Goorambat and District Football Club began life as a member of the Tatong and Thoona Football Association during the 1930s. Initially known as the Grasshoppers, or Hoppers, they played off against Tatong in consecutive grand finals in 1934-5, losing the first match, but winning the latter by 26 points, 9.6 (60) to 4.10 (34).
In 1947 Goorambat commenced in the Benalla and District Football League and enjoyed immediate success, overcoming Swanpool by a goal in that year’s grand final. Further grand final appearances followed in 1948 (lost to Dookie Collegians), 1949 (downed Benalla Thirds) and 1950 (went under to Winton). The next few years were unproductive in flag terms, but the Bats, as they had by this time become known, rounded off the decade well by contesting the 1958 and 1959 grand finals, claiming their fourth senior grade premiership in the latter match thanks to a 16.10 (106) to 8.9 (57) defeat of Tatong.
The early to mid-1960s saw the Bats fielding probably their strongest ever teams, as evidenced by their feat in winning three successive premierships between 1963 and 1965. The 1970s produced another trio of flags, but after the last of these in 1979 the club endured the longest premiership drought in its history. After reaching rock bottom with a winless wooden spoon in 1995, however, there was steady improvement culminating in a long overdue grand final appearance four years later. Opponents Bonnie Doon emerged victorious on that occasion, but two years later Goorambat achieved revenge.
Over the next few years the Bats performed consistently well, finishing fourth in 2004, runners-up in 2005, and adding another premiership to their already impressive haul in 2006. It was a thoroughly conclusive triumph, too, as they tasted defeat just once all year. Twelve months later they were almost as impressive in winning 15 out of 18 matches for the season, culminating in a 19.10 (124) to 13.11 (89) grand final defeat of Bonnie Doon. The 2008 season brought another grand final appearance, but Bonnie Doon proved to have the Bats’ measure on this occasion and won a gruelling, low scoring tussle by 5 points.
In 2010, following the demise of their erstwhile home of the Benalla and District Football League, the Bats commenced in the Ovens and King Football League in which they struggled for several seasons before qualifying for the finals for the first time, for an eventual finishing position of fifth, in 2016. The following season they again qualified for the finals and eventually came fourth before dropping to tenth in 2018, a result repeated the following year.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications