The first ever match in 1925 for the Queanbeyan Tigers was against a Canberra team known as Acton Football Club. Who would have thought at the time of that first match that by 1952 these two opponents would combine to become a powerhouse of the competition throughout the early 1950s.
A merger between the two clubs had been mooted in the past when both teams had battled through tough times. It came to fruition for a single season in 1943 before the decline of football during World War II.
The fact that the two proud clubs had been inaugural foes who had respected each other enough to come together briefly in the past, suggested that in 1952 they would make a strong fist of combining once again.
And the Combine could hardly have been more successful – five consecutive grand finals for three premiership flags between 1953 and 1956.
Wearing a jumper whose colours were vertical black and white stripes with a yellow sash, the first season of the Combine was coached by legendary Tigers coach of the 1939-40-41 triple premiership teams, Floyd Primmer, who returned as non-playing coach and guided the Combine to runners-up in their first year together.
One of the factors that lead to the formation of the Combine was the Tigers’ lack of a home ground in 1952 while the Queanbeyan Town Park was being upgraded. This meant that there was a great deal of travel for the Queanbeyan-based players who made up 80% of the team.
Records show that a typical training night for the Combine included: depart Queanbeyan at 4.00pm; on-ground training until 5.30pm; hot showers and expert masseurs until 6.15pm; ‘sweat box’ available and three course meal until 7.15pm followed by a lecture by the coach and a games night to round off the evening. With this level of professionalism developed back in the 1950s it is little wonder that the current day Tigers continue the tradition of high standards and are well recognised as a leader in this aspect of the game and the administration of the club as a whole.
In 1953 Roy Watterston, one of the standout players from the Acton Football Club took over as coach and guided the team to its first premiership as a combine. He lead another premiership in 1954. In 1956 Lindsay White, an ex-Geelong and VFL representative, assumed the reigns to capture the third premiership of the enormously successful Combine era – a proud time in our club’s history.