1968 as Eastlake-Woden; later changed name to South Woden, and then to Sutherland; became known as Tuggeranong in 1983
P.O. Box 1496, Tuggeranong 2901, ACT
ACTAFL 1979-99; AFL Canberra 2000-present
Brown and gold
The southern third of suburban Canberra is known officially as Tuggeranong, although more commonly referred to simply as ‘the Valley’, and a football club representative of the region has been a member of Canberra football’s elite tier for in excess of a quarter of a century.
The club was actually formed as long ago as 1968 by a group of Department of Supply employees, recently transferred to Canberra from Melbourne. Adopting red and white as its colours, the team bore the name of Eastlake-Woden in recognition of the fact that it was sponsored at the time by the Eastlake Football Club. Eastlake-Woden later became South Woden, and later still Sutherland.1 In 1976 Sutherland was admitted to the ACTAFL’s under nineteens competition before adding reserves and senior teams in 1977 and 1979 respectively.
Initially, the club found the going tough in all grades, but following a name change to Tuggeranong in 1983 fortunes began to improve. In 1986, captain-coached by Hans Heystraten, senior premiership success was finally achieved following a thrilling 1 point grand final defeat of one of Canberra’s foremost perennial football forces in the shape of Queanbeyan.
In 1994 the club welcomed former St Kilda, Ainslie and Central District identity Kevin ‘Cowboy’ Neale as senior coach and immediately adopted the Cowboys emblem, which it retained until forging an alliance with AFL club Hawthorn in 2003, whereupon it became known as the Hawks. Although further premiership success has eluded Tuggeranong the club has become a rich breeding ground for player talent, with the likes of Justin Blumfield (Essendon), Aaron Hamill (Carlton and St Kilda), Stephen Hall (Woodville-West Torrens), Brett Howman (Sturt) and Dale Argall (East Fremantle) going on to enjoy greater success in higher level competitions.
The Hawks have struggled in recent years, and have not qualified for the finals since 2002.
1 I am indebted to Pat McLindin for providing me with authoritative details of Tuggeranong’s early history.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications