The association developed from an idea that the founding president, Ian Chapman, had along with eighteen other men and women. These people formed a steering committee in January, 1985.
In March of 1985, advertisements were placed in the media asking interested people to attend a meeting at the Tivoli Hotel on March 23rd. Approximately 300 people attended this meeting and clubs were formed on the basis of North, South, East, and West locations. The players and interested people were split up in to their respective areas and they were to officially form the clubs, elect a committee, and notify the steering committee who would organise a Special General Meeting to formally form the Association. This was undertaken on the 2nd March 1985.
There were four clubs and a referees association, namely Brighton Breakers, Eastside Razorbacks, Port Adelaide Spartans, Southern Districts, and Officials Association.
The Association conducted a lottery in the first year to obtain funds for the importation of new and reconditioned equipment from the U.S.A. Incorporation of the Association took place prior to the start of the first season.
The first season started on 11th January, 1986, through to 17th March 1986. Games were played on Saturdays at Norwood Oval with the second game being played under lights. Grand Finalists were Eastern Suburbs Razorbacks (coached by Sharpe McCullough) and Brighton Breakers. Razorbacks defeated Breakers 7 points to 6. Players from the U.S. Airforce Base at Woomera played an important part of the first season. They travelled down from Woomera each weekend. The South Australian Rugby League were invited to play a round of their Panasonic Cup as a curtain raiser to the first interstate gridiron game played here. The Victorian team, Saba Outlaws, were defeated by the Eastern Suburbs Razorbacks 66 to 0.
The second season saw five teams competing with the start of the Adelaide Eagles. Games started on the 30th November, 1986, and the finals were held on the 17th March, 1987. Eastern Suburbs Razorbacks again defeated Brighton Breakers in the final.
The third season started on the 11th November, 1987 and concluded on the 5th March, 1988. Grand finalists for this season were Port Adelaide Spartans who defeated the Eastern Suburbs Razorbacks.
Early in December 1987, a team consisting mainly of Brighton Breakers, but including a few players from other teams, represented South Australia against Victoria as a curtain raiser to the American College game between Colorado State and Brigham Young University teams. Many South Australians went to Melbourne to see these two games. Unfortunately, South Australia was beaten by Victoria.
The start of the fourth season saw two new teams join the association, the South City Chiefs, and the Elizabeth Lions. The Adelaide Eagles were unable to field a team so the competition consisted of 6 teams. As the S.A. Baseball required considerable use of the Norwood Oval facilities, we had to negotiate for a new venue, and were able to obtain Thebarton Oval. The season was held from 11th November, 1988 to 10th March, 1989. Eastern Suburbs were in the finals, beating Brighton Breakers again.
The first full Interstate Gridiron Challenge was held on Grand Prix weekend in November, 1989. South Australia was the host, and it took an extraordinary amount of effort for everyone concerned to make the event happen. It was a success, but not profitable.
The fifth season started on the 11th November, 1989 at Thebarton Oval with the Grand final on the 10th March, 1990. Port Adelaide Spartans defeated the Brighton Breakers. It was the first time Eastern Suburbs had not played in a SAGA grand final. Flag football (for juniors) was also introduced in this season, and four clubs fielded teams. It was a great success.