August 12, 2022
In 2022, Essendon Football Club will celebrate 150 years in the sport of Australian rules

In 2022, Essendon Football Club will celebrate 150 years in the sport of Australian rules football. As one of the oldest and most prestigious clubs in the sport, it has seen many changes over the years. What’s more, it has enjoyed plenty of success with 16 VFL/AFL Premierships to its name. However, what’s the story? How did it all begin? While it’s impossible to cover 150 years in a short guide, you can get a brief history in this time!


Back in 1872, three groups came together to form Essendon Football Club:

  • Melbourne Hunt Club
  • Royal Agricultural Society
  • Victorian Woolbrokers

At the time, the McCrackens were a brewery family in the area and a well-known one at that. Therefore, various representatives came together to meet at the family home, and they discussed a potential team. The property was in Ascot Vale and had already welcomed lots of young, local players.

After successful negotiations and meetings, the first president of the club was announced as Robert McCracken and the secretary was named as Alex McCracken, his son. Later, Alex would become the VFL president. However, it was very much a family affair at the time and Collier McCracken led the team as captain after building experience with Melbourne in the sport.

Although the team formed in 1872, the McCrackens and other stakeholders would have to wait until 1873 until the first game. Eventually, it came against Carlton’s second team and Essendon chalked up its first victory in the sport. In the first year, the team played 13 games and only lost two, and therefore did itself proud after much talk and excitement.

Successes and Failures

Over the years, successful players came and went, and the club has been through several revival periods. Yet, the first Premiership title came back in 1897. It took around 25 years, but the hard work of the owners and founders finally came to fruition. Four years later, the club did it again and became two-time winners of the Premiership.

Over the next two decades, Essendon would win four more Premiership titles before another successful spell between 1942 and 1965. After back-to-back titles in 1984 and 1985, Essendon had won 14 titles. They won again in 1993 and then again in 2000. Now, the club is in a drought without a Premiership title in over 20 years for the first time since its formation and the first title.

In 2007, Kevin Sheedy left the club after 634 games (around 26 years), and problems have been building ever since. Although now in the modern Marvel Stadium, the club was investigated by the ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) for several years after 2013. The club was found to bring the game into disrepute after introducing a questionable and controversial supplement and sports science program.

As a result, the club was banned from the finals series in that year, it lost draft picks for two years, and had to pay fines of up to $2 million. After originally being found not guilty, 34 players were also given two-year suspensions from the sport due to taking banned substances. Athletes that take performance-enhancing drugs are still at risk of injury. Hamstring injuries and busted teeth are still some of the dangers that lurk when playing physical sports. Anyone playing ball regularly should have a chiropractor and dentist Essendon to call if injuries occur.

With most first-team players banned, the club only won three games in 2016 and it has been rebuilding both the squad and reputation since this event.

In the years ahead, Essendon Football Club wants to continue rebuilding and will hope to end the long draught very soon. The club has the most Premierships of any AFL team with 16 (although tied with Carlton), but Richmond is catching with wins in 2017, 2019, and 2020 (they have 13, in total).