Sunday, 8 August 2010

Brunswick Zebras (Australia)

Another of Australia's abundant Zebras, the history of the Brunswick variety runs parallel to that of another club on this list, Whittlesea Zebras. But despite the latter club being born from the former, they are now both distinct and different clubs. Formed in 1948 as Juventus, they were one of many clubs to be made up of Italian migrants to Australia who wanted to keep a bit of the old country alive in their distant new home.

Theres is a pretty dense and winding history, so sit down and start taking notes, as it may be tricky to keep up. Hailing from the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, they were themselves the product of the merger of a number of smaller clubs, and by the 1950s had become the powerhouse of football in Victoria, winning six state titles in that decade - five of them consecutively. In total they won that title eight times in their history, bagging five Dockerty Cups along the way. In 1980 they amended their name to Brunswick Juventus, and pretty soon joined the ranks of the National Soccer League in 1984. Here they reached play-off finals in their debut season, before winning the whole caboodle in 1985, beating Sidney City over two legs in the Grand Final to become national champions.

Sadly this was the peak of their career, and they began a decline that would see them return to the Victoria League by the end of the decade. In 1993 they briefly returned to the NSL as the Brunswick Pumas - a name change soon followed by another to Melbourne Zebras, before ill-health finally led them to merge with two other clubs to become Bulleen Zerbras in 1996. But when the club merged with Whittlesea Stallions to become the Whittlesea Zebras in 2007, an offshoot group kept the old club going, and in 2008 changed their name one last time to Brunswick Zebras.

They now play in the Victoria Provisional League Three North-West League, and play their home games at the charming Sumner Park. There's is a convoluted and complex history that has seen great highs and sad lows. But that they are still playing and keeping the time line alive is of great credit to everyone involved in the club.

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  1. The real Zebras are coming back...... Since 2010, we have been promoted twice, and sit second in State League 4, 3 leagues difference from the now Moreland Zebras. History is ours, and soon enough, the real Zebras will take their place atop the Victorian standings and oust the money-suckign frauds that call themselves the Moreland Zebras. Get pumped.