On Saturday June 17, 1922, 22 men took to a greasy Carisbrook Park in Dunedin, New Zealand, to create a slice of football history.
Wearing white shorts, sky blue socks with maroon trim and a sky blue shirt with a maroon 'A' on the front, the Australian national team played its first ever international match, against cross-Tasman rivals New Zealand, in front of a crowd of 10,000.
In that first XI - consisting entirely of players from New South Wales and Queensland - who walked out onto the drizzly Otago pitch were two Novocastrians: Adamstown's Peter Doyle and West Wallsend forward William 'Podge' Maunder, with the latter earning the distinction of being the first Australian to score an international goal when he put away a cross from teammate Tom Thompson on the stroke of half-time.
And even though New Zealand went on to win 3-1, 100 years on, the game has helped build a legacy far more important than the result.
While they weren't to know it at the time, Doyle and Maunder - cap numbers #6 and #8, respectively - were to be the first in a long list of Hunter footballers to leave an indelible mark on the national team.
Considered by many to be the cradle of the game, the Hunter has had a disproportionately strong impact on the round-ball code in Australia. According to the Newcastle Herald's research, of the 621 players to have represented the men's national team in A-International fixtures since 1922, at least 75 are Hunter products. That's a 12% share for a region that makes up less than 2% of the national population.
But this doesn't even tell half the story. Over much of the past century the national team has taken to the field against international club teams, regional representative sides and invitational XIs in games known as B-Internationals. When they are taken into account, the Hunter contribution to the green and gold stands at more than 115.
That list includes some of the greatest players to have pulled on an Australian jersey. From Maunder, the slim, quick-footed Westy coalminer who could "shoot like a mule", to the likes of Weston legend Jim 'Skeeta' Wilkinson, Cessnock utility Kevin O'Neill and the great Reg Date, Wallsend's legendary, bustling forward, regarded by many football historians, fans and anyone who ever saw him play as the greatest footballer Australia has ever produced.
Later, there were the likes of Adamstown Rosebud trio Ray Baartz, Col Curran and Graham Jennings, the Hunter's most-capped Socceroo, followed in more recent times by the likes of David Lowe, Darren Stewart, Troy Halpin and Clayton Zane, just to name a few.
And while there has been a discernible dip in the region's contribution to the Socceroos over the past few decades, last year 22-year-old Valentine-Eleebana junior Connor Metcalfe went some way to rectifying this when he made his debut for the national team in a World Cup qualifier against Chinese Taipei.
However this legacy isn't just restricted to the men. The Hunter has also played a key role in shaping the history of the women's national team since its first game in 1975.
Local products Cheryl Salisbury, Joey Peters and Emily van Egmond all have more than 100 caps for the Matildas and are considered among some of the greatest female footballers the country has produced, while others such as Alison Forman, Linda Hughes and Lauren Colthorpe have all made unforgettable contributions to women's football in Australia.
In representing Australia, these players simply haven't just chased a ball around a football pitch, but rather they have helped to create a tradition that has inspired the next generation to try and pull on the green and gold.
In the 1930s, whenever Australian international Alf 'Ducky' Henwood played at Cessnock, a young local lad by the name of Kevin O'Neill would be waiting at the station, without fail, for his hero to arrive.
"I used to go down and carry his bag from the Cessnock railway station, when we had a train run, all the way to the soccer," O'Neill said last year in an interview with former Socceroo Graham Jennings.
Some 20 years later, that little boy was playing for Australia himself, with O'Neill's all-conquering Cessnock team of the mid-1950s containing no less than seven internationals and inspiring the next generation of local footballers.
A few years after that and a couple of kilometres down the road at Kearsley, former Australian international goalkeeper Norm Conquest played a role in uncovering another star - the future national team goalkeeper Bill Rorke.
"Norm would come back to Kearsley to see his mother and he'd catch up with my dad," says Rorke. "Dad would say, 'Oh, young Billy is a goalkeeper, you know?' So he'd take me down to the soccer ground at Kearsley when he came up a couple of times and do a bit of coaching with me."
It was clear that Conquest liked what he saw, because in 1963 he took the then 17-year-old down to Sydney for a trial with Bankstown.
It's fair to say it proved to be a roaring success. Two years later young Billy, by that stage known simply as Bill, was walking out onto the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh in front of 65,000 fans, lining up for Australia in the country's inaugural World Cup qualifying campaign.
And even though his debut came nearly a century after the very first cap was handed out, the Hunter's newest Socceroo, Connor Metcalfe, is hoping provide the same inspiration as Henwood, Conquest and those gone by.
"It just makes me feel proud," he says. "Hopefully little kids back in Newcastle can look to me in a way and say, 'Hey, it's not impossible to make it.'"
To honour that first-ever international 100 years ago, Australia and New Zealand will take part in a two-test series in September.
And while some might just see it as another game, when the players take the pitch, shake hands and pose for a photo, they will have the weight of 100 years of history - from the lost grounds, to the defining results and the famous names, all the way from Maunder to Metcalfe - standing firmly behind them.
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