Christies Beach Football Club began competing in the Southern Football League in 1966, two years after the seeds of the club had been sown by the establishment of two linked junior colts sides, the Tigers and the Panthers.
Nicknamed the Saints, the fledgling side finished seventh in its debut season but then improved enormously in 1967 to take out the first of two successive premierships. Opposed in the grand final by reigning premier McLaren Flat, Christies Beach was steadier in front of goal, and won by 7 points, 10.8 (68) to 8.13 (61). The 1968 grand final clash with Port Noarlunga was a nail-biting affair which ended with just a single point separating the teams, Christies Beach winning 13.11 (89) to 14.4 (88).
The club’s status as a new power in the competition was emphasised over the next half a dozen seasons with further grand final appearances in 1969 (lost to Reynella), 1971 (thrashed Port Noarlunga), 1972 (beat Reynella) and 1974 (beat Reynella once more). The 1971 premiership was won unbeaten.
The 1980s saw the side consistently qualifying for the finals, including five grand finals, but only once, in 1983, was the premiership achieved thanks to a 14.12 (96) to 7.13 (55) defeat of Morphett Vale. The Saints’ seventh and last premiership to date was claimed in 1994 after a hard fought 12 point grand final win over Marion. In addition to its senior triumphs, the club has also enjoyed considerable success at reserves level as well as in the various junior grades.
Over the past couple of decades Christies Beach has produced a number of AFL footballers of whom the best known were probably Adelaide’s Nigel Smart, Port Adelaide’s Dean Brogan, and Tony Modra (Adelaide and Fremantle).
Recent on field performances have been patchy, although the Saints did manage to qualify for the finals in 2015 when they got as far as a losing semi final against Brighton Bombers. A year later they lost an elimination final against Port Noarlunga by 2 points while the 2017 season came to an end at the equivalent stage, this time at the hands of Morphett Vale. In 2018 the Saints' campaign was again brought to a conclusion in the elimination final, this time by Reynella. A year later the Saints made it as far as the preliminary final in which they lowered their colours to eventual premiers Flagstaff Hill by a margin of 10 points.
- The Southern Football League, like the AFL, operated a top eight finals system at this time. Following the withdrawal of three clubs in 2017, however, a final six system was introduced.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications