Werribee Football Club
|Full name||Werribee Football Club|
|Colours||Black and Gold|
|Competition||Victorian Football League|
|Ground(s)||Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee (capacity: 5,000)|
The Werribee Football Club was established in 1964 as part of a bid to enter the Victorian Football Association in 1965. The new club was formed as an amalgamation of four local clubs which competed in the Werribee District Football League: Werribee South, Irish National Foresters, Services and Metro Farm. In the early years the team was in the second division, and had little success over that time. Geographically distant from most other clubs, and unable to attract many strong players, the club was described as "the lonesome battler" of the Association. Up to 1980, the club had struggled through its sixteen seasons in Division 2 for one finals appearance and four wooden spoons. Its sole success during this time was its victory in the 1978 lightning premiership; it was the only Division 2 club to win that competition during its eight-year existence.
The club embarked on a five-year plan in the late 1970s, which saw the club build its finances, improve its on-field performance to reach the finals in 1981, and open a $200k social club in 1980. This saw the club promoted to Division 1 in 1982, as part of the Association's merit-based restructure of the competition. The club was relegated after finishing last at the end of 1985. The club won the Division 2 minor premiership in 1987, but never won a premiership or even a finals match during its time in Division 2.
In December 1986, Werribee had been earmarked for exclusion under the Association's controversial Football Organisation Review Team (FORT) recommendations, which sought to rationalise the Association to a stronger twelve-club competition in a single division, but which were never formally enacted after being rejected by the clubs. However, after the VFA had contracted to a single division in 1989, Werribee began to enjoy on-field success, and Werribee was one of only two of the FORT review's excluded clubs to survive in the VFA beyond 1991, the other being Springvale.
The club played a major role in the finals during the 1990s, being minor premiers in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1998, winning the premiership in 1993, and being runners up in 1991 and 1998. The club has reached a further two Grand Finals in the 2000s: in 2001 and 2005, but lost both.
Following the amalgamation of the Victorian State Football League and the VFL, Werribee entered a reserves affiliation affiliation with the AFL's Western Bulldogs, which lasted from 2000 to 2007. The alliance allowed the club to have access to Bulldogs players who were not selected in the senior team. Since 2008, the club has been part of a unique split-affiliation structure with the North Melbourne Football Club, whereby half of North Melbourne's reserve players are allocated to Werribe and half are allocated to North Ballarat.
- 1987 (Division 2)
- John Devaney (2008), The Full Points Footy Encyclopedia of Australian Football Clubs, UK: Full Points Publications
- Marc Fiddian (4 June 1980). "Werribee plan is working". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 30.
- Marc Fiddian (25 September 1978). "Prahran steps on the Bullants". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 27.
- Dennis Jose (26 August 1985). "Slaughtered Port out of finals". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 30.
- "VFA details". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). 24 August 1987. p. 40.
- Linda Pearce (12 September 1988). "Crows scrape home to win in time-on". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 80.
- Len Johnson (6 December 1986). "Radical plan to cut VFA to 12 teams". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 39.