history

The club started out as the Melville Warriors and was established in 1987, being one of the four clubs that started the West Australian Women’s Football League. The club affiliated themselves with the men’s amateur club in the area, the Melville Rams. The home ground for both was Melville Reserve which is situated at the corner of Stock Road & Canning Highway Melville.

As Melville Warriors, the girls wore the men’s old green and gold jumpers, an expected “hand-me-down” process which unfortunately left the women wearing jumpers that were stretched and usually too big. One day the girls had to wear the men’s jumpers that they had worn the day before, that had not yet been washed, as the women’s jumper washing person (aka Smitty), turned up late that day. The women got to wear their washed, clean jumpers for the second half at least!

Due to the low numbers in the beginning and inexperience in playing skills, the Masters invited the Warriors to train with them on Wednesday nights, which helped immensely. Training numbers were still low in to the late 1990’s; the sport was still trying to find some traction in Perth. Sometimes the Warriors would struggle to get 10 on the track at training which made it difficult to run many drills, however Smitty used to include her retriever as a defender and he would chase the ball, which pushed players harder to get their first.

Game days threw challenges at the Warriors in terms of resources for the first few years as they had to find volunteers for every job, including boundary umpires, goal and central umpires too. There were also struggles in getting game day uniforms and sponsors.

Mt Lawley won their first Premiership in 1989, but unfortunately for them, they folded the following year. Melville Warriors became the new home for some of the Mt Lawley players, those being Bridgette Narrier (Budgie), Shelley Michelle, Sharon Kersting and Jenny Bempasciuto. It was a positive move for these four players as Melville Warriors won their first premiership in 1990 against Carlisle. The game was played at South Fremantle Football ground. John Olczyk had coached the Warriors in 1990 but he was away for the grand final, so Colin Gray stepped in as coach and took the Warriors to victory. After winning another premiership in 1991, the team struggled in 1992, and to get a game all you had to do was turn up! In 1993, the Warriors’ relationship with the Melville Football Club came to an end, so Cath Boyce started up at Murdoch. The team trained at Murdoch oval and with a change of home came a change of jumpers to maroon with a gold sash. The coach was Bevan Gamble and players included Cath Boyce, Jen Boyce, Jess Boyce, Silvana Gaudieri, Naomi Wellings (Stix), and Sherry McElroy. Murdoch made it to the finals despite being a little light on with three pregnancies and Silvana and Stix carrying injuries. Unfortunately Murdoch didn’t progress after the semi-final, losing to Koonga Valley.

In 1994, Murdoch were not able to field a full side and pulled out of the competition at the first game. Cath and her sister Jen Boyce, found a new team in the new Joondalup side, who were short for their first game so signed the Boyce’s up. Early in the season John Olczyk (Ollie) returned to the coaching position and that brought back half a dozen of the Melville Warriors premiership side, such as Lynette Smith, Natalie Verbickis, Larissa Ukich, Liane and Renay Joyner; Melville was back on the scene and they did themselves proud, making the finals. More of the original girls from Melville returned in 1995 and with a few new girls joining the side, the team came close to another premiership, losing the preliminary final by just 1 point. A new coach took the helm in 1996 and the team finished ___ on the ladder.

In 1997, the committee gained support from the Fremantle Dockers Football Club who supplied the team with the playing jumpers, thus becoming Melville Dockers Women’s Football Club. A new logo and song were formed.

In 2000, player numbers dropped and so the Melville Dockers merged with the UWA team and were known as the UWA Unicorns. The team wore the standard UWA uniform of green jumpers with a blue slash and yellow number, blue shorts, and green and yellow socks. The following season however, the team reviewed its options and a decision was made to break ties with UWA and re-form the Melville Dockers team as they were given a financial with the Fremantle Dockers. The club also returned to its name, Melville Dockers, and so had a steady influx of new recruits and had a solid player base. After an 11 year drought, the Melville Dockers won their 3rd premiership in 2002 with Matthew Clarke as coach.

2006 saw the club begin negotiations with the East Fremantle Football Club where the Melville Dockers stayed with the purple colour but adopted the shark logo and became the Melville Sharks. The Melville Women’s team was incorporated in 2006 and negotiations started on the merger between Melville Dockers and East Fremantle Football Club (the first WAWFL/WAFL affiliation in WA). In 2009, further meetings and discussions were had at ‘Shark Park’ between the two organisations, which resulted in the name and colours that the East Fremantle Women’s Football Club (EFWFC) have today.

The league went through a growth spurt when those playing footy at school during the early 2000’s filtered through to the WAWFL. The league was faced with a good problem of too many players and not enough teams in 2006, and so the Reserves competition began in 2007. The club has fielded both a League and Reserves team since. A third competition for young players under the age of 18 started in 2015, which saw the first EFWFC Youth Girls team. The premiership cup has been back at the club 3 more times with the League team winning in 2007, 2009 and 2011. The Reserves team had their first Grand Final appearance in 2017 but did not manage to get the win.

The club has gone from strength to strength, alongside the sport’s growth, since 2000 especially, fielding WA state representatives, All Australians, representatives in the first AFL draft between St Kilda and Melbourne and most recently, 12 players in the AFLW, (Alex Williams, Belinda Smith, Evi Gooch, Cassie Davidson, Jade de Melo, Melissa Caulfield, Gabby O’Sullivan, Caitlyn Edwards, Ashley Atkins, Ruby Schleicher, Emma Swanson and Jessica Wuetschner) plus Nikki Harwood as Collingwood’s assistant coach.

Club legends, life members,
hall of fame

2011 pREMIERS

MELVILLE PREMIERS 1990