Subiaco Football Club
|Full name||Subiaco Football Club|
|Leading goalkicker||Hamish Shepheard (51)|
|Best and fairest||Chris Phelan|
|Competition||West Australian Football League|
|Premierships||14 (1912, 1913, 1915, 1924, 1973, 1986, 1988, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2018)|
|Ground(s)||(Leederville Oval) (capacity: 18,000)|
The Subiaco Football Club, nicknamed the Lions and known before 1973 as the Maroons, is an Australian rules football club in the West Australian Football League (WAFL). It was founded in 1896, and admitted to the WAFL in 1901, along with North Fremantle. The club is currently based at Leederville Oval, having previously played at Subiaco Oval.
Subiaco was incorporated in 1896, establishing its base at a small playing arena within the environs of the Shenton Park Lake. During the Club's embryonic period it played in the "First Rate Juniors" competition from 1896 to 1900 and enjoyed premiership success. As a result, along with fellow First Rate Junior powerhouse North Fremantle the Subiaco Football Club joined the then West Australian Football Association competition (known today as the West Australian Football League – WAFL) in 1901. However, it struggled so much that there were long debates as to whether it should continue after it won only eleven games in its first seven seasons but with the construction of Subiaco Oval on what was formerly called the “sand patch”, the club’s performances improved: very slowly at first, but very rapidly after the acquisition of two key forwards in Phil Matson and Herbert Limb for the 1912 season. That year Subiaco rose from second last to their first ever premiership despite a thrashing from East Fremantle in the final, and they again won premierships against Perth in 1913 and 1915 before loss of players to World War I gave them the rare ignominy of plummeting from premiers to the wooden spoon in 1916.
During the inter-war period Subiaco were mainly a middle-of-the-road outfit, though they did win a premiership from third in 1924 and played in three grand finals for the rest of that decade, only to lose each time to East Fremantle or East Perth. They were noted for a large number of outstanding players during this period, including ruckman Tom Outridge and rover Johnny Leonard, but as these players declined Subiaco began a period of struggle that would rival their experiences in the 1900s (and from 1975 to 1983).
They plummeted to their first wooden spoon since 1916 in 1937 and made an extremely ambitious recruiting coup by providing local employment for three Victorian champions in Haydn Bunton, Keith Shea and Les Hardiman. Although Bunton lived up to his Fitzroy reputation and at times did work far beyond that expected of a rover, Shea and Hardiman did not, and Subiaco in the four seasons from 1938 to 1941 won only 23 and drew one of eighty games, finishing seventh twice and sixth twice in an eight-team competition.
After the WANFL operated on an under-age format for three seasons from 1942 to 1944, Subiaco rose to fifth in 1945 and third in 1946, but this proved a false honeymoon. Sorely lacking in high quality players, Subiaco between 1947 and 1956 won only thirty-eight of 198 games, and simply failed to recruit players of the quality that the two Fremantle sides, Perth and West Perth did. It was engaged in a consistent battle with Swan Districts for the wooden spoon, and never finished higher than seventh in an eight-team competition.
Late in the 1950s, Subiaco emerged from the doldrums in spectacular fashion when in its first final for thirteen years it kicked a remarkable 16.8 (104) in the third quarter against Perth - easily a record quarter score for a senior Australian rules final. They then beat East Fremantle to reach their first grand final since 1935, but were beaten by East Perth and in the following years Subiaco again struggled, winning only 69 and drawing three of 168 home-and-away games between 1960 and 1967 and never seeming to have good direction in their management. 1968, however, saw the club achieve stability through the recruitment of Haydn Bunton junior as coach and a record season from Austin Robertson at full forward, who kicked 157 goals and in one match against East Fremantle fifteen of nineteen (along with eleven behinds!). The club finished fourth every year from 1968 to 1970, but declined somewhat in 1971 and 1972. However, under new captain-coach Ross Smith and with the emergence of star players like Mike Fitzpatrick, Subiaco emerged for the first time since the Matson era as firm favourites for the flag during 1973 and duly beat West Perth.
However, with the departure of Fitzpatrick and Peter Featherby to the VFL, Subiaco returned to the dark days of the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1974 they reached the First Semi-Final only to lose to Swan Districts, but would not participate in the finals for a decade afterwards and finished absolutely last in 1976, 1979, 1980 and 1982. In the process they won just 44 of 189 games, and in 1982 looked like a winless season before beating East Fremantle in the seventeenth round. However, during this period every one of the other seven WAFL clubs won at least one premiership. Their only genuinely class player of this era, Gary Buckenara, defected to Hawthorn after three years with the Lions. Worse still, unlike that earlier bleak era, Subiaco were hit by severe financial problems and only community involvement during the early 1980s managed to save the club from extinction.
The return of Haydn Bunton junior as coach after a long stint with South Adelaide was viewed by most Subiaco fans as the return of a master, and it is remarkable how he rose a nearly defunct club to a major force in the WAFL. Subiaco moved from four wins to nine in 1984 (along with a reserves premiership) and rose to second behind East Fremantle in 1985. Although it was their first finals appearance since 1974, Subiaco did not disappoint but ultimately failed by five points. However, 1986 saw them even better, beating VFL club St Kilda in the Foster‘s Cup and losing only four games all year - their second-best home-and-away return behind 1912 - before recovering from a thrashing from East Fremantle to demolish that team in the Grand Final by sixty-nine points.
Bunton junior’s aim of a Subiaco dynasty was ended by the formation of the West Coast Eagles that summer, which quickly drained the WAFL of all its best talent. Nonetheless, he coached the Lions to another premiership in 1988, and although they did decline to only six wins in 1989 and 1990, Subiaco maintained a respectable position in the weakened WAFL over the next decade, before becoming the richest and most powerful club therein during the 2000s under the coaching of Peter German and Scott Watters with premierships in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 - in the last of which they were amazingly unlucky not to be only the second undefeated team in open-age WAFL history suffering only a one-point loss to Swan Districts.
Subiaco would endure a lull after their historic three-peat between 2006 and 2008 before returning to the WAFL Grand Final against Claremont in 2011 under the guidance of ex-West Coast Eagle Chris Waterman. The Lions would be humbled by the Tigers on the day with a 56-point defeat solemnly ending Subiaco’s season. The Lions suffered a Grand Final hangover in 2012 free-falling down the table to finish seventh with only seven wins. This resulted in head coach Chris Waterman being replaced by club great Jarrad Schofield who played in two premierships for the Lions on either side of a 206-game AFL career. Schofield worked hard to instil a new system at Subiaco resulting in a low key eighth finish again in 2013 with only six wins; but it would set the building blocks for a miraculous face lift in 2014.
After recruiting heavily over the off-season and relying on a strong base of home-grown talent the Lions turned their fortunes around to finish second in 2014 and contend for their seventh grand final in eleven seasons. Subiaco lost their first semi-final to the heavily favoured Royals before pulling off a nail-biting five-point win over the East Fremantle Sharks in an elimination final to secure the clubs 24th Grand Final appearance. On a wet and blustery day the Lions proved too determined for the West Coast Eagles affiliated Royals to record a famous 16 point Grand Final victory and the clubs twelfth historically. Jason Bristow was awarded best on ground with 23 disposals and a goal whilst Kyal Horsley captained Subiaco to his second Grand Final. Subiaco veteran Darren Rumble became the clubs most successful player historically with his fifth premiership for the club.
Less than 24 hours after Subiaco secured their club’s twelfth premiership they also had the club’s second Brownlow Medallist with Matthew Priddis winning the AFL's best and fairest after an outstanding season with the West Coast Eagles. Priddis played 63 games for the Lions including two WAFL premierships and a Sandover medal before being drafted to the Eagles in 2006.
Subiaco entered the 2015 season in their third season under Jarrad Schofield and had to replace a host of retiring premiership stars. Jason Bristow, Shaun Hildebrandt, Daniel Leishman, Andrew Mcdougall and Robert Forrest all retired after the 2014 premiership. Subiaco used the open market to bring in a host of talent with Victorians Leigh Kitchin and Brett Robinson joining the club as well as Scott Hancock (East Fremantle), Sam Menegola (Ex-Fremantle) and Jordan Lockyer (Ex-Sydney). Talented youngster Michael Wood also re-joined the Lions after a year on Fremantle's list.
The influx of players had a big impact on the 2015 season with the six recruits combining for 117 games and big contributions in the club's 13th flag. The Lions were the most dominant season over the 2015 WAFL season finishing four games on top with a record of 17-3. Subiaco crushed rivals West Perth by 55 points in the second semi at Medibank Stadium to book their place in the Grand Final.
Heading into their seventh Grand Final in ten years the Lions stood as comprehensive favourites. West Perth made it through after beating Fremantle aligned Peel Thunder and West Coast aligned East Perth but were a class below in WAFL Grand Final 131. The Lions outplayed the Falcons in every term to run out 66 point winners at Domain Stadium to secure the clubs 13th premiership. Matt Boland claimed the Simpson Medal for best player on ground with seven goals in a dazzling display.
Shane Yarran became the first player of indigenous heritage to win the leading goal-kicker award for Subi in 2015 with 46 on the season. The mercurial forward also claimed the REIWA Goal Of The Year.
In 2016 the Lions looked to achieve the second three-peat in the club's long history. Key premiership players Shane Yarran & Sam Menegola departed to the AFL and 2016 proved to be the biggest challenge for Jarrad Schofield and his men. Despite finishing first over the home and away season and convincingly winning their semi-final, the Lions fell agonisingly short of the Peel Thunder squad. The Fremantle Football Club aligned club fielded 17 Dockers including past hero Shane Yarran. Subiaco lost by 23 points but earned the admiration of the WAFL community against an incredibly talented Peel side.
The club song of the Subiaco Football Club is sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" written by a supporter John Irvin and adopted by the club.
WAFL Premierships: (14 total) 1912, 1913, 1915, 1924, 1973, 1986, 1988, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2018
Runners-Up: (15 total) 1925, 1926, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1959, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1995, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2016, 2017
Minor Premiers: (16 total) 1912, 1913, 1925, 1943, 1973, 1986, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Wooden Spoons: (21 total) 1901, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1916, 1937, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1967, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1996
Reserves Premierships: (18 total) 1928, 1929, 1931, 1958, 1959, 1969, 1972, 1984, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2017, 2018
Colts Premierships: (3 total) 1974, 1989, 2018
Rodriguez Shield: (12 total) 1970, 1973, 1986, 1995, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018
Sandover Medal Winners: (10 total) 1921: Tom Outridge, 1935: Lou Daily, 1938: Haydn Bunton, Sr, 1939: Haydn Bunton, Sr, 1941: Haydn Bunton, Sr, 1991: Ian Dargie, 1994: Ian Dargie, 2000: Richard Ambrose, 2004: Allistair Pickett, 2006: Matthew Priddis
Simpson Medalists: (9 total) 1973: Dennis Blair, 1985: Brian Taylor, 1986: Mark Zanotti, 1988: Mick Lee, 2004: Paul Vines, 2006: Marc Webb, 2007: Brad Smith, 2008: Chris Hall, 2014: Jason Bristow, 2015: Matt Boland
Bernie Naylor Medalists: (22 total) 1913: H. Limb (40), 1915: H. Limb (46), 1920: Pat Rodriguez (36), 1957: Don Glass (83), 1962: Austin Robertson, Jr. (89), 1964: Austin Robertson, Jr. (96), 1968: Austin Robertson, Jr. (162), 1969: Austin Robertson, Jr. (114), 1970: Austin Robertson, Jr. (116), 1971: Austin Robertson, Jr. (111), 1972: Austin Robertson, Jr. (98), 1987: Todd Breman (111), 1988: Todd Breman (75), 1993: Jason Heatley (111), 1995: Jason Heatley (123), 1998: Todd Ridley (77), 2003: Brad Smith (84), 2004: Brad Smith (109), 2005: Lachlan Oakley (83), 2007: Brad Smith (126), 2008: Brad Smith (104), 2011: Blake Broadhurst (68), 2015: Shane Yarran (46)
Tassie Medal Winners: (1 total) 1969: Peter Eakins
All Australians: 1966: Brian Sarre, 1969: Peter Eakins, 1972: George Young, 1986: Laurie Keene, 1986: Andrew MacNish
Record Home Attendance: 21 088 v. Claremont on 2 June 1986
Lowest Score: 0.0 (0) v. South Fremantle on 4 August 1906
Lowest Scores since 1919: 1.2 (8) vs. East Perth on 7 August 1920 and 1.5 (11) v. East Fremantle on 24 July 1954
Longest Winning Streak: 19 games from Round 12, 2006 to Round 7, 2007 (including 2006 premiership; bye in Round 8 of 2007)
Longest Losing Streak: 24 games from Round 1, 1902 to Round 9, 1903
Team of the Century
|Team of the Century|
|B:||Dwayne Lamb||Brian Sarre||Lou Daily|
|HB:||Laurie Kettlewell||Brighton Diggins||Bill Faul|
|C:||Snowy Hamilton||Peter Featherby||Dean Kemp|
|HF:||George Young||Phillip Matson||Gary Buckenara|
|F:||Allistair Pickett||Austin Robertson||Tom Outridge|
|Foll:||Mike Fitzpatrick (c)||Haydn Bunton||Johnny Leonard|
|Int:||Laurie Keene||Fred Williams||Drew Banfield|
|Coach:||Haydn Bunton, Jr.|
This table lists the coaches, captains, best-and-fairest winners and leading goalscorers for Subiaco since 1920. Data for goalkickers are sketchy before the late 1920s
AFL/VFL players (including rookies)
There is a list of past and present Subiaco players who have played at AFL/VFL:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Subiaco Football Club.|
- See Spillman, Ken; Diehards: The Story of the Subiaco Football Club 1896-1945; pp. 33-37 ISBN 0-646-35834-0
- See Spillman; Diehards Part I; pp. 151-160
- See Spillman, Ken; Diehards - the Story of the Subiaco Football Club 1946-2000; ISBN 0-9578185-0-5
- WAFL Footy Facts: All Quarters
- See Devaney, John; Full Points Footy’s WA Football Companion; p. 278. ISBN 978-0-9556897-1-0
- Devaney; Full Points Footy’s WA Football Companion; p. 277
- Lewis, Ross; ‘Subiaco Find the Answer Up-Front’; The Game, p. 14, from The West Australian, 3 April 2006
- Spillman; Diehards: The Story of the Subiaco Football Club 1896-1945; p. 184