After cutting their teeth in the First Rates Association (apart from the 1903 season which was spent in the Darling Range Association) in 1904 the Midland Junction Football Club sounded out the WAFA about the possibility of joining that competition. The response they received was encouraging as the Association implied that if the club made efforts to improve its ground an application to participate in the WAFA the following season would be accepted. With the aid of the Midland Council the club duly carried out a range of improvements which included the erection of fencing all around the oval, a bathroom, changing rooms and bore water reticulation. At a WAFA meeting in Fremantle on Wednesday 12th April 1905 Midland Junction were formally accepted into the competition for the forthcoming season, which commenced just over a month later.
Midland Junction’s initial colours were blue jumper with yellow sash and black socks. Their team included six players with previous top grade experience, as well as several who had played in the strong Goldfields Football Association. The club’s first match was at home against the leading West Australian club of the era, East Fremantle, and not surprisingly the side struggled, losing by the hefty margin of the times of 51 points and not even managing to kick a goal until the third quarter.
Midland Junction’s admission to the WAFA brought the total number of clubs in the competition to seven, thereby necessitating a bye each round. Midland Junction had their first bye in round two but the week’s rest does not appear to have done them any good as in round three they succumbed to another crushing defeat, this time by 44 points, 7.18 (60) to 1.10 (16) at the hands of reigning premiers West Perth.
Round four pitted the newcomers against Subiaco, which had suffered hefty defeats in all three matches played up to that point. It must have been hard for everyone associated with Midland Junction not to feel that this might be a golden opportunity to create some history - and so it proved. The Railways, as they were nicknamed, bolted out of the blocks and effectively had the match won by quarter time when they led 4.6 (30) to no score. Thereafter they were outscored by Subiaco, but retained their lead until the end. Final scores were Midland Junction 6.13 (49) defeated Subiaco 5.9 (39).
The triumph did not herald any improvement in fortunes for the newcomers as it was followed by five successive losses, two of them by in excess of 100 points. Only away against Perth in round seven did Midland Junction make a decent fist of things, going into the long break a goal to the good, and still being in with a chance of victory midway through the last term. However, Perth ultimately pulled away to record a 15 point victory, 5.13 (43) to 3.10 (28).
Midland Junction’s only other win in their debut season came in round eleven, and was once again achieved at the expense of Subiaco. Amazingly, neither side managed to trouble the scorers even once during the first three quarters of the match, but Midland Junction managed to find some form in the final stanza and won with some comfort, 3.5 (23) to 1.8 (14).
The Railways showed some improvement during the remainder of the season but still failed to win any more matches. They finished the season in sixth place, ahead only of winless Subiaco.
Midland Junction went on to enjoy, or perhaps that should be endure, a total of ten seasons in two separate stints in Western Australian football's elite competition. Never a finalist, the side's overall success rate was a meagre 24.8%, and only once - in 1915 - did it manage to win more games than it lost during a season.
Highlights, such as the feat of keeping West Perth goalless in a 12.16 (88) to 0.10 (10) win in 1916, were few and far between. From midway through the 1916 season the club was decimated by the loss of key players to the Australian expeditionary forces, and in 1917, although it stuttered on, it failed to win a single game, losing for the most part by substantial margins. At the conclusion of the 1917 season the club went into mothballs, never to resume.
Some early Midland Junction players, wearing the blue and yellow hooped jumpers which the team adopted from 1906 onwards.
Newcomers Break the Ice - Midland Junction versus Subiaco, Saturday 3rd June 1905