By far and away the most famous sporting team in the Geelong area is the Geelong Football Club. I Australia “football” refers to Australian rules football which is played professionally exclusively in Australia. Although the organization has tried to grow the code internationally, there are only pockets of Australian expats and friends who play together in other countries.
The Geelong Football Club, nicknamed the Cats, is a professional team playing in the Australian Football League (AFL). The Cats have been the VFL/AFL premiers nine times, with three since the national level AFL competition was created (since 1990).
The club was formed in 1859, making it the second oldest club in the AFL after Melbourne and one of the oldest football clubs in the world. The club’s sponsorship by Ford Motor Company (who’s first manufacturing site in Australia was in Geelong) is believed to be the long continuous sponsorship of a professional team. Geelong participated in the first football competition in Australia, the Victorian Football Association (VFA), in 1877 and the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1897.
The club’s home ground is Kardinia Park in Geelong. However, the club also hosts home matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Docklands Stadium in central Melbourne. Thanks to a commuter train line from Geelong to the Melbourne CBD, hosting games outside of Geelong does not deter the strong fan base from supporting the team at these grounds.
Geelong’s traditional team colours are navy blue and white hoops, said to represent the white seas gulls and blue waters of Corio bay around which Geelong was formed. The club’s nickname, “The Cats”, was first used in 1923 after a string of losses prompted a local cartoonist to suggest that the club needed a black cat to bring it good luck. The club’s official team song and anthem is “We Are Geelong”.