During the first decade after the turn of the century Harcourt enjoyed the greatest phase in its history, with the seniors capturing four flags. Prior to the 2002 season the club’s senior grade side had only enjoyed premiership success twice.
Between the wars and for the first seven seasons after world war two Harcourt competed in the Castlemaine Football League. The team contested consecutive grand finals in 1937 and 1938, both against Chewton, winning the former by 8 points, but going down by 16 points in the latter.
In 1952 Harcourt transferred to the Bendigo Football Association and remained in this competition, which became known as the Golden City Football League, until 1970, when it commenced in the Maryborough District Football League. Success in this competition was not long in arriving as the side won the 1971 senior grade premiership by means of a 16.11 (107) to 13.8 (86) grand final defeat of Campbells Creek. After that, however, the Lions did not again contest a senior grade grand final for thirty years.
Between 2001 and 2008 Harcourt played off in five senior grade grand finals, losing the first of these in 2001 to Talbot, but as alluded to above emerging victorious from the other four. In the 2002 grand final the Lions gained revenge on Talbot to the tune of 45 points, 19.16 (130) to 12.13 (85). The following year the Hawks were again on the receiving end, this time by a 43 point margin. The 2006 grand final brought an emphatic 20.19 (139) to 10.15 (75) grand final defeat of Newstead, with the reserves making it a tremendous year all round by overcoming Talbot in their grand final. Then, in 2007 Harcourt comfortably accounted for the grand final challenge of Avoca, claiming victory by 65 points 21.7 (133) to 9.14 (68).
The 2008 season brought a marginal decline in fortune as the Lions’ premiership ambitions were thwarted at the preliminary final stage by Maldon. Further decline followed and it would probably be fair to observe that, for the better part of a decade, Harcourt could legitimately be described as a quintessential middle of the road side. Finally, in 2017 the Lions improved sufficiently to qualify for the finals in fourth place which was where they ultimately finished following losses in successive weeks to Navarre and Royal Park. A year later they rose one place on the premiership ladder after losing a preliminary final clash with Natte Bealiba by 64 points.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications