Prior to joining the Ovens and King Football League in 1955 Bright had spent many highly successful years in the now long defunct Myrtleford Bright competition. The economy of Bright is heavily reliant on winter tourism, and the local football club has often faced a struggle retaining its players and administrators.
The Roos were quite competitive in their debut season in the OKFL, narrowly missing the finals, and they got to within one game of the grand final in their second. After that, however, they tended to struggle, and it was not until 1978 that they again contested the finals.
The 1980s was Bright’s most successful decade to date, with finals appearances in all save one season. In 1985-6-7 the ‘Roos qualified for the grand final, and emerged successful from the second and third of these games. Added to this, the club’s reserves team went top five seasons in a row from 1986 to 1990.
Bright’s third senior premiership arrived in 1992 courtesy of a 10.14 (74) to 9.13 (67) grand final defeat of Chiltern. The fourth, and most recent, flag in 2004 was similarly hard won, the Roos edging out warm pre-match favourites Moyhu in the grand final by 4 points, 13.10 (88) to 12.12 (84). The 2005 season brought a dramatic fall from grace as the side managed just 2 wins from 18 matches to finish second from bottom before recovering the following year to miss out on finals participation only on percentage. In 2007, Bright qualified for the finals in second place and then swept straight into the grand final on the strength of a 19 point second semi final win over Whorouly. In the grand final a fortnight later, however, the Lions succeeded in turning the tables by an identical 19 point margin.
The 2008 season ended in similar disappointment as Bright succumbed by 35 points on grand final day to Tarrawingee.
The Roos have continued to contest the finals on a regular basis. After finishing eighth in 2016 and ninth in 2017 Bright returned to the finals fray in 2018 when they ultimately finished sixth. The 2019 season brought further improvement as the Roos made it as far as the grand final, in which they lowered their colours to Milawa by 61 points. Following a 2020 season when the league was in hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bright will be hoping to go one better in 2021.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications