North Melbourne Football Club

North Melbourne Football Club
Full name North Melbourne Football Club Ltd[1]
Nickname(s) Kangaroos, The Roos, The Kangas, North, The Shinboners
2016 season
Home-and-away season 8th
Leading goalkicker Ben Brown (41 goals)
Club details
Founded 1869
Colours      Royal blue      white
Competition Australian Football League
Chairman James Brayshaw
Coach Brad Scott
Captain(s) TBD

VFL/AFL (4): 1975, 1977, 1996,1999
'VFA (6): 1903, 1904, 1910, 1914, 1915, 1918

Champions of Australia (1): 1975
Ground(s) Docklands Stadium (capacity: 56,347)
  Blundstone Arena (capacity: 20,000)
Former ground(s) Arden Street (1883–1985)
MCG (1984–1999)
Training ground(s) Arden Street
Other information
Official website

The North Melbourne Football Club, nicknamed the Kangaroos or less formally the Roos, the Kangas or North, is the fourth oldest Australian rules football club in the Australian Football League (AFL) and is one of the oldest sporting clubs in Australia and the world. It is based at the Arden Street Oval in the inner Melbourne suburb of North Melbourne, Victoria, but plays its home matches at the nearby Docklands Stadium.

The club's mascot is a grey or red kangaroo, and its use dates from the middle of the 20th century. The club is also unofficially known as "The Shinboners", a term 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

In two aspects North Melbourne stands second to none. One is the loyalty of its supporters. The other is the determination to carry on, despite its disadvantages. In the face of adversity, which might well have broken the spirit of most men, we find that from the earliest days there were always enthusiasts to fight for North Melbourne.
The Australasian, 15 June 1940.

Formative years

James Henry Gardiner. Founding father of the NMFC.

North Melbourne Football Club originated in the year 1869, when a football team was formed for local cricketers desiring to keep fit over the winter months. One thought is that the club was connected to the St Mary's Church of England Cricket Club, now the St Mary's Anglican Church North Melbourne, whose colours – blue and white – are reflected in the North Melbourne's colours today.[2] The association between the St Mary's Church of England Cricket Club and the establishment of the North Melbourne Football Club is believed to have been an informal gathering to play some competitive sport. Information on the club's first ever match is limited, but it is known that it took place in Royal Park, which also served as the club's home ground until 1882. The ball used in the match was purchased by a local resident called Tom Jacks, who sold some roofing iron to pay for it. James Henry Gardiner is considered the founder of the club. He continued an active role with North Melbourne until his death in 1921.

Regular premiership matches of Australian Football commenced in Victoria in 1870. Although North Melbourne was a part of this, it was classed as a "junior club". The Australasian noted them as being "one of the best of many junior clubs".

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

In 1876 North Melbourne disbanded and many of its player and members joined Albert-park,[3] giving the club such a strong North Melbourne character that many described it as "Albert-park cum North Melbourne". In 1877, the club was re-established as a stand-alone club under the new name of "Hotham".[4]

Association years

Chart showing the progress of North Melbourne F.C. through the VFA and V/AFL

Football took a giant step forward in 1877, with the formation of Victoria's 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 remains the home of the club today. 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 a visible contrast between Geelong's and Hotham's uniforms. The third significant development occurred in 1888 with the club returning to its original name of the North Melbourne Football Club. This followed the name of the local area reverting from Hotham to North Melbourne.

The 1880s saw the club develop a penchant for inter-colonial travel with trips to Tasmania (1881/1887) and South Australia (1889). Hotham also found itself well represented at the first ever inter-colonial representative game in 1879 with four players from the club gaining selection for Victoria.

Disregarded by the VFL

"The Inaugurals". The side that brought North premiership glory after 34 years of wait. To commemorate the achievement, club President G/M Prendergast presented the 26 players and head trainer with a gold medal at the club's general meeting that year.

The VFA grew to 13 senior clubs in the 1890s. Led by Geelong and Essendon, the largest clubs of the VFA formed their own break away league, the Victorian Football League (VFL), in 1896. Despite finishing 6th in 1896, North Melbourne was not invited to the breakaway competition. The main reasons for being excluded were:

North continued on in the depleted VFA, emerging as a powerhouse, finishing 2nd in 1897, 1898 and 1899. In 1903, after 34 years of competing, the club won its first premiership, defeating Richmond in the final. The club became back to back premiers in 1904 after Richmond forfeited the grand final due to the appointment of an umpire whose performance when the two teams met earlier in the year was severely criticised by Richmond players and officials.[5]

North merged with fellow VFA football club West Melbourne in 1907, which at the time had lost its home ground. The joint venture saw a chance of promotion, and the club applied for admission to the more prestigious VFL in 1908, but Richmond and University were admitted instead. North was kicked out of the VFA during the 1907/08 offseason as a result of applying to join the VFL,[6] before the local community reestablished the North Melbourne Football Club under a new committee, successfully enabling the club to play in the VFA in the 1908 season.[7]

"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 by 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.

Syd Barker, Sr., club legend and star ruckman of "The Invincibles" era.

The 1912 finals series was one of the most amazing ever, with the semi-final having to be played three times, after North and Brunswick drew twice. North was eventually victorious and moved on to the final, but 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 – the league was in recess in 1916 and 1917 due to World War I. 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 persisted in trying to gain admission into the League. On 30 June 1921, North 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 clubs 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 VFA launched a successful legal challenge.[8] As a result, the Essendon League Club moved instead to the Essendon Oval, replacing the ground's original occupants, Essendon Association.

North was now without a playing team and the Essendon Association Club was now without a ground, so as a matter of convenience the two clubs amalgamated so they could compete in the 1922 season. As it had after the merger with West Melbourne, North once again managed to avert its destruction.

Entering the VFL

After three attempts, 29 years of waiting and numerous other applications to enter the VFL, finally North was rewarded for its persistence with admittance to the League in 1925, along with Footscray and Hawthorn. Even then, the opportunity was almost lost 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. North Melbourne was forced to change its uniform to avoid a clash when it joined the VFL.

North Melbourne were cellar dwellers for its first twenty-five years of VFL membership and struggled to win matches in the superior VFL competition, 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 final, defeated by a more efficient Essendon. It was in this year that the club adopted the "Kangaroos" mascot.[9]

North Melbourne and Arden St Oval after admission to the VFL. c. 1928

In February 1965, North Melbourne moved its playing and training base from the Arden Street Oval to Coburg Oval, signing a seven-year lease with the City of Coburg[10] after initially negotiating long-term leases for up to 40 years.[11] The club came to an arrangement to merge with the VFA's Coburg Football Club, whom it was displacing from the ground;[12] fourteen Coburg committeemen joined the North Melbourne committee, but the merger was never completed after Coburg established a rival committee which remained loyal to the VFA.[13] The lease at Coburg lasted only eight months; the Coburg council was hesitant to build a new grandstand without the security of a long-term lease, and neither party made the returns they expected, so it was terminated by mutual agreement in September 1965 and North Melbourne returned to the Arden Street Oval.[14][15]

Onfield, 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 early 1960s (and captain between 1961 and 1964), as was Noel Teasdale, who lost the Brownlow Medal on a countback in 1965 (he was later awarded a retrospective medal when the counting system was amended).

Golden era

In the late 1960s, under the leadership of Allen Aylett, North Melbourne began its climb to supremacy. As part of a major recruitment drive North secured the services of several big name stars including Barry Davis from Essendon and Doug Wade (Geelong), John Rantall (South Melbourne), Barry Cable (Perth). In a major coup, the great Ron Barassi was appointed coach in 1973. Barrassi reversed the club's playing fortunes, taking an unremarkable team that was once regarded as the traditional cellar dwellers of the competition, through a golden era of success that transformed North into one of the powerhouses of the VFL. Barassi took North to a Grand Final (defeated by Richmond) in 1974 and brought success in his 1975 and 1977 seasons. North made five consecutive Grand Finals from 1974–1978)[16]:209 and defeated Norwood in the 1975 national championship to be declared Champions of Australia.

1975 VFL Grand Final G B Total
Hawthorn 9 13 67
North Melbourne 19 8 122
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 110,551[17]

In 1973 and 1974, North's wingman Keith Greig won consecutive Brownlow Medals; forward Malcolm Blight then won the award in 1978. Doug Wade won the Coleman medal in 1974 with his 103 goals for the season.

1977 VFL Grand Final G B Total
North Melbourne 21 25 151
Collingwood 19 10 124
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 98,491[16]:670

Barassi remained team coach until 1980, but only a Night Premiership in that year resulted in him leaving 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 with 16 wins and 6 losses for the season, but failed to make the Grand Final.

Team of the 1990s

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 instigated by the club and meeting the challenges, the club survived. One major highlight was the recruitment of 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. At the beginning of the 1993 season, in a dramatic and controversial move, the board of the club sacked coach and long-time player 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 instrumental in appointing young centre half-forward 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. Over the next nine seasons, Carey came to be regarded as the standout player in the league, and was known as 'the King'.

1996 AFL Grand Final G B Total
North Melbourne 19 17 131
Sydney Swans 13 10 88
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 93,102[16]

North Melbourne became a powerhouse through the 1990s under Pagan and Carey, and finished in the top four from 1994 until 2000. After being eliminated in the preliminary finals in 1994 and 1995, North went on to defeat the Sydney Swans in the 1996 Grand Final to take out the club's third premiership, and the gold centenary AFL cup; Glenn Archer won the Norm Smith Medal. The club was again eliminated in the preliminary final in 1997. In 1998, as the club won both the pre-season Ansett Cup and topped the ladder with 16 wins and 6 losses, but went on to lose the 1998 Grand Final to Adelaide, not helped by an inaccurate goalkicking performance of 8.22 (70) to Adelaide's 15.15 (105). In 1999, the Kangaroos finished in second position on the ladder, and went on to defeat Carlton in the Grand Final, winning the club's fourth VFL/AFL premiership; former Sydney midfielder Shannon Grant taking out the Norm Smith Medal. The club was eliminated in the preliminary finals in 2000 against Melbourne.

1998 AFL Ansett Australia Cup Final G B Total
North Melbourne 14 13 97
St Kilda 12 11 83
Venue: Waverley Park Crowd: 63,898

In 1996, the club was in advanced talks with the Fitzroy Football Club, which was in a terminal financial condition, to a merger between the two clubs; however, Fitzroy ultimately merged with the Brisbane Bears instead.

1999 AFL Grand Final G B Total
Kangaroos 19 10 124
Carlton 12 17 89
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Crowd: 94,228[16]:670

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; however, the experiment was not successful, with crowds averaging only 12,000.

21st century

A Kangaroos quarter time team huddle at the MCG in 2006
In 2005 dual-premiership player and Norm Smith Medallist Glenn Archer was named "Shinboner of the Century" as the player who most embodies the North Melbourne spirit.

The 21st century did not begin well for North Melbourne. Its decade-long onfield potency was in decline, questions were raised about its financial position and long-term sustainability. Furthermore, three of the people most important to the club's success in the 1990s left the club under acrimonious circumstances: CEO Greg Miller left the club, captain Wayne Carey left prior to the 2002 season following an extramarital affair with the wife of team-mate and vice captain Anthony Stevens, coach Denis Pagan was lured to Carlton at the end of 2002. Pagan was replaced by 1996 premiership player Dean Laidley, who had previously been an Assistant Coach at Collingwood from 1999 until the end of season 2002.

Cult hero Sav Rocca led the goal kicking in the early 2000s.

On a post-season holiday, several players were caught in the 2002 Bali bombing terrorist attack. Defender and sometime forward Jason McCartney suffered severe burns in the incident. He memorably played one final game for the club, on 6 June 2003 against Richmond, and he set up the winning goal with seconds remaining. He retired immediately after the game.

Onfield, the club reached the elimination finals in 2002 and 2005, but otherwise failed to reach the finals from 2001 until 2006. After two seasons of finals North Melbourne dropped to 13th in 2009, and coach Dean Laidley announced his resignation with Darren Crocker acting as caretaker coach for the rest of the season, to eventually be replaced by ex-Brisbane Lions premiership player and Collingwood assistant coach Brad Scott. A$15 million redevelopment of the Arden Street, which had started in 2006, was completed in 2009, giving the club top-class training facilities.

Brad Scott era

North Melbourne struggled in its first two years under Brad Scott, finishing 9th in both 2010 and 2011. In 2012, the club returned to the finals for the first time since 2008, finishing the season in 8th place, but would go down to the West Coast Eagles by 96 points in an elimination final. In 2012, the club began a three-year deal to play two games each year at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, Tasmania. The club finished 10th in 2013 in a season full of close losses. Nick Dal Santo signed with the club at the end of the 2013 season as a restricted free agent.

In 2014, North Melbourne finished 6th at the end of the home and away season and reached 40,000 members for the first time in the club's history.[18] In September, North Melbourne went on to defeat Essendon by 12 points in the 2nd Elimination Final, only taking the lead in the last quarter. The following week, North Melbourne beat Geelong in the 2nd Semi-final by 6 points advancing them through to their first preliminary final since 2007. They lost to Sydney by 71 points. In 2015 the club made history by becoming the first team to qualify for a preliminary final from 8th spot, losing to the West Coast Eagles by 25 points. In 2016, North Melbourne won its first nine matches, which is the club's best start to a season in its VFL/AFL history.[19] On 27 July 2016, the club announced it had surpassed 45,000 members for the first time in the clubs history.[20] In 2016, desperate for premiership glory the kangaroos fielded what was the oldest team in AFL history. Unfortunately after the mid point of the season they fell away and struggled against some of the worst teams in competition, setting a record for the only club to win their first 9 games and then almost miss out on finals. Following the disastrous 2016 season, North Melbourne dismissed all players over 35 years of age completely depleting their list. Hoping to capture some of the western bulldogs brilliance that year, their prize recruit in the pre-season draft was the bulldogs mediocre VFL mid fielder Nathan Hrovat.

Club symbols and identity

Name and mascot

The club was widely known as the "Shinboners" for much of its early history. The origins of the nickname are unknown but it may have had something to do with the club's reputation for targeting the shinbones of opposition players, or to do with local butchers who showed their support for North by dressing up beef leg-bones in the club colours. By 1926, the club was known as the "Blue Birds", but this nickname did not last. It was Phonse Tobin, North president from 1953 to 1956, who oversaw the club adopting the kangaroo emblem in 1954; Tobin found the image of a shinbone unsavoury and wanted the club to have a mascot it could show with pride. In selecting a new name, he wanted something characteristically Australian and was inspired by a large kangaroo he saw on display outside a city store.

The official name of the club is North Melbourne, but the club has gone under several other aliases over the years. The club was originally founded as the "North Melbourne Football Club", but changed to "North Melbourne cum Albert Park" after merging with Albert Park in 1876. Following the reformation of the club in 1877, it was known as the "Hotham Football Club" but later took the name "North Melbourne" again in 1888. In 1998 the club proposed changing its name to the "Northern Kangaroos", but it was rejected by the AFL. From 1999 to 2007, the club traded without much success as "The Kangaroos" in a bid to increase its appeal nationally; this decision was reversed at the end of 2007 and the club has again reverted to the name "North Melbourne".

Club song

"Join in the Chorus" is the official anthem of the North Melbourne Football Club. It is sung to the tune of a Scottish folk song from around 1911, "A Wee Deoch an Doris".[21]

The song is generally sung, in accordance to common football tradition, after a victory. It is also played before every match.

"Join in the Chorus" is believed to be the oldest club anthem of any AFL club and has been associated with North from its early VFA days. The preamble of the song originates from a 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.[22] The second verse is unknown in origin and was presumably added later by members of the club when the song was chosen. The chorus was appropriated from a song written and performed by Scottish musician Harry Lauder. The recording currently used by the club was performed by the Fable Singers in April 1972 and only includes the choruses.[23]

The song has a strong Victorian heritage and has been traditionally sung by the Victorian State Football and Victorian Cricket teams respectively. The lyrics have occasionally been changed, including updating the year in the song (e.g. "North Melbourne will be premiers in 1993"), or to remove the words "North Melbourne" during the period when the club was competing only as the Kangaroos.

For the 2015 premiership season, You Am I's lead singer, Tim Rogers, a North Melbourne supporter, announced that he would assist in an updated version of the song including the two verses. This version is only played at North home games as the team runs onto the ground.

"Shinboner spirit"

At clubs with bigger memberships, their supporters only touch their colours, but at North we have the Shinboner spirit. North people can touch that spirit – they are the real Shinboners, they are the club.
Ron Joseph

The term "Shinboner spirit" is often used to refer to camaraderie and determination of players or members of the North Melbourne Football Club. The term persists to the modern day, despite North Melbourne having switched its official nickname from the Shinboners to the Kangaroos in the 1950s.

Because it relates to the club's original nickname, Shinboner spirit is often associated with the complete history of the club. In 2005, to celebrate the club's 80th anniversary of senior competition in the VFL and the 30th anniversary of its first VFL premiership, the Kangaroos held a "Shinboner Spirit" gala event attended by almost the entire surviving players. In the awards ceremony, the key Shinboners of the past 80 years were acknowledged and Glenn Archer was named the "Shinboner of the Century".


The North Melbourne Football Club has a long history of wearing various designs in the colours of royal blue and white.

Most of the club's earliest jumpers were long-sleeved and not the sleeveless design common today. In their early years the club sported a hooped design when they took to the field. This changed at the behest of the VFA in 1884 who insisted that Hotham change their jumpers to vertical stripes to provide a visible contrast between Hotham and Geelong.

After 1884 the vertical top was worn more often, usually in the lace up design in the gallery below.

After the merger with West Melbourne, North used a composite jumper that incorporated West Melbourne's red sash for the 1908 season. The merger was in reality, a takeover. The red sash was a token gesture and was removed the following season.

In the early 1920s North experimented with an NMFC monogram design, following League clubs like Carlton and South Melbourne.

Upon promotion to the VFL in 1925, North Melbourne was forced to abandon its royal blue and white striped jumper as it was deemed the jumper design clashed with other clubs. During this period a jumper with a V design was used for several years, before the club returned to using its striped jumper combination of royal blue and white which has been used continuously since 1932.

North Melbourne's guernsey since entering the VFL in 1925 has consisted of white and royal blue vertical stripes. The guernsey is predominantly white.

The current clash guernsey is a reversed version of the home strip, with blue stripes where the white stripes traditionally are placed and vice versa; as such, the clash strip is predominantly royal blue, rather than predominantly white, creating a much darker design.

Home ground

Arden Street Oval was home to the Kangaroos between 1882 and 1985. The oval is currently owned by the City of Melbourne and leased by the North Melbourne Football Club for social, administration and training facilities. The grandstands were removed because VFL/AFL matches are no longer played there.

Current home grounds

Docklands Stadium – North Melbourne's home ground
Homegrounds Years
Royal Park 1869–1875
Albert Park 1876
Royal Park 1877–1882
Arden Street Oval 1882–1964
Coburg City Oval 1965
Arden Street Oval 1966–1985
Melbourne Cricket Ground 1985–2002
Docklands Stadium 2002–present



James Brayshaw was club chairman from 2007 to 2017

The North Melbourne Football Club is non-a profit organisation limited by guarantee. Members of the club serve as the guarantees of capital and have full voting rights at AGMs to elect directors to the club's board.

The club's board of directors has nine members, with each director serving a three-year term before their position is put up for re-election at an AGM. Only one-third of the board is contested at each AGM due to the rolling structure of the terms of the directors. This structure safeguards the entire board from being ousted at a single AGM and has made North Melbourne immune to a lot of the in-house fighting witnessed at other AFL football clubs. The board governs the club as well as selecting a chairman to head the club through a majority vote of directors.

North Melbourne is unique in its structure, because from 1986 to 2006 the club was privately owned and limited by shares. The club was floated in 1986 through a membership vote led by then chairman Bob Ansett. At the meeting, members were encouraged to buy into the club by purchasing shares. The float ended up raising over $3 million and helped to keep the club solvent through the next decade.

In 1991, the John Elliott-led Carlton Football Club attempted a hostile take over North Melbourne by purchasing a large parcel of shares formerly owned by Bob Ansett. The Blues acquired 20 per cent of the capital but that stake was eventually bought back by John Magowan, the former head of Merrill Lynch Australia, in 2001. The resulting melodrama saw the formation of B-Class shareholders who had the effective power of veto over any attempt to merge or relocate the club.

Further takeover attempts were made in the first decade of the 21st century by the Southport Sharks. Then chairman Allan Aylett knocked back a proposal from the Sharks that would have seen them gain a majority stake in the club in exchange for an injection of capital. In early 2006, another proposal from Sharks to underwrite the Kangaroos' games on the Gold Coast, in exchange for a slice of the shareholder structure at the club was knocked back after AFL intervention.

Due to an Australian Taxation Office ruling in 2006, the club proposed a shareholder restructure that would have seen the B Class shareholders power reduced significantly and some voting rights returned to members. This was done to avoid extraordinary taxes being placed on the club, but the move was blocked in December by Bob Ansett and his proxies who feared that the restructure would make the club vulnerable to further takeover bids.

On 28 February 2007, another meeting was called to resolve the shareholder issue. A motion was passed that would return see some voting rights return to members and stop any future tax increments.

In April 2007 it was revealed the AFL was attempting to buy out the shareholders of the club in a bid to gain full ownership, and force a relocation of the club to the Gold Coast.

During October 2007, a group called We Are North Melbourne emerged and launched a public campaign, calling for ordinary members to be given the final say on the relocation issue. While the group became synonymous with the push to keep the club in Melbourne, its first priority was to see the club's shareholder structure wound-up and control returned to ordinary members.

North Melbourne reverted to public company in November 2008. A moratorium was passed at an extraordinary general meeting that will allow James Brayshaw's board to serve unopposed until 2010, so as to allow his ticket the maximum time to enact their policies to make the North Melbourne Football Club financially viable.


Guernsey details
Season Manufacturer Guernsey sponsor(s) Short sponsor
1975–1978 Courage
1979–1984 Budget
1985–1992 Qantas
1993–1995 NZI Insurance
1996 Nike Hypertec PCs NZI Insurance
1997 Hewlett-Packard SmokeFree
1999 Mazda, SmokeFree Wentworth
2001 Russell Athletic iPrimus
2002 Mazda
2004 Bont Mazda, Primus Primus
2006 Reebok
2008 Mazda, Vodafone Blackwoods
2009 X-Blades Mazda 3
2011 Mazda BT-50
2016 Canterbury

Membership base

Season Members Change from previous season Finishing position Average Attendance Total Attendance
1984 6,374 11th 17,675 388,856
1985 6,520 Increase 146 (+2.29%) 4th 24,042 577,019
1986 5,318 Decrease 1202 (−18.44%) 7th 21,592 475,032
1987 3,430 Decrease 1888 (−35.50%) 5th 21,108 485,491
1988 4,415 Increase 985 (+28.72%) 11th 15,662 344,558
1989 3,411 Decrease 1004 (−22.74%) 9th 17,759 390,693
1990 5,201 Increase 1790 (+52.48%) 6th 19,526 429,565
1991 6,683 Increase 1482 (+28.49%) 8th 20,574 452,617
1992 6,083 Decrease 600 (−8.98%) 12th 19,652 432,350
1993 6,851 Increase 768 (+12.63%) 5th 27,213 571,481
1994 10,296 Increase 3445 (+50.28%) 3rd 33,177 796,254
1995 14,027 Increase 3731 (+36.24%) 3rd 35,379 884,477
1996 14,438 Increase 411 (+2.93%) 2nd 37,827 945,678
1997 19,368 Increase 4930 (+34.15%) 4th 36,873 921,829
1998 20,196 Increase 828 (+4.26%) 1st 38,336 958,394
1999 22,080 Increase 1884 (+9.33%) 2nd 34,814 870,349
2000 22,156 Increase 76 (+0.34%) 4th 33,471 836,765
2001 21,409 Decrease 747 (−3.37%) 13th 30,209 664,601
2002 20,831 Decrease 578 (−2.70%) 7th 26,879 618,211
2003 21,403 Increase 572 (+2.76%) 10th 29,812 655,854
2004 23,420 Increase 2017 (+9.42%) 10th 28,300 622,580
2005 24,154 Increase 734 (+3.13%) 7th 31,511 724,757
2006 24,700 Increase 546 (+2.26%) 14th 28,849 634,686
2007 22,372 Decrease 2328 (−9.43%) 3rd 33,458 836,445
2008 34,342 Increase 11970 (+53.50%) 8th 29,569 680,095
2009 30,613 Decrease 3729 (−10.86%) 13th 27,028 594,606
2010 29,272 Decrease 1341 (−4.38%) 9th 27,435 603,586
2011 30,362 Increase 1090 (+3.97%) 9th 25,734 617,625
2012 33,754 Increase 3392 (+11.17%) 8th 24,666 567,323
2013 35,246 Increase 1492 (+2.53%) 10th 28,683 631,035
2014 40,092 Increase 4846 (+13.74%) 6th 28,060 617,316
2015 41,418 Increase 1326 (+3.3%) 8th 25,674 608,974
2016 45,105 Increase - - -


Night football

In 1985, North Melbourne pioneered the concept of playing football on Friday nights. Since then, North Melbourne has played the most Friday night games of any AFL club.

Friday night matches later became the most lucrative timeslot for televised games, and North Melbourne's relatively low supporter base resulted in fewer Friday night matches. Between 2010 and 2014, North Melbourne had hosted an annual Friday night match against Carlton in recognition of its pioneering role in the concept.[24]

Good Friday Football

After years of campaigning to play on Good Friday, the AFL announced on the 25th October 2016 that North Melbourne will play the Western Bulldogs on Good Friday 2017. [25]

Indigenous players

North Melbourne has a strong history of supporting Aboriginal footballers and fostering Aboriginal talent in the VFL and AFL. The first indigenous footballer to play for the club was Percy Johnson in the 1950s, and was followed by other fan favorites like Bertie Johnson, Barry Cable and the Krakouer brothers in the following decades.[26]

The following is a list of Indigenous footballers to have played senior football at the club:[27][28]

†: Aboriginality uncertain

Killed in action

The following footballers who were killed in action during the World Wars played senior football for North Melbourne.

World War I

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

World War II



Essendon (main) – North and Essendon have a chequered history that dates back to the late 19th century; firstly in 1896, Essendon had North excluded from the VFL because both clubs drew supporters from the same area. North supporters have long been bitter with Essendon for excluding them from the VFL, and have blamed that for their small supporter base in comparison to Essendon's. North's first VFL Grand Final was against Essendon in 1950. The rivalry was reignited in the 90s; in 1998, following comments by Essendon coach labelling Kangaroos executives Greg Miller and Mark Dawson "marshmallows", a reference to their softness, North supporters threw marshmallows at Sheedy after the opening Qualifying Final.[29]

Hawthorn – North and Hawthorn have a fierce rivalry that dates back to the 1970s when they played off against each other in three Grand Finals in the space of four years. From 1974 to 1978 the two clubs played against each other in ten finals, and took each other on for the Australian Championship in Adelaide in 1976. During the 1980s Hawthorn dominated North, and during the 90s the results were reversed with North dominating Hawthorn. North Melbourne defeated Hawthorn in the 1975 Grand Final by 55 points. However, Hawthorn defeated North Melbourne in the 1976 Grand Final by 30 points and in the 1978 Grand Final by 18 points. The rivalry re-ignited in 2014 following a choking incident involving Brian Lake having North Melbourne forward Drew Petrie in a choking hold during a clash between the two sides at Docklands Stadium and reached fever pitch in 2015 following several fights including an all in during the first term of their round 5 clash.


Collingwood – North and Collingwood have a small kind of rivalry between them. As they drew in the 1977 Grand Final, which North went on to win in the replay by 27 points.[30]

Carlton – Although not known for their on-field rivalry, North Melbourne and Carlton have endured a tumultuous off-field relationship. In 1965, North Melbourne moved to the Coburg City Oval, which Carlton opposed as an invasion of its own territory: Coburg was located within Carlton's recruiting zone, and was home to about of quarter of Carlton's members at the time.[31] Later, after North Melbourne was listed on the stock market in 1987, Carlton bought 20% of the shares to become part-owner of the rival club. In 1988 there was a merger proposal put to North Melbourne, that was rejected.[32] In 1999, North Melbourne defeated Carlton in the 1999 Grand Final by 35 points.

Port Adelaide- Port Adelaide often refer to North Melbourne as the "bogey side"[33][34] and as of 2014, North lead 21–8.[35] Their most recent was in round 3 2014, where North came from behind to win by 7 points. This was Port's only loss in the first 12 rounds of 2014.

Port Adelaide lost their first finals appearance to North Melbourne in 1999 in the qualifying final, and in Port's premiership year of 2004, North beat Port by 92 points, however, Port beat North Melbourne in the 2007 Preliminary Final by 87 points.

Richmond – A rivalry that began as a result of North's loss to Richmond in the 1974 Grand Final, the two sides have shared an on and off rivalry ever since. Both sides since their 1975 preliminary final meeting (which North Melbourne won) have mostly been unsuccessful on the field. The rivalry re-ignited in the 2010s due to the clubs recent on field success and accumulated in a clash during the 2015 AFL finals series which North won by 17 points and was preceded by a provocative banner which read, 'Tigers Don't Win Finals, We Do'.

Club honour board

Honour roll

Year W: L: D PositionChairmanCEO CoachCaptainVice-CaptainBest and FairestLeading Goalkicker
200015:10:0 4th R. P. Casey/A. Carter G. Miller D. Pagan W. Carey A. Stevens P. Bell W. Carey 69
20019:13:0 13th A. Carter/A. Aylett G. Miller/M. Easy D. Pagan W. Carey A. Stevens S. Grant S. Rocca 48
200212:11:0 7th A. Aylett M. Easy/G. Walsh D. Pagan A. Stevens G. Archer A. Simpson S. Rocca 50
200311:10:1 10th A. Aylett G. Walsh D. Laidley A. Stevens G. Archer B. Harvey L. Harding 33
200410:12:0 10th A. Aylett G. Walsh D. Laidley A. Simpson B. Harvey B. Rawlings S. Rocca 49
200513:10:0 7th A. Aylett/G. Duff G. Walsh D. Laidley A. Simpson B. Harvey B. Harvey N. Thompson 52
20067:15:0 14th G. Duff G. Walsh/R. Aylett D. Laidley A. Simpson B. Harvey B. Rawlings N. Thompson 54
200715:10:0 3rd G. Duff/J. Magowan/J. Brayshaw R. Aylett D. Laidley A. Simpson B. Harvey B. Harvey C. Jones 43
200812:10:1 7th J. Brayshaw E. Arocca D. Laidley A. Simpson B. Harvey B. Harvey D. Hale 37
20097:14:1 13th J. Brayshaw E. Arocca D. Laidley/D. Crocker B. Harvey D. Petrie A. Swallow D. Petrie 27
201011:11:0 9th J. Brayshaw E. Arocca B. Scott B. Harvey D. Petrie B. Harvey, B. Rawlings L. Thomas 29
201110:12:0 9th J. Brayshaw E. Arocca B. Scott B. Harvey D. Petrie A. Swallow, D. Wells D. Petrie 48
201214:8:0 8th J. Brayshaw E.Arocca/C.Vale B. Scott A. Swallow D. Petrie, J. Ziebell A.Swallow D. Petrie 57
201310:12:0 10th J. Brayshaw C.Dilena B. Scott A. Swallow D. Petrie, J. Ziebell D.Wells, S Thompson L. Thomas 53
201414:8:0 6th J. Brayshaw C.Dilena B. Scott A. Swallow D. Petrie, J. Ziebell Ben Cunnington Drew Petrie 50
201513:9:0 8th J. Brayshaw C.Dilena B. Scott A. Swallow D. Petrie, J. Ziebell T.Goldstein Drew Petrie & Jarrad Waite 42
201612:10:0 8th J. Brayshaw C.Dilena B. Scott A. Swallow Robbie Tarrant Ben Brown 41

North Melbourne Team of the Century

At a special function in August 2001 the North Melbourne Team of the Century was announced. There was no minimum number of games set for selection. Wayne Carey was named as captain and Denis Pagan as coach. The selection panel was Geoff Poulter (journalist), Father Gerard Dowling (club historian), Keith McKenzie (former coach), Lloyd Holyoak (former president), Max Ritchie (former player and chairman of selectors) and Greg Miller (chief executive).

North Melbourne Team of the Century
B: Glenn Archer David Dench Mick Martyn
HB: John Rantall Ross Glendinning Ted Jarrard
C: Keith Greig Les Foote Laurie Dwyer
HF: Malcolm Blight Wayne Carey (c) Wayne Schimmelbusch
F: John Dugdale Jock Spencer Allen Aylett
Foll: Noel Teasdale Anthony Stevens Barry Cable
Int: Brent Crosswell Barry Davis Peter Steward
Sam Kekovich Jim Krakouer Brent Harvey
Coach: Denis Pagan

Shinboner of the Century

On 18 March 2005, the North Melbourne football club held a special gala dinner entitled the "North Story" to celebrate the 80th anniversary of North's admission to the VFL, and the 30th anniversary of the club's first VFL premiership. Over 3500 people attended the historic event held at the Royal Exhibition Building, including almost all surviving North Melbourne players. Glenn Archer was voted the Shinboner of the Century by his peers as the player who most represents the 'Shinboner Spirit'. The following players were voted 'Shinboners' of their era:





Individual honours

Premiership results

Best and Fairest

Further information: Syd Barker Medal

Current squad

North Melbourne Football Club
Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff
  • 37 Will Fordham
  • 44 Cameron Zurhaar
  • 45 Oscar Junker
  • 46 Matthew Taylor

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Updated: 30 November 2016
Source(s): Playing list, Coaching staff

See also


  2. Rickard, John, An assemblage of decent men and women : a history of the Anglican parish of St Mary's North Melbourne 1853–2000. / John Rickard St Mary's Anglican Church North Melbourne, North Melbourne, Vic. : 2008
  3. Tonball (26 May 1876). "Football". North Melbourne Advertiser. North Melbourne, VIC. p. 3.
  4. Nomad (9 July 1877). "Football Notes". Leader. Melbourne, VIC. p. 12.
  5. Atkinson, Graeme (1989). 3AW Book of Footy Records. South Melbourne,: Magistra Publishing Company Pty Ltd. p. 278. ISBN 1863210091..
  6. "North Melbourne club". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 4 April 1908. p. 15.
  7. "Football – the Victorian Association". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 18 April 1908. p. 6.
  8. "North Melbourne ground". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 12 August 1921. p. 6.
  9. Gerard Dowling, "North Melbourne Football Club", in Andrew Brown-May and Shurlee Swain, The Encyclopedia of Melbourne, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2005, p.511.
  10. "North gets lease". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 30 March 1965. p. 51.
  11. "North can have a new oval". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 3 November 1964. p. 34.
  12. Scot Palmer (9 December 1964). "Coburg, North merger". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. pp. 63–64.
  13. "Coburg to stay in Association". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 6 February 1965. p. 56.
  14. "Coburg to drop stand?". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 28 September 1965. p. 51.
  15. "North to quit Coburg". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 29 September 1965. p. 52.
  16. 1 2 3 4 Lovett, Michael (Chief editor) (2010). AFL Record Season Guide. Geoff Slattery Media Group. ISBN 978-0-9806274-5-9.
  17. Lovett 2010, p. 669
  18. Chelsea Collins (23 July 2014). "40,000 Members". Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  19. "North Melbourne moves to 9-0 but 12 is the magic number for coach Brad Scott". Lauren Wood. Herald Sun. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  20. "45,000 Share The Spirit". NMFC. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  21. "Wee deoch-an-doris [Historic American Sheet Music]".
  22. "Australia or Heart to heart and hand to hand".
  23. AFL Tunes to Remember, The Age, 23 July 2010.
  24. Macgugan, Mark (28 October 2011). "North Melbourne's 2012 draw". Australian Football League. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  26. "Indigenous Identity". North Melbourne Football Club. 23 May 2013.
  27. AFL's Black Stars. Lothian. pp. 138–141. ISBN 0-85091-891-X.
  28. "VFL/AFL All-Time Players".
  29. "Sheeds still baiting the crowd on marshmallow anniversary". AFL Website. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  30. AFL grand final countdown No.2: North Melbourne v Collingwood, 1977
  31. Rex Pullen (5 November 1964). "North move to Coburg under fire". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 66.
  32. Linnell, Garry (1995). Football Ltd. Pan Macmillan Australia. pp. 315–318. ISBN 0-330-35665-8.
  33. "PAFC Supporters Page". Facebook. 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  34. "Port Adelaide Football Club – Round 3 Preview". Port Adelaide Football Club. 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  35. "Port Adelaide-North Melbourne Head to head". Final Siren. 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.

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