After 12 years of competition, founding member school Eltham College left the ACS to re-join the Eastern Independent Schools Melbourne (EISM) sporting association due to changing circumstances at the school. ACS highlights for Eltham included winning the aggregate boys athletics and cross country trophies three times, as well as the aggregate cross country trophy in 2002. Notably, one Eltham football team was undefeated in ACS competition from years 7 to 12. The departure of Eltham was disappointing for the ACS and presented challenges in managing a six-team draw. Nevertheless, this was overcome with some creative fixturing.

In a first for the ACS, senior teams combined with Year 10 teams, providing schools with more scope to manage their squads effectively and enabling Year 10 students to compete at the highest levels. Westbourne set the benchmark for team development, dominating the field with 17 premiership wins in the summer season and 19 in the winter season. As a further improvement, neutral umpires were appointed for all grand finals.

Simon Gipson, Principal St Michael’s 2000–17, interview, 2022

Matthew Healy, Director of Sport at Westbourne 2004–present, interview, 2022

Rob Huntington, Deputy Principal St Michael’s, Deputy Principal Overnewton, interview, 2022

Bruce Runnalls congratulates Aleks Rayward from Westbourne, swimmer of the meet for the third time in a row in 2009

An Eltham v. Loyola girls basketball match

Eltham students at the swimming carnival

  • Mate Dugandzic

    – soccer

2009 Champion Schools


A new level of competition was introduced with the commencement of ACS representative matches with Ballarat Associated Schools (BAS). ACS All Stars teams hosted cricket, girls volleyball, girls softball, and boys and girls tennis early in term two. At the end of term three BAS hosted ACS in netball, football, girls and boys soccer, boys volleyball, girls and boys basketball, and girls and boys hockey. Students were thrilled to be part of this initiative.

Westbourne and St Michael’s displayed a fine and friendly rivalry throughout the year. Westbourne won the aggregate athletics trophy for the first time, ending a seven-year winning streak by St Michael’s, but just missed out to St Michael’s in the cross country by one point. St Michael’s dominated the swimming, taking out all three trophies, with Westbourne finishing second in all categories. The two schools also tied in the summer season competitions, with 16 premierships each.

The chess competition was held following the Swiss format, which ranked players based on their previous round. Although it was decided the format did not suit ACS competition compared to the round robin format, it provided some exciting matches.

The most successful ACS representative team was the Loyola Junior Girls Soccer team, which reached the final of FFV’s All Schools championships, finishing as runners-up to St Monica’s College.

Pat Tyrrell, Executive Officer ACS 1997–2000, interview, 2022

Rob Huntington, Deputy Principal St Michael’s, Deputy Principal Overnewton, interview, 2022

The ACS All Stars representative girls hockey team

The ACS All Stars representative team playing a cricket match against BAS

2010 Champion Schools


St Michael’s again dominated the swimming, taking out all three trophies, and six new records were set including two new relay records by the St Michael’s girls team. St Michael’s girls also dominated the swimming, ensuring that their school won the overall trophy for the fifth year running. In athletics, Westbourne retained the aggregate trophy after a battle with St Michael’s, while Overnewton achieved its goal to finish third for the first time in all three sections.

Rob Huntington, Deputy Principal St Michael’s, Deputy Principal Overnewton, interview, 2022

Nikki Little, Head of Sport 2008–19 & Head of Cocurriculum 2019–present Overnewton, interview, 2022

Greg Roberts, head of sport at Loyola, was farewelled after four years of service to the ACS, notably as MC for all events.

2011 Champion Schools

A Westbourne v. St Leonard's  soccer match

St Michael's students preparing to run their race at the cross country carnival

The ACS All Stars representative team playing a soccer match against BAS

An Overnewton v. Loyola netball match


The athletics championships, held for the first time at the new Lakeside Stadium, were abandoned due to extremely wet and cold weather with only 64 events completed. Trophies were not awarded. An ominous weather forecast also threatened the cross country carnival but, in the event, the competition proceeded with St Michael’s winning the aggregate trophy for the sixth consecutive year. Overnewton broke the dominance of the top three teams, St Michael’s, St Leonard’s and Westbourne, by securing the Year 9 boys pennant.

In weekly sports competitions, Loyola was the big improver, finishing third in the summer season and joint first in the winter season. Overnewton also moved up the ladder finishing second in the summer season.

In the annual round robin girls football competition, Thomas Carr defeated four-time champions Loyola by one point. Loyola, as 2011 winners, represented the ACS at the AFL Victoria Herald Sun Senior Girls Shield, and were winners of the consolation final.

Matthew Healy, Director of Sport at Westbourne 2004–present,
interview, 2022

Simon Gipson, Principal St Michael’s 2000–17, interview, 2022

Conditions at the cross country championship were wet and muddy

A student from Thomas Carr leading a race at the ACS athletics

Wet and cold conditions at the athletics championships

2012 Champion Schools


In a new direction for the ACS, Beaconhills College was accepted as an associate member, competing in the three carnivals only. In cross country, five of the seven competing schools won a year-level pennant, indicating greater development in the teams across the competition and challenging the dominance of St Michael’s, which nevertheless continued to be undefeated. Nineteen new records were set at the athletics carnival, with newcomer Beaconhills winning several events.

In weekly sport, futsal was introduced as a senior girls sport and enjoyed great success in its first year. Overnewton continued to make great strides, placing second overall in the summer season and joint second overall in the winter season.

St Leonard’s entered the girls football competition for the first time, starting out well until a freak storm caused the competition to be cancelled mid-afternoon.

A football umpires coordinator, former VFL/AFL umpire John Harvey, was appointed to improve communications between umpires, coaches, students and schools, and to oversee the rotation of umpires. In particular, a zero tolerance approach towards the disputing of umpires’ decisions by coaches and students was enforced.

Meg Hansen, Principal Westbourne 2010–2021, interview, 2022

Rob Huntington, Deputy Principal St Michael’s, Deputy Principal Overnewton, interview, 2022

A St Leonard's v. Loyola mixed touch football match

A Beaconhills competitor at the athletics carnival

Beaconhills College opened in Pakenham in 1982 with just 34 students. A second campus was opened in Berwick in 2003, by which time the student enrolment was over 1600. In 2019, a boarding facility was opened at the Pakenham campus and by 2022 the enrolment was 3000. Motto: Lux luceat – Let your light so shine

  • Tylar Vujanic

    – AFL

2013 Champion Schools


A second associate member, Marymede Catholic College, joined the ACS to compete in carnivals but withdrew at the end of the year due to the difficulties of competing in two different associations. Regrettably, after five years of successful representative sport, BAS also withdrew from further competition with ACS due to conflicting sporting demands. In the final year of ACS versus BAS events, the ACS won all summer matches with notable wins in girls volleyball (3–0), boys cricket (by 4 runs) and girls softball (17–3). The cessation of competition with BAS left the All Stars without a representative sport program, which was a disappointment for these athletes.

In carnival competition, it was St Leonard’s year. In swimming, the school won the boys trophy for the first time since 2006. In athletics, St Leonard’s won all three trophies for the first time since 1998. It also dominated the cross country with some of the largest winning margins in ACS history, taking out the aggregate trophy by 15 points and winning 16 of 21 year-level pennants. Twenty new records were set at the athletics carnival, including Matthew DeBruin from Beaconhills who set three new records in the 110m hurdles, 100m and 200m sprints.

In representative sport, the Overnewton senior boys soccer team shone, winning the inaugural Melbourne City FC Premier Schools Tournament.

Nikki Little, Head of Sport 2008–19 & Head of Cocurriculum 2019–present Overnewton, interview, 2022

Nikki Little, Head of Sport 2008–19 & Head of Cocurriculum 2019–present Overnewton, interview, 2022

Rob Huntington, Deputy Principal St Michael’s, Deputy Principal Overnewton, interview, 2022

A competitor from Marymede Catholic College at the athletics carnival

Meg Hansen, principal of Westbourne, presents the athletics trophy to the St Leonard's captains

The championship winning St Leonard's cross country team

The St Leonard's cross country captains

  • Dante Exum

    Thomas Carr – basketball

  • Jack Grimes

    Loyola – AFL

  • Stephanie Hickey

    St Leonard's – snowboarding

  • Joanna Shaw (Lyall)

    St Leonard's – snowboarding

  • Matthew Kreuzer

    Loyola – AFL

  • Rebecca Privitelli

    Loyola – AFL

  • Heath Shaw

    Loyola – AFL

  • Izzy Huntington

    St Michael's – AFL

  • Rhyce Shaw

    Loyola – AFL

  • Brodie Summers

    St Michael's – skiing

  • Mark Turnbull OAM

    St Leonard's – sailing

2014 Champion Schools


A new ACS website was launched with an online competition management system to streamline results and ladders information. New software helped to streamline data entry.

St Leonard’s broke the eight-year dominance of St Michael’s in swimming by winning all three major trophies. Westbourne followed closely behind, with only 70 points separating them from St Leonard’s in the final aggregate scores. At the athletics carnival, the first four runners across the line in the senior boys 1500m event all broke the ACS record.

Girls football continued to go from strength to strength, with all six schools entering a team. Daisy Pearce, Australia’s most awarded female footballer, introduced the afternoon’s competition with an inspiring speech. The teams played strongly, with Thomas Carr ultimately taking out the premiership.

Rob Huntington, Deputy Principal St Michael’s, Deputy Principal Overnewton
interview, 2022

Sarah Sansonetti, Loyola College graduate 2019 and ACS All Star, interview, 2022

  • James Jeggo

    Westbourne – soccer

  • Liana Konjarski

    Overnewton – volleyball

  • Dylan Pierias

    Overnewton – soccer

2015 swimming captains

The 1500m boys race at the athletics carnival

Executive officer Michelle Sheehan presenting the St Michael's senior girls hockey captain with the trophy

Overnewton v. Westbourne girls soccer

2015 Champion Schools

'The feedback from the girls was excellent. These are simple outcomes we strive for - for the students to have fun, be active with their friends and want more.'


Changes were made to the cross country carnival course at Bundoora Park due to the introduction of permanent fitness equipment on part of the old course. More challenging terrain was introduced into the course, and the finishing area was improved for spectators, providing an even greater carnival atmosphere. Improvements were also made with the introduction of fully electronic timing, providing a much more efficient system for recording times and collating results. A major benefit was the reduction of the schedule from five to three hours. The ‘displacer’ scoring system was also introduced, meaning that teams with runners in excess of the number permitted to score could still influences the results with their non-scoring finishes. The changes received excellent feedback.

In girls football, Loyola ended the five-year premiership-winning streak of Thomas Carr, winning all four matches while Overnewton finished second. The Loyola senior girls soccer team also experienced success, reaching the grand final of the Melbourne City Premier Schools competition.

The ACS Hall of Fame was relaunched for the purpose of connecting with past students who had represented Australia or played at the national level. Thirteen former ACS students, including several Olympians, former AFL footballers and a recently drafted AFLW player, attended the event which was held alongside the All Stars presentations. A lunchtime format with speeches and multimedia presentation was very popular with students.

Michelle Sheehan, Executive Officer ACS 2001–present, interview, 2022

Simon Gipson, Principal St Michael’s 2000–17, interview, 2022

  • Monica Brennan

    Loyola – athletics

  • Joshua Coward

    Loyola – rugby union and rugby sevens

The St Michael's grand final-winning senior girls basketball team. They had beaten their opponent, Overnewton, comfortably in the previous two matches but in the grand final Overnewton played a flawless game and held a 14-point lead with five minutes left on the clock. St Michael's called a timeout, and returned to the court determined to win. In a remarkable comeback, when the buzzer went St Michael's were six points ahead.

Daisy Pearce presents medals to the Loyola girls football team after the lightning premiership

Thomas Carr v. Loyola girls football

A competitor from Loyola is cheered on by his peers in the cross country race

‘The girls were absolutely ecstatic after the game. Some were speechless, shocked, and in disbelief at what had just happened. We haven’t been able to repeat as champions since that 2016 season, but the courage and the never-quit attitude that the St Michael’s girls played with that day continue to be an inspiration for the generations of new players stepping into the senior program at the school.’

2016 Champion Schools