Officially nicknamed the Hawks, but also popularly known as the Bayers, Apollo Bay has enjoyed a considerable amount of success of late. Indeed, since breaking through for its first senior Colac and District Football League premiership in 1984, the club has been the most successful in the competition.
Prior to joining the C&DFL in 1971, Apollo Bay had participated in a number of different competitions. It reached a grand final in the Apollo Bay Football Association as early as 1926, but went down by a point to Elliott River. A brief stint in the Polwarth Football League followed, and from 1931 to 1934 the club was a member of the Otway Football Association. During this four year period the side enjoyed unparalleled success, finishing top every year except 1933. In 1935 Apollo Bay returned to the Polwarth Football League, where it remained until 1971.
The Hawks found success hard to come by after transferring to the C&DFL but, as mentioned above, they finally broke through for a flag in 1984. It was during the 1990s, however, that the club really established itself, with grand final triumphs in 1993, 1996 and 1999. Three premierships in a decade is a commendable achievement, but it should arguably have been four. In 1995 the side lost only once during the home and away rounds before cruising into the grand final with a 34 point win over Colac Imperials. The grand final re-match ought to have been a formality for the Bayers, but they trailed all day, and ultimately went down by 2 points - a classic case, it could be argued, of the premiership going to the ‘wrong’ team.
During the first few years of the 21st century Apollo Bay consistently featured among the competition’s front-runners, adding further premierships in 2003 and 2004. Both flags were won at the expense of Lorne, but in contrasting fashion. In 2003 the Hawks won a dour, low scoring affair by 11 points, while a year later they triumphed at a canter by 12 goals.
More recently, the Hawks' form and fortunes have been mixed. In 2011 they lost all 16 matches for the year to finish last, while a couple of years later they comfortably qualified for the finals and were ultimately placed fourth. The last five half a dozen seasons have seen them finish sixth in 2014, ninth in 2015, seventh in both 2016 and 2017. sixth in 2018 and a creditable and promising third in 2019.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications