About the Club

The Central Blues were founded in late 2005 by Bruce Parker and Rob Chapman who saw the need for an Australian Rules Football team based in the heart of downtown Toronto. In its short 8 year history the club has rapidly developed a reputation of being one of the best social and welcoming clubs in the league, while at the same time being an extremely competitive side in the AFL Ontario. The Blues have been an integral part of AFL Ontario, fielding three teams and producing numerous national team players. The club won its first ever AFL Ontario Division 1 Premiership in 2010, while the Division 2 side lost in the Div 2 Grand Final. It was the first time in league history that a single club featured in both Div 1 and Div 2 Grand Finals in the same season.

The Blues were a men’s team until 2009 when they started the first women’s team in Ontario. In their first year, the women traveled to Ottawa for their debut match against Montreal – a pioneering event for women’s footy in Ontario. The Blues women also attended US Nationals in Ohio which resulted in three players being nominated to the Canadian women’s national team, the Northern Lights, and rounding out a very exciting first season.

The club is proud of its reputation as being the most welcoming and social football club in the AFL Ontario. Its members work tirelessly in maintaining a club culture based on respect and acceptance of people from all walks of life – regardless of their football abilities. First and foremost it is a club that acts as a family away from home for Canadians and Australians alike. Conversely, in the last couple of years – as their base of Canadian players increase their playing experience and further develop their skills (thanks to the continuing efforts of the Australian contingent), the club’s on-field results have reflected their off field achievements.

So whether you’re new to the sport or someone who’s loved this sport before – we are always welcoming new members into the Blues family! Please contact the club to find out when the club will next be socializing and/or training. You won’t regret it!

Commitee & Coaches

President Dariusz Grabka
Vice President, Men’s Richard Taylor
Vice President, Women’s Michelle Powley
Vice President, Finance Bruce Parker
Finance Manager Arlen Panchoo
Vice President, Social Tristan Thormann
Vice President, Partners & Sponsors Blessing Gana
Vice President, Recruiting Katrina Kerr
Exec in Residence Ewan Williams
Game Day Managers Riley Armstrong
Vera Santillana
Director, Communications Natalie Dowhayko
Head Coach Chopper McCullough
Coach, Women’s Ben Rossington

History

2006

Officially entering the Ontario Australian Football League (OAFL) in 2006, the Blues made steady improvements throughout the season with a rookie squad but were unable to notch up their first win, finishing the season in bottom place with a 0-12 record.

However, the season was not without reward with two players winning the OAFL Rookie of the Year award and one player selected into OAFL All-star team.

2007

With a season under their belt, the Blues continued to improve in the 2007 season, managing their first win in club history in a nail biter against the Guelph Gargoyles by one point. The Blues would then go on to score one more victory for the year, again finishing in bottom place but with a 2-12 record and some very promising signs for the future.

Again the Blues received recognition with two players selected into the OAFL All-star team as well the Assistant Coaching position.

2008

After a strong preseason training and a successful recruitment campaign, the Blues got off to a slow start to the 2008 season, losing the first three games. However, the Blues then won eight of the next ten games to finish the regular season in fifth place earning a finals/postseason berth for the first time in their short history. The Blues then went on to defeat the Guelph Gargoyles in their first finals match before losing in the semi-finals to the Broadview Hawks, finishing the year in fourth place overall with a 9-6 record.

Among the highlights for the season was the establishment of a ‘reserves’ team which competed against the Hawks ‘reserves’ team on a regular basis, a 77 point win against the High Park Demons in which the Blues scored more than 100 points for the first time, and the first finals appearance and finals win.

The Blues were again represented in the OAFL All-star team by earning two playing and the Assistant Coach position. Furthermore, five Blues players (the most from any one club in Canada) were selected for the Northwind team that represented Canada in the International Cup in Melbourne, Australia. Canada went on to finish sixth overall in the 16 team competition. Following the footy season, the Blues celebrated their most successful season in history with their annual Presentation Night, AFL Grand Final Party and Footy Trip which saw 25 players attend a long weekend of celebrations in sunny Las Vegas.

2009

The Blues continued climb their steep learning curve as one of the OAFL’s youngest clubs. The 2009 Campaign saw the Blues struggle to maintain consistency. However with a new coach (Jaye Macumber) at the helm and new game-plan there would always be some teething issues. Despite the inconsistent season the club managed to string enough games together to finish with a record of 6-8 to finish sixth on the ladder at the end of the regular season.

This saw the club scheduled to face a resurgent third placed Toronto Dingos – who had easily defeated the Blues in their Round Nine clash (74-28). Despite being long shots to win this game, the Blues surprised all once again knocking out a much favoured opponent in the first round of finals football. The Blues defeated the Dingos 61-31 to book a spot into the club’s first ever Preliminary Final. Standing in the way was the undefeated first placed 2008 Premiers Etobicoke Kangaroos. To play the Roos anywhere was a tough ask – let alone playing the Roos on their home turf. The Blues were always in over their heads in this match – with the well-rested Roos (who had a bye during the first round of finals) over-running the Blues after a tight first quarter. For the second year in a row, the Blues finished fourth placed overall.

The Blues Division 2 side playing in the first OAFL sanctioned season surprised all to finish 1st on the ladder (on superior percentage over the Quebec Saints). The club’s first Division 2 final would turn out to be one to forget as the Saints showed their pedigree with a resounding 103 point victory to end the Blues Division 2 campaign. The Saints would go on to easily win the first ever Division 2 Premiership and take home the Mike Pyke Cup to Quebec.

Following the end of season, the club held their annual Presentation Night which saw Daniel Andersen and Chris Vella win the Club’s Division 1 and 2 Best & Fairest Awards respectively. The club’s 2009 End of Season trip destination was Austin (Texas) which saw the players compete against the University of Texas girls’ volleyball team, as well as receiving a tour of the campus.

2010

The 2010 season will go down as being the year of the Blues, as both the club’s Division 1 and 2 teams made it into their first ever OAFL Grand Finals.

The Blues Division 1 side enjoyed its best ever regular season by finishing second on the ladder at the end of the regular season with a remarkable 12-2 record, both losses were inflicted by an undefeated Toronto Eagles side who finished top of the ladder – before bowing out of the finals in straight sets losing to the Blues and Dingos in consecutive finals weeks. The Blues capitalized on the top two ranking in defeating the Eagles before enjoying a week off, while the remaining finals contestants battled it out for the remaining preliminary finals. The Blues would have to defeat a spirited Etobicoke Kangaroos outfit who was third overall at the end of the regular season before earning their spot in its first ever OAFL Grand Final berth. In front of a big OAFL crowd and in wet and cold conditions the Blues had to withstand a relentless Dingos attack who controlled much of the play in the first three quarters before the Blues were able to run away in the fourth quarter to win its first ever Lionel Conacher Cup.

The Blues Division 2 side in only its second season since start-up was a tremendous success. An already deep Blues playing list, supplemented by some serious talent from the Blues Women’s Team Program meant that the club’s Division 2 was one of the most consistent sides in the competition as the Blues 2s finished third overall at the end of the regular season. After losing its first finals game in 2009, and again in 2010 the Blues 2s were desperate to improve on their finals record. With a big win over the Rebeldogs (Dingos & Rebels composite Division 2 side) the Blues were able to earn its first ever Division 2 Grand Final berth. Unfortunately they were up against the strongest Division 2 side in the competition, the Quebec Saints. Despite the valiant efforts of the Blues 2s, the Saints were too good on the day as they went on to win back to back Mike Pyke Cups.

The club used the successful premiership win and appearance as an excuse to celebrate on the annual, and much anticipated, footy trip in New Orleans.

2011

The Blues dropped after the highs of 2010, with both men’s teams missing the finals after both making the Grand Final the previous year. Division 1 finished in eighth place with a 3-11 record, while Division 2 placed last with a solitary win.

The women had more luck, finishing the regular season on top of the table with a 5-1 record, but were unable to capitalize in the finals.

While the Blues men did not have a successful season, the depth of the squad showed that they were not relying on Australians for wins, having seven men chosen for the national squad to attend the International Cup in Australia, the most of any club in Canada. The women’s team also showed incredible depth, with five Blues chosen for the women’s national squad, more than any other team in Ontario.

The club then terrorized Halifax for the end of season footy trip.

2012

2012 was a tough year for the Blues, with no side reaching a final series. The Division 1 finished eighth again, with a slightly improved 4-9 record, while the Division 2 side finished last without a win.

The women also finished winless in an expanded women’s Division. The team then headed down to Boston to show Americans how to drink.

2013

The Blues had a great season of growth, although the results were still yet to translate on the field. Taking the reins of the coaching team was Simon Harwood (Woodsy), and while the Division 1 team finished eighth once again, the much improved 5-7 record meant that they were only one heartbreaking win away from another finals series. The Division 2 boys also had a much improved season, with a 3-5 record enough to slip into the finals before losing to the Dingos in the semi-final.

The women were not so successful, placing last on the table without a win, although the team managed to field the largest numbers week after week, showing a promising future of the women’s team. 21 women were on the roster for the regular season away game against the Ottawa Swans.

The women travelled to Ottawa once again in October where they competed against teams from across the country. After a slow start to the tournament, the Blues finished with a strong win over the reigning premiers of the women’s Division, the High Park Demons.

Showing the depth of Canadian stock, the Blues were represented by three Canadians in the women’s all Ontario team and two Canadians on the men’s representative side.

By the end of the season 24 women had proudly represented the Blues, while more than 40 men had donned the Blues guernsey for the 2013 season.

2014

After a strong training season, all three Blues teams (Div 1, Div 2, and Women’s) saw Finals action for the first time in Blues history.

The Blues men appeared in the Grand Final, Narrowly losing to Broadview by a goal and a bit.
This capped off an up-and-down season that saw the group go 7-5, win impressively in the Finals, only to lose a heartbreaker on Rogers TV.

2014 will be remembered as a year for women’s team growth, unfortunate injuries, and retirements that prompted calls for Blues Hall of Fame inductions.

Jacob Sone and Bruce Parker played in their 100th matches. Internationally, three Blues men (S. Rutledge, E. Williams and R. Armstrong) and four Blues women (K. Bodashefsky, R. Tong, J. Nicholls, A. Grant) represented Canada at the International Cup.

Club Song

We are the Navy Blues,
We are the old dark Navy Blues,
We’re the team that never lets you down,
We’re the only team old Toronto knows,
With all the champions they like to send us,
We’ll keep our end up.
And they will know that they’ve been playing,
Against the famous old dark Blues!