1990 - 1999
THE 90S - A GREAT END TO THE CENTURY
During the early years of the 1990s, the veiled threat of relegation hung over the A1 side - a situation the club was far from used to. The primary reason for this was a larger-than-normal turnover of experienced players in the higher grades. This in turn was influenced in part by the depressed South Australian economy forcing many potential players to move interstate or overseas to find employment or seek monetary rewards at other clubs.
Despite these challenges, the club managed to play finals football in all but three years during this period. As the decade progressed, a more stable player base developed and the club was rewarded with A grade premierships in 1996, under the guidance of co-coaches Terry McEvoy and Noel Annear, and in 1999, with Peter Simmons at the helm.
During the 1990s, the Blacks had five senior coaches (John Turnbull, Daryl West, Terry McEvoy/Noel Annear and Peter Simmons).
The longest tenure was by the popular D.K. (Daryl) West who coached from 1991 to 1995 during one of the club's most challenging times. Daryl was a significant contributor to the club in terms of developing the talent from within and embracing the Blacks' spirit and culture.
Cory Williams captained the club until the early part of the 1993 season, when he suffered a career ending knee injury. Cory was replaced by Andrew ‘Dog' Muir, who went on to lead the Blacks with distinction and courage for the next five seasons and was rewarded with the leading the side to the 1996 premiership in his tenth season with the club.
Many Club players represented the State during the 1990's, including outstanding players A.D. (Andrew) Muir, G.R. (Grant) Miles, S.R. (Simon) Kewell and J.J. (Jamie) Sibbick. Andrew Muir was also rewarded with selection in the All-Australian team on two occasions and was Captain in 1991 and Vice-captain in 1994.
On the administrative side, in 1991 the club said farewell to then-chairman P.H. (Peter) Maddern who went to the USA to pursue his academic studies. Peter was welcomed back as president in 1996, a position that he has held right through to the time of writing.
On his return, Peter found a radical change had taken place in the Amateur League competition, with the establishment of the semi-professional Premier 1 division. The Blacks promptly showed you don't need money to win premierships by taking out the inaugural Premier 1 flag.
Patrons during this period included Professors K.M. (Kevin) Majoribanks, Gavin Brown and W.F. (Bill) Scammell.
During the 1990s, the club mourned the loss of a number of club legends. These included Dr J.B. Day, president of the club during the golden era of the 1960s, in 1990, long time trainer, Frank (‘Sandy') Cockburn, who had been at the club since 1979, in 1994, and finally, Mark Schwartz, a life member and president during the period 1985 to 1995, in 1999.
In the lower grades, the club had unprecedented success during the 1990s, with 16 premierships won. This included a record breaking five flags in the 1997 season.
Off the field, the club had two Rhodes Scholars in S.R. (Sam) Nickless in 1992 and A.P. (Anthony) Roediger in 1996.
Bob Neil fever remained as strong as ever, with songbooks, badges and merchandise, as well as the occasional guest appearance and keg-tapping demonstration by the legend himself at Hold Your Bowlies.
By the end of the 1990s, the Blacks were in great shape, having addressed a myriad of challenges. The club was primed to tackle the new century with great confidence.