Our Proud History of Highett Football Club
(Highett F.C, Highett West F.C, Highett Districts F.C.)
Highett Football Club (1929 – 1988)
Highett joined the league in 1929 where it played in the junior section. In 1934 it entered a side in Division two, in the days when the competition was conducted on a promotion and relegation system. For 3 years (1936-37-38), the Bulldogs were runner-up then in 1939 it finally won the Premiership its one and only. The run of success ended in 1945 when it became a senior section club. From then the record was not good – 405 games with 102 wins, 299 losses, 4 ties and the wooden spoon on 6 occasions. The Federal League still longed for the day when the Highett Football Club could be represented in a Senior Grand Final. In 23 seasons they battled hard but never made the grade. In 1959 they had a great chance its slipped through their fingers and they ended the year in 6th place. Highett was in the heart of Federal territory and success would bolster the club and the whole competition. Battling on they had identical seasons in 1966-67, with 6 wins and 12 losses with similar percentages 74.9% – 76.2%.
A big improve meant in 1969 the side just missing the finals on percentage, but with young enthusiastic players in seniors and reserves a better start was assured. 1970 season proved to be the greatest year the club had ever had with 5 teams making the final four, but still failed to win a premiership, losing to Springvale in the preliminary final. In 1971 the club gambled at the beginning of the season by changing coaches and appointed Darrell MacKenzie. It was a move that paid off with the seniors winning the Premiership, the clubs first senior flag and the reserves finishing runners-up, and the club winning the Beckwith trophy for the second year in a row. Season 1972 resulted in another Grand Final birth only to be beaten by Noble Park. The 1973 season proved to be the most outstanding year the club experienced, fielding senior, reserve, under 18 and under 16 teams in the Federal League and three teams in the Chelsea Junior League (under 10’s, 12’s and under 14’s), with 5 out of 7 entering the finals, resulting in a senior and reserve premiership and the under 14’s finishing runners up. The 1974 season again proved to be a remarkable achievement winning our second flag in a row. The 5th XVIII gained all honour in the Chelsea League by winning firstly the lightning premiership and then the Grand Final, unfortunately however this was Darrell MacKenzie’s last year as playing coach.
From years 75-78 the club performed reasonably well, it was a rebuilding process, as players retired due to injuries and age, and its difficult to maintain the pressures and costs involved, also our social club and clubroom extensions were underway and finally completed and opened in 1976. Season 1979 saw a complete change in administration with former players taking over the running of the club, appointing George Allen from Port Melbourne, playing coach, he brought known players with him, plus our former coaches in Bob Linnell and Darrell MacKenzie we again formed a very strong side to take out the premiership, then 1980 saw increasing costs and a lack of success there was a big possibility the club would have to disband, however despite their bad financial situation people rallied to keep the club going and it transferred to the South East Suburban Football League after the Federal dissolved in 1981. It continued on to battle with little success until discussions were held with Highett West Football Club, as Highett had a good ground and facilities, but was short on players. Highett West had the players, but poor conditions at their Peterson St reserve. After many weeks of negotiations the clubs amalgamated and became known as the Highett District Bulldogs, wearing the Highett West colour of the blue and white hoops.
Highett West Football Club (1973 – 1988)
The Highett West Football Club was formed in 1960 with an under 13 side due mainly to the efforts of Neil Appleford, Cec Ranell and Clarrie Beck. As the 60’s rolled by the club had the three junior sides wearing the colours of red and black. Men to follow were the likes of V. Barry, H. Stack N. Hodges and Warren Ollie. The club has produced some very good footballers who have gone to St. Kilda and Sandringham over the years.
At the end of 1972 talks were held between Highett West and Highett Y.C.W. to see if a merger was possible as the Y.C.W. had two senior sides and Highett West had three junior sides. As we know now the merger took place, but there was still a lot of work to do. The Moorabbin city council promised to have the clubroom extensions complete and ground works done, which did not eventuate at the time. The merger could not have taken place with the rooms as they were because of the size, so plans were drawn up, a grant of $4,500 and contracts were signed to get the rooms. All labour was to be done by the club to save money. It was a hard battle before the rooms were finally finished, but the end result was worth the effort.
The new club occupied Peterson St reserve in Highett West (now home to Hampton FC). Playing in the South East Suburban Football League, success was limited early for the club though they did field two senior and a number of junior teams, which battled competitively. In 1979 its under 18 team reached the Grand Final only to be defeated in a close contest. Success avoided the senior teams until John Lolas was appointed coach, it was in 1984 and 1985 when a strong competitive team was built culminating in a second division finals birth in both years. However a premiership continued to allude them. The season of 1986 was a different story, the hard work of the previous years paid off with the Club fielding one of the most dominant teams second division had ever seen. With club legends like Max Faulkner, Brian Fallon and Chris Robinson at their peak coach Lex Marshall led the Kookaburra’s to their first senior premiership beating Nth Kew in the Grand Final and finishing the year undefeated. The reserves finished the year as runners-up. In 1987 the club was promoted the Division One where it played strong clubs like Cheltenham, Parkdale and East Brighton. One of the most memorable wins in the clubs history occurred during this season when on a windswept afternoon at Peterson St the Kookaburras had a victory over one of the most powerful suburban football clubs Noble Park. A proud day for the club in front of the usual big home crowd. Whilst the team was competitive in division 1 for the next two years it was decided that an amalgamation with the Highett Football Club and its superior facilities was the right option to ensure the clubs future success.
Highett Districts Football Club (1989 – 1996)
The Highett Districts Football Club began in 1989 in first division of the South East Suburban Football League. The club was an amalgamation of the Highett Football Club and the Highett West Football Club. It was known as the Bulldogs (inherited from Highett) and it wore the blue and white hoops (inherited from Highett West). Whilst the club was an amalgamation of the two clubs, the new entity consisted largely of Highett West people. President Gary Harvey, senior coach Lex Marshall and reserves coach Warren Finnis all came from the Kookaburras. The seasons of 1989 and 1990 saw mixed results with no finals appearances, however a bad year on the field led to the club being relegated to division 2 in 1992. The retirement of playing coach Lex Marshall led to the appointment of highly credentialed coach Peter Light who recruited and formed a very strong team which reached the Grand Final in both years only to be beaten at the final hurdle.
An exodus of key players and the recruitment of Dino Dipierdemenico went sour for the Bulldogs when he was sacked by the club early in the season of 1994, as a result the team finished last and was demoted to 3rd division for the very first time. The season of 1995 had mixed results with the club undergoing another rebuilding phase.
In 1996 former University Blacks coach Alan Quaife was recruited along with key players Phil Bramley and Stuart Fox, leading to immediate success with a birth in the Grand Final. Playing Heatherton who had defeated them in round 1 by 15 goals the Bulldogs played inspired football to win by close to 20 goals. Phil Bramley also managed to win the club and league best and fairest, best on ground in the grand final and kicked over 100 goals for the season. A premiership led to promotion to second division once again.
Highett Football Club (1997 – Present)
In 1997 the Highett Districts Football Club, again became the Highett Football Club and changed its jumpers to an original red, white and blue jumper with a Bulldog image on the front. However once again financial difficulties and an exodus of good players had the club close to extinction in 1997, winning only one game for the year and again being relegated. The appointment of former Highett West president and life member John Murphy also proved to be a success with the construction of a new young promising brigade of players. A good season saw the Bulldogs finish second to once again reach a 3rd division Grand Final against Nth Kew. Although they had beaten Nth Kew during the year the Bulldogs took it up to the bears only to lose by a heartbreaking 3 pts. It was a successful year on and off the field for the club which once again saw it promoted to division 2.
The year 2000 was a year of mixed results but allowed the club to consolidate its position in the competition. Season 2001 started with the signing of new senior coach, former Williamstown assistant Joe Coy. Some good recruiting and a new outlook meant the Bulldogs were in the four all season, until the last round in which they lost to nemesis Nth Kew by less than a goal to miss out on a finals birth.
In 2004 coach Shawn Scurrah developed and led a strong group of players to a very exciting 9 point win over a determined Springvale Districts. In very average conditions the team showed enourmous heart to win their way back to Division 1.
Highett Junior Football Club (2001 – Present)
The Moorabbin United club was formed in 1985 as an amalgamation of St Catherines and Rowans Rd football clubs. The new club was born because of a lack of players in the East Moorabbin area. In it’s initial season, Moorabbin United had teams ranging from under 10 to under 15.
During its history St Catherines won three premierships in the BMYC competition: UNDER 11 1973
UNDER 13 1975
UNDER 15 1976 Moorabbin
United has achieved premierships in the following years:
UNDER 13 1989
UNDER 12 1993
The club colours were brown and gold / vertical stripes.
A constitution was adopted with the incorporation of the club in 1986. The club was based at Bricker Reserve Rowans Rd in Moorabbin East until the end of the 1996 football season.
Due to the deteriorating conditions of the Rowans Rd facility it was agreed that we move the club to Highett Reserve, Turner Rd commencing the start of the 1997 football season, a facility in much better condition than Bricker Reserve and better availability of the ground. The club fielded teams from Aus Kick, Under 9s to Under 16s in the Moorabbin Saints Junior Football League.
The club is proud to have been the recipient of the Best Conducted Club award in 1990,1992 and 1993,1994. The club was runner up in 1999, This has been achieved thanks to the co-operation of players, coaches, team managers, parents and spectators.
At the start of the 1999 season the committee voted to run the club under a new name. The club was still incorporated as the Moorabbin United Junior Football Club but operated under the name of “Moorabbin Bears.”
The end of the 2001 season saw a vote in favour of the club looking at merging with a senior club to provide continuity for players through a club into their local senior teams. It was seen that this would be more attractive and help to increase the number of players and teams in the junior ranks. A vote early in the 2002 season saw the club merge with their Turner Road cotenant, the Highett Football Club. The blue, red and white jumpers of the senior club were adopted. The club won the MSJFL Best Conducted Club award in that same year.