ONE of the oldest football clubs in Sunraysia will celebrate a significant milestone tomorrow, with Meringur commemorating 90 years in the Millewa Football League.
Formed in 1926, Meringur is a foundation club of the Millewa league, and although premiership success has eluded them for decades, the ‘Roos still boast a rich and proud history.
Fielding one Senior football side, Meringur have secured nine premierships, with their most successful period coming in the 1950s when they achieved a four-peat!
Although traditionally based at Lake Cullulleraine – where they still play their home games – the ‘Roos are settled at Merbein P10 College, having hopped all over Sunraysia in search of a permanent home.
Amalgamating with the Merbein South Football Club in 1988, Meringur spent seven seasons as the Bulldogs, before breaking back out on their own in 1996.
Names like Rankin, Harmer, Mangan and Hards have been synonymous with the club since it was formed, with some of those surnames still on Meringur’s team sheet.
Since coming out of recess in 2013, Meringur have worked hard to achieve sustained success, and along with being debt free, are in the position to mount a finals assault for the first time in a decade.
One former player who has been with the ‘Roos through thick and thin is club champion Pip Harmer, 51.
Debuting with Meringur as a 17-year-old, Pip went on to play 330 games for his beloved ‘Roos, while also claiming five best and fairest awards.
A former club captain and president, Pip – whose grandfather and great-uncle are founding members of the club – said chalking up 90 years was a fantastic achievement.
“It’s a great effort considering the club went into recess, and getting back out of it is something that doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “It’s good to see the club having a few wins after struggling for so many years, and it’s good watching my kids play.
“I was also lucky enough to play with my two brothers and all my cousins.”
Despite never winning a flag at Meringur, Pip recalls many fond memories that happened on and off the field, including watching the 1971 grand final as a six-year-old.
“I remember watching my uncle (Bill Harmer) play for Meringur in the 1971 grand final,” he said. “They lost by seven points I think, and one bloke kicked two goals and seven points for the day!”
Having also played Senior football for Merbein, Pip said the Millewa has its own unique brand of footy.
“It’s probably a bit harder compared to Sunraysia footy where the ball is delivered to you all the time,” he said. “You have to go in and get it yourself, it’s good fun, and it’s a much better social life than Sunraysia footy.”
Meringur player-coach Toby Quirk-Meeks said there would be no better way to celebrate the monumental milestone than by beating cellar-dwellers Cardross tomorrow.
“It’s major for the club to win this weekend, so we can play finals for the first time in a decade,” he said. “This doesn’t guarantee anything, but it does make it a lot easier for the run home.
“It’s like the footy gods have been against us recently with blokes out with big injuries, but that’s the type of football that comes in June, July and August.
“The whole mood around the football club – starting from the pre-season training camps – really rolls into a game like this weekend.”
Along with tomorrow’s women’s and men’s game, Meringur will be holding a ball at The Setts to celebrate its 90th anniversary.
“We have lots of people coming, including the older people who don’t come out to the Saturdays anymore,” Meringur president, Marcus Parker, said. “We have guys coming who played in the last premiership, and although it was more than 50 years ago, it’s a great effort.”