North Ballarat Football Club
|Full name||North Ballarat Football Club|
|Competition||Victorian Football League|
|Captain(s)||Co-Captains Luke Kiel & Tony Lockyer|
|Premierships||3 (2008, 2009, 2010)|
|Ground(s)||Eureka Stadium (capacity: 11,000)|
|North Ballarat Number 2 Oval (capacity: 3,000)|
North Ballarat Football Club, nicknamed The Roosters, is an Australian rules football club based at Eureka Stadium in Ballarat. The club is locally known as the Roosters and play in the Victorian Football League (VFL). They are the only regional Victorian club in the competition.
The club was established in 1882, playing in a number of regional competitions before entering Ballarat's "B" grade league in 1946 where it won its first premiership. Six years later, the club was admitted to the Ballarat Football League (BFL) and won its first BFL Premiership on its second Grand Final appearance in 1963 against Ballarat. They would go on to claim a further 14 BFL Premierships in the period spanning the 1970–1995 seasons (of which they claimed five between 1990-95). The latter feat was no doubt what prompted an invitation to join the re-constructed Victorian Football League (VFL) for the 1996 season.
The team had two unsuccessful VFL Grand Final attempts in 1999 and 2000, and won the 2008 VFL Premiership defeating the Port Melbourne Football Club. In 2009 and 2010 they gained back-to-back Premierships defeating the Northern Bullants at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on both occasions.
The VFL competition has changed significantly since 1996 with many teams in the 2017 competition being aligned to (or part of) much larger AFL clubs. The North Ballarat Roosters have recently struggled to remain competitive in the modern VFL structure. In order to expand the club's appeal and support there has been considerable recent discussion within the club toward re-branding the team to encompass a wider region and to distance its identity from its North Ballarat (BFL) origins. Considerable lack of support for the VFL team from the broarder local community in Ballarat is historically linked to its past success with the BFL prior to 1995, when the club's success on and off the field was considered by many in the local football community to have come at the expense of other teams in that league.
Between 2006 and 2015, North Ballarat was in a partial reserves affiliation with the AFL's North Melbourne Football Club. Under the arrangement, half of the players not selected in the North Melbourne senior team were allocated to play with North Ballarat; the other half played with Tasmania between 2006 and 2007, and with Werribee between 2008 and 2015. The arrangement ended after the 2015 season leaving North Ballarat as a stand alone VFL team since.
North Ballarat have had many versions of their club song in the past. All versions have contained the same lyrics, but the rhythm and tune has varied over the years to keep the song contemporary. The lyrics and tune, by well known Australian singer/songwriter Johnny Mac, are the only completely original written in the league, as all the other clubs have written lyrics to well known tunes. The most recent version was brought in during the early 2000s, but all versions were recorded onto a club song CD at that time for posterity.
North Ballarat City
A consequence of having joined the VFL was that the club's juniors no longer had a local-level senior representative team in the Ballarat Football League (BFL); this forced junior players to move to other senior BFL clubs (once they were of mature age) and impacted the North Ballarat Club with players losing long built connections with the club. To overcome this, the club established a new local BFL senior representative team under the clubs original name "North Ballarat City" in 2006. The club initially applied to enter the new team into the Ballarat Football League, however the remaining BFL clubs vetoed the idea forcing North Ballarat City to join the Bendigo Football League. In their first year in the Bendigo competition they were win-less but improved to win five games in 2007.
In 2008, the BFL admitted North Ballarat City to its senior competition with caveats that placed several restrictions on the club in its recruitment of players. Between 2008-2010 the team won four games each season but improved significantly in 2011 advancing through to the Preliminary Final before being knocked out. North Ballarat City won their first BFL premiership in 2013, defeating Sunbury. The North Ballarat City (Under 18.5) team also won a premiership in 2013, defeating Melton South. The North Ballarat City Senior team won the 2014 BFL Grand Final defeating East Point Football Club at Ballarat's Eastern Oval.
North Ballarat also have a women's team that play in the VWFL North West division. They finished the 2009 season 2nd on the ladder but were unable to make the finals. 2009 saw the team with little experience, with an average age of 17. The women's team unlike their male counterparts is called the 'Eagles'.
Ballarat Football League:
- Seniors: (16)
North Ballarat Football Club - 1946 1963 1970 1973 1978 1979 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1991 1992 1994 1995 1996. North Ballarat City - 2013 2014
- Reserves: (10)
1971 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 2010
- Under 18s: (11)
1963 1970 1972 1973 1974 1975 1982 1983 1990 1994 1995 2012 2013 2014
Victorian Football League:
- Seniors: (3)
2008 2009 2010
- Reserves: (2)
- Senior: 19
- Reserves: 12
- Under 18s: 11
- Club Premierships: 42
Other Division 1 Awards
- Runner Ups: (2)
- Minor Premierships: (1)
- Wooden Spoons: (1)
- VFL – Official AFL Website of the Kangaroos
- Glenn McFarline (21 November 2014). "North Melbourne is set to end its partnership with Ballarat as Western Bulldogs move in". Herald Sun. Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved 22 November 2014.