When, in 1955, the Cowwarr Football League merged with the Sale District Football League to form the Sale Cowwarr Football League Gormandale was one of the new competition’s foundation members. The Tigers boasted a strong side at the time, having defeated Cowwarr 10.16 (76) to 6.7 (43) in the last ever Cowwarr Football League grand final. However, competition in the SCFL was stiff, and it would be a quarter of a century before Gormandale again tasted premiership success. During that time, the side was often highly competitive, and reached the grand final on four occasions, only to lose each time. The long awaited breakthrough finally arrived in 1982 when the Tigers comfortably overcame the grand final challenge of Glengarry, winning by 38 points, 15.6 (96) to 8.10 (58). Gormandale’s second flag in 1986 was especially noteworthy in that it was claimed unbeaten, and the club rounded off the decade in perfect fashion with another grand final win over Glengarry.
With a tally of three premierships from half a dozen grand final appearances the 1980s were Gormandale’s most successful decade to date, but the 1990s were not far behind, spawning another three flags from five grand finals. For the first time in the club’s history, two of these premierships - those of 1991 against Heyfield, and 1992 against Glengarry - were won consecutively. The 1992 side emulated their 1986 predecessors by winning every match for the season. The Tigers’ third flag of the decade came following a 13.13 (91) to 12.11 (83) grand final defeat of Churchill in 1995. More recently, the Tigers made the 2008 grand final but lost by 3 points to Churchill. Fortunes since have been modest including wooden spoons in 2016 and 2017 followed by an eighth (of ten) place finish in 2018. The 2019 season was little short of disastrous as it brought a winless wooden spoon.
Gormandale Football Club is well over a century old, having been formed in 1891. Prior to world war one, and for several years after it, the Tigers competed in the Traralgon District Football Association, before crossing to the Cowwarr Football League in the early 1920s, where they would remain until 1955. In addition to the premiership of 1954, mentioned above, the Tigers went top in 1940 thanks to an 8.11 (59) to 4.5 (29) grand final triumph over Cowwarr.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications