Dandaragan, Western Australia
Words & photos by Derek Mott
The Dandaragan Football Club joined the Central Midlands Football League in 1968, fielding only a reserves team in its first two seasons and playing against Bindi-Piawaning, Burakin-Kalannie, Miling, Rovers, Warriors, Watheroo and Wubin-Dalwallinu (at that time only New Norcia did not field a reserves side). Dandaragan made the grand final in 1968, losing to Warriors, 4.3 to 1.5, before taking out the 1969 flag with a 52-point win over Miling.
Buoyed by their successful beginning, Dandaragan fielded a league team from 1970 and won three grand finals from nine appearances in the Central Midlands League. Unfortunately, three of these defeats were against Watheroo during their golden era in the 1970s. At the fifth attempt, the Saints won their first league title after comfortably defeating Dalwallinu by 64 points, before going back-to-back in 1984 and 1985 against Bindi-Miling and Moora Warriors respectively. The Saints have the distinction of playing in the final CMFL match – a 20-point loss to Moora Rovers in the 1991 grand final.
A founding member of the CMCFL, Dandaragan won the 1994 grand final against Bindi-Miling, but the Saints (as well as Jurien Bay and Leeman) were forced to sit out the 2002 season when they could only field one senior side. The club returned in 2003 and won their most recent premiership in 2007 after a 10-point win over Jurien Bay. The Saints’ grand final nemesis of recent times is Cervantes, they’ve lost to the Tiger Sharks on the big day on six occasions in the last 12 seasons (2004-2006, 2009-2010 and 2015).
Matthew Helms won three consecutive JJ Lussick Medals between 2008 and 2010 – the most won by any CMCFL player. Other medalists from Dandaragan have been Robert Dreghorn in 2000 and Wayne Otway in 2006.
Former Dandaragan player Brad Ryan is currently on West Perth’s senior list.