Northcote Football Club
|Full name||Northcote Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Dragons, Brickfielders, Rosellas, Cotes|
|Colours||Green and Yellow|
|Competition||Victorian Football Association|
|Premierships||7: Div 1 – 1929, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936; Div 2 – 1961, 1982|
|Ground(s)||Northcote Park (1908)|
Croxton Park (1909–1914)
Northcote Park (1915–1987)
Northcote Football Club (/ˈnoːθ.kət/), nicknamed The Dragons, was an Australian rules football club which played in the VFA from 1908 until 1987. The club's colours for most of its time in the VFA were green and yellow and it was based in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote.
Northcote joined the VFA from the Victorian Junior Football Association in 1908. Prior to the 1912 season, Northcote and neighbouring northern suburban club Preston, who were both struggling on-field, amalgamated; the merged club played in Northcote, and competed for a few years under the name Northcote-Preston, before reverting to Northcote. Prior to 1915, the Association forced the club to move its playing base to Northcote Park from its preferred home ground at Croxton Park, because the latter – a private ground adjoining the Croxton Park Hotel – had been notorious for more than a decade for the unruly conduct of its patrons; Northcote Park was shared with the Northcote Cricket Club, and it served as the club's home ground for the remainder of its time in the VFA.
For its first two decades in the VFA, Northcote failed to have a significant impact. This changed in 1929, when the club won its first premiership and began the most prolific period in its history. The club won five premierships, five minor premierships, and finished runners-up on a further two occasions in eight seasons from 1929 until 1936. The club did not win another top division premiership in its time in the Association.
As the Association expanded through the 1950s, Northcote became one of the weakest clubs in the Association. The club had a low supporter base, and could only offer lower match payments than most other clubs, to the point when the club was fully amateur from 1953 until 1955, then again in 1958. This weakness was reflected in generally poor onfield performances – with the notable exception of a preliminary final appearance in 1954 when the club was fully amateur.
After the Association split into two divisions, Northcote won the inaugural Division 2 premiership in 1961, but spent only two seasons in Division 1 before being relegated at the end of 1963. It never returned to the top division, and spent the next 24 years competing in Division 2. The club remained middle-of-the-pack in Division 2 throughout the 1960s and 1970s, often finishing just outside the finals. The club won its second Division 2 premiership in 1982; it was not promoted to Division 1 after the premiership due to a restructure of the two-division system, but the club later commented that it probably could not have afforded the extra expense of playing in the top division.
A small club with a small supporter base, Northcote was unable to cope with rising operating costs in the 1980s. The club announced initially its withdrawal from the VFA in November 1984, but returned two months later under a new committee. It played three more years, but its financial situation did not improve and its membership dropped to fewer than 100. It was suspended from the VFA in November 1987 after it lost tenancy of Northcote Park and could no longer commit to fielding a team in all three grades, and ultimately folded.
Northcote was originally nicknamed the Brickfielders because of the local brickworks. For a time in the late 1930s and 1940s, the team was known as the Rosellas. Their nickname in the latter half of the 20th century was Dragons.
The club is best associated with dark green and gold colours; but, it wore blue and white as a junior club, and in its first three seasons in the VFA, before changing to green and gold in 1911 to distinguish itself from North Melbourne. It also wore maroon guernseys for a few years following World War I due to the unavailability of green and gold wool at the time. Until around 1975 the club's guernseys were green with a gold 'V' neck, however moved to green and gold vertical stripes as this was considered to look better on colour TV which had just been introduced to Australia.
- Victorian Football Association (5): 1929, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936,
- VFA Second Division (2): 1961, 1982
- Percy Ogden 1922
- Maurie Sheehy 1923
- F. Moore 1924
- Gus Dobrigh 1925
- H. Dimmick 1926
- Bill Adams 1927-1928
- Percy Rowe 1929-1934
- Ralph Goullet & Alec Gray 1935
- Harold Rumney & Jack Lyngcoln 1936
- Ernie Hart & Jack Lyncoln 1937-1938
- Billy Libbis 1939-1941
In recess – WWII 1942-1944
- Carlton – Frank Seymour
- Collingwood – Peter McKenna, Ian McOrist, Jack Regan
- Essendon – Greg Stockdale
- Fitzroy – Len Pye, Douglas Nicholls
- Footscray – Bill Downie
- Melbourne – Bob Johnson
- Richmond – Stan Judkins
- Linda Pearce (10 June 1988). "VFA-VFL link move". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 68.
- "Victorian Junior Association". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 14 March 1908. p. 17.
- "Preston's weak team". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 16 September 1911. p. 17.
- "Football – Northcote and Preston Club". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 14 March 1913. p. 9.
- "Ground disqualified". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 17 July 1903. p. 6.
- "Who's the delegate – Football Association dilemma". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 13 October 1914. p. 10.
- Jack Dunn (17 July 1953). "Third VFA team to play as amateurs". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 28.
- "Northcote gets rise". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 8 March 1956. p. 36.
- Noel Carrick (11 June 1958). "Club stops its "pay for play" but...". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 50.
- Dave Andersen (6 September 1954). "Triumph for "amateurs"; Northcote wins way to V.F.A. four". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. p. 19.
- "All the VFA details". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 26 August 1963. p. 40.
- Marc Fiddian (9 August 1976). "Bears capture Coburg's spot". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 27.
- Marc Fiddian (13 September 1982). "Great last quarter the winner for Port". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 27.
- Garry Linnell (29 November 1984). "Broke 'Cotes quit the VFA". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 34.
- Barbara Sharp (13 February 1985). "Northcote back in VFA". Leader. Northcote, VIC. p. 3.
- Santo Caruso; Marc Fiddian; Jim Main (2002), Football Grounds of Melbourne, Essendon North, VIC: Pennon Publishing, p. 106
- Linda Pearce (6 November 1987). "Two clubs expelled from VFA next year". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 78.
- "'Town's triumph in close game". Williamstown Chronicle. Williamstown, VIC. 23 September 1939. p. 3.
- "Seagulls beat Rosellas". Williamstown Chronicle. Williamstown, VIC. 8 June 1945. p. 2.
- Fiddian, Marc (2004), The VFA: a history of the Victorian Football Association, 1877–1995, p. 101
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