Navy blue and white
Sunshine was admitted to the VFA in March 1959 following Prahran’s expulsion (which is discussed in greater detail in the Prahran entry) and, with only a matter of weeks to come to terms with being in the ‘Big League’, did surprisingly well to record 6 wins from 20 games in its debut season.
The Crows made their VFA finals debut in second division1 in 1963 when, somewhat ironically, they were eliminated from premiership contention by Prahran, which had since had its membership of the competition restored. The following season, however, Sunshine had a formidable line-up which could, and probably should, have won the flag. After topping the ladder going into the finals, the Crows duly accounted for Mordialloc in the second semi final and went into the grand final against Geelong West as the warmest of favourites, only to succumb meekly by 21 points. The Crows were coached at this time by former Fitzroy full back Bob Henderson who had a knack of making the most from the ostensibly meagre playing resources available to him, and who was responsible for transforming Sunshine from a team of easy beats into one worthy of respect.
Five years later, in 1969, Sunshine again went within an ace of clinching the second division pennant after going straight into the grand final courtesy of a second semi final win over Coburg. However, Williamstown had the Crows’ measure in the ‘big one’, winning by 20 points.
After running third in 1970, Sunshine appointed former Footscray player Don McKenzie as captain-coach the following year and the players responded by qualifying for the second division finals for the ninth straight time before winning the premiership, and promotion to first division, in style. Only 3 losses were sustained all year, and on grand final day the Crows overwhelmed Brunswick in devastating fashion, 22.26 (158) to 16.8 (104) at Toorak Park.
Sunshine only lasted a couple of seasons in the elite division and, despite reaching second division grand finals in 1986 and 1988, was destined never again to secure premiership honours. For much of its time in the VFA the club suffered from financial woes, and 8 matches into the 1989 season these finally got the better of it and it was forced to withdraw from the competition.
Famous players to represent the Crows included Alan McKenzie, Pat Fitzgerald, Brian Trezise, Ray Goold, Michael ‘Shaun’ Crosbie and George Allen who, with 99 second division goals in 1969 and 80 the following year, was the only Sunshine player ever to top the VFA’s goalkicking list in either division.