Prior to becoming a foundation member of the Western Border Football League in 1964 East Gambier had competed at various times in the Mid South Eastern Football League, the Mount Gambier and District Football League and the South East and Border Football League. The club’s record in the WBFL is a good one, with its tally of nine senior premierships only surpassed by South Gambier’s twelve. The first of those flags arrived in the competition’s second season courtesy of a 10.21 (81) to 11.9 (75) grand final defeat of Heywood.
The 1970s were a halcyon decade for the Bulldogs who qualified for no fewer than seven grand finals, including six in succession between 1971 and 1976. In 1972 against North Gambier, 1973 and 1975 against North Gambier, and 1976 against Imperials they emerged triumphant.
The club continued as a force during the 1980s, contesting half a dozen grand finals for three wins. However, since capturing the 1988 premiership with a 14.7 (91) to 5.7 (37) grand final victory over Millicent the Bulldogs would go almost three decades before adding to their senior grade flag haul, with losing grand finals against South Gambier in 2005, Portland a year later and South Gambier in 2009 the closest they came during the interim. The long drought was finally brought to an end in 2017. Second at the conclusion of the minor round the Bulldogs suffered the setback of a 32 point loss to minor premiers North Gambier in the second semi final. In the following week's preliminary final against Casterton Sandford they enjoyed consummate supremacy, leading at every change en route to a 15.10 (100) to 7.7 (49) triumph. Despite this impressive performance few people outside the Bulldogs camp gave them much chance of reversing the second semi final result when they met North Gambier once more on grand final day. However, the match was one-sided from the outset - with East Gambier stealing North Gambier's thunder and racing to victory by 37 points, 10.13 (73) to 4.12 (36).
The gap between flag eight and flag nine was 29 years but it is hard to imagine the gap between flag nine and flag 10 being anything like as long. Arguably reinforcing this point, the 2018 season brought another grand final appearance for the Bulldogs who fell short by just four points against Millicent after having commenced their finals campaign at the first semi final stage. The following year brought a disappointing fall from grace with the side slumping to fourth (of six). There was no senior WBFL competition in 2020 because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications