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North Melbourne Football Club

North Melbourne Football Club, nicknamed The Kangaroos, is an Australian rules football club in the Australian Football League. It is based at the Arden Street Oval in the inner Melbourne suburb of North Melbourne, but plays its home matches at the Telstra Dome and occasionally, the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The club mascot, dating from the middle of the twentieth century (1950), is a grey or red kangaroo, however the club is unofficially known as the "Shinboners", a title which dates back to its 19th century abattoir-worker origins. The club's motto is Victoria Amat Curam, Latin for "Victory Demands Dedication".

Club History

The North Melbourne Football Club has done it all – won premierships, suffered their share of defeats, enjoyed their triumphs and, most of all, have made a significant and telling contribution to the game of Australian Football.

The Formative Years

The North Melbourne Football Club arose from lowly origins in 1869, purportedly established to satisfy the needs of local cricketers who were keen to keep themselves fit over the winter months. One view is that the club was connected to the St Mary’s Church of England Cricket Club, nonetheless the establishment was nothing official, rather a general gathering to play some competitive sport. Information on the club’s first ever match is sketchy, but it is know that it took place in Royal Park (which served as the clubs home ground until 1882) and that the ball used in the match was purchased by a local resident called Tom Jacks, who sold some roofing iron to pay for it.

Today, the founder of the club is regarded as James Henry Gardiner, a pivotal and legendary figure who served the club diligently both on the field and off the field right up until his death in 1921.

In 1870, Victoria for the first time saw the introduction of regular premiership matches of Australian Football. North Melbourne was apart of this, but was classed as a “Junior Club” having not yet graduated to senior ranks. The Australasian noted them as being “one of the best of many Junior Clubs” during those early years.

The club continued to evolve, graduating to senior ranks in 1874 and acquitted themselves remarkably well, finishing 4th. Along with the promotion, the club adopted its first uniform of blue and white horizontal stripes.

By 1876 North had ceased to function due to troubles, but managed to secure an amalgamation with Albert Park to form “North Melbourne Cum Albert Park”. The football world assumed that the amalgamation was the death kneel of the club, but they underestimated the spirit of the “founding fathers” and the local community who dug deep and came up with the funds to re-establish the club under the new name of “Hotham” in early 1877.

The Association Years

Football took a giant step forward in 1877, with the formation of the first colonial football league, the VFA. Hotham were prime movers in establishing this league and were afforded a place in light of their previous contributions to Australian Football.

The 1880s marked the emergence of the modern identity we now associate with North today. In 1882, the club amalgamated with the Hotham Cricket Club and moved into the North Melbourne Recreation Reserve (Arden St Oval) which has remained as the home of the Club up until this day. The joint venture was aimed at affecting improvements at the Hotham Cricket Ground, which was the name of the Reserve at the time. Four years later the club adopted the traditional uniform of blue and white vertical stripes at the insistence of the VFA, who wanted there to be a visible contrast between Geelong’s and Hotham’s uniforms. The third significant development occurred in 1888 with the club reverting back to its original name as the North Melbourne Football Club. This was done to keep inline with the towns renaming from Hotham to North Melbourne.

The 1880’s also saw the club's penchant for inter-colonial travel with trips to Tasmania in 1881 and 1887, and South Australia in 1889. Hotham also found itself well represented at the first ever inter-colonial game in 1879 with 4 players from the Club gaining selection for the "Big V".

Disregarded by the VFL

The VFA became unwieldy by the 1890s having swelled to 15 Clubs. Lead by Geelong, and fuelled by Essendon, the largest clubs of the VFA revolted and formed their own break away league, the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1896. Despite finishing 6th North was rudely excluded from the competition, a fact not lost on their supporters today. The main reasons for being excluded are as follows:

  • North had not won a premiership yet, and thus was not considered a powerful club
  • The industrialisation of the locality had drained the club’s income streams
  • The club had a strong reputation for hooliganism from their fans
  • There was a lot of bad blood between Collingwood and North following a torrid engagement in the previous season
  • Essendon felt threatened by the close proximity of North Melbourne
  • A court case against the North Melbourne Cricket Club had damaged the Football Club’s status

Undaunted, North continued on in the depleted VFA emerging as a powerhouse finishing 2nd in both 1897, 98 and 99. In 1903 the Club’s ultimate aspirations were reached when they were crowned premiers against Richmond. It had taken 34 years of hardship, and adversity, but North finally tasted absolute triumph. The club went back to back premiers in 1904 after Richmond forfeited the final in what go down as one of the most controversial premierships in football history.

North caused a sensation in 1907 after announcing an amalgamation with fellow football club West Melbourne (which at the time had lost their home ground). The joint venture saw their chance of promotion and applied for admission to the prestigious VFL but their plan was scuttled by Richmond and University who were admitted to the VFL instead. As punishment, the West and North Melbourne clubs were banished from the VFA for their treachery.

This may have seemed like the end for North, but rising phoenix like from the ashes the local community re-established the North Melbourne Football Club as a brand new identity and the VFA re-admitted the new club to the Association for the 1908 season.

"The Invincibles"

The reformation of the Club necessitated a massive clean out of the team leaving only two players remaining from the previous season. The 1910 season was marked with one of the most sensational transfers in Victorian Football history, when Andy Curran masterminded the clearance of Carlton’s famed “Big Four” of ‘Mallee’ Johnson, Fred Jinks, Charlie Hammond and Frank ‘Silver’ Caine to North Melbourne. These signings secured the Northerners third premiership in 1910.

The 1912 finals series was one of the most amazing ever, with the Semi Final having to be replayed 3 times after North and Brunswick drew twice. North were eventually victorious and moved on to the final, but unfortunately without the Big Four they lost the game by a mere four points with the last kick of the day.

The next few years were punctuated by “The Invincibles”. In the Northerners most illustrious period ever, the club went undefeated from 1914 to 1919, collecting premierships in 1914, 1915 and 1918. As well as this, the club won the championship in both 1915 and 1918 for finishing on top of the ladder, and accounted for VFL side St Kilda comfortably. During this period the club won 58 consecutive matches including 49 successive premiership matches, a record that has remained unmatched in Association or League History since.

Despite being rejected from the VFL in both 1896 and 1907, North still persisted relentlessly to gain admission into what was the premier league of the land. On the 30th of June 1921, North dropped a bombshell mid-season and told its players it would disband and try to gain entry to the VFL by the ‘back-door’. Essendon League Football Club had lost its playing ground at East Melbourne and had decided to acquire the North Melbourne Recreation Reserve as a new playing ground. North accepted their proposal in the idea that the club’s would amalgamate. All of North’s players were urged to join the Essendon League Club to help facilitate the amalgamation. The amalgamation was foiled when some members of the Essendon Committee launched a successful legal challenge. As a result the Essendon League Club moved instead to the Essendon Oval kicking the original occupants the Essendon Association Club out.

North was now without a playing team and Essendon Association was now without a ground, so as a matter of convenience the two clubs amalgamated so they could compete in the 1922 season. With the same resilience it had displayed fifteen years earlier, North had once again rose Phoenix-like from the ashes to avert self-destruction.

Entering the VFL

After 3 attempts, 29 years of waiting and numerous other applications to enter the VFL, finally North was rewarded for its relentless persistence with admittance to the League in 1925, along with Footscray and Hawthorn. Even then, the opportunity almost slipped out of the club’s grasp as the League delegates debated into the early hours of the morning on which clubs should be invited to join the intake. It was only after much deliberation that North Melbourne’s name was eventually substituted for Prahran's making North “the lucky side” of the invitees that included Footscray and Hawthorn.

Two main reasons for North being accepted over Prahran was that North had been the most popular choice in a recent poll conducted in a Melbourne newspaper on who should be promoted. The other reason was that the Club’s committee, in an unprecedented move, had visited every single League Club as well as the VFL Headquarters to make their case for why they should be included in the intake.

But two big conditions were attached to North’s entry. One was that the club had to change their uniform and another was that they had to give up their recruiting grounds to the Essendon Football Club.

North Melbourne did not achieve highly in the first twenty-five years of VFL membership, but by the late 1940s had developed a strong list and significant supporter base. In 1949 North secured the VFL Minor Premiership, finishing top of the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season with 14 wins and 5 losses. They failed to make the Grand Final that year (eventually won by Essendon), but in 1950 they did reach the last Saturday in September, gallantly going down to defeat by a more efficient Essendon. It was in this year that the club adopted the "Kangaroos" mascot.

The 1950s and 1960s were lean years for North Melbourne, though the club did secure two consecutive Night Premierships in 1965 and 1966. Allen Aylett was a brilliant player in the late 1950s and captain between 1961 and 1964, and the equally brilliant Noel Teasdale only fell short of the Brownlow Medal on a countback in 1965 (he was later awarded a retrospective medal when the counting system was amended).

Towards the end of the 1960s, and under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Allen Aylett, North Melbourne began its climb to supremacy. As part of a major recruitment drive, Barry Davis and Doug Wade were both brought from Essendon and Geelong respectively (though North failed to secure Carl Ditterich from St Kilda). Not to forget the recruitment of John Rantall,(South Melbourne), Barry Cable (WA),and lesser known interstate recruits, such as Western Australian star John Burns who played a pivotal role in securing the 1975 premiership.In a major coup, the great Ron Barassi was appointed coach in 1973. His ruthless and inspiring coaching methods took North to a Grand Final (defeated by Richmond) in 1974 and brought success in his third (1975) and fifth (1977) seasons as coach. North made five consecutive Grand Finals under Barassi (1974-1978), though technically this number should be six, as the 1977 season saw two Grand Finals played between North and the Magpies, the first resulting in a draw which needed to be decided the following week :) (much to the chagrin of Magpie supporters). Also, in 1973 and 1974, North's superbly-talented wingman Keith Greig won consecutive Brownlow Medals. He was joined in 1978 by the mercurial forward Malcolm Blight, whose victory was known as the "worst kept secret in football". Doug Wade also secured the Coleman medal in 1974 with his 103 goals for the season.

Barassi continued as coach into 1980, but only a Night Premiership in that year was to result from his last years at Arden Street. North then entered another period of decline, though Malcolm Blight kicked 103 goals to take out the Coleman medal in 1982, and another Brownlow win came through the talented Ross Glendinning in 1983. In that year, North Melbourne won a third Minor Premiership (the second had come in 1978) with 16 wins and 6 losses for the season, but failed to make the Grand Final.

The capable coaching of John Kennedy aside, the 1980s and early 1990s were lean years for the Kangaroos.However, the rebuilding of the club was taking place. The Krakouer brothers (Jim and Phil) brought a spark into the side and lifted many hopes for North supporters and the excitement to the general football public. The innovative idea of night games was intsigated by the club and meeting the challenges, the club survived. One major highlight was the recruitment of the gun forward John Longmire in 1989, who topped the club goalkicking over five consecutive seasons (1990-1994) and won the Coleman medal in 1990 with 98 goals - just two short of the magic ton. At the beginning of the 1993 season, in a dramatic and controversial move, the board of the club sacked coach and long-time playing stalwart Wayne Schimmelbusch and appointed Denis Pagan in his place. Results were immediate, as North reached the finals for the first time in nearly a decade. Pagan was also instrumental in appointing the brilliant Wayne Carey as the club's youngest-ever captain. Carey had been recruited at the same time as Longmire, but taken longer to develop as a player. Carey's leadership over the next nine seasons was inspirational, and he came to be regarded as the standout player in the league, called 'the King' by media commentators and fellow footballers alike.

Narrow misses in 1994 and 1995 were finally avenged in 1996 when North defeated the Sydney Swans to take out the gold centenary AFL cup. Nuggety backman Glenn Archer secured the Norm Smith Medal for a best on ground performance in that game. Expected to continue on the winning ways, a slump came in 1997 after the injury to Carey's shoulder in a first round match against the Melbourne Football Club, and a loss to St. Kilda in the Preliminary Final (during which key ruckman Corey McKernan dislocated his shoulder). 1998 seemed to all to be North's year, as the club won both the pre-season Ansett Cup and topped the ladder with 16 wins and 6 losses (narrowly tipping out the Western Bulldogs in the final home-and-away game of the season). However, poor kicking and a lack of discipline allowed the Adelaide Crows to win their second premiership in as many years.

It seemed that North might have missed its chance in 1998 when the following season seemed to belong to the Essendon Football Club. Essendon finished first and, after a slow start, the Kangaroos managed to take second position on the ladder, thanks to a strong season from all of the key members of the playing group (including Carey, McKernan, Archer, Stevens). When the finals started, it seemed it would surely be an Essendon v North Melbourne Grand Final. However, Carlton caused one of the all-time upsets in defeating Essendon in a classic Preliminary Final by one point.

Thus, the 1999 Grand Final was won easily by the Kangaroos [the first premiership won without the name 'North Melbourne' attached to the logo], with former Sydney midfielder Shannon Grant taking out the Norm Smith Medal.

Since its inception, the club has often had to contend with financial hardship and a fairly modest support base. The club has been subject to several merger attempts, including attempts at takeover by Essendon in the early twentieth century and an almost-completed merger with Fitzroy during the uncertain 1990s.

Seeking new markets and greater financial security in an increasingly corporatized AFL environment, the title "North Melbourne" was officially dropped from the logo in 1999, from which time the team played only as the "Kangaroos". During the successful 1999 season, North Melbourne played home games in Sydney with a view of becoming a second team in New South Wales. Perhaps partly because of North's victory over the Sydney Swans in the 1996, the experiment was not successful, with crowds averaging only 12,000. Since the South Melbourne Football Club moved to the city and took many years to become accepted, most Sydney people had become aware and cynical of the concept of relocating Melbourne teams. The Kangaroos played several home games at Manuka Oval in Canberra over recent seasons, but from 2007 will play up to 10 home matches over three seasons at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast where support is growing for the AFL. The club still maintains their home ground in Victoria at the iconic Arden Street Oval, North Melbourne, which from 2006 underwent the first stages of a $12 million upgrade of training and other facilities.

The 21st century

The twenty-first century did not begin well for the North Melbourne Football Club. Its decade-long onfield potency was in decline, questions were raised about its financial position and long-term sustainability and three of the pillars that had underpinned its 1990s dominance - coach Denis Pagan, captain Wayne Carey and chief executive Greg Miller - left the club under acrimonious circumstances. They went from finishing a reasonable 4th in 2000, before slumping to 13th position at the end of 2001.

Revelations that emerged only a few weeks before the beginning of the 2002 season that champion captain Wayne Carey had been having an extramarital affair with the wife of teammate and vice-captain Anthony Stevens shook the club, and the football world in general. Carey resigned in disgrace. However, despite this turmoil on the eve of the season commencing, Denis Pagan against all odds guided the Kangaroos to the 2002 finals series. Unfortunately, Melbourne proved too strong in the elimination final and defeated the club. This was also John Blakey's and Craig Scholl's (Scholl kicking a record equaling 7 goals in a final) last game.

The resignation of Pagan at the end of the 2002 season after being poached by Carlton president John Elliot further accelerated the process of decline, though North Melbourne remained competitive, and often a significant threat to the emerging powerhouses of Port Adelaide and Brisbane. Pagan was replaced by 1996 premiership player Dean Laidley. A talented player and wily coach, Laidley had previously been an Assistant Coach at Collingwood from 1999 until the end of season 2002.

2003

The 2003 season was mostly uneventful, with one major exception — the emotional return of Jason McCartney from severe burns suffered in the 2002 Bali bombing on June 6 against Richmond. McCartney's statistics were modest, but he set up the winning goal with seconds remaining. He retired immediately after the game.

2005

In the 2005 season, the Kangaroos fought back from a mid-season slump finishing fifth on the ladder and in doing so helped to silence critics who had labelled the club and new coach as 'ineffective' and 'useless'. Unfortunately, these critics returned when in the 1st Elimination Final, the Kangaroos lost by a shattering 87 points to reigning Premiers Port Adelaide.

2006

2006 was anticipated as a major turning point for the Kangaroos. The club was consistent in its policy of swapping early draft picks for experienced players. There was a perception from outsiders that the club was facing an aging squad, with Daniel Wells shaping as the only young prospect for the Kangaroos. However, 2006 saw good performances from many of the other youngsters on North's list, including Daniel Harris, Hamish McIntosh, Corey Jones, Drew Petrie, David Hale and Andrew Swallow.

In July of 2006, the Kangaroos' training ground, Arden Street suffered minor damage in a fire, which occurred at 4:30am, after a massive 72-point loss to the Adelaide Crows at AAMI Stadium the night before. Arson was believed to be the cause of the fire, and it forced the Kangaroos to train at Telstra Dome for the remainder of the 2006 AFL Season.

Apart from highlights such as the victories over Port Adelaide and Hawthorn early in the season, and the pleasant sensation of defeating long-time AFL superpowers-turned-wooden-spoon contenders Carlton and Essendon, as well as the slow re-emergence of Nathan Thompson (formerly of Hawthorn) with a season total of 54 goals and 13 votes in the Brownlow medal count), the 2006 season was largely a disappointment.

At the conclusion of the 2006 Premiership Season, the North Melbourne Football Club changed their logo, mainly due to strong supporter pressure. The design includes an image of stream-lined Kangaroo, backed by a blue and white shield, with 'Kangaroos' underneath. Under 'Kangaroos' is the wording 'North Melbourne Football Club', back on the logo, much to the delight of thousands of North Melbourne traditionalists.

2007

Early 2007 saw the club in the media spotlight on a number of fronts. With the retirement of personally troubled key defender Jonathan Hay and season ending injuries to the club's top two goal kickers of 2006, Nathan Thompson and Leigh Harding, the club was overwhelmingly tipped to receive the wooden spoon at season's end. Conflict between members of the club's board, and speculation of a relocation of the club to the Gold Coast, also gave the North Melbourne Football Club unwanted media attention. Midseason, inexplicable speculation about whether Dean Laidley would be re-signed as coach of the club despite its impressive performance thus far in 2007 was prominent in the media for a ten day period and then, just as inexplicably, faded away.

In spite of negative media attention, the club has had a significant resurgence on field, with its performances being more than respectable. A semi-finals berth in the pre-season competition was a preview of what was to come. Unfortunately the Kangaroos didn't get the start they hoped for, losing their first 3 matches including a heartbreaking Round 1 defeat at the hands of Collingwood by 3 points with losses against Port Adelaide and Hawthorn following.

An example of the new running game of the Kangaroos was in Round 4 against the Lions in the Roos first Carrara home game, in which they won by 24 points, 12.15.87 to 8.15.63. Leigh Brown kicked 3 goals for the Roos, while Hamish McIntosh had his best game of his career to that point, with 20 possessions. Daniel Wells, Jess Sinclair, Glenn Archer and Shannon Grant also had stellar performances.

The Kangaroos won 6 games in a row from round 4 to round 9, including a shock win over eventual premiers Geelong at Skilled Stadium, before eventually losing to West Coast by a whopping 66 points at Subiaco in Round 10. Following this loss, the Roos bounced back to defeat St. Kilda by a margin of 22 points at Telstra Dome. However, possibly due to inexperience, the Kangaroos have not always appeared to have the ability to close out a game until late in the fourth quarter, with the notable exception of the Round 9 game against the

The club was victorious between Rounds 13 to 17 after the loss to Adelaide in Round 12. One of these victories, perhaps one of the most important to the club this year, was the Round 13 game against the Western Bulldogs where North Melbourne champion and Shinboner of the Century Glenn Archer celebrated his milestone 300th game.

Round 15 saw the Kangaroos upset the Fremantle Dockers at Subiaco by 4 points in a nailbaiting contest the whole way through with less than 6 points the difference at each break. Round 16 had the Kangaroos demolish Melbourne by 64 points and another Kangaroos victory followed a week later, this time a comfortable 37 point upset win over a higher placed Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium. This victory lifted North Melbourne to outright second on the AFL ladder by the conclusion of Round 17, with many football observers reluctantly having to revisit their assessments of both the ability of the North Melbourne squad for 2007 and the likelihood of the team playing in the finals.

The 2007 campaign hit an obstacle late in the season when, at the beginning of a difficult run to the finals, the club was defeated by the Lions at the Gabba by 37 points in Round 18. While the Kangaroos retained their position of second on the AFL ladder following this defeat, they did so with a lower percentage and with one less game as a buffer.

Following the defeat by the Brisbane Lions, the Kangaroos lost against fellow top 2 contenders and reigning premiers West Coast by 17 points at the Telstra Dome in a tight hard fought contest for most of the game. A week later in Round 20 the Kangaroos challenged Geelong who had wrapped up the minor premiership the week before. The Kangaroos being the last team to beat Geelong went in hoping that they could do it again, but unfortunately it wasn't to be as Geelong won by 27 points in a match that could've gone either way half way through the 3rd quarter. This loss pushed the Kangaroos down to 5th with the double chance looking dim but when they demolished a pathetic Carlton by 82 points the following week they sealed their place in the finals and also saw a chance to steal 4th spot had results fallen their way in the final round.

In the final round of the 2007 home and away season, the 5th placed Kangaroos played the Western Bulldogs winning by an impressive 64 points. Not only was this loss disappointing for the Western Bulldogs but in the 2nd term they were held to their first scoreless quarter of football since they played West Coast at Subiaco Oval in Round 6 1999. This was also the first time this season that a team has been kept scoreless in a quarter of football. On the same day, the Sydney Swans recorded an upset 72 point win against Hawthorn at the SCG which allowed the Kangaroos to leapfrog the Hawks to claim 4th spot and win the double chance plus a spot against the minor Premiers Geelong in the 1st qualifying final.

Before the start of the 2007 Finals,the Kangaroos had the longest drought of all 16 clubs in not winning a finals match with their last finals win being a 10 point victory over Hawthorn in the 2000 semi final. This statistic continued in the first week of the 2007 AFL finals when the club was humiliated by the Geelong Cats to the tune of 106 points, the fifth highest losing margin in finals history.

The Roos took the chance to redeem themselves when they took on the Hawthorn Hawks in the Semi Final at the MCG on the 15th of September. Although Hawthorn Hawks were the obvious favorites, the Kangaroos stayed in front for the whole match winning by 33 points. Twice in the third term, Hawthorn got to within a kick, but spectacular goals to Brent Harvey,Daniel Wells and Aaron Edwards the Roos sealed the match early in the last quarter. The best players were Harvey, Archer and Harris. Young talent Smith and Swallow also stood up while Aaron Edwards took the mark of the night, a screamer over Trent Croad, and Brady Rawlings and Josh Gibson kept potential matchwinners Luke Hodge and Lance Franklin exceptionally quiet, Franklin managing just 3.3 for the game, and having 5 free kicks against him.

As a result of the Kangaroos 33-point victory over the Hawks, they qualified for an unlikely preliminary final appearance, being played against the Port Adelaide Power at AAMI Stadium. Unfortunately the Power side were much too strong for the Kangaroos giving them an 87 point belting. The final score was 20-13-133 to 5-16-46 in what was shinboner of the century Glenn Archer's last game. The match was very similar to the 87 point belting the Power gave the Roos in the 2005 first elimination final.

The Gold Coast push
In 2006 the Kangaroos agreed to play 3 home games at Carrara Stadium in the Gold Coast throughout 2007, which has fuelled speculation of a possible relocation there by 2010. With 10 of the 16 AFL clubs based in and around Melbourne, the AFL has always pushed for more involvement interstate. The Kangaroos, much to the dismay of the very loyal North Melbourne fans, are one team that many suggest may be the next to move, due to their smaller membership and poor existing Melbourne training facilities. In 1996, North Melbourne and the Fitzroy Lions agreed to merge, but their plans were scuttled by Richmond who feared the creation of a 'super club'. Fitzroy was sent to the Brisbane Bears, who in turn became the Brisbane Lions. The Kangaroos then signed an agreement to play home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1999 until 2001. Following this the Kangaroos played home games at Canberra's Manuka Oval from 2002 until 2006, when the Kangaroos received a better offer to move home games to the Gold Coast.

The Kangaroos have full AFL backing for their Gold Coast experiment, and the team has filmed a television commercial shown in South East Queensland promoting their team and the game. The AFL has stated that it wants one game a week played in Queensland by 2015.

The club denies speculation of a permanent move to the Gold Coast, but things may be re-assessed based on how well the team is accepted there over the next few years. In an after match at AAMI Stadium vs Port, Roos CEO Rick Aylett mentioned that the Kangaroos or the AFL have never mentioned the much despised "R" word (relocation), but it has been the work of the media. He also said that they will begin work on the Arden Street ground soon, and it will begin the roos push to become a 21st century club.Aylett then finished by saying that the Kangaroos would never leave their Victorian faithful, and therefore wanted the name "North Melbourne" to be cemented for the next 100 years despite their almost certain move to the region from 2009 onwards.

Despite this, the club has recently engaged consultants to look at the viability of such a move and the online survey sent to members appeared to be skewed so that the idea of relocation to the Gold Coast was more palatable.

On the 2nd of December, 2007, media reports from The Age stipulated that the AFL had garnered support from 75% of the Kangaroos Board to move the club to the Gold Coast. With the club having a unique shareholder 'system' which gives members little say in the matter, the fact that the majority of the board would like to see the future of the club lie on the Gold Coast does not bode well for the future.

The Kangaroos answered their critics with a 24 point win in their first "home" game at Carrara against the Lions. Hamish McIntosh picked up 20 possessions while Leigh Brown kicked 3 goals. Jess Sinclair, Glenn Archer and Daniel Wells were the Kangaroos best.

A vocal group called "We Are North Melbourne" began lobbying to stay in Melbourne, several celebrities got on board the movement and even a "Roosistance" rock concert was staged in aid of raising funds for the club to remain in Melbourne.

On the 6th of December, the North Melbourne board rejected the AFL proposal to relocate to the Gold Coast.

The Brayshaw Plan and Commitment to North Melbourne
On the 7th they announced an intention to return to the name North Melbourne (instead of being known only as "Kangaroos"), underlining their desire to stay Melbourne based.

The club announced a major upgrade to their Arden Street facilities in an attempt to remain competitive off the field.

Shortly after, Rick Aylett quit as CEO of the club, citing personal reasons and an inability to work with a board which was split on the issue of relocation to the Gold Coast. Following the announcement, Brayshaw named a new board, committed to remaining in Melbourne.

On the 8th of Dec news of a new major sponsorship deal broke, suggesting Vodafone will put up to Au$2 million into the club over the next 2 years for primary naming rights.

2008 Season

The Roos opened up the NAB Cup with a loss against the Bulldogs. The Dogs won by 1-2 goals so it was a close affair. The Roos then smashed all teams they played in the practice matches in regional areas with Nathan Thompson being the star, kicking 7.9 in one of the matches against Melbourne. The Roos played Essendon in Round 1 of the 2008 Season. The Roos made a strong start to the game with the first 4 goals of the match through Lindsay Thomas and Nathan Thompson. The Roos again flew out of the blocks in the second quarter, leading by 27 points at one stage. The Bombers then sparked and kicked majority of the goals in the game, winning by 55 points, 9.13.67 (K)-19.8.122(E)

North Melbourne played Richmond in Round 2, with the game dubbed "The Eureka Match". The Roos made a fast start, skipping to a good lead at quarter time after kicking 7 goals in the 1st, 4 of them to Corey Jones. Jones continued to have an impact, as did Shannon Grant, in the second quarter, with the Roos leading by 23 points at Half Time. Matthew Campbell stepped up with 2 goals in the 3rd and Shannon Grant continued his dominance in the midfield. The Roos ran out winners by 41 points after a surviving a final quarter comeback from Richmond, after which they reduced the margin of 49 points to 30 before the Roos answered back with goals to Corey Jones and Matt Campbell. The Roos won 20.7.127(K)-13.8.86(R). Corey Jones kicked 7 and Shannon Grant had 21 possessions and kicked 4 goals while Matthew Campbell and Nathan Thompson kicked 2 each. In the 3rd round Kangaroos played Hawthorn and lost 86 to 102. Corey Jones kicked 3 and they were ahead the whole game until late in the final quarter where Lance "Buddy" Franklin kicked the goal that gave Hawthorn the lead. They played a average game. The last quarter was 6-1. North went on to win 6 in a row, and looked poised to finish fourth, but were thrashed by Port Adelaide in the last round, therefore opening fourth up to Adelaide andSt.Kilda. St.Kilda finished fourth with a comprehensive 108 pt win over Essendon. North went on into an elimination final at ANZ Stadium against Sydney. they lost to the Swans by 35 points and were eliminated.

Membership base

North Melbourne has one of the most passionate and loyal supporter bases in the league. The club enjoys the 2nd highest supporter to member conversion rate, behind only the Fremantle Dockers. Despite this, the club still had the 2nd lowest membership base in 2007, having risen only by 200 people since 2000.

In 2007, research conducted by Roy Morgan estimated that 228,000 people Australia-wide followed the club. This is 2nd only to the Melbourne Demons as the smallest supporter base in the league. Decisions to play more games interstate and to change the club's name, have alienated their Melbourne based supporters, and this is reflected in Roy Morgan's research which suggests that North has lost 14% of its supporter base since their golden era ended in 2000.

Contrary to popular opinion, North Melbourne hasn't always had a small supporter base. In the early 20th century the club was known for its large supporter base, once setting an all-time league record for memberships in 1937 when the club signed up 2,400 members, but the club's popularity dwindled after spending decades at the bottom of the ladder after promotion to the VFL in 1925.

Ever since North Melbourne rejected the AFL's proposal to relocate to the Gold Coast, club membership has soared, exceeding the previous record set in 2006 by almost ten thousand in 2008.

Year Members Finishing position*
1984 6,374 11th
1985 6,520 4th
1986 5,318 7th
1987 3,430 5th
1988 4,415 11th
1989 3,411 9th
1990 5,201 6th
1991 6,683 8th
1992 6,083 12th
1993 6,851 5th
1994 10,296 3rd
1995 14,027 3rd
1996 14,438 1st
1997 19,368 4th
1998 20,196 2nd
1999 22,080 1st
2000 22,156 4th
2001 21,409 13th
2002 20,831 7th
2003 21,403 10th
2004 23,420 10th
2005 24,154 7th
2006 24,700 14th
2007 22,372 3rd
2008 32,602 8th
* following finals

Shinboner spirit

Though its origin is disputed, the 'Shinboner Spirit' came originally from butcher shops that were close to Arden Street Oval, when the North Melbourne Football Club was new. Known as the 'Shinboners' for roughly the first decades of their existence, the club adopted the "Kangaroos" nickname around the 1940s, and by the time of the first Grand Final appearance in 1950, this had become the dominant identifier of North Melbourne.

The Shinboner Spirit is a phrase attributed to the Kangaroos' ability to fight back hard with their backs against the wall. The 2005 Season was a great example of this spirit, with the Kangaroos finishing fifth after being tipped for the wooden spoon by many otherwise well-respected football writers and journalists. It was most arguably evident in their match against the Sydney Swans in 2004, when they rallied from a 40 point deficit at three-quarter-time to record a fitting result in Glenn Archer's 250th game of AFL Football.

1996 season was the perfect example of the Shinboner spirit. Where the club went onto win the Centenary premiership despite merging talks off the field.

In 2005, to celebrate the club's 80th anniversary of senior competition and the thirtieth anniversary of the first VFL premiership, the Kangaroos held a massive "Shinboner Spirit" gala event, attended by almost the entire surviving playing list. In the awards ceremony, the key "Shinboners" of the past eighty years were acknowledged, with Glenn Archer named the "Shinboner of the Century" to almost unanimous acclaim.

Another example of the Shinboner spirit has happened in 2007. After being tipped to finished last by many people, they finished 4th after the home and away season.

Rivalries

North are traditional rivals with Essendon, mostly because of the close location others grounds. The 'Roos and the Bombers played off in the 1950 Grand Final, which Essendon won. They also had a strong rivalry with Hawthorn in the 1970s with the two clubs playing in 3 Grand Finals against each other in the space of 3 years. The rivalry with the Hawks has been getting more fierce in the past few years.

History of the North Melbourne Jumper

North Melbourne is recognised throughout Australian football for its famous vertically striped Royal Blue and White jumper.

The design first used in 1884, North Melbourne's jumper pre-dates any of the other vertically striped jumpers worn by other clubs in the Australian Football League.

The design has proven itself popular in Australian Football having been adopted by hundreds of other clubs across the country.

Current Squad

October 12, 2007

North Melbourne Team of the Century

Season by Season performances

Formative Years

Year W: D: L Position
1869 ? ?
1870 ? ?
1871 ? ?
1872 ? ?
1873 7:6:1 ?
1874 7:2:2 4th
1875 6:3:2 ?

Amalgamation Years

Year W: D: L Position
1876 8:1:2 3rd

VFA Years

Year W: D: L Position
1877 7:2:5 3rd
1878 9:3:4 4th
1879 6:2:6 4th
1880 10:5:4 5th
1881 6:3:11 7th
1882 12:?:? 5th
1883 7:8:7 6th
1884 12:3:7 3rd
1885 15:5:6 5th
1886 14:6:7 6th
1887 8:6:12 8th
1888 8:5:7 7th
1889 11:1:8 6th
1890 9:4:6 5th
1891 3:8:9 8th
1892 4:2:14 11th
1893 3:2:15 13th
1894 8:6:4 6th
1895 7:1:10 8th
1896 ?:?:? 6th
1897 14:?:? 2nd
1898 12:?:? 2nd
1899 17:?:? 2nd
1900 8:0:8 5th
1901 11:1:4 3rd
1902 10:1:5 3rd
1903 18:1:2 1st
1904 15:?:? 1st
1905 16:?:? 2nd
1906 13:?:? 4th
1907 2:?:? 9th
1908 4:?:? 9th
1909 5:?:? 7th
1910 16:1:3 1st
1911 14:?:? 3rd
1912 16:2:3 2nd
1913 ?:?:? 2nd
1914 16:?:? 1st
1915 15:0:0 1st
1916 War Years
1917 War Years
1918 12:0:0 1st
1919 18:0:2 2nd
1920 13:?:? 3rd
1921 5:0:3 7th
1922 14:?:? 3rd
1923 9:1:8 6th
1924 10:0:18 5th

VFL Years

Year W: D: L Position
1925 5:0:12 10th
1926 0:1:17 12th
1927 3:0:15 11th
1928 5:0:13 11th
1929 1:0:17 12th
1930 1:0:17 12th
1931 0:0:18 12th
1932 8:0:10 8th
1933 7:1:10 8th
1934 0:0:18 12th
1935 0:1:17 12th
1936 4:0:14 11th
1937 3:0:15 12th
1938 6:0:12 9th
1939 6:0:12 9th
1940 4:0:14 12th
1941 6:0:12 9th
1942 4:0:10 9th
1943 5:1:9 9th
1944 10:0:8 6th
1945 13:0:8 4th
1946 8:0:11 9th
1947 4:0:15 10th
1948 8:0:11 8th
1949 14:0:7 3rd
1950 14:0:7 2nd
1951 7:0:11 9th
1952 9:0:10 7th
1953 9:0:9 7th
1954 11:1:7 4th
1955 3:0:15 11th
1956 3:0:15 12th
1957 8:0:10 8th
1958 12:0:8 4th
1959 10:0:8 6th
1960 5:0:13 11th
1961 4:1:13 12th
1962 4:0:14 11th
1963 8:0:10 7th
1964 8:0:10 8th
1965 5:0:13 9th
1966 7:1:10 7th
1967 7:1:10 8th
1968 3:0:17 12th
1969 8:0:12 8th
1970 4:0:18 12th
1971 5:1:6 9th
1972 1:0:21 12th
1973 11:1:10 6th
1974 18:0:8 2nd
1975 17:0:9 1st
1976 17:0:9 2nd
1977 18:1:8 1st
1978 17:0:8 2nd
1979 18:0:7 3rd
1980 14:1:8 5th
1981 10:0:12 8th
1982 15:0:9 4th
1983 16:0:8 3rd
1984 5:0:17 11th
1985 14:1:9 4th
1986 12:0:10 7th
1987 13:1:9 5th
1988 7:1:14 11th
1989 9:0:13 9th

AFL Years

Year W: D: L Position
1990 12:0:10 6th
1991 12:0:10 8th
1992 7:0:15 12th
1993 13:0:8 5th
1994 14:0:10 3rd
1995 15:0:9 3rd
1996 19:0:6 1st
1997 14:0:11 4th
1998 18:0:7 2nd
1999 20:0:5 1st
2000 15:0:10 4th
2001 9:0:13 13th
2002 12:0:11 7th
2003 11:1:10 10th
2004 10:0:12 10th
2005 13:0:10 7th
2006 7:0:15 14th
2007 15:0:10 3rd
2008 12:1:10 7th

Premierships (VFA)

  • 1903 - North Melbourne: 7.6.48 def. Richmond: 3.9.27.
  • 1904 - North Melbourne: Game forfeited by Richmond.
  • 1910 - North Melbourne: 9.14.68 def. Brunswick: 5.9.39.
  • 1914 - North Melbourne: 12.14.86 def. Footscray: 7.9.51.
  • 1915 - North Melbourne: 11.10.76 def. Brunswick: 3.10.28.
  • 1918 - North Melbourne: 18.13.121 def. Prahran: 3.10.28.

Premierships (VFL and AFL)

1975 VFL Grand Final G B Total
North Melbourne 19 8 122
Hawthorn 9 13 67
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 110,551

1977 VFL Grand Final Replay G B Total
North Melboune 21 25 151
Collingwood 19 10 124
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 98,366

1996 AFL Grand Final G B Total
North Melboune 19 17 131
Sydney 13 10 88
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 93,102

1999 AFL Grand Final G B Total
Noth Melbourne 19 10 124
Carlton 12 17 89
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 94,228

Records

Games record

Leading goalkickers

Individual awards

Best and Fairest

Recipients:

See Syd Barker Medal

Brownlow Medal winners

Leigh Matthews Trophy winners

Norm Smith Medal winners

Jock McHale Medal winners

Michael Tuck Medal winners

Coleman Medal winners

Goal of the Year winners

Mark of the Year winners

Rising Star winners

Club jumpers

{| border="1" ! Colspan=7 | Guernsey Details |- | align="center" | Season | align="center" | Manufacturer | align="center" | Sponsor(s) | align="center" | Current Home Guernsey | align="center" | Current Away Guernsey |- | 2005 | align="center" |Bont | rowspan=7 | | rowspan=7 | |- | 2006 - 2007 | align="center" |Reebok |- | 2008 | align="center" |Reebok |- | 2009 |align="center" |Reebok |-

The club has traditionally worn a blue and white striped jumper. North Melbourne's kit is made by Reebok, and recently signed a $5.5 million deal with Mazda for the motor company to become their major sponsor for the next 3 years.

Famous Fans

Club song

Join in the Chorus is the official anthem of the North Melbourne Football Club. The song is also used by the Victorian Bushrangers and other Victorian sporting teams, with "Victoria" substituted for North Melbourne. The song arises from two separate pieces of music. The first verse or preamble which is traditionally sung (or shouted) in great spirit was appropriated from the score of a Theatre Musical called 'Australia: Heart to Heart and Hand to Hand" written by Toso Taylor in the 1890s in pre-federation Australia. The second verse is unknown in origin, presumably added by members of the North Melbourne Football Club when the song was chosen as the club theme. The third verse was appropriated from a song written and performed by Scottish musician Harry Lauder.The song is called 'A wee Deoch and Doris', written around 1911

References

External links

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