Bannockburn’s flag-winning pedigree extends back more than nine decades. Between 1919 and 1923 the team competed in the Leigh District Football Association, contesting the grand final in the last of those seasons, but going down to Inverleigh by a goal. Crossing to the Mathieson Cup competition in 1924 Bannockburn was immediately successful in reaching another premiership decider, this time against Elaine, but this match too was lost. The club’s breakthrough premiership came in 1925 via a 7.12 (54) to 6.4 (40) grand final defeat of Anakie. Between 1926 and the start of the second world war Bannockburn contested another three grand finals, but only emerged triumphant once.
After the war the club participated in the Elliot Cup competition for a time before transferring to its current home, the Geelong and District Football League, in 1953. The 1950s proved to be a trying decade for the club which was even forced to merge with Lethridge for a time.
Most of the Tigers’ first four decades in the G&DFL were spent in the competition’s second division, from which they finally emerged in 1990 thanks to a 22.15 (147) to 14.11 (95) grand final victory over Thomson. Relegation back to Division Two followed a couple of seasons later, but since the mid-1990s Bannockburn has firmly established itself as one of the leading lights in a league which, since 1996, has comprised a single division.
In recent years the Tigers have been regular finalists but have generally failed to kick on. They qualified for the 2016 grand final and entered the clash with Bell Post Hill as favourites. However, they failed to do themselves justice and went down by 58 points. A year later their season was brought to an end at the preliminary final stage by Inverleigh before a drop of two places on the ladder in 2018.
The Tigers enjoyed an excellent 2019 campaign which saw them procure finals qualification in second place. They then overcame the setback of a 44 point second semi final loss to Thomson to reverse the result two week later in the grand final, with scores of 11.5 (71) to 9.11 (65) after the teams had been all square at the last change.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications