Battle of the States to Honour the Greats

Football Victoria and Football Queensland are pleased to announce this Saturday’s Battle of the States double-header at the Home of the Matildas will be played for the Jones-Millman Cup (Women) and the Rigby-Willis Cup (Men), as the teams rekindle a representative rivalry over 90 years in the making.

The trophies have been named in honour of four iconic figures who devoted a significant part of their careers to representing their respective states in Victoria and Queensland.

Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci said the Battle of the States presented a wonderful opportunity to honour some of the most integral members of previous state teams.

“As our Queensland teams prepare to take on Victoria and a historic inter-state rivalry is reborn, it is fitting to acknowledge the contributions and legacy of four key players who laid the foundation for our current state representatives as they contest the Jones-Millman Cup and the Rigby-Willis Cup.”

 

Theresa Deas (née Jones) represented Victoria at 16 Australian National Championships between 1978 and 1998. An outstanding goalkeeper for club, state and country, Jones was a pioneer of the game in Victoria, and earned 18 caps for Australia (Matildas Cap #17) throughout the 1980s.

Joanne Millman represented Queensland at 15 National Championships (1979-1993), playing her entire 350 match club career with Eastern Suburbs. A sweeper in the classic mode, Millman rarely missed an international for Australia between 1983 and 1989 (Matildas Cap #29) and represented the national team in 43 internationals.

The Jones-Millman Cup has been commemorated in honour of the first National Championship final played between Victoria and Queensland (then South Queensland) in Canberra in 1989. Theresa Jones and Joanne Millman were opposing captains.

The Australian team which competed in the 1988 Pilot World Cup featured the experienced Joanne Millman (bottom left) and Theresa Jones (top left of centre).

Edgar Rigby was a long-serving captain of Queensland between 1925 and 1932. A resolute defender, Rigby was a pivotal member of the Latrobe FC team that won six of the seven Division 1 premierships between 1929 and 1935.

Jim Willis was a skilful defender who represented Victoria on 15 occasions between 1925 and 1932. Willis’ most notable appearances came against the visiting Bohemians from Czechoslovakia in May 1927 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and three appearances against the visiting China national team the following month, also at the MCG and Fitzroy Cricket Ground.

The Rigby-Willis Cup honours the first match between Victoria and Queensland at the inaugural Interstate Soccer Carnival in 1932. The match, played at the Crystal Palace ground in Newcastle finished in an entertaining 4-4 draw. Edgar Rigby and Jim Willis were opposing captains.

The Victorian team which played in the inaugural Interstate Soccer Carnival in 1932, with Jim Willis (bottom left of centre) as captain.
The Queensland State team of 1930 was captained by Edgar Rigby (bottom centre).

Football Victoria Historian Tony Persoglia is delighted to see both matches pay homage to some of the greats of our game.

“Edgar Rigby and Jim Willis were pioneers of the game we know today and hugely influential in re-establishing British Association football in their respective states after it had been decimated by the Great War. In the case of Willis, he was a founder of the Box Hill club, which plays as Box Hill United in the NPL3 today.”

“Similarly, Theresa Deas and Joanne Millman are iconic state and national representatives, who helped pave the way for the local legends and international superstars we see ply their trade at home and abroad today. We are honoured to have Theresa present the winning team with the award named partly in her honour on Saturday.”