History of Colac Football Netball Club
1896 – Early Beginnings of Football in Colac
Football activities in Colac trace back to 1896, when matches were played across local districts. Leagues such as the Corangamite Farmers Association, Otway Football Association, Polwarth League, Colac and District Churches Football Association, and Geelong and District Football League operated in the area leading up to 1938.
Formation and Obscurity
The exact formation of the Colac Football Club remains uncertain, likely stemming from the amalgamation of various teams. The Colac Wanders, based near the East Hotel, had a brief history. Despite short-lived teams, Colac succeeded in several leagues, securing three of the last four premierships in the Corangamite Football League until its disbandment in 1934.
1937 – Birth of Colac and District Football League
The Colac and District Football League emerged in 1937, with the club formally joining in 1939. Immediate success followed, as Colac secured the Premiership in its debut year. However, World War II caused a recess in the league during the war years.
1948 – Move to Hampden Football League
In 1948, the Colac Football Club shifted its focus and transitioned to the competitive Hampden Football League. The club sought esteemed coach Jack Cassin, an Essendon Premiership Ruckman, who spurred the team to success.
1950 – Rise to Power
Under Cassin’s leadership, Colac entered the Hampden League in 1949. By 1950, the club clinched its first Premiership in this league, defeating Warrnambool. This marked the beginning of Colac’s journey as a formidable force in football.
1980 – Amalgamation and Rebirth
In 1980, Colac and Coragulac Football Clubs amalgamated, forming the Colac Coragulac Football Club. Under the leadership of Barry Gill and Stephen Theodore, the club saw success on and off the field. Theodore’s coaching prowess resulted in three Grand Finals and two Premierships in his first three years.
1985 – Glory Years
The club’s direction and model were set by the Theodore era, with further Premiership victories in 1983 and the monumental 1985 Grand Final triumph against South Warrnambool. The club’s name reverted to Colac Football Club in 1987, and netball’s introduction further solidified its legacy.
1992 – Challenges and Triumphs
The passing of champion player Ted Parker in 1992 was a heavy blow. The departure of coach Dwayne Russell added to the challenges, but Stephen Theodore stepped up to lead. 1993 saw Colac secure another Premiership, a testament to the club’s resilience.
2000 – Move to Geelong Football League
Amid a challenging era, Colac decided to transfer from Hampden Football League to the Geelong Football League in 2001. The club embraced change, with local talent and a strong junior program.
2014 – Return to Premiership Glory
Under Paul Lynch’s leadership, the club’s commitment to local talent paid off in 2014 with a Premiership in the GFL. This victory, alongside other triumphs, solidified Colac Football Netball Club’s enduring legacy.
Present and Future
Colac Football Netball Club remains an integral part of Victoria’s strong country football and netball competitions. The club’s history is a testament to the dedication of its members, players, and leaders. By respecting its past while striving for excellence, the club continues to shape the future of football and netball in Colac.