Having already been in existence for at least two decades, the Hastings Football Club was a founder member in 1908 of the Peninsula Football Association. In the years before the competition went into recess because of world war one the club won six out of a possible eight premierships. Its grand final victims were Frankston in 1908, Balnarring in 1909, Frankston again in both 1910 and 1912, Somerville in 1913, and Mornington in 1914. Hastings also reached the grand final in 1911, losing by just 4 points to Frankston. By contrast, the 1920s proved to be a disappointing decade, with losing grand finals in 1921 against Carrum and 1928 against Somerville the closest the club came to procuring another flag.
In 1934 the PFA merged with the Peninsula District Football Association to form the Mornington Peninsula Football League, which was the competition in which Hastings would participate until 1987. During that time the club would claim a league record eight senior grade premierships, beginning in the competition’s inaugural year with a 13.11 (89) to 11.11 (77) grand final defeat of Sorrento. The side also made the 1935 grand final, but went down by 3 points to their previous year’s victims.
The immediate post-war years saw Hastings making an emphatic mark on the competition by winning three straight grand finals between 1946 and 1948. After that, however, the Blues did not again play off for the premiership for more than a decade, and when they did, in 1959, they lost to Carrum by the most heart-breaking of margins, a solitary point. Three years later they went down to Chelsea in the grand final by a somewhat more emphatic 47 point margin.
The Blues re-emerged as a force during the 1970s, a decade which yielded a haul of four senior grade premierships from half a dozen grand final appearances. For the fourth time in the club’s history three of those premierships were won in succession with Hastings accounting for Carrum by 46 points in 1975, Mount Eliza by 24 points in 1976, and Mornington in 1977 by 60 points. The club’s other grand final victory of the decade came in 1972 against Carrum by a margin of 38 points. The grand final losses were at the hands of Carrum in 1973 and Sorrento in 1979.
Since 1987 Hastings has competed in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League, which was created that year by the amalgamation of the Mornington Peninsula and Nepean Football Leagues. The MPNFL consisted initially of two divisions, with a third being added in 1995. The Blues have always competed in the league’s top division, which has been known at various times as Division One (1987 to 1994), the Premier League (1995 to 2004), and the Peninsula League (from 2005). They qualified for their first grand final in the new competition in 1995, when they overcame Pines by 27 points, 17.13 (115) to 13.10 (88). A second grand final appearance followed in 2001 when the Blues lost to Mornington by the acutely embarrassing margin of 129 points.
The early years of the twenty-first century were somewhat dismal for Hastings with all three of the club’s grades consistently struggling. However, the Blues had experienced troughs in fortune before, and invariably recovered, and such proved to be the case again with a losing grand final appearance against Sorrento in 2011 being followed six years later by a long overdue premiership. Opposed in the grand final by Franklin Bombers the Blues won with something to spare, 11.15 (81) to 6.18 (54). The triumph was all the more meritorious in that Hastings had begun their finals campaign at the elimination final stage and therefore had to win four matches over successive weekends to claim their prize. The 2017 season brought a slight decline in fortunes as the Blues ran fourth, following which they tumbled further down the list to sixth place in 2018.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications