Dandenong Football Club
|Full name||Dandenong Football Club|
|Colours||Blue and Red|
|Competition||Victorian Football Association 1958-1994|
|Premierships||Div 1: 1967, 1971, 1991
Div 2: 1962
Dandenong Football Club was an Australian rules football club which played in the Victorian Football Association (VFA). Based in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong, the Redlegs wore navy blue and red as their club colours.
Dandenong joined the Victorian Football Association from the Federal League for the 1958 season, and found itself in Division 2 when then Association was partitioned in 1961. The club originally played at the Dandenong Showgrounds, before moving to Shepley Oval in 1962. The club was runner-up to Northcote in Division 2 in 1961, then won the 1962 Division 2 premiership against Prahran to earn promotion to Division 1.
Within three years, Dandenong became one of the power clubs in Division 1. It reached its first finals campaign in 1965, winning the minor premiership that season, and seldom missed the finals from then until the late 1970s. In a ten-year period from 1967 until 1976, Dandenong played in six Grand Finals for two premierships. Both premierships came in controversial Grand Finals: in the 1967 Grand Final, the Redlegs defeated a Port Melbourne team which nearly walked off the ground and forfeited the game in the second quarter in protest at the umpiring; then, Dandenong beat Preston in the 1971 Grand Final, but only after Preston unsuccessfully protested to have Dandenong's six point victory amended to a draw. Over that time, Dandenong was runner-up to Preston in 1969, Oakleigh in 1972, Geelong West in 1975, and Port Melbourne in 1976. The club enjoyed the services of full-forward Jim 'Frosty' Miller, a local west Gippslander who won the VFA goalkicking on six occasions, and it established itself as one of the wealthiest clubs in the competition, able to attract quality former VFL players.
The popularity of the VFA as a whole declined in the late 1970s and into the 1980s, and Dandenong was one of many clubs which struggled financially during that time. By 1983, the club was $100k in debt, and could no longer attract the high class of players it had fielded in the 1970s, relying instead on local talent; this in turn led to poorer onfield performances and a waning supporter base. The club finished last in Division 1 in 1984, and was relegated to Division 2 the following year.
Following the VFA's contraction to a single division in 1989, Dandenong and fellow Division 2 battlers Camberwell and Sunshine were completely uncompetitive at the top level, with Dandenong's sole win in 1989 coming against the winless Camberwell. But while Sunshine and Camberwell soon folded, Dandenong fought back, raising $140,000 in sponsorship from local businesses resulting in the recruitment of five former VFL players including Tony Elshaug as captain-coach. Only two years later, Elshaug led Dandenong to the 1991 premiership, with a nine-point Grand Final victory against Werribee.
From then, the club suffered from bad financial problems, in large part because it spent more money than it could afford during the 1991 season. In the week prior to the 1993 season, the club decided to deal with its debts totalling more than $220,000 by liquidating and disbanding the club, then immediately reforming as a new legal entity, which was known as Dandenong Redlegs Ltd. The new club played two seasons. At the end of 1994, when administration of the VFA was turned over to the Victorian State Football League, Dandenong left the Association as part of the VSFL's efforts to reduce the size of the VFA and align it with the TAC Cup; Dandenong's identity was carried on within the TAC Cup from 1995, when the Southern Stingrays club moved to Shepley Oval and was renamed the Dandenong Stingrays.
Lew Wright is the club record holder for most games, appearing in 210 senior games for Dandenong.
- Tony Elshaug
- Jim 'Frosty' Miller
- Hugh Mitchell
- Terry Waters
- Jack Marshall
- Brad Gotch
- Darren Millane
- Sean Millane
- Rohan Welsh
- "Dandenong for V.F.A.". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). 6 September 1957. p. 34.
- Marc Fiddian (16 July 1983). "Panthers head for record & relegation". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 29.
- "Northcote wins flag". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). 11 September 1961. p. 43.
- Graeme Kelly (10 September 1962). "Brawl mars Grand Final". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 18.
- Bob Crimeen (30 August 1965). ""Dandy" has a berth in final". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 40.
- de Kretser, Chris (25 September 1967). "Morrow's men are premiers". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 54.
- "No replay", The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC), 30 Sep 1971: 68
- Mike Smith (22 September 1969). "Preston wins final for second year". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 29.
- Geoffrey Fithall (25 September 1972), "'Big Bob' retires as player", The Age (Melbourne, VIC): 25
- Ken Piesse (22 September 1975). "Roosters unruffled". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 27.
- Marc Fiddian (20 September 1976). "Cook all heart in Port win". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 31.
- Marc Fiddian (4 June 1983). "Redlegs battle red ink". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 29.
- Dennis Jose (27 August 1984). "Frankston pushes out Sandringham". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 25.
- Justin Brasier (13 May 1989). "Redlegs to launch survival campaign". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 91.
- "Big men set to do battle". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). 7 April 1990. p. 87.
- Damian Barrett (23 September 1991). "Gutsy Redlegs survive the heat". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 82.
- Nicole Brady (6 April 1993). "Dandenong to clear the debts". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 36.
- Adrian Dunn (13 October 1994). "Plan a 'victory' for VFA identity". Herald Sun (Afternoon ed.) (Melbourne, VIC). p. 73.