Flagstaff Hill began life as the Brighton Methodist Football Club in 1963. The club spent the first fifteen seasons of its existence in the United Churches Football League, winning an A Grade premiership in division two in 1974, and altering its name to Brighton Tigers in 1977. In 1978 the Tigers crossed to the Glenelg South Adelaide Football Association where they gradually gained in strength, contesting consecutive grand finals in division two in 1983 and 1984. Both games, however, were lost.
In 1979 the club had changed its name for a second time, becoming known as Flagstaff Hill, with a nickname of Bush Pigs. The 1985 season brought two further changes: the club crossed from the Southern Metropolitan Football League, as the GSAFL had become known, to the Southern Football League, and it swapped its black and yellow playing uniform for red and blue. Competing in the SFL’s Division Two competition the side won its second senior grade premiership in its very first season after going through the entire year unbeaten. Remarkably, the club’s reserves team did likewise.
Flagstaff Hill spent the ensuing fourteen seasons in the SFLSA’s division one competition, with the highlight being a losing grand final clash with a powerful Plympton side in 1987. The club spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons back in Division Two, getting as far as the preliminary final both years. In 2002 the SFLSA reverted to a single division format, and in the ensuing five seasons the Falcons as they are nowadays known finished eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, eleventh and seventh. This trend of gradual improvement continued, with the word "gradual" needing to be stressed. After flirting with finals qualification for several years they made the breakthrough in 2015 when they got as far as a preliminary final defeat at the hands of Reynella. An even bigger breakthrough followed in 2016 when they qualified for the finals in fourth place before securing a grand final berth thanks to victories over Morphett Vale in a qualifying final, and Noarlunga in a preliminary final. The grand final saw them once again opposed by Morphett Vale, and in a tense, low scoring encounter Flagstaff Hill proved themselves the better side, eventually getting home by 13 points, 7.11 (53) to 6.4 (40). Having reached the top of the tree, the challenge for Flagstaff Hill was, needless to say, to remain there, and they succeeded in this aim admirably, qualifying for the 2017 finals in second place before procuring a second successive flag on the strength of wins against minor premiers Noarlunga in both the second semi final and grand final. In 2018 the Bush Pigs made it a hat trick of Flags with their 21.16 (142) to 6.6 (42) grand final demolition of Reynella crowning a superb season which had produced 16 wins in 18 matches. The 2019 season brought a fourth straight premiership triumph as the Bush Pigs accounted for favourites Noarlunga on grand final day with scores of 12.9 (81) to 7.6 (48). The 2020 season brought a name change to the Flagstaff Hill Falcons and the change was celebrated by the club's feat in winning a fifth successive flag, a record only surpassed once in the history of the league (by Aldinga). Opposed in the grand final by Noarlunga the Falcons rattled on nine opening term goals to o ne en route to a 66 point win, 18.13 (121) to 9.1 (55).
One of Flagstaff Hill’s most noteworthy playing products was Adam Cooney who in 2000 was a member of the club’s unbeaten under fourteen premiership side. Cooney later played in a losing SANFL grand final with West Adelaide in 2003 and was taken by the Western Bulldogs as the number one choice in that year’s AFL national draft. He later won the 2008 Brownlow Medal and went on to finish his career at Essendon.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications