Geelong West Football Club
Red and white
VFA (VIC) 1963-1988
The Roosters joined division two of the VFA in 1963 having been successful members of the Ballarat Football League since 1946. They quickly proved competitive, missing the finals in their first season by the merest whisker of percentage, and downing Sunshine by 21 points in the following year’s grand final.
Reality quickly asserted itself, however, and the side lasted only a single season in first division. In 1966 and 1967 the Roosters lost division two grand finals against Dandenong and Oakleigh respectively before returning to division one with an ‘against the odds’ 20.15 (135) to 18.15 (123) grand final defeat of Williamstown in 1968.
The side was still not quite ready to compete on equal terms with the VFA’s elite, however, and soon found itself back in second division. In 1972 it won a third division two flag, downing Caulfield 14.16 (100) to 14.10 (94) in the grand final to round off an unbeaten season. Coached by ex-Geelong star Billy Goggin the Roosters were clearly a division one side in all but name and they went on to prove this over the next three seasons, culminating in the club’s finest hour, a 28 point defeat of Dandenong in the 1975 first division grand final. The Roosters effectively won the game with a 7 goals to 1 opening term (admittedly aided by a strong breeze) and by three quarter time they led 15.12 (102) to 7.7 (49). Midway through the final quarter the margin had stretched to 65 points before a late flourish from the Redlegs flattered to deceive. Geelong West centreman Tony Gilmore was best afield, ably supported by rover Alan ‘Dizzy’ Lynch, full back Howard Smith (who restricted prolific Dandenong goalsneak Jim ‘Frosty’ Miller to just 3 goals), and half back flankers Brian Dunne and Ivan Russell.
Before withdrawing from the VFA at the end of the 1988 season Geelong West played in two further division one grand finals, losing to Coburg in 1979 and Preston in 1983.
Among its more noteworthy players over the years were full forward Joe Radojevic, Bill Goggin, John Scarlett and Gary Malarkey.