With a total of 27 senior grade premierships to their credit Bambill are the Millewa Football League’s most successful club. They entered the competition in 1927, but tended to struggle initially. In 1934 it qualified for the grand final, only to lose by a single point against Meringur. This proved to be the first in a sequence of six successive grand final appearances highlighted by victories over Werrimull in 1935 and 1939 and Merrinee in 1938.
The first two decades after world war two saw the Saints performing modestly in the main, with their only flag during this period coming in 1949. The mid-1960s brought a marked resurrection in fortunes with five straight grand final appearances between 1964 and 1968 with all except the first of these being won. The 1970s proved almost as successful with the side claiming three premierships before embarking on the greatest decade in the club’s history, the 1980s. During this decade Bambill contested no fewer than six grand finals, emerging victorious from all but one of them. Included in the triumphs was another four in a row sequence achieved precisely twenty years after the first.
Bambill’s status as a perennial competition pace-setter shows no signs of coming to an imminent end. The 1990s produced another two flags plus four losing grand finals, while the first decade of the twenty-first century produced a further four premiership triumphs.
More recently, the Saints have continued to enhance both their reputation and the contents of their trophy cabinet. Following a grand final loss to Gol Gol in 2010 they added their twenty-third senior grade flag the next year thanks to a 24.14 (158) to 14.5 (89) grand final defeat of Werrimull. Two seasons later Werrimull had their revenge on grand final day as they downed the Saints by 38 points.
The period between 2014 and 2016 saw Bambill reigning supreme, accounting for Werrimull in the grand finals of 2014 and 2015, and Gol Gol in 2016. After that, the 2017 season afforded an astonishing contrast as the Saints lost all 15 matches for the year to finish, inevitably, in last place. There was considerable improvement a year later as the side qualified for the finals, and ultimately finished third. This was followed by a magnificent 2019 campaign which ultimately bore fruit in the shape of a 10.13 to 10.10 grand final defeat of Nangiloc. There was no immediate opportunity to build on this success as the MFL went into enforced abeyance in 2019 owing to the global coronavirus pandemic.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications