From Butchers to Bulldogs – A club history

‘When speaking of the champions
One stands above the rest
Of fortunes told and glories old
That never have been best
A fine tradition within our club
We’ve always stood the test
Onward to ‘VIC-TOR-Y’
Glory glory to the Bulldogs’

In 1948 The Central Districts Rugby League Club was founded as the Victoria Park Rugby League Football Club.

1949 the original team playing, competed out of Raphael Park within the City of Perth.
It wasn’t long before the “Butchers” or the Big “V” as they were then known to achieve success winning their first Premiership in 1956, followed by titles in 1959,1960,1962,1968 and as Canning Bulldogs in 1978,1990,1991,1994 and 1999.

The Central Districts Rugby League Football Club Inc. has evolved to be one of the most successful clubs in Western Australia. In 1956 we win our first Western Australian First Grade Premiership.

1956 Bill Hillier wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Brice Trophy fore runner to the Ken Allen Medal.

1959 win Western Australian First Grade Premiership.

1960 win Western Australian First Grade Premiership.

1961 Bill Hillier wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Brice Trophy forerunner to the Ken Allen Medal.

1962 win Western Australian First Grade Premiership.

1968 win Western Australian First Grade Premiership. Bob Granville wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Brice Trophy fore runner to the Ken Allen Medal.

WILSON RESERVE As the sport of Rugby League began to thrive the primitive facilities at Raphael Park were no longer adequate for first grade football. Bill Cole foundation President had the foresight to place the sum of twenty Pounds as a holding fee to the Canning Council and a move was made to Wilson Reserve in 1977 a riverside reserve on the Canning River. This was to be home until 1999.

1978 wins Western Australian First Grade Premiership plus Graham Lynch wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Brice Trophy forerunner to the Ken Allen Medal.

1979 Ian Walls wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Brice Trophy fore runner to the Ken Allen Medal.

1979 The word had got around; that a current Sydney First-Grade Rugby League footballer was coming to our town because of a work related transfer.

Eight local club presidents desperately wanted Gary Wright playing in their team and I was one of the contestants.

Gary, a talented centre, caught me by surprise, this South Sydney star was at the height of his football career, but on meeting him he didn’t fit the expected mould. Clean cut and genuine with a beautiful young blonde wife, there was not a sign, nary a hint of a boofhead. Nor did his knuckles touch the ground.

Being an Australian Rules dominated state there was little money for League stars but all the president’s men were grovelling around searching for sponsorship shillings to some how sign this bloke on. Remarkably, somebody in the club worked as a salesman for a record company and donated 100 long play vinyl records to add to the temptation coffers. But I was to discover that Wright wasn’t into the cargo-cult when I invited him and his bride to our home for dinner.

On a freezing winter’s evening, when the Wrights sat down at our dining table, along with our two friends, Pat and Yvonne Stilling. Our guest from Sydney made it very clear that he had promised to talk with other clubs and to prove his integrity and independence he intended to live up to his word. My heart shrunk but my admiration for Gary Wright grew at a rapid pace. One thing for sure was we were running low on options to win this headstrong footballer over.

Although he had only been in our town for a day or two, Gary heard of my involvement in wine and food (I was writing a column for a Sunday Newspaper) so he called into a bottle shop and bought bitterly cold lager and a bottle of wine to bring to dinner.

The pink labelled wine was a Porphyry Pearl by Lindeman’s, not a wine style that would normally make my cellar. But as I was on my best behaviour I neglected to explain that the bottle of bubbles wasn’t exactly my taste. So I stowed the popular Pearl Wine in my cellar.
Meanwhile, our other guests offered to drive the Wright’s to their newly rented flat. So after a delightful dinner, the Stilling’s loaded our guests into the car while outside, a dark, chilly night confronted us all. On arrival at the new unit/flat there was a problem, the Wright’s furniture had not been delivered that day as promised.

So this left a unit that was cold and bare as an Artic Penguin’s shivering bum. Worst of all there wasn’t even a warm pillow or blanket in sight. Of course my friends offered accommodation but Gary Wright refused, not wanting to be under any obligation and sticking to his admirable, but glacial independence.

The Stilling’s being delightful, caring people, simply drove home many suburbs distant. Loaded their car with bedding, pots, pans and hot water jug, drove back and promptly dumped it at the door of the freezing flat, gave a warning knock and drove off.

So here lies the moral of this tale. Sometimes human kindness is rewarded over cargo-cult treasures (even including long play records). The delightful, stubborn and honourable Gary Wright signed with our club and became a firm friend.

But like all good yarns there is a twist.

Gary Wright now a highly successful businessman in Sydney came to visit after 27 years. So I went to the cellar and there on the top shelf was the very bottle of bubbles he had kindly and with a touch of naivety brought to dinner all those years before…I happily presented it back to him unopened!

AS IN IMAGE MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 06 – Sir lunch-a-lot ( Stewart van Raalte)

1983 John Zahra wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Brice Trophy fore runner to the Ken Allen Medal.

1984 Belmont merged with the Perth Kiwi’s later to become the “Belmont Steelers” of which Charlie Burkhart (a former State and Canning Bulldog player) had a huge influence (later to become the first to privately own a club in the Western Australian rugby league in 1986).

1990 was the start of the golden era for the Canning Bulldogs achieving six Grand final appearances in the decade 1990, 1991,1994,1996,1998 and 1999.

1991 win Western Australian First Grade Premiership.

1992 Carl Grigg wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Ken Allen Medal.

1994 win Western Australian First Grade Premiership plus Fred Sapatu wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Ken Allen Medal.

1996 Grand Finalists

1997 saw the demise of Foundation Club Belmont, like a few Perth Clubs the Super League War had a significant effect over the League competition and the stresses of a financial nature and a rebuff in local interest was to see Applecross and Mosman-Cottesloe also fall by the wayside.

CENTENARY PARK in Belmont was first occupied by the Belmont and Districts Rugby League Football Club Inc. The “Rabbitoh’s” as they were then known, moved from Lee Reserve in Lathlain not far from Raphael Park to Centenary Park in 1983.

1998 the Western Australia Rugby League “WARL”was to occupy this now historic ground and was to be the hosting of the Bulldogs and North Beach in the grounds first Grand Final. Peter Trevitt wins the Western Australian Best Player award (along with Jarred Miller of North Beach) the Ken Allen Medal.

1999 this venue hosted another Grand Final with the Bulldogs winning Western Australian First Grade Premiership over arch rivals North Beach and thus securing all three trophies the Pre-Season, Minor and Major Premierships possibly the Club’s finest year.

2000 the WARL introduced the District concept with Canning Rugby League Club given the opportunity to foster the game in the Eastern Suburbs of Perth. Club President Stephen Mills and Club Secretary Gordon Allen met with the Armadale and Midland Rugby League Club’s and in a historic moment after many negotiations with Jack Fry (Midland RLFC) and Bill Cody (Armadale RLFC) the East Districts Rugby League and the” Eastern Bulldogs” were conceived.

As the” Bulldogs’ home of Wilson Park was inadequate to host all grades from juniors to seniors as was required by the League a new venue was sought. Centenary Park was offered as a temporary arrangement. Discussions were held with numerous venues and Cannington Raceway and Kenwick Sports Club the front runners.

2001 the “Dogs” played out of the Kenwick Sports Club’s Mills Park Complex (which was the over all choice of the District) and was to see a resurgence in spectators and player numbers, however the Kenwick Sorts Club couldn’t honour their full commitment because of financial constraints. The WARL offered an invitation to Stephen Mills and Craig Puddy for the Bulldogs to take over the lease of Centenary Park as the League was looking to move to the re-configured Perth Oval with the Perth Glory Soccer Club.

2002 the members voted to move to the Historic Centenary Park.
Shane Brook wins the Western Australian Best Player award the Ken Allen Medal.

2003 1st, Reserve grade and under 17s made the grand finals.
Eastern Bulldogs Ladies entered the competition.

2004 The withdrawal of Armadale RLC from the partnership and going alone
The Eastern Bulldogs and the Beechboro Brothers consolidate resources.
35 Players retire or leave the club forcing club to compete in reserve grade.

2005 Premier (Reserve) Grade wins the Grand Final beating the Rockingham Sharks 24-12. Ladies lose Grand Final 10-6. Under 16’s Win the Grand final 54-50 in extra time

2006 the WARL made the decision to only accept first grade clubs into the senior competition. Having not enough players to field first and reserve grade the club withdrew their application for seniors and concentrated on the junior competition and will endeavor to apply again for the 2007 senior competition. 50th Anniversary of our first Western Australian First Grade Premiership.

2007 Armadale RLC ceases operations and agrees to once again partner our entry into first grade. Central Districts becomes the favourite to succeed as a new name for the Club.

2008 celebrated 60th year anniversary. Made the finals in first grade premiers under 17’s.

2009 runners up in first grade and reserve grade premiers under 17’s, under 16’s girls league tag and premiers women’s league tag. Tim Deba Cook wins Ken Allen Medal, 2nd Josh Benjamin and 3rd Wais Rauroro.

2010 Kalamunda council spending $750.000.00 on Pioneer Park Forrestfield.
Club moving full time if finished if not will shift in an orderly manner. Will have three fields, change rooms, toilet facilities and a canteen sharing with a soft ball club. Kalamunda –Canning RLFC mooted as to new name “KC BULLDOGS”