve Marsh won six premierships from nine grand final appearances from 1945 to 1956, a period of unprecedented dominance for the Bulldogs in which they finished no lower than third.

But even the roving genius admits those 12 seasons of greatness would never have been possible without the club's solid foundations.

The book, Southerners Forever More, details the "triumphs and tribulations" of South Fremantle's first six decades, from the inaugural season in 1900.

Rare photographs, annual reports and memorabilia have been unearthed for a publication written by lifetime member Steve Errington and edited by The West Australian's former sports editor and writer Ray Wilson.

The 178-page book starts with co-founder and businessman Griff John, who appointed himself as secretary of a club that didn't exist. It ends with the legendary achievements of Marsh and John Todd, who won a Sandover Medal as a 17-year-old.

Marsh joined the Bulldogs at a low ebb, the under-19 team losing every game in 1944.

He would become a four-times best-and-fairest winner and premiership captain in 226 matches, but still said he was lucky to earn those games.

"They talk about the money the players get today," he said. "In 1945 we used to pay our own way in the gate, one shilling.

"We played for the love of it. We didn't worry about anything else. It was great.

"I was very lucky to be in the side. They talk about best players, who's brilliant, who's a legend. But every player who played in that side between 1947 and 54, they all had a part to play. If anyone ever asked me who was the best player, I'd say everyone."

Southerners Forever More will be launched at the club tonight.

The West Australian

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