1901 Arthur C Thomas was born in Mary Street, Unley on May 4, 1869, Thomas deserves the title of "Father of the Sturt Football Club", indeed he was the father of sport in general in Unley. On March 23,1890 the Unley Football Club was formed and although few details of the club exist it is known that they played a number of matches at the Unley Oval, Arthur C Thomas was one of many interested spectators and felt that the club could be better organised and the oval greatly improved. On August 9, 1890, Arthur C Thomas formed the Sturt District Cricket Club, Thomas knew that the forming of this club would give the young men of Unley the chance to play cricket in their district. In the closing years of the 19th century it was obvious to Thomas that a football team was required in Unley to use the oval during winter, keep the cricketers fit in the off-season and allow young men who loved the sport to once again play in their own district. Subsequently the Sturt Cricket Club decides to form a football club in the Unley area and their application to join the South Australian Football Association is successful and so the Sturt Football Club is born. The club decides to use the two shades of blue of Oxford and Cambridge Universities as Unley Oval is situated on the junction of Oxford Terrace and Cambridge Terrace, hence the nickname of the "Double Blues". The first captain of the club was Percy Kekwick, Highlights of the club's first season- they play Norwood at Norwood Oval in their first ever game, losing by 33 points, the first game at Unley Oval was against West Torrens which they lost by 30 points and the club's first ever win was recorded against South Adelaide by 27 points at Unley Oval.
Arthur C Thomas / Percy Kekwick / Official opening of the Unley Oval in 1892
The first Sturt Football Club team in 1901 / Team practice at Unley in 1907
1902 - 1908 The club struggles in these formative years, finishing no higher than fourth in 1906, however ruckman Hendrick 'Taffy' Waye, who dominated the competition to the extent that opposition club's used two players against him becomes the club's first ever Magarey Medallist, winning in 1903.
Sturt's first Magarey Medallist Hendrick 'Taffy' Waye / Phil 'Áeroplane' Matson marks from behind in a game against West Adelaide in the late 1900's / Frank Golding - a master of the place kick missed on the day it counted most, the 1910 grand final
1909 - 1913 Bert Renfrey is appointed Captain-Coach and leads Sturt into its first ever Grand Final in 1910 against Port Adelaide, unfortunately the club loses to Port Adelaide by 4 points after Frank Golding's place kick hits the top of the goalpost with only 50 seconds remaining in the game. AFL Hall of Fame ruckman Harold 'Vic' Cumberland finishes second in the 1910 Magarey Medal before winning it in 1911.
Bert Renfrey / Harold 'Vic' Cumberland / Team practice in 1910
1914 - 1915 Led by Captain-Coach Bill Mayman, the Sturt Football Club wins its first ever premiership in 1915, beating Port Adelaide by 12 points, Bill Mayman is best on ground and rover Bill Noal kicks an amazing 5.5 of Sturt's total score of 6.10 on the day.
Bill Mayman receiving the 1915 premiership shield / Victor Richardson marking against West Adelaide in 1915
The 1915 premiership team
1916-1918 Football is suspended due to World War 1.
1919 Football resumes and Sturt plays North Adelaide in the first Grand Final, this game results in a draw after Sturt's Owen Beatty failed to score from 35 yards out at the 27 minute mark of the last quarter, however Sturt wins its second Pemiership the next week in the Grand Final replay after ANZAC Ivor Nicolle kicks the winning goal with only 6 seconds remaining!
Sturt captain Billy Mayman and North's Tom Leahy shake hands before the start of the 1919 grand final replay / Approximately 35,000 people attended the 1919 grand final replay at the Adelaide Oval between Sturt and North Adelaide
1919 Premiership Team / Players proudly displaying the 1919 Premiership Flag
1920 - 1924 Despite winning the 1919 premiership, infighting and sackings see the Blues slump to miss the finals in 1920, finish fourth in 1921 and seventh in 1922. In 1923 and 1924 the Blues, led by Captain-Coach Victor Richardson finish second. During this period Victor Richardson wins the 1920 Magarey Medal and the 1922 and 1923 best and fairest, Horrie Riley wins the 1923 Magarey Medal and Norm Barron wins the 1924 best and fairest.
1923 Magarey Medallist Horrie Riley pulls in the mark of the 1924 finals series against Norwood / Opening of
the new Grandstand at Unley Oval in 1924
Five Sturt Champions - Reg Whitehead / Victor Richardson / Bill Mayman / Frank Golding / Victor Bateman
1925 - 1928 Frank Golding, who becomes the first SANFL footballer to reach 200 games takes over the Captain-Coaches position in 1925 with the Blues finishing third, in 1926 the Blues win the premiership defeating North Adelaide by 13 points, before falling to fifth in 1927 and sixth in 1928. Clarrie Scrutton wins the best and fairest three times in 1925, 1926 and 1928.
Three quarter time in the 1926 Grand Final, (far left) Frank Golding and Reg Whitehead talk tactics
Three Sturt greats in action, Reg Whithead (20), Freddy Odgers (14) and Ivor Nicolle (13) in the 1920's
Five Sturt champions of 1920's in action (from left) Ivor Nicolle, Charlie Whitehead, Norman Barron (Obscured), Clarrie Scrutton and Victor Richardson
1929 - 1937 After a rebuilding period under new coach Sid White the Blues have a sustained period of success, albeit for only one premiership, finishing second in 1931, then led by captain Victor Bateman they defeat North Adelaide by 41 points to win the 1932 premiership, a game in which Gordon 'Grassy' Green kicked an amazing 9 goals from only 10 scoring shots, then finishing third in 1933, 1934, 1935, runners up in 1936 and sixth in Whites last season in charge. During this time ruckman Keith Dunn wins the 1933 Magarey Medal and the best and fairest, Victor Bateman wins the 1929 and 1930 best and fairest, Ross Trelevean wins the 1931 and 1932 best and fairest and P.T. 'Bo' Morton wins the first of his three best and fairests in 1937 after making his debut for the club in 1930.
Four great Sturt men in action, (from left) Ernest Fisher, Bill Martin (bandaged), Jack Wadham and Norm Barron
Jack Wadham and Charlie Parsons chased by North Adelaide legend Ken Farmer in the 1930's
1932 premiership hero Gordon 'Grassy Green / Premiership coach Sid White / 1933 Magarey Medallist Keith Dunn
1938 - 1939 Even though being led by champion full forward P.T. 'Bo' Morton as Captain, the club struggles in these two years finishing sixth in both years.
1940 - 1941 P.T. 'Bo' Morton is appointed Captain-Coach and leads the Blues to their fifth premiership in 1940, defeating South Adelaide by 21 points, during the game he becomes the first Sturt player to kick 100 goals in a season, he then retires having played 138 games and kicking 561 goals for the club, he also wins his third best and fairest in his last year. Unfortunately in 1941 back to back premierships were not to be, with new Captain-Coach Ralph Green leading the Blues into the Grand Final, but losing to Norwood by 29 points.
P.T. 'Bo' Morton flys for marks against West Torrens and Port Adelaide (he kicked11 goals on the day) in 1940 / Captain-coach Morton being chaired off after his last game, the winning 1940 grand final
1942 - 1944 With many league footballers serving in the armed forces during World War 2, the SANFL decides to temporarily amalgamate the eight league clubs to form a four team competition. Sturt joins up with South.
1945 - 1951 After the war, the Blues enter a period of mediocrity. Sturt, like all clubs lost many players to the war but fail to rebuild, finishing no higher than fourth after 1948, Clayton 'Candles' Thompson who stood at a giant 198cm for the time wins the 1951 best and fairest.
1952 - 1955 Champion player and triple Magarey Medallist Len Fitzgerald becomes Captain-Coach. Sturt's highest position during this period is third in 1955. Len Fitzgerald wins the 1952 and 1954 Magarey Medals, wins the best and fairest three times in a row, 1952, 1953 and 1954 and is named in the inaugural All Australian team along with Clayton Thompson.
Triple Magarey Medallist Len Fitzgerald / Len Fitzgerald addressing the players at three quarter time in the 1955 Preliminay Final against Port Adelaide
1956 - 1961 A succession of of coaches lead the club, Wally May in 1956, Edward Tilley in 1957 and 1958 and Glynn Williams from 1959 to 1961. Team of the Century member Tony Goodchild Captains the club in 1957 and 1958 and wins the 1956 and 1957 best and fairest. The Blues finish bottom twice in this time (1955 and 1961) and the highest position they could manage was fourth in 1959. Len Fitzgerald wins his third Magarey Medal in 1959 to become the club's only ever triple Magarey Medallist and what makes this feat even more remarkable is the fact that he was playing in a different position each time he won the medal. Clayton Thompson finishes runner up to him, however 'Çandles' does win the club best and fairest. The one shining light of 1961, despite the club finishing bottom, was that of John Halbert, who finally won the Magarey Medal after finishing runner up in 1955, 1958 and 1960, he also was named in the All Australian team after a superb season.
John Halbert showing off his 1961 Magarey Medal / A young Rick Schoff in action against Glenelg in 1960 at the Bay
1962 Sturt appoints former Norwood player and premiership coach, Jack Oatey to lead the club. Oatey embarks on a rebuilding program for the Double Blues. John Halbert is named Captain and remains in that position for seven years until his retirement, Daryl Hicks wins the best and fairest and Sturt finish the season in seventh place.
1963 - 1965 In 1963 Jack Oatey embarks on a recruiting campaign to strengthen the club and the club's colt's win the premiership with players such as Paul Bagshaw, Keith Chessell and Bruce Raymond, however the club miss the finals and finish sixth, but the signs are there that the club is improving. In 1964, a young Paul 'Mr Magic' Bagshaw debuts for the club and the Blues make it to the finals, winning the First Semi-Final against Glenelg, the club's first finals win since 1955, but unfortunately lose to South Adelaide in the Preliminary Final. John Halbert wins his fourth best and fairest. The Double Blues make it to their first Grand Final in 25 years in 1965 against Port Adelaide in front of 62,543 fans and after being down by 35 points midway through the last quarter make a miraculous comeback to just lose the Grand Final by 3 points. However, this was to be the end of Port Adelaide's dominance, with the Oatey emphasis on skill, handball and run to dominate the competition for the next five years.
'Diamond' Jim Tilbrook gets his kick away despite pressure from Norwood's Robert Oatey in the 1965 1st Semi-Final, which the Blues won
1966 All Australian Robert Shearman joins the club from West Torrens after sitting out the 1965 season to gain clearance to Sturt and seven time Premiership player and father of future club Captain Ben, Philip 'Sandy' Nelson makes his debut at Centre Half Back on ANZAC day against Port Adelaide in the replay of the 1965 Grand Final. The Double Blues defeat Port Adelaide at Alberton for the first time in 18 years by 2 points. Sturt again meet Port Adelaide in the Grand Final, this time the Blues are victorious by a an embarassing to Port Adelaide 56 points, Sturt's first premiership in 26 years, this was to be the beginning of Sturt's golden era. Brenton Adcock and Rick Schoff are named in the All Australian team and Paul Bagshaw wins his first best and fairest.
Umpire Ken 'KG' Cunningham moves in to keep Sturt's Malcolm Hill and John Halbert in check during the 1966 Grand Final
Players celebrating the 1966 Premiership triumph, the Club's first Premiership for 26 years
Back (left to right): Terry Short, Brenton Adcock, Malcolm Hill, Tony Clarkson
Front (left to right): Brian Schwarz, Malcolm Jones, John Tilbrook, John Halbert, Brenton Miels
1967 New players to the club in 1967 include Greg Wild, Peter Endersbee and future All Australian Tony Burgan. The Blues struggle in the lead up to the finals due to injuries and lack of form and when they lose the Minor Premiership to North Adelaide it doesn't look like this will be the year of back to back Premierships, however, when the Blues play the Roosters again in the Second-Semi Final Jack Oatey has them fired up and they win comfortably by 44 points. So for the third time in a row Sturt are to play Port Adelaide in the Grand Final, in an even contest the Blues are unable to shake off the Magpies until late in the last quarter, but then when Tumby Bay hero Roger Dunn goals, the victory is sealed for the Double Blues and they win by 11 points. John Murphy accepts the Premiership cup in the absence of Captain John Halbert who had broken his leg earlier on in the season and ruckman Tony Clarkson wins his second best and fairest for the club
1968 A 15 year old Michael 'Flash' Graham is signed and for the fourth successive year Sturt play Port Adelaide in the Grand Final, Club Champion and Captain John Halbert is unable to pass a fitness test which heartbrakingly rules him out of his second successive Grand Final, he retires after playing 243 games for the club, a Magarey Medallist, an All Australian and a four time best and fairest winner. The Blues run away with the game in the second half to win by a comfortable 27 points, three in a row for the Double Blues and all of them against the powerful Magpies. Rick Schoff wins the best and fairest.
Port Adelaide coach Fos Williams congratulating Jack Oatey and Rick Schoff after the 1968 Grand Final
1969 The Blues lose a number of senior players including John Halbert, Roger Dunn and Tony Clarkson. Robert Shearman is appointed Captain and leads the Blues into the Grand Final where they meet Minor Premiers Glenelg, the Blues destroy the Tigers to win by 65 points and claim their fourth premiership in a row. Sturt's score of 24.15 is the highest score ever kicked in an SANFL Grand Final. Paul Bagshaw wins his second best and fairest and Rick Schoff is named in the All Australian team for the second time.
Rick Schoff horizontal against West Adelaide at Unley Oval in 1969
Captain Robert Shearman accepting the Premiership cup after the 1970 Grand Final
1970 A 17 year old Rick Davies, who could have very easily become a Glenelg player, debuts for the club, kicking 5.4 for the day at full forward and is then subsequently dropped back down to the reserves the following week to make way for regular full forward Malcolm Greenslade, such was the Blues strength at the time! A record 20 consecutive victories from between August 30 1969 to August 15 1970 comes to an end and after an end of season form slump, Jack Oatey has the Blues peaking at just the right time and the club make it to yet another Grand Final, the club's sixth in a row, against the Tigers. In a hard fought game in wet and boggy conditions the Blues take control of the game in the second half to make it five premierships in a row as they defeat Glenelg by 21 points. Paul Bagshaw wins his third best and fairest.
A young and eager Rick Davies at training on the eve of the 1971 season / A wet and muddy Michael Graham at half time against Glenelg in 1971
1971 - 1973 The golden era of Sturt ended in 1971 after the retirement and loss of many key players and with the Blues suffering from so many injuries throughout the season it did well to just make the finals, the club lose for the first ever time to Central District in the First-Semi Final and finish the season in fourth position. Paul Bagshaw wins his third best and fairest in a row and his fourth in total. Season 1972 saw a rebuilding phase begin at Unley, with young players including Rick Davies, Robert Barton, Colin Casey, Bruce Winter, Geoff Lauder, Tony Lloyd, Michael Graham, Trevor Sims and Ken Whelan all given game time. The Blues miss the finals for the first time since 1963 to finish the season fifth, however these younger players are all better for the experience. Ken Whelan kicks 106 goals in the reserves, Colin Casey wins the best and fairest, Tony Burgan is named in the All Australian team and Captain Bob Shearman retires, Paul Bagshaw is appointed the new Captain for the 1973 season. In 1973 a 17 year old Robbert Klomp, Brendan Howard and Geoff Leonard debut for the club, Ken Whelan kicks 107 goals and becomes the first Sturt player to do so since Bo Morton in 1940 and the Double Blues charge back into the finals, however, after defeating North Adelaide in the Qualifying Final the Blues crash out in straight sets after losing to Glenelg and then to the Roosters in the Preliminary Final. Rick Davies wins his first of a club record seven best and fairests and Michael Graham finishes runner up in the 1973 Magarey Medal.
Ken Whelan kicking his 100th goal for the season against South Adelaide at Unley in 1973 / Brenton Adcock in action during the 1973 Preliminary Final against North Adelaide
1974 John Murphy returned to Sturt from South Melbourne and Robert Oatey joins the club after being sacked as coach from Norwood. Sturt win the Minor Premiership, then defeat Port Adelaide in the Second-Semi Final by 5 points to progress to their first Grand Final since 1970, they play Glenelg in the first Grand Final at the SANFL's new headquarters of Football Park and after Glenelg shut down the Blues in the third quarter, many were thinking that it would be a Glenelg Premiership as they were coming home with a strong breeze and Sturt were only in front by 5 points, but the Blues outplayed the Tigers in the last quarter and held on to win by 15 points. Rick Davies wins his second best and fairest and is runner up in the Magarey Medal, Ken Whelan kicks 108 goals for the season and Team of the Century member and All Australian Brenton Adcock retires after the 1974 Grand Final having played 259 games for the Blues.
Robert Oatey and Paul Bagshaw celebrating after the siren in the 1974 Grand Final
Ken Whelan, the Tony Modra of the 1970's soars over two Norwood defenders in 1975 at Football Park to take the "Mark of the Year"
1975 The Blues win the Datsun Cup after defeating the Tigers by 26 points, but an injury riddled and badly under manned Sturt lose the Qualifying Final to Glenelg by 26 points and then to Port Adelaide in the First-Semi Final by 67 points, a disappointing end to season 1975 with the Blues finishing fourth. Paul Bagshaw plays his 250th game for the club and Rick Davies wins his third best and fairest, while Ken Whelan tops the goal kicking list with 80.
Paul Bagshaw holds aloft the 1975 Datsun Cup
1976 On March 21 a grandstand built to seat 1,380 people is opened at Unley Oval at a cost of $407,000, it is later named 'The Jack Oatey Stand'. The Blues finish the Minor round second and play Glenelg in the Qualifying Final, which they lose by 23 points, all expected the Blues to bow out of the finals in straight sets as they had done the year before, but know one must have told the Double Blues, as they subsequently defeat Norwood in the First-Semi Final and then defeat Glenelg in the Preliminary Final, after kicking the winning goal in time on. Sturt had recovered from their Qualifying Final loss to make it to the Grand Final against the much more highly fancied Port Adelaide. Despite being labelled as "too old and too slow" the Blues took control of the game after quarter time to win easily by 41 points. Ruckman Rick Davies was best on ground and recorded the often quoted statistics of 21 kicks, 21 handballs, 21 hit-outs and 15 marks. Jack Oatey wins his seventh Premiership with Sturt and a record breaking tenth in total, Rick Davies wins his fourth best and fairest, with all four of them being in a row and Paul Bagshaw proclaims the 1976 Premiership as "the finest moment in the history of the Sturt Football Club".
Robbert Klomp in action in the 1976 Grand Final / John Murphy kissing the cup after the 1976 Grand Final
1977 The Double Blues were expected to be Premiership contenders in 1977, but the Blues for some frustrating reason, perhaps it was the dreaded Premiership hangover, just couldn't maintain the momentum of 1976 and with many players struggling to find form the club finished a lowly seventh in a very disappointing year. One highlight was that of Paul Bagshaw playing his 300th game for the club and winning his fifth best and fairest.
1978 Player reputations meant nothing in 1978, with Jack Oatey determined to take the Blues back to where they belonged, playing finals, new faces to the club included Andrew Downes, Geoff Wiseman and Peter Hargreaves. The Blues also finally got their man, Gary Hardeman from the Melbourne Demons, he was a 200 plus game All Australian centre half back who had also come runner up in the 1974 Brownlow Medal and was originally signed in November 1975, but Melbourne blocked his transfer, so he had to wait until 1978 to join the Double Blues, the club paid $40,000 for him. The Blues were absolutely awesome in the 1978 minor round, losing only one game, to the lowly West Adelaide by 22 points at Richmond, this was the Bloods first win over Sturt at Richmond since 1964 to finish Minor Premiers by an amazing 6 games. Sturt played Norwood in the Second-Semi Final and convincingly won by 22 points, ironically their inaccuracy in front of goals on that day of 13.19 not costing them the game. Sturt went into the Grand Final as probably one of the most favoured teams in SANFL history again against Norwood who had defeated Port Adelaide in the Preliminary Final and started as expected, dominating the first quarter, at quarter time it was Sturt 5.9 to Norwood 1.5, then in what was to be one of the worst days in the club's history the Blues continued to kick themselves out of the game with an unbelievable poor conversion rate in front of goal, ultimately kicking 14.26 for the day. At three quarter time the Blues were 29 points in front, but Norwood came back and hit the front at the 16 minute mark by 3 points, Sturt regained the lead by 4 points, then umpire Des Foster controversially awarded Norwood player Phil Gallagher a mark, Gallagher who didn't know whether he had been awarded a mark or free kick goaled and with three minutes left in the match Sturt were 2 points behind, the Blues did have the last three shots at goal, but only scored a point and ended up losing by a solitary point. Jack Oatey was despondant, knowing that all that years hard work and success had been undone in just 30 minutes. Des Foster, 15 years later, adding to the controversy, admitted he made a mistake by awarding Phil Gallagher a mark, this wrong decision, perhaps, cost Sturt the 1978 Grand Final. Rick Davies won his fifth best and fairest to tie with Paul Bagshaw who also had won five and finished third in the Magarey Medal.
Gary Hardeman marking against Port Adelaide in 1978
1979 The horror of the last 30 minutes of 1978 was to continue in 1979 for the Blues, as they slumped to finish ninth, due to the loss of a number of senior players at the end of 1978 and major injuries to many other players throughout 1979 season, this meant that for most of the season the Blues were unable to field anywhere near a full strength side, ninth was also the lowest position ever finished during Jack Oatey's era at Unley, the only few shining lights in 1979 were Rick Davies, who was named in the All Australian team and won his sixth best and fairest and Gary Hardeman who had an excellent individual season, finishing third in the Magarey Medal.
1980 In 1980 the Blues recruited Norwood's Neil Craig and South Adelaide's Eddie Fry to bolster the team, however the Club did lose Team of the Centry member and All Australian Tony Burgan who retired at the end of the 1979 season after having played 248 games for the Blues. The Blues finished third by only 0.17% after defeating West Adelaide at Unley by a record 123 points, they defeated Glenelg in the Qualifying Final by 29 points, but lost to Port Adelaide in the Second-Semi Final by 63 points, they then faced Norwood in the Preliminary Final and in a game in which Sturt had its chances to win, lost by 16 points to finish the season third. Paul Bagshaw plays his 350th game, Rick Davies wins his seventh best and fairest and is named in the All Australian team for the second successive year, he is also named the Captain of the All Australian team.
1981 The Blues at the start of the season were missing the injured Paul Bagshaw, who was unsure if he would be able to play on due to a back injury, Rick Davies who had finally crossed over to Hawthorn in the VFL and Gary Hardeman who also returned to Melbourne. New recruits to the club included South Adelaide ruckman Frank Spiel and Grant Zubrinich who transferred from Norwood, while new faces at training included a young Greg Whittlesea. With the uncertainty surrounding Paul Bagshaw, Brendan Howard is appointed Captain and on June 11 Paul 'Mr Magic' Bagshaw announced his retirement after 360 games for the Double Blues, five best and fairests, seven premierships and Captain for a record equalling eight years. The Blues struggled during the season and missed the finals by percentage to finished sixth, however 1981 was regarded as a rebuilding year by Jack Oatey with a number of players in just their first season for the Blues. Eddie Fry wins the best and fairest and Bo Morton retires as Club president after seven years, the Club in recognition of his contribution over more than half a century name the best and fairest award the P.T. Morton Medal. Jack Oatey decided to coach the Blues for one more season in 1982 and in recognition of his contribution to football in South Australia, the SANFL named the medal for the best player in a Grand Final the Jack Oatey Medal.
1982 Jack received a huge bonus when Rick Davies decided to return to the Blues fter 20 games in the VFL with Hawthorn, he is subsequently named Captain. Reserves coach John McInnes became caretaker coach due to Jack Oatey requiring a hip replacement at the start of the season and a young star made his debut in season 1982, Peter Motley, against Glenelg at the Bay. When Jack Oatey returned to take back over the coaches position from John McInnes, the Blues were sitting in top place and on the last Saturday of the Minor round Jack Oatey coached his last game at Unley Oval, leading the Blues to a 65 point win over Woodville to ensure that they finished third and had the double chance going into the finals. The Blues played Norwood in the Qualifying Final and just lost by 8 points, the Blues then played Glenelg in the First-Semi Final and in what turned out to be Jack Oatey's last ever game in charge of the Double Blues lost by 35 points, the club finished third for the season. The Oatey era was officially over after 21 seasons, 470 games, 4 Minor Premierships, 9 Grand Finals and 7 Premierships, Jack 'The Master Coach' Oatey had retired. Frank Spiel wins the P.T. Morton Medal and Rick Davies who is being used primarily at full forward towards to the end of his career kicks 98 goals for the season, just 2 short of the magical 100.
Jack Oatey walks on to the Unley Oval for the last time on the 4th of September 1982
1983 Former Sturt Champion and Magarey Medallist, John Halbert, returned to Unley after coaching Glenelg to lead Sturt and brought with him the highly skilled John Paynter, Neil Craig also rejects offers to move intrerstate. On Saturday May 22, Rick Davies made history by kicking 15.4 against West Adelaide at Football Park and breaking George Tilley's 1948 previous club record of 13.7, the Blues come back from being 5 goals down at the 20 minute of the last quarter to defeat Norwood at the Parade with out stars Davies, Motley, Craig and Spiel who were in Western Australia for a State game and destroy Port Adelaide at Unley on June 18 scoring a record 28.26 to annihilate the Magpies by 114 points, Rick Davies kicks 11 goals for the day to tie with Bo Morton for the most goals kicked in a game against Port Adelaide. Sturt finish second to West Adelaide on the ladder at the end of the Minor round and the Blues play Norwood in the Qualifying Final, losing by 4 points, they then defeat North Adelaide in the First-Semi Final and subsequently face Norwood in the Preliminay Final, the Blues had not beaten Norwood in their four previous finals games against them, with the highest losing margin being only 16 points, but are keen to inflict some revenge and defeat Norwood by 44 points. The Blues play Neil Kerley's West Adelaide in the Grand Final, the club's first since 1978, but unfortunately are not a match for them, going down by 34 points. New recruit John Paynter wins his first of four P.T. Morton Medals, Rick Davies kicks a then SANFL record of 151 goals in the season, to become only the third Sturt player to kick the magical 100 goals in a season and young star Peter Motley is named in the All Australian team. At the end of 1983, two Sturt veterans retire, Trevor Sims after playing 250 games and Colin Casey after playing 251 games.
Rick Davies kicking for goal in 1983 he kicked a then SANFL record of 151 for the season
1984 Even before the start of season 1984 the Blues were dealt two injury blows, with veteran speedster Michael Graham breaking his leg while playing in Darwin and ruckman Frank Spiel dislocating his shoulder, new faces to the club include Adrian Moscheni from Darwin and David Frost from Glenelg. The Blues despite starting the season as Premiership contenders struggled all throughout 1984 and drop out of the finals race to finish in seventh position, young players to debut for the club include Matthew Benson, Robert Veale, David Ey and the Captain of the Australian Under 19's cricket team Jamie McPhee. At the end of season 1984 the Sturt Football Club board decide not to reappoint John Halbert as Coach for season 1985. During the season Rick Davies plays his 300th game for the club and for the second successive year kicks over 100 goals, finishing with 102 for the season, Peter Motley wins the P.T. Morton Medal.
Peter Motley marking against West Adelaide in the 1985 Elimination Final
1985 Sturt appoints former Richmond Premiership player, Mervyn Keane as Coach, Merv takes on the role of playing Coach in his first season and the club welcomes back Robbert Klomp from the VFL, young guns Todd Viney and Andrew Underwood make their debuts during the season. Merv leads the Double Blues back into the finals, however Sturt lose the Elimination Final to West Adelaide and finish in fifth position for the season. On May 1, Champion and Captain Rick Davies is told that he will no longer be an automatic selection in the team and retires after playing 317 games, kicking 635 goals, winning seven best and fairests, playing in two Premierships and being named in the All Australian team twice, however later in the season he comes out of retirement and joins South Adelaide as their playing Coach after they had sacked Don Scott. Neil Craig is appointed Captain after Rick Davies retirement, Ian Willmott becomes the fourth player in the club's history to kick 100 goals in a season, finishing with 123, Michael 'Flash' Graham retires at the end of the season after playing 282 games and kicking 455 goals for the club, as well as Brendon Howard who played 221 games and also Captained the club. Champion Peter Motley wins the P.T. Morton Medal for the second time in succession, is named in the All Australian team also for the second time and finishes runner up in the Magarey Medal, he leaves the Club at the end of season 1985 after playing 92 games to join Carlton in the VFL.
Todd Viney marking strongly against West Torrens / Peter Motley kicking a goal against West Adelaide in 1985
1986 The Sturt Football Club under the SANFL's ground rationalisation move from their traditional home of Unley Oval to Adelaide Oval. Merv Keane embarks on a rebuilding program for the club after many player retirements and Sturt finish the year in eighth place, winning 9 games for the season. Despite finishing eighth, a number of young players debut for the Blues in 1986 including Carl Dilena, Damian Kitschke, David 'Big Red' Reynolds and Kym Russell, Coach Mervyn Keane is appointed for another two seasons, John Paynter wins his second P.T. Morton Medal and Ian Willmott kicks 82 goals for the season.
1987 At the end of the 1986 season, the club said goodbye to Captain Neil Craig, who retired after 134 games with the Blues and young star Todd Viney who joined Melbourne in the VFL, Greg Whittlesea is appointed Captain and new faces to debut for the club include Jay Viney, Scott Field, Brett Lienert, John Richter and David Welsby. Despite the club falling to ninth, the signs are there for the future as Coach Mervyn Keane assembles a nucleus of talented young players, Greg Whittlesea wins the P.T. Morton Medal and the club say goodbye to Robbert Klomp who retires after 205 games and Doug Klar who also reitres after 26 years as the club's head trainer.
1988 The Blues recruit forward Lawrence Schache and Andrew Underwood turns down offers to join Essendon in the VFL to stay at Unley, young players to debut for the club during the season include future dual P.T. Morton Medallist Bruce Lennon and Scott Russell. The season begins disastrously as the Blues suffered a couple of thrashings and rumours of Mervyn Keane's demise abounded. The Blues then came out to win 10 of its next 13 games, Sturt make the finals for the first time in three years, but lose the Elimination Final to Glenelg. Captain Greg Whittlesea caps off a remarkable season by winning the 1988 Magarey Medal, the P.T. Morton Medal and being named in the All Australian team, however the Sturt board decides not to reappoint Mervyn Keane, a move which split the club, especially after a meeting of members which presented a no confidence vote against club president Bill Kutcher was narrowly defeated, the wounds caused by this split would take many years to heal.
1989 Former Sturt Champion Rick Davies is appointed Coach and the events of the previous year and the disunity caused by it plus the loss of a number of senior players make Davies job impossible and the Blues plummet to tenth, the first time Sturt have ever finished in this position, Rick Davies resigns at the end of the season, John Paynter wins his third P.T. Morton Medal.
1990 Sturt appoint former Geelong player, Kevin Higgins as Coach, but lose a number of senior players yet again, including David Welsby, Scott Russell, Paul McWilliam and Damian Kitschke to the AFL plus the retirements of Ian Willmott and Andrew Downes. Sturt again finish bottom and after just one season, Higgins is sacked, one highlight for the year is the debut of midfielder Andrew Johns who wins the P.T Morton Medal after a standout first season at the club.
1991 Former Central District and North Adelaide player Stephen Trigg is appointed Coach for 1991, but yet again the club lose a number of senior players including Bruce Lennon, Shane Radbone and Kym Russell to the AFL plus Captain Greg Whittlesea who finally decides to the leave the club and join Hawthorn after 243 games, however a number of new players debuted for the club including future Adelaide Crows Coach Brenton Sanderson, Scott Sutherland, Damian Obst, Matthew Dent, Jeremy Gask, Justin Brooks, veteran Peter Bubner from Central District, power forward Jamie Stevenson and future Captain Chris Thredgold. Unfortunately, even though the atmosphere at Unley was changing and a number of quality young players debuted, the club still finished bottom for the third year in a row, John Paynter wins his fourth P.T. Morton Medal and Jamie Stevenson kicks 75 goals.
1992 There was optimism at Unley going into the 1992 season as Stephen Trigg had been retained as Coach and the club welcomed back from the AFL Damian Kitschke, Andrew Underwood, Kym Russell and Jay Viney plus had recruited key position player Jody Arnol from St Kilda and also had Andrew Geddes when not playing for the Adelaide Crows. During the season Guy Bagshaw made his debut for the club, becoming the third generation Bagshaw to do so, after his father Paul and grandfather Hartley. Captain John Paynter plays his 300th SANFL game against Norwood in the pre-season Foundation Cup competition and the Blues go on to make it the Grand Final, losing to Glenelg, but then perplexingly after such a promising start, the Blues crash to finish last yet again, winning only 2 games for the season and 6 games behind ninth placed Central District, a season that promised so much was left in tatters with the Blues claiming their fourth wooden spoon in succession. Captain John Paynter retires after 246 games for the Blues, as well as veteran Peter Reid, ruckman David Reynolds and P.T. Morton Medallist for the season, rover Scott Field, who decided to quit senior football in his prime to concentrate on his career.
1993 The club target an experienced Coach to replace Stephen Trigg, one who has a proven ability to lift a struggling club, former player and Premiership Coach of North Adelaide Michael Nunan, as well as former South Adelaide and WAFL Premiership Coach, Haydn Bunton Junior are the two sought, Michael Nunan is unavailable, so the club works hard to sign Haydn Bunton Junior. Bunton agrees to become Coach and for the first time since 1983, Sturt have an experienced Coach in charge, Jay Viney is appointed Captain after John Paynter's retirement. The Blues with their fifth Coach in six years at the helm get off to a horror start, losing the first 12 games of the season, but finally the Blues break a 20 game losing sequence dating back to July 4, 1992 with a win over North Adelaide, the Blues win 4 of their last 8 games of 1993 to finish equal bottom with West Adelaide with 4 wins apiece, but unfortunately the Blues had an inferior percentage of 1.4 percent, so claim the wooden spoon for the fifth year in succession. Andrew Johns wins his second P.T. Morton Medal, Jody Arnol kicks 71 goals for the season and on October 25 the club mourns the passing of President Guy Lloyd who died after battling a serious illness, in difficult circumstances Guy worked tirelessly to reunite the club which had become divided after Mervyn Keane's departure.
John Richter getting another kick against North Adelaide in 1993
1994 Even before the season began, the club was rocked to its foundations with the passing away of Legend Jack Oatey, he died on Saturday, February 26 1994 at 2.20pm in room 8 of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, ironically Saturday at 2.20pm was the starting time for SANFL games and number 8 was the guernsey number that Jack wore. Jack 'The Master Coach' Oatey coached the Blues for a record 21 seasons and during this time won seven Premierships. In a boost for the embattled Blues, Bruce Lennon returned to the club from the AFL and during the season future Captain Ben Nelson and big forward Stephen White make their debuts. The season began in promising fashion with victories in the opening two Minor round games and a narrow loss to the previous years premiers, Woodville-West Torrens, but the Blues season is again a failure and the wooden spoon is taken out for a sixth consecutive year. At the end of 1994 the Sturt board embark on an ambitious plan to amalgamate with Norwood with the view to enter a second Adelaide based club in the AFL, the move fails as Port Adelaide is granted the second AFL licence and enters the competition in 1997. Bruce Lennon wins the P.T Morton Medal upon his return to the Blues, but the future didn't look good for the Blues, as the club was in a crisis, both on and off the field.
Bruce Lennon marking against South Adelaide in 1994 / New skipper Chris Thredgold who would go on to tie with Paul Bagshaw as the club's longest serving Captain of 8 years
1995 Phil Carman is appointed league coach in 1995 and the situation looked grim, players were leaving left, right and centre including Captain Jay Viney, Jody Arnol, Stuart Wigney, Damian Kitschke, Justin Brooks and to make matters worse there were the retirements of Andrew Underwood and ruckman Brett Lienert. Chris Thredgold is named Captain after Jay Viney leaves to join North Adelaide and for only the second time in the clubs history the Blues went through the season without a win, claiming their seventh wooden spoon in succession. During the season 18 players make their debut for the club including future Magarey Medallist Tim Weatherald, Julian Burton and ruckman Simon Feast, who also wins the first of his two P.T. Morton Medals in a standout first year.
P.T. Morton Medallist Ruckman Simon Feast in action against South Adelaide / Mission Impossible - Phil Carman on the phone in the coaches box in 1995
1996 At the end of 1995 the Sturt Football Club was in such a precarious financial position, that unless $250,000 was raised the club was doomed. The board opted to seek out a merger with North Adelaide, but supporters opposed this and at a special meeting at Unley Oval, a resurgence group, led by former Sturt Premiership player Phil Sanders was formed with the view to increasing membership and saving the club. The move was successful and the Blues were saved, membership increased to over 2000 and Sturt was second only to Port Adelaide in the amount of members it had. In 1996 the Blues improved with some excellent recruiting, but still failed to get off the bottom, wooden spoon number eight and all in succession. James May wins the P.T. Morton Medal and hope starts to return to the faithful that the club's days of being the perennial wooden spooners will soon be over.
1997 The hard work of the previous two seasons finally brought results, as the Sturt Football Club lifts itself out of bottom place to make the finals for the first time since 1988. Sturt surprise the competition and finish the Minor round in fourth position and only one Premiership point away from second position, however inexperience cost Sturt in the Elimination Final and they lose to North Adelaide. Brodie Atkinson wins the P.T. Morton Medal and ties with Norwood's Andrew Jarman to win the 1997 Magarey Medal after a sensational season. Negotiations with the Unley City Council regarding a return to Unley Oval to play league football are successful, as the council agrees to Sturt playing 4 games there from 1998 and Coach Phil Carman is reappointed for two more seasons.
Magarey Medallist Brodie Atkinson in action in the late 1990's
1998 Sturt's preparations for the 1998 season begin well as no league players have left the club and selective recruiting increases the club's depth. The Double Blues resurgence continues as Sturt shock the competition by finishing the Minor round on top of the ladder, winning 16 of their 20 games, it is the club's first Minor Premiership since 1978. The first league game at Unley since 1985 is played before a sell out crowd on Easter Saturday and the Blues end up winning all four of their Unley home games. Sturt march into their first Grand Final since 1983 with an emphatic victory over West Adelaide in the Second-Semi Final, however the fairytale was not to be, Sturt play a strengthened Port Adelaide, who had the luxury of including many of their AFL listed players come finals time and lose by just 9 points. Simon Feast wins his second P.T. Morton Medal and Julian Burton tops the goal kicking list wth 64.
1999 The club starts the season without some of its champions, Simon Feast, Brodie Atkinson, Adam Lange and Barnaby French are lost to AFL clubs in the AFL draft, but the Blues recruit well to cover these losses picking up Damian Squire, Dean Woosnam and Sean Tasker from other SANFL clubs. Aaron Bishop, Stuart Graham, Adam Klun, Alistair McEwin, Stephen Prescott and Daniel Wicks all make their debuts. The Sturt Football Club gets a bigger foothold back at Unley with 6 home games being played there, but the Club struggles to find form and consistency throughout the season and finishes a disappointing fifth after losing the Elimination Final to Norwood. The brilliant Damian Squire wins his first Magarey Medal and his first P.T. Morton Medal in his first season at Sturt, while veteran John Richter plays his 258th and final game. Julian Burton, with 62 goals wins the Rick Davies Medal for top goal kicker for the second successive year and also passes the 200 goal mark for the club, while big Stephen White edges past 100.
Dual Magarey Medallist Damian Squire getting his kick away
2000 Sturt qualifies for the finals for the fourth successive year and for the first time since 1973 to 1976. After winning just 2 of their first 8 games they come back to play superb football to challenge for a Premiership in their one hundredth year. The Blues beat Port Adelaide at Alberton for the first time since 1983 and Norwood at The Parade for the first time since 1986. Sturt beat Port Adelaide three times - at Unley, Alberton and Football Park - and enjoy knocking out both Norwood and Port Adelaide in successive weeks in the finals. Sturt wins the inaugural R.O. Shearman Testimonial Trophy by beating the Eagles, but ultimately lose to them in the Preliminary Final to finish third for the season. Damian Squire wins his second successive Magarey Medal, Bruce Lennon collects his second P.T. Morton Medal and Julian Burton and Tim Weatherald play their 100th games. Centenary Ball and Team of the Century dinners are big hits during the season, with Jack Oatey being named as coach of the Team of the Century.
2001 Birthday time for the Double Blues, but unfortunately they are pipped out by Norwood in the Centenary rematch at The Parade before 13,745 fans. Captain Chris Thredgold, Brodie Atkinson and Bruce Lennon play their 200th league games as the Blues play some good football after a slow start to the season, a 55 point hammering of Port Adelaide at Alberton an unforgettable highlight. An inconsistent Sturt is left stranded in sixth spot in its Centenary season, but a few youngsters including Paul Magarey, Adam Klun, Michael Curtis, Martin Mattner, Rhyse Schulz and Jade Sheedy are really making their mark. Seamus Maloney wins the P.T. Morton Medal and Sturt embarks on an exciting new era as North Adelaide's 1993 Magarey Medallist Brenton Phillips is appointed the new Coach, replacing Phil Carman who took over from Haydn Bunton Junior in 1995 and turned the club around from being the perennial wooden spooners into genuine finals contenders.
The team celebrating the 2002 Premiership, from left to right, Ben Nelson
Matthew Powell, Brenton Phillips, Toby Thurstans, Brodie Atkinson, Xavier Campbell and Barnaby French
2002 It had been 26 years since the club had won a Premiership, Simon Feast and Matthew Dent returned to the club after playing in the AFL, Cameron Roberts moved from North Adelaide and Matthew Cooper decided to have a go at SANFL level. Ben Nelson joined the Adelaide Crows from Carlton, which allowed him to play for Sturt when not playing for the them. Everything focused on the first game, Norwood had been installed as the early flag favourites along with reigning Premiers Central District and on a balmy March night at Norwood Oval the new look Double Blues, playing in a new guernsey, as the SANFL had outlawed the famous lace-up, showed us what was to come, Brenton Phillips style of football was quick and skillful and there was something exciting about the team. The Advertiser ran a headline "BLUES SLAUGHTER", with a 55 point win, season 2002 was underway. During the season we defeated all comers with the exception of Central District, however, the season took its toll with a number of serious injuries that did not allow us to field our best team at any stage. Magarey Medals are not unknown to the club, but what a sensation when Jade Sheedy and Tim Weatherald became joint winners of the League’s most prestigious award, this would mean that Sturt would boast a total of five Magarey Medallists sharing six medals (including the Coach) representing the club in the finals. The club finished third at the end of the Minor round and entered the finals knowing that it had beaten every other team and that we had not met Central District with a full strength side. A win in the Qualifying Final over arch enemies Norwood set up a Second Semi-Final clash against Central District in which we just fell short of a win, however, history may record this as one of the best losses in SANFL history, as a Preliminary Final at Adelaide Oval against Norwood was our next assignment, a comfortable 49 point win sent us to the Grand Final for the first time since 1998 full of confidence and ready to write a new chapter in the history of our proud club. Grand Final day will live long in the hearts of Sturt supporters, we were simply too good and after 26 long years the T.S. Hill trophy was finally back at Unley for the first time since 1976. 35 players represented the club at senior level during 2002 and for all time these 35 players will be known as the "2002 Legends" , the club celebrated long and hard, but no one could imagine the tragedy that was only days away. A terrorist bomb in Bali turned what was the club’s greatest moment into one of absolute despair and sorrow. We lost two members of our family, Bob Marshall and Josh Deegan never returned from what was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime. In the midst of the tragedy the club found new strength, our club has enjoyed the heights of success and suffered the depths of despair during 2002, but through it all we have shown great dignity and courage and 2002 will forever be remembered in the history of our great club, not only for our success, but also for the strength shown in the face of adversity.
Past Coach and Captain Seamus Maloney in action at Unley
2003 Captain Chris Thredgold, who was appointed in 1995, retires at the end of the 2002 season, he played 223 games for Sturt, mostly at full back and is equal with Paul Bagshaw (1973-1980) at 8 years as the club's longest serving Captain. Seamus Maloney is appointed the new skipper and the Blues open the 2003 season with 3 brilliant victories, including a 93 point thrashing of South Adelaide at Encounter Bay. Despite losing the next two matches, the Blues remained in third place after beating North Adelaide at Unley by 60 points in front of 3100 fans. Three losses followed, but a return to the early season form mid-season saw the Blues win 9 of their next 11 matches to finish the Minor round in third place. Finishing third in season 2003 did not give the club the double chance as in previous seasons, as the final five had been changed to a final four and although many in Adelaide believed at the start of the season that the Blues would play off in the Grand Final the season came to a disappointing end when the club was beaten by the Eagles in the First Semi-Final by 25 points. Despite the loss, the season contained many highlights including the Under 17’s Premiership victory, the club topping the SANFL attendances with an average of 4016 spectators during the home and away games – 434 more per game than second placed Norwood, Damian Squire captaining the State team to a 60 point victory over Western Australia, while Ben Nelson won the P.T. Morton Medal and finished second in the Magarey Medal. At the end of season 2003, the club farewelled new Captain Seamus Maloney who went to Mildura for work, while Mark Conway and Matthew Dent retired.
P.T. Morton Medallist and former Captain Ben Nelson breaks another tackle
2004 Ben Nelson is appointed Captain and Sturt open the season in style thrashing Norwood at the Parade by 57 points in front of 6207 spectators. One victory became two at the Bay where the Blues recorded a 35 point victory. Three losses followed before the ‘winning touch’ returned and Sturt won 9 of their next 10 games. Among those brilliant victories was the thrashing of the Bulldogs by 41 points on Friday June 4, a crowd of 4229 braved the cold conditions to witness one of the club’s best victories in a Minor round match in the first decade of this century. Despite losing the next three matches, the Blues finished the Minor round by thrashing South Adelaide at Noarlunga by 70 points, but unfortunately the Eagles again ended Sturt’s season in the Preliminary Final by 55 points. At the end of the season the club says goodbye to Jack Oatey Medallist Matthew Powell and big Stephen White, while Jade Sheedy wins the first of his four P.T. Morton Medal's.
Club Champion Jade Sheedy in action against South Adelaide
2005 The Blues got off to a flying start winning 6 of their first 8 games, however serious injuries to Jade Sheedy, James Begley and Matthew Smith plus indifferent form, saw only 5 victories from the next 12 matches. Finishing a disappointing fifth, the Blues then lost the Elimination Final to North Adelaide by 7 points. Despite losing this close encounter there were numerous highlights during the winter, dual Magarey Medallist Damian Squire won his second P.T. Morton Medal, new recruits to Unley included Michael Bratton, Ben Colreavy, Evan Hurse and Luke Jarjoura, while youngsters Jace Bode and Martin Wilson make their debuts. A number of senior players achieved game milestones Tim Weatherald 200 games, Simon Feast 150 games, while Andrew Whiteman, Brant Chambers and Michael Curtis played their 100th games for the club and another to reach an important milestone was the brilliant Damian Squire who played his 250th SANFL game.
Magarey Medalllist Tim Weatherald about to kick the Blues into attack
2006 Towards the end of the season, after five years at Unley, Brenton Phillips farewelled the Blues as Coach, Phillips will always be remembered as he led the club to the 2002 premiership and in his time the Blues played in four final series. Replacing him for the last four games of the winter was former Premiership player Brodie Atkinson. Former Central District Premiership player Rick Macgowan is appointed Coach for the 2007 season and along with Macgowan come assistant coaches Luke Norman and Donald Dickie who played 4 league games for the club in 1993. The end of 2006 also saw the retirement of dual Magarey Medallist Damian Squire (145 Sturt games), Michael Curtis (129) and Andrew Beveridge (49). Seventeen players – Tom Anderson, Greg Bentley, Luke Button, Shaun Childs, Leigh Davies, Craig Evans, Ryan Herring, Tom Hurley, Joel Kay, Angus Kurtze, Sam Miles, Sean O’Keefe, Wil Paley, Tom Rischbieth, Nicholas Smith, Craig Taylor and Nicholas Wark make their debuts. Jade Sheedy wins the P.T. Morton Medal, but the club finish eighth with only 3 wins for the season. Brant Chambers, who was named in The Advertiser - SANFL Team of the Year wins the Rick Davies Medal kicking 69 goals for the season and passing the 300 goal mark for the club. Of all the functions held during the winter, the biggest was at AAMI Stadium in July when the club celebrated the Premierships of 1926, 1966 and 1976 at a special reunion dinner, many Champions of the club were on hand, autographs were collected and stories were told as the club celebrated its glorious history.
2007 Coach Rick Macgowan names Jade Sheedy and Ben Nelson as joint Captains and returns Sturt to finals action after a one year absence, the club plays Glenelg in the Elimination Final and loses by a solitary point in a nailbiter to finish the season fifth. New players to debut for the club include Luke Crane, Tristan Gum, Matthew Jaensch, George Thring, Jeremy Johncock, Patrick Fittock and Charlie Sharples. Luke Crane wins the P.T. Morton Medal after a great first year at the club, full forward Brant Chambers kicks 106 goals to become the fifth Sturt player to kick 100 goals in a season and Captain Ben Nelson at the age of 30 comes equal runner up in the 2007 Magarey Medal.
Magarey Medallist Luke Crane breaks a tackle against Norwood at Unley
2008 The club surprised the competition in 2008 being entrenched in the top three for most of the Minor round and in the last game at Elizabeth against Central District had the opportunity of finishing Minor Premiers for the first time since 1998, unfortunately this was not to be, as even though the game was up for grabs going into the last quarter, the Bulldogs proved to strong and ran out winners. After finishing the Minor round second, the club made it through to the Preliminary Final against Glenelg, but were convincingly beaten to finish the season third. Even though the league side finished third, 2008 was a very successful year for the club with all three lower grade sides making it to the Grand Final, with the Reserves and Under 17's winning the Premiership, as well as Brant Chambers once again kicking over 100 goals, finishing with 109 for the season and Luke Crane winning the Magarey Medal after a brilliant season. The club said goodbye to Simon Feast, Andrew Whiteman and Daniel Wicks who all retired at the end of the 2008 season.
2009 Rick Macgowan leaves the club to go to a coaching position at Hawthorn in the AFL and assistant coach Luke Norman is named his successor. The club continues on in the same form as in the previous year and finishes the Minor round in the top three and again make it through to the Preliminary Final to face Minor Premiers and red hot favourites Glenelg, who hold a nine game winning streak over Sturt. In one of the most exciting finals matches the club has played in recent times, Sturt moved into their first Grand Final since 2002 with a gutsy come from behind 5 point victory. Going into the Grand Final against Central District, Sturt were once again the underdogs and supporters were wondering if 2002 could be repeated again, it wasn't to be, after being competitive in the first quarter Central District took control of the match and ran out comfortable winners by 38 points. Jade Sheedy wins his fourth P.T. Morton Medal in his first season as stand alone captain and young gun Jack Trengove just misses out on being drafted number one at the AFL National Draft, being picked second by Melbourne.
2010 After reaching the Grand Final the previous season, losing few senior players and recruiting ruckman Jonathan Giles, John Hinge and Salim Hassan, supporters hopes for season 2010 were high. In what was a frustrating season for everyone concerned, the club struggled all season to find form and consistency and just scraped into the finals by winning the last Minor round game against the Eagles at Woodville. As was season 2010, the club was then comprehensively beaten in the Elimination Final to the previous weeks defeated opposition, the Eagles and finishes a disappointing fifth. Ruckman Jonathan Giles in his first season at the club wins the P.T. Morton Medal. At the end of the 2010 season, the club lose a large number of experienced senior players including former Captain, P.T. Morton Medal winner and Premiership player Ben Nelson after 208 games in the Double Blue, who along with his father Sandy are the only father/son combination to have played over 200 games each at the same SANFL club. Also hanging the boots up is Champion full forward Brant Chambers, he played 204 games and kicked 672 goals, which included two seasons of over 100 goals, his total of 672 goals is a club record and also a total that ranks him at number seven on the SANFL All Time Leading Goal Kickers.
Champion Full Forward and all time leading goal kicker for Sturt Brant Chambers in action and kicking his 600th goal
2011 Due to the loss of a number of experienced league players, season 2011 was as expected, a rebuilding year for the club, the club struggled all year and was only able to record 5 wins for the season and finished bottom for the first time since 1996, however on a bright note a number of young players made their debut for the club, including John Greenslade, Fraser Evans, Jack Stephens, Matthew Crocker, Tom Bartlett, Tom Harms, James Wundke and Ben Hansen. Luke Crane wins his second P.T. Morton Medal and new recruit Matthew Duldig kicks 52 goals.
2012 Former Captain and 2002 Premiership player Seamus Maloney was appointed Coach for the 2012 season and continued with the rebuilding program underway at Unley, he brought back to the club 2002 Premiership player,1997 Magarey Medallist and P.T. Morton Medal winner Brodie Atkinson as his Assistant Senior Coach. The club recruit Tigers Ben Kane and Luke Panozzo to bring in much needed experience to the team and the club was able to improve on 2011 by winning 6 games for the season, being competitive in most games played and being in positions to win a number more, but unfortunately the club once again finishes bottom. Young players to debut for the club in season 2012 included Christian Calabrese, Jack Kelly, Levi Krause, Harley Montgomery and Ziggy Vitkunas. Richard Tambling, while still playing for the Adelaide Crows wins the P.T.Morton Medal and Tim McIntye tops the goal scoring list with 49. Club Champion Jade Sheedy decided to retire at the end of the 2012 season, during his 13 seasons with the club he played 255 games, was Captain for six years including Co-Captain with Ben Nelson for two, won the 2002 Magarey Medal, played in the 2002 Premiership and won the club's best and fairest four times, as well as winning numerous other awards throughout his illustrious career.
2013 Gun utility Michael Coad returned to the Blues after 3 years in the AFL with the Gold Coast Suns and with the retirement of Jade Sheedy was appointed Captain for season 2013. The club continued to improve and finished the season seventh, recording 7 wins, highlights included defeating the finals hardened Eagles twice at Woodville Oval, as well as defeating Grand Finalist's North Adelaide at Unley and as in the previous season the club was competitive in most games played and also were in a position to win a number more. Players to debut for the club included Adam Hunter, Guy Page, Alex Stopp, Sam Smith and Dylan Matsen, former Tiger Ben Kane wins the P.T. Morton Medal to go along with his two best and fairests won at Glenelg, Matthew Duldig tops the goalkicking list again with 33 for the season and Sturt junior Chad Wingard who was taken at pick 6 in the AFL National Draft is named in the All Australian team. At the end of season 2013, the club said goodbye to Magarey Medallist and dual P.T. Morton Medal winner Luke Crane and Adam Thompson.
Former Captain Michael Coad about to give a handball against Glenelg
2014 Going into season 2014, the club had retained its senior coaching staff, had appointed former Eagle's Premiership Coach Ron Fuller as the club's Under 18's Coach and recruited well to help cover the loss of AFL listed players who in season 2014 would be playing for their AFL reserves teams in the SANFL, recruiting Zane Kirkwood, Kory Beard and James Watt from the Port Adelaide Magpies, as well as signing former Adelaide Crow Richard Tambling and former Melbourne Demon Rory Taggert. The Blues got off to a great start to the season winning 7 of their first 9 games, including wins over the Adelaide Crows reserves side and reigning premiers Norwood under lights at The Parade and were sitting second on the ladder at the half way point of the season. Heading into winter, the Blues struggled on the heavy grounds and suffered a mid season form slump, losing to West Adelaide and then to Central District in close games to put their chances of finishing in the top three in jeopardy, however, with wins against North Adelaide and then Adelaide at home the Blues went into the last game of the season against South Adelaide at Noarlunga knowing they would secure the double chance with a win or by losing by less than 48 points. At three quarter time South Adelaide led by 31 points and it was a nervous last quarter for all those concerned until the Blues were able to steady and reduce the final margin to 24 points. The Blues finishing third with 11 wins and 7 losses after the minor round and heading into its first finals series since 2010. Sturt played Norwood in the Qualifying Final and even though the Blues dominated the game in nearly every statistic, especially inside 50's, it was Norwood who hung on to win the game by only 9 points. The Blues then faced South Adelaide in the knockout 1st Semi Final and in a game that many thought would be close, it was the Panthers who recorded an emphatic 68 point win, an unfortunate way for the league team to end the season, but overall season 2014 was a fairly successful one with all grades playing finals and the Reserves and Under 16's reaching the Grand Final. Zane Kirkwood capped off a sensational debut year for the Double Blues winning the Magarey Medal, Fos Williams Medal and the P.T. Morton Medal, while skipper Michael Coad won the Rick Davies Medal after booting 52 goals for the season. The club said goodbye to veteran defender James Mcleay, P.T. Morton Medal winner Ben Kane, former Tigers Luke Panozzo and John Hinge plus Tom Hurley who all decided to retire at the end of the season and also to Richard Tambling who decided to move back to the Northern Territory, as well as Assistant Coach Paul Jarvis and Reserves Coach Adam Silvy.
Magarey, dual Fos Williams and dual P.T. Morton Medallist Captain Zane Kirkwood
2015 Unley Oval is renamed Peter Motley Oval thanks to oval sponsors Australian Gas Networks and the long talked about picket fence is finally a reality after being erected during the summer. Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood is appointed joint Captain with Michael Coad and new faces to the club include former Magpie Angus Bruggemann, former Redleg Mark Evans and former Eagle Lee Staple, the club also welcomed back James Battersby after a year with the Adelaide Crows. Pre-season injuries to James Watt, Matthew Crocker and others meant that the club struggled to field its best side at the start of the season, but was still able to be at 4 wins and 3 losses at the end of Round 7, but unfortunately due to further injuries and bad form the club lost its next 6 games before bouncing back against Port Adelaide at Peter Motley Oval in Round 15 with a 27 point victory. Supporters hopes of a late season comeback were unfortunately dashed as the side then lost the next 3 games, but the team did give the fans something to cheer about in the last game of the season against North Adelaide with a comprehensive 46 point win over the hapless Roosters who only won 1 game for the season. The faithful were able to give co-skipper Michael Coad and Matthew Duldig who both had announced that this was to be their last game a rousing send off and after the game coach Seamus Maloney announced he was stepping down after 4 years in charge. A disappointing season that promised so much after an excellent 2014 with the Blues finishing in eighth place with 6 wins and 12 losses for the season, however the Under 16 team go through the season undefeated to claim the Premiership after being runners up in 2014. Players to make their debut include Sam Jonas, Jarrod Lienert, Rune Gilfoy and Jordan Dawson who is subsequently drafted to the Sydney Swans at pick 56 at the AFL National Draft. Co-Captain Zane Kirkwood wins his second P.T. Morton Medal in only his second season at the club and Ben Hansen wins the Rick Davies Medal with 23 goals, while former Sturt junior Chad Wingard is named in the All Australian team for the second time. The club for the first time in its history seeks a full time coach and appoints former Premiership player Martin Mattner, Marty played 222 AFL games firstly for Adelaide and then Sydney and also played in the Swans 2012 Premiership. The club says goodbye to Angus Kurtze and Tom Bartlett who both decide to hang the boots up along with assistant coach Brodie Atkinson.