Formed in 1935, Coorparoo Football Club was for many years an integral part of the Queensland football scene at the highest level. During the 1960s and 1980s in particular it was also highly successful.
In the immediate post war years Coorparoo boasted a number of excellent players, pre-eminent among whom was probably dual Grogan Medallist Tom Calder. However, premierships, and indeed even finals participation, proved elusive until the mid-1950s. In 1953 and 1954 the club was even forced, through lack of players, to enter into a temporary merger with Yeronga.
In 1956 the team finished third, its best result to that date, and the following year played off in a grand final for the first time, only to lose a thriller to Sandgate by 2 points. Disappointing though this loss was the ‘Roos as they were then known had nevertheless clearly arrived as a force, a fact they emphasised by going on to contest the major round every year until 1965.
The long awaited first premiership arrived in 1960, and a small measure of extra satisfaction was derived from the fact that it was achieved at the expense of Coorparoo’s grand final nemesis of three years earlier, Sandgate. The ‘Roos’ revenge was emphatic as they won by 50 points, although the fact that they amassed a total of 40 scoring shots to 15 suggests that even this margin scarcely reflected their dominance.
The QA(N)FL during the remainder of the 1960s was to be dominated by two clubs, Coorparoo and Mayne, which between them would account for eight of the decade’s ten flags (four apiece). The two sides would confront one another on grand final day five times, with the Tigers winning the first two, and the ‘Roos the remainder.
Losing grand finals against Wilston Grange in 1969 and Sandgate the following year brought Coorparoo’s first genuinely auspicious era to an end. The ‘Roos would re-emerge as a force during the 1980s, a decade which yielded both a dual premiership success and the club’s second dual Grogan Medallist in the shape of regular interstate representative Brendan McMullen. It was also the decade which saw the club bestow arguably its greatest ever gift on the world of football in the person of Jason Dunstall. The top goal kicker in the QAFL minor round in 1984 with 73 goals Dunstall added another 14 during the finals, including 7 in Coorparoo’s 18.22 (130) to 5.14 (44) grand final annihilation of Morningside. He later moved to Hawthorn, where he carved out a career for himself as one of the greatest full forwards of all time, not to mention arguably the greatest ever Queensland-born footballer.
Dunstall’s departure corresponded with a gradual demise in the fortunes of Coorparoo Football Club. The ‘Roos are no longer part of Queensland’s elite football competition, but their contribution to the sport over more than sixty years deserves to be not only remembered, but lauded.