North Melbourne Cricket Ground
VFA 1879-80 and 1899-1907
Red and white
West Melbourne were members of the VFA twice, with their second stint yielding ultimate success in 1906 with a 7.8 (50) to 5.9 (39) grand final defeat of Footscray. West also contested the premiership deciding match the following year, losing to Williamstown. Among the most noteworthy players to don the club’s red and white striped playing jumpers were ruckman Art Gregory, wingmen Harry Laxton and Les Minto, and rover Lou Armstrong, the last named of whom kicked the significant tally, for the time, of 16 goals in two games during the team’s premiership year. In 1908 the club effectively disappeared after amalgamating with North Melbourne in an attempt to reinforce that club’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to join the VFL. North ostensibly recognised its newly merged status in 1908 by adding a red sash to their blue and white playing jerseys but few people were under any real illusions over what had actually happened: it was actually a take-over, a la Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy of ninety years later, and from 1909 the sash was dropped.
All told, West Melbourne enjoyed a 46% success rate during its second VFA stint and, given that the side’s status was on a very definite upward spiral, one cannot help but speculate as to what its future might have been had its administration resisted the advances of their counterparts at North.