In 1903, Glengarry commenced in the Heyfield District Football Association, having previously, since the mid-1890s, only engaged in informal social matches. Over the course of the ensuing two decades the club participated at various times in at least half a dozen different competitions, but details of any achievements have proved difficult to uncover. The picture becomes clearer following Glengarry’s admission to the Cowwarr Football League in 1922. During the inter-war years the club was consistently at or near the forefront of this competition, contesting a total of twelve grand finals between 1924 and 1937, although its overall record - three wins and nine defeats - was perhaps a trifle disappointing.
After world war two Glengarry continued in the Cowwarr Football League, without adding to its premiership haul, until 1955 when it became a foundation member of the Sale Cowwarr Football League, forerunner of today’s North Gippsland Football League. Glengarry has been one of six clubs to maintain its involvement in the competition every season since. Moreover, with a total of eleven senior grade flags to its credit, it has been the league’s most successful club. It has also enjoyed success in the other grades, claiming its seventh reserves premiership in 2011 and its fifth thirds flag in 2015.
In 1959 the Magpies contested their first grand final for over two decades, overcoming RAAF in a tough encounter by 7 points, 13.9 (87) to 12.8 (80). The same two teams played off a year later, but RAAF emerged victorious on that occasion.
Between 1966 and 1968 Glengarry claimed a hat trick of premiership triumphs for the first and only time in its history. Grand final opposition was provided by Traralgon, whom the Magpies defeated by 3 points, Rosedale (39 points) and Maffra Rovers (11 points).
Glengarry commenced the 1970s in fine fashion with an 11.12 (78) to 7.11 (53) grand final defeat of Boisdale in 1971 and a runners-up berth the following year. However, the remainder of the decade brought a marked decline in fortune, and the Magpies did not re-emerge as a force until 1980, when they lost the grand final to Nambrok by 19 points. A year later they won their sixth NGFL flag after comfortably accounting for Gormandale in the grand final by 53 points.
The remainder of the 1980s proved exceptionally successful as Glengarry contested another four senior grade grand finals, winning those of 1983 and 1984, both against Gormandale. The success continued into the 1990s with the Magpies playing off on grand final day on four occasions, for wins in 1994 against Gormandale and 1996 against Churchill. Both matches were thrillers, with Glengarry claiming victory in the first by 5 points and in the latter by the narrowest margin possible.
After losing the 2000 grand final to Heyfield by 47 points the Magpies had to endure a long period of ‘outs’, but in 2008 there were signs of a possible imminent return to pre-eminence as they qualified for the finals, and did well to finish third. After failing to qualify for the finals in 2009 they did well to finish fourth in 2010 following which, in 2011, they reached their first grand final for eight years only to lose by 17 points to Sale City.
Two years later the Magpies again qualified for the grand final and this time round made no mistake although they had to face the heart-stopping tension of two periods of extra time before accounting for Heyfield by a single straight kick, 16.15 (111) to 15.15 (105).
Since their 2013 triumph the team's fortunes have nosedived and in 2016 they finished just one place off the bottom of the ladder after winning just three of their 18 matches for the year. A year later they improved somewhat, winning six and losing 12 matches to finish seventh of ten teams before succumbing to the wooden spoon in 2018. The 2019 season saw them rising one place on the ladder after recording three victories from their 18 minor round matches.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications