Churchill’s original name was the Hazelwood Football Club. In 1905, it was a founding member under that name of the Mirboo Football Association, and later competed at various times in both the Morwell Football Association and the Mirboo Morwell Football Association. After world war two the club affiliated with the Mid Gippsland Football League where it would remain until 1983 claiming a total of seven senior grade premierships, the last two of which, in 1982 and 1983, came after the name change to Churchill, which occurred in 1981. Between 1970 and 1980 the club had been known as Hazelwood Churchill.
In 1984 Churchill transferred to the La Trobe Valley Football League but found the going tough, succumbing to a succession of wooden spoons. Since commencing in the North Gippsland Football League in 1995, however, the club has enjoyed the most consistently successful phase in its history. The seniors in fact reached the grand final in their very first season, but lost by 8 points to Gormandale. A second losing grand final followed in 1996, this time by the narrowest of margins against Glengarry, but since the turn of the century Churchill has enjoyed regular success, contesting seven senior grade grand finals for triumphs in 2002 against Traralgon Tyers United, 2003 over Heyfield, 2008 against Gormandale and 2014 versus Heyfield once more.
The Panthers’ achievements have not been limited to senior grade, with the reserves capturing flags in 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2009, and the thirds in 1995-6-7, 2000-1-2, 2011 and 2014. In addition, Churchill was the NGFL’s champion club a remarkable eight times in succession between 1996 and 2003.
Recent seasons have seen the Panthers finish third (2015), fourth (both 2016 and 2017) and runners-up to Yarram (2018) on what is a10 team premiership ladder. The 2019 season brought a fifth senior grade flag, procured by means of a 9.11 (65) to 8.10 (58) grand final defeat of Yarram. In reserve grade the same gtwo teams contested the grand final with victory going to Yarram on this occasion.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications