Once colourfully known as the Apple Snatchers, Hillwood nowadays boasts a less distinctive emblem, but is nevertheless still building on a proud tradition stretching back nine decades. For many years, the club was a highly successful member of the East Tamar Football Association, contesting ten grand finals between 1955 and 1969, for eight wins.
However, when the ETFA merged with its West Tamar counterpart to form the Tamar Football Association in 1970 Hillwood found itself unable to continue, and spent the next ten seasons in recess. In 1980, the club finally took its bows in the TFA - and promptly lost 38 games straight, 25 of them by margins in excess of 100 points, before finally breaking through for a win in 1982. Two years later, in what was the EFA’s last season, Hillwood reached the grand final, but lost to Bridgenorth by 39 points.
In 1985, Hillwood commenced in the Northern Division of the Tasmanian Amateur Football League, reaching a grand final three seasons later, and winning a premiership in 1990 with a 12.14 (86) to 10.10 (70) grand final defeat of Longford. When the competition split into two divisions in 1992 the Sharks won the inaugural Division One flag, downing George Town in the grand final by 13 points.
The northern amateur competition was replaced by the Northern Tasmanian Football Association in 1997. The Sharks won the Division One premiership in the new competition in 1999 when they thrashed Longford by 97 points, 26.14 (170) to 10.13 (73). They then went back to back thanks to an 8.12 (60) to 2.8 (20) defeat of Scottsdale the next year.
Hillwood continues to compete in Division One of the NTFA. After several undistinguished seasons they returned to the finals fray in 2013 when they finished third, a result that was repeated the following year. After failing to qualify for the finals in 2015 and 2016 the Sharks secured a top five place in 2017 and ultimately finished fifth after losing the elimination final to Rocherlea. The ensuing season saw them again qualify for finals football with their premiership ambitions ultimately being thwarted at the first semi final stage by Scottsdale.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications