Dandenong Football Club
|Full name||Dandenong Football Club|
|Colours||Blue and Red|
|Competition||Victorian Football Association 1958-1994|
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 was again competing at the VFA's highest level. In 1991, led by captain-coach Tony Elshaug who kicked four goals, Dandenong won its final premiership. From then, the club continued to suffer from bad financial problems and in 1993 became insolvent and disbanded. They played in that VFA season under a newly formed side named the Dandenong Redlegs; After playing for one final year the club was not admitted into the 1995 season and concentrated instead on its Under-18s in TAC Cup.
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.