Geelong Football League (GFL) since 1989
Navy blue and white
Geelong Athletic Society Football League (GASFL) - 1929 (1 total); Geelong Football Association (GFA) - 1937 (1 total); Geelong and District Football League (G&DFL) Division One - 1986, 1988 (2 total); Woolworth Cup - 1952, 1965 (2 total); GFL - 1995, 2002 (2 total)
Over the course of an existence lasting close to a century Lara has tended to enjoy only intermittent success, with its most noteworthy achievements coming in the last two decades, following its transfer from the Geelong and District Football League to the stronger Geelong Football League. That transfer took place in 1989, and within three years the Cats reached their grand final, but lost to St Mary’s. They went down again in the 1993, this time to North Shore, but the following year they made it ‘third time lucky’ with a 13.12 (90) to 13.9 (87) grand final defeat of St Mary’s. The 1995 season brought a fourth consecutive grand final appearance, but North Shore proved to have the Cats’s measure, and won with some comfort by 43 points.
Lara’s two most recent senior grade grand final appearances came in 2000 and 2002. The former match resulted in a heavy loss to North Shore, but in the latter the Cats scored an impressive 4 goal win over St Joseph’s. The club’s other grades have also done well since the move to the GFL, with the reserves so far contesting five grand finals for three wins, and the under eighteens enjoying a fifty per cent success rate in four grand final appearances.
Between the wars Lara competed in a number of different competitions with premiership success coming its way in 1929 in the Geelong Athletic Society Football League and 1937 in the Geelong Football Association. After the war the club commenced in the Werribee District Football League but after just a couple of seasons transferred to the Geelong and District Football League, in which it would compete for in excess of four decades. Most of that time was spent in the second of the competitions three tiers, competing for the Woolworth Cup, which Lara won in 1952 with a 9 goal grand final defeat Freshwater Creek, and 1965 at the expense of Drysdale by a margin of 22 points. The Cats were also losing Woolworth Cup grand finalists in 1955, 1961, 1963, 1971, 1972 and 1978.
When its top clubs broke away in 1979 to establish the Geelong Football League the GDFL became a single division competition, in which Lara would spend the next ten seasons. The seniors reached a grand final in 1980, losing to St Peter’s, and then three straight between 1986 and 1988. The first and last of these, against Anakie and Bell Post Hill respectively, were won.
Since winning their most recent senior grade flag in 2002 the Cats fortunes have dipped. In 2008 the seniors finished well out of contention in tenth place (out of twelve teams) after managing just 4 wins from their 18 home and away matches. The reserves fared somewhat better, winning 10 matches to finish seventh.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications