This year’s Round 1 VFL game between historic rivals Williamstown and Port Melbourne will be historic for several more reasons, playing under newly installed light towers with 300Lux lights at Downer Oval where the clubs will clash for the coveted Johnson-Callahan Cup.
The trophy is named in honour of club legends Frank Johnson and Gerry Callahan, players who have both contributed to the longest running rivalry in Australian Rules Football, which has spanned over 145 years.
Gerry ‘The Monster’ Callahan was recruited to the Williamstown Football Club in 1951 and over the next 17 years established himself as one of the greatest players, coaches and personalities ever to wear the Blue and Gold.
Frank Johnson had a remarkable career at Port Melbourne, playing 165 games and kicking 52 goals between 1950 and 1957. He is a 5-time Best and Fairest winner, and also captained and coached the team before being named Life Member of the VFL/VFA and AFL Hall of Fame Member.
Respective coaches Andrew Collins and Gary Ayres were on hand for the announcement, as the former Hawthorn Premiership teammates from the 1980’s will go to battle in the coaches’ box for the sixth straight season, with the ledger sitting at 5-4 in favour of Collins.
Collins says this just adds further significance to the rivalry. “We’ve got two of the oldest sporting clubs in Australia and now to honour these two legends of the respective clubs adds that bit more to the rivalry.”
Ayres echoed Collins. “For us to have a showcase game Round 1 against our traditional rivals is a great thing for us stand alone clubs.” This is a great thing for the VFL with two of the most successful clubs battling it out twice a year for the Johnson-Callahan Cup.”
It is understood both clubs are expecting a huge crowd at Downer Oval for the Round 1 VFL clash which will kick off at 7.15pm on Saturday 6th April, with the historic game now to be marked with a remarkable metal for the club cabinet.