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Coburg Football Club

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Subject: Bob Pratt, 1994 VFA season, 1993 VFA season, Adam Saad, Anthony McDonald
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Coburg Football Club

Full name Coburg Football Club
Nickname(s) The Lions (1891 - 2000, 2014 –)
The Tigers (2001 - 2013)
Club details
Founded 1891
Colours      Navy and      Red
Competition Victorian Football League
President Kevin Breen
Coach Peter German
Captain(s) Nick Carnell
Premierships 6 (1926, 1927, 1928, 1979, 1988, 1989)
Ground(s) Piranha Park (capacity: 15,000)
Other information
Official website

The Coburg Football Club, nicknamed The Lions, is an Australian rules football club based in Coburg, a northern suburb of Melbourne, and currently playing in the Victorian Football League. It is based at Coburg City Oval which has been renamed to Piranha Park, due to naming rights. Coburg has historically been a proud club and has won 6 VFA/VFL premierships with the most recent premiership in 1989. The club spent time aligned as a reserve side for the Richmond Football Club from 2001, but as of 2014 has become a stand-alone club in the Victorian Football League.


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • Years of financial struggle 1.2
    • Premierships and revival 1.3
    • 2001-2013 Richmond Alignment 1.4
    • Return of the Lions 1.5
  • Club symbols 2
    • Name 2.1
    • Previous Logos 2.2
    • Home ground 2.3
    • Club song 2.4
  • Current playing list 3
  • Club records 4
    • Club 4.1
    • Individual 4.2
      • J.J. Liston Trophy 4.2.1
      • Norm Goss Medallists 4.2.2
      • Fothergill-Round Medallists 4.2.3
      • A.Todd Medallists 4.2.4
      • Fred Hill Memorial Medal 4.2.5
    • Team of the Century 4.3
  • Support 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early history

After competing in junior competitions, including the Victorian Football League seconds until 1924, Coburg was admitted as a senior club in the Victorian Football Association in 1925[1] – a move which was pivotal in allowing Footscray, North Melbourne and Hawthorn to leave the Association and join the VFL that same year.[2]

Coburg was immediately successful in the VFA, playing finals in its first season and winning three consecutive premierships from 1926 until 1928; however, these were the club's last top-division premiership for more than fifty years. Coburg was runners-up to the Northcote Football Club in three successive seasons from 1932 to 1934, and was also runners-up in 1941. The club was dominant in the junior/seconds competition from its inception in 1928 up to World War II, winning nine seconds premierships in thirteen seasons, including four in a row from 1937 until 1940.[3]

Coburg had prolific goal kickers Lance Collins and Bob Pratt during the 1930s and 1940s. Collins, in his first full season in 1936 (he was injured in 1935 and played one game), kicked 16, 12, 11 and 10 goals in separate games to kick 116 goals for the season; in 98 games for Coburg Football Club (VFA) his tally was 432 goals. Bob Pratt, who crossed from the VFL without a clearance early in the throw-pass era, kicked 183 goals in the 1941 VFA season for Coburg, which was then the highest number of goals kicked in a VFA season until Ron Todd of Williamstown (VFA) beat that record and kicked 188 goals in 1945. Pratt and Collins together hold the record for the most goals by two players in a season: they kicked a total of 256 goals in 1941. Pratt kicked 22 goals in a match against Sandringham Football Club: a club record.

Years of financial struggle

The club's existence was threatened in 1965, when the City of Coburg leased Coburg Oval to the VFL's North Melbourne Football Club, leaving the club without a home ground.[4] After going into debt attempting to fight the council's move,[5] the club came to an arrangement to merge with North Melbourne,[6] and fourteen committeemen left the club and moved to North Melbourne as part of the merge; but, dissenting committeemen and life members opposed to the merger formed a rival committee, and with the support of the VFA executive, were able to continue operating Coburg as a stand-alone club in 1965,[7] playing games in Port Melbourne. The club's future was still in doubt until it could find a new permanent home ground; but North Melbourne's move to Coburg Oval, which was intended to be long-term, ended up lasting only one season, allowing Coburg to return to Coburg Oval and continue operating there from 1966 onwards.

The only J.J.Liston trophy winner for Coburg was Jim Sullivan in 1967. Prior to 1943 the Best and Fairest Award in the VFA was the 'Recorder Cup'. Coburg VFA winners were Peter Reville (ex-South Melbourne VFL) who was the equal winner in 1936 and E. "Snowy" Martin in 1927.

Jim Sullivan was credited by club statistics to have amassed 54 kicks in a match in 1969, which is the second highest recorded in senior football competition and the highest in the VFA competition. Coburg has the second highest number of reported players in a VFA match, which occurred in the 1933 Grand final against Northcote Football Club.

Premierships and revival

After many years in the doldrums, the club enjoyed somewhat of a rebirth in the late 1970s, with a continued period of success until the 1990. During that time, the club won three flags (1979, 1988 and 1989), finished runner-up another two times (1980 and 1986) and won four minor premierships (1980, 1986, 1988 and 1989). Even so, the club's off-field position was not secure during this time, and the club was at risk of folding in 1982-83.[8] VFA legend Phil Cleary was a member of all these games, as either a player or a coach.

Dave Starbuck holds the club record for games, with 219, played mostly in the 1950s. He is closely followed by cult figure, Vin "The Tank" Taranto, who played during the 1980s and the dark days of the 1990s, when the club was at its lowest and almost folded. Third on the games list, on 205 games, is Cleary.

2001-2013 Richmond Alignment

Coburg's logo when they were known as the Coburg Tigers in their alignment with Richmond

From 2001 until 2013, Coburg had an alignment in place with the AFL's Richmond Football Club, which saw Richmond's players eligible to play senior football for Coburg when not selected in the AFL. During this time, the club changed its nickname from the Lions to the Tigers, and its best performance during that time was during 2007, when the seniors finished as runners-up and the reserves side won the premiership.

Return of the Lions

The affiliation ended after the 2013 season;[9] Coburg returned to operations as a stand-alone senior club in the VFL from 2014, and returned to the nickname 'Lions'. The club will be coached by former North Melbourne player and former Western Bulldogs assistant coach Peter German in 2014 and 2015.[10]

Club symbols


  • Coburg 1891–1999, 2014-
  • Coburg-Fitzroy 2000
  • Coburg Tigers 2001–2013

Previous Logos

Coburg competed as the Lions from until 2001. The logo was presented in a shield format and was used until the Richmond alignment in 2000.
Under its alignment with Richmond, the club changed its logo and its nickname to the Tigers. The design of the Tiger is based around Richmond's logo, which was identical at the time. The colour scheme was changed to match that of Coburg's so the club could still have some of its identity. This was the logo until the severing of the link in 2013.
The club went back to its roots in 2014, and became the Lions again. The Lion was back on the emblem. However, the scroll remained from the Lions' tenure with the Tigers.

Home ground

Coburg City Oval has the home ground of the Coburg Football Cub throughout its history, except in1965, when it served as the home of the North Melbourne Football Club in the VFL season; during that season, Coburg played its home matches at North Port Oval in Port Melbourne.[11] The ground has a grandstand on the southern end near the goals. Terraces surround the rest of the ground. The capacity of the ground is 15,000, and the highest attendance recorded was 21,695. There are seats for approximately 3,000–5,000 people. From 2011, Coburg City Oval was known as Mantello Holden Oval. In 2014, club General Manager Craig Lees signed a three-year naming rights deal with Piranha Foods [2], with the ground to be known as Piranha Park until 2016.

Club song

The club song is to the tune of "California Here We Come".

We are the Coburg boys you know
All the coaches tell us so
We'll thrill 'em
We'll kill 'em
We'll tear them in two
We're triers
We're flyers
We're the boys of red and blue
And when we reach that final four
Then we'll kick those goals galore
Then you'll hear those Lions roar
Because Coburg boys are we

Current playing list

Club records


VFA/VFL Premierships – 1st Division

  • 6 (1926, 1927, 1928, 1979, 1988, 1989)

VFA Premierships – 2nd Division

  • 2 (1970, 1974)


J.J. Liston Trophy

Player Year Won
Ernie Martin 1927
Peter Reville 1936
Jim Sullivan 1967
Gary Sheldon 1988
Ezra Poyas 2001

Norm Goss Medallists

Player Years Won
Tim Rieniets 1988, 1989

Fothergill-Round Medallists

Player Year Won
Mark Porter 1993
Kristian De Pasquale 2001

A.Todd Medallists

Player Year Won
Colin Bamford 1940
G. McLay 1946
Jim Clapton 1951
Alan Salter 1952
Rod Wescome 1979
Alan Eade 1981
Kevin Dinale 1984
Alan Sutherland 1988
Glen Carrick 2008

Fred Hill Memorial Medal

Player Year Won
Steven Foster 2007

Team of the Century

Back Bob Atkinson Ron Promnitz Trevor Price
Half Back Dave Starbuck Brad Nimmo Tony Tancredi
Centre Alan Mannix Jim Sullivan Gary Sheldon
Half Forward Lance Collins Bill Byron Laurie Birt
Forward Ken Ingram Bob Pratt Brian Allison
Ruck Jim Jenkins Colin Hobbs Clarrie Mears
Interchange Ray Jordon Harry Kerley Mick Erwin
Jack Condon Tim Rieniets Mark Weideman
Emergencies John Harris Jack Rogan Allen Eade
Captain Brad Nimmo
Coach Phil Cleary


Famous supporters of Coburg, harking back to the days when they were known as the "Lions" in the VFA include Cleary, former Trades Union boss Dean Mighell, and 3SER stats doyen Anthony Brady.

As of 2015, Coburg FC's number one ticket holder is Australian musician Vance Joy, who previously played with Coburg.


  1. ^ "Association Football – Two new clubs". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). 16 December 1924. p. 13. 
  2. ^ "League Football – Three New Clubs". The Argus (Melbourne, VIC). 29 January 1925. p. 5. 
  3. ^ "Coburg Football Club statistical records". Fox Sports Pulse. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Scot Palmer (12 January 1965). "North gets lease of Coburg Oval". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). pp. 40, 38. 
  5. ^ Scot Palmer (3 December 1964). "Coburg may join forces with North". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 66. 
  6. ^ Scot Palmer (9 December 1964). "Coburg, North merger". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). pp. 63–64. 
  7. ^ "Coburg to stay in Association". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). 6 February 1965. p. 56. 
  8. ^ Amanda Buivids (8 July 1989). "Inner spring gets Brian jumping". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 69. 
  9. ^ "Richmond set to walk away from Coburg in 2014". 21 July 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Coburg Appoint Peter German as Senior Coach". Fox Sports Pulse. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Coburg has new ground". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). 25 March 1965. p. 58. 

External links

  • Full Points Footy Profile for Coburg
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