Camberwell Football Club
|Full name||Camberwell Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Tricolours, Cobras, 'Wells|
|Premierships||2: Div 2 – 1979, 1981|
Camberwell Football Club was an Australian rules football club which formed in 1896 and competed in the Victorian Football Association (VFA) between 1926 and 1990. Nicknamed the Cobras, Camberwell wore blue, white and red club colours. They were based in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell.
After establishing itself as a successful junior and sub-district club, Camberwell was seen by the 1920s as a likely strong fit for expansions into the eastern suburbs of either the Victorian Football League or the Victorian Football Association. It lodged applications to join both at different times during the early 1920s, and was admitted to the VFA for the 1926 season. It reached its first Grand Final in 1935, losing by nine points to Yarraville.
With the introduction of throw-pass football to the VFA in 1938, the club made one of the VFA's most significant ever recruiting coups when it recruited champion VFL player Laurie Nash for a huge salary of £8/wk. Following World War II, Camberwell won its first and only top division minor premiership in 1946, but lost in the Grand Final against Sandringham by seven points.
Following the end of the throw-pass era in 1950, Camberwell became one of several weaker VFA clubs who struggled throughout the 1950s. The club was operating as amateur in 1953 due to lack of funds, and it faced pressure to hold its lease at the Camberwell Sports Ground from local soccer clubs who could offer the council more money. It was generally near the bottom of the ladder, and found itself in Division 2 when the Association was partitioned in 1961. The club remained weak throughout the 1960s.
The club improved through the early 1970s, and became a regular Division 2 finalist from 1973. The club played in losing Grand Finals in 1975 against Brunswick and in 1978 against Frankston, before winning its first premiership in 1979, defeating Oakleigh by 38 points. Promoted to Division 1 for the first time, the club was relegated after one season, but won the Division 2 premiership again in 1981, defeating Waverley by 32 points in the Grand Final. In the next few years, Camberwell was considered one of the boom clubs of the VFA, and in 1984 it reached the Division 1 finals for the first time since the 1940s.
Camberwell's position deteriorated abruptly in 1985. Struggling financially, as many VFA clubs were, it asked its players to take a paycut at the start of the season; but, still unable to make its player payments, senior players began to walk out on the club at midseason. Within a year, there had been an exodus of more than forty players, plus the club was left with a large damage bill after a grandstand fire. The inexperienced team which remained was winless with a percentage of only 30.1 in 1986, including suffering a VFA-record loss against Williamstown by 315 points, and was relegated. The club was more competitive in Division 2, but endured two consecutive winless seasons after the competition was recombined into a single division in 1989. After pre-season form indicated the club would be even less competitive in 1991, the club dropped out of the VFA a couple of weeks prior to the start of the season.
The club hoped to regroup and rejoin the VFA in 1992, but this did not eventuate. The club joined the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) as Camberwell Amateurs in 1992, and permanently folded after the 1994 season.
Reporter District Football Association
Melbourne District FL
- 1979 – Second Division
- 1981 – Second Division
- 2 J. J. Liston Trophy winners – Frank Stubbs (1950) and Ken Ross (1957)
- 1 J. Field Medal winner – Rodney Evans (1971)
- "Admittance of new club". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 13 October 1923. p. 16.
- J.W. (28 January 1922). "Football – Victorian Association clubs". The Australasian. Melbourne, VIC. p. 158.
- "Football – New Association clubs". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 7 January 1926. p. 11.
- "Yarraville Association premiers". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 9 September 1935. p. 13.
- Percy Taylor (31 March 1938). "To leave League – Nash joins Camberwell". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. p. 1.
- "Naughty Nash", The Canberra Times, 4 April 1938.
- "Positions of VFA clubs". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 9 September 1946. p. 11.
- "Sandringham's first VFA premiership". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 7 October 1946. pp. 13–14.
- Jack Dunn (17 July 1953). "Third VFA team to play as amateurs". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 28.
- Ken Moses (7 February 1955). "Soccer loses the fight". The Argus (supplement). Melbourne, VIC. p. 6.
- Ken Piesse (8 September 1975). "Roosters crowing". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 23.
- Marc Fiddian (11 September 1978). "VFA first for Frankston". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 29.
- Marc Fiddian (10 September 1979). "Cobras strike for first time". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 28.
- Marc Fiddian (7 September 1981). "Bullants' bluff no match for Boroughs' brilliance". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 25.
- Dennis Jose (27 August 1984). "Frankston pushes out Sandringham". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 25.
- Dennis Jose (22 June 1985). "Star Cobra trip quits". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 39.
- Hugo Kelly (10 May 1986). "Spithill and Cobras plan revival against the odds". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 37.
- Hugo Kelly (5 July 1986). "Moncrieff is back on the ball". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 25.
- Hugo Kelly (25 August 1986). "The Hills are alive after last-gasp win". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 32.
- Jamie Tate (2 April 1991). "Cobras keen to stay alive". Herald-Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 75.