In their first competitive year, 1990, the Wolfe Tones won the Victorian football championship. The Tones were invited to play against the NSW state champions, Young Irelands in the de-facto Australian Club Championship. The match was played at Bruce Stadium in Canberra as a curtain-raiser for the Australia / Ireland three-match compromise rules test series. The Young Irelands team was packed full of talent and had 12 of the NSW state team who won the Australasian state chamionships in that year and were expecting a comfortable win against their Victorian opponents.
Wolfe Tones, however, failed to read the script and dug deep to edge out a win against the NSW state champions. This was to seed the competitive rivalry that we now see today every- time we play against an interstate team.