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The Golden Era 1859-1896

When Australian football began in the late 1850s, the early clubs played each other on a casual basis, with no official fixtures, ladders or Premiership winners.

Geelong was a foundation member of the Victorian Football Association when it was formed in 1877. It was the first properly constituted competition. Matches were played against other 'first grade' teams, as well as minor competition clubs. Intercolonial games, against teams from outside Victoria, were also played by Geelong.

During a nine-season period, the club won seven Premierships.  

The table below lists results against 'first grade' clubs, which were eligible to compete for Premiership honours. No finals were played at that time. The club at the top of the ladder after the home and away season was declared the Flag-winner.

Premiership Wins Losses Ties Prem Matches Captain
1878 4 0 0 4 Tommy Austin
1879 9 0 0 9 Jim Wilson Jnr
1880 9 1 2 12 Jim Wilson Jnr
1882 10 1 2 13 Jim Wilson Jnr
1883 8 3 2 13 Charles Brownlow
1884 12 1 1 14 Harry Steedman
1886 17 0 2 19 Dave Hickinbotham

Geelong continued as a member of the VFA until the end of 1896, when a group of the stronger clubs formed a break-away competition entitled the Victorian Football League.

 

Premiership players 1878 - 1886

Player Premiership Year(s)
Robert Armstrong 1883, 1884
N. Atkins 1880
Tommy Austin 1878, 1880
Jim Bailey 1886
John Bolton 1883, 1884
Bob Booth 1878
Alec Boyd 1886
Sam Boyd 1886
Dick Broughton 1880
Charles Brownlow 1882, 1883
Joe Brush 1882, 1883
Tom Cahill 1882, 1883, 1884
Arthur Christey 1878, 1879
Bertie Collins 1882, 1884
Don Curdie 1882
George Davie 1884
Winnie de Little 1882
James Dew 1880
Montie Douglass 1882, 1886
Percy Douglass 1878, 1879, 1880, 1883
Peter Dwyer jnr 1878
Harry Eldridge 1886
Steve Fairbairn 1879, 1880
Jack Field 1882
Billy Foote 1883, 1884, 1886
Fred Furnell 1886
Jim Galbraith 1886
James Gardiner 1878
Francis Gillett 1886
Dick Groves 1886
Ben Hall 1878, 1879, 1880, 1882, 1883
Dave Hickinbotham 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886
Fred James 1886
W. Johns 1880
Jim Julien 1884, 1886
Dan Kearney elder 1886
Jack Kerley 1883, 1884, 1886
Rupert Kirk 1882
Willie Macpherson 1882, 1883
Tom Manifold 1879
Henry Matson 1884
Cammie McArthur 1882
Hugh McLean 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886
Jack McShane 1886
Phil McShane 1883, 1884, 1886
Tommy McShane 1886
Frank Millikin 1879
Arthur Morrison 1886
Norrnan Morrison 1883, 1884
Tom Mullen 1886
William Murphy 1880, 1882
Bob Noble 1878, 1879, 1880
Charlie Palmer 1882, 1883
Val Pearson 1878, 1879, 1880
Thomas Reeves 1883, 1884
Jim Pike 1884
Bill Reid 1879
Walter Reid 1884
Alex Robertson 1886
Arthur Robertson 1879, 1880
Dick Robinson 1884
Jack Sandilands 1878, 1879
Harry Sharpe 1878, 1879, 1880
John Shaw 1880, 1882
Andrew Simson 1883
George M. Smith 1878, 1879
Johnny Sommers 1878, 1879
Harry Steedman 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886
George Stephen jnr 1878, 1879, 1880
Billy Stiffe 1879
Bob Talbot 1883, 1884, 1886
Fred Thomson 1879, 1880, 1882
Robert Thomson 1883, 1884
Harry Upton 1878
George Watson 1878, 1879, 1880
Jimmy Watt 1878, 1879, 1880
Billy Wilson 1878, 1879, 1880, 1882
Jimmy Wilson jnr 1878, 1879, 1880, 1882