Club History

Chronology | Life Members | Club Formation




Seniors -1951, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1972, 1982, 2006

Reserves 1965, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 2007, 2009

VFL / AFL PLAYERS – Danny Jennings (Melbourne), Craig O’Brien (Essendon, St Kilda and Sydney), Clint Shaw (St Kilda)


Founded in 1946, Rye has played in 20 senior grand finals, winning 8 premierships. A proud and strong club off the field , one of the club’s outstanding achievements in its 73 years is that there has only ever been 5 Presidents, Wilfred Rowley 1946 58, Clarrie Jennings 1959 79, Nick Appleford 1980 95, Colin Beel 1996 2001 and current President and Rye legend Mick O’Rourke 2002.


Between 1951 and 1972, Rye played in 15 senior grand finals, wining 6 and only missing the finals once between these years. The club also won 4 reserve premierships in this era. In 1960 Rye kicked in what is still a MPNFL record of 68 goals 31 behinds 439, to Navy 1 point, Marty Duncan kicking a record 27 Goals.

League Medalists | Senior Best Fairest WinnersSenior Premiership Teams | Reserve Premiership Teams


The Club’s Pavilion is named in honour of the late and great Clarrie Jennings, a founding member of the club, 202 senior games, premiership captain / coach, 2 time best and fairest winner and president for 21 years. In the team of the best 50 years (1946 – 1995) named at CHB. A tougher player hard to find.

Only 4 players have played more than 300 club games at Rye, two of those belong to the Appleford family, a name entrenched in the history of the Rye Football Club. Sean “Potsy” Appleford is the club’s games record holder with a total of 460 games, (201 Senior & 259 Reserves), starting in 1985, Pottsy played in the 1986, 2007 and 2009 reserve premiership sides and won the 1997 and 2004 reserves B & F, and has the club’s gymnasium named in his honour. Sean’s father Nick Appleford, 308 club games, (298 Senior)  a 3 time senior best and fairest winner, 3 time premiership player, and 16 years as president. Named as 1st Ruck in the best team of 50 years from 1946 – 1995.

Mick O’Rourke, the current president, 342 club games  (113 senior), 1 senior and 7 reserves premierships, 3 as a player and 4 as Captain Coach and two reserves best and fairest awards. Also has been on 55 consecutive Footy Trips, an outstanding achievement. The AFLSE Commission in 2021, awarded Mick Life Membership to the AFL South East League. Mick has been on the general committee of the club since 1969. His major roles were Vice President from 1980 – 1995 and President from 2002 – 2023. An outstanding achievement.

Scott Beel 308 club games between 1985 to 2005, (241 senior games). A magician around the goals and won many Rye games off his own boot, highly skillful and at times had the ball on a string, was senior captain from 1996 to 1999, Runner up Senior B & F 1996, 3rd in 1986. Reserves Premiership Coach 2007, Reserves Coach 2003 – 2008. Also has the honour of the Rye home game change rooms named after him. Has been Vice President for the past 22 years. Recruited from Tootgarook Junior Football Club. Named on the Interchange in the best team of 50 years between 1946 – 1995

Greg Way  220 senior games between 1971 and 1996. In the mid 80’s he was the #1 rover in the competition, a dual club best and fairest winner in 1977 and 1983, Greg also made the senior list for South Melbourne in the VFL. Coached the club between 1996 and 1998, and again helping the club out by playing senior football in 1996, some 25 years after his first senior game. Highly skilled on both sides of his body, Greg was also at the bottom of every pack.  A true on ball player who had an enormous fitness base and was a great kick for goal. A junior Rye player who is also in the team of the best 50 years from 1946 – 1995, in the forward pocket.

Greg Doyle, 139 senior games, and some say the best ever player to pull on the Rye Guernsey. Big strong and hands of steel, was the number 1 ruckman on the Mornington Peninsula for his 9 seasons at Rye. A 5 time senior Jennings Medal winner for Rye’s best and fairest, a 2 time league best & fairest winner, senior coach 1999 – 2001, and 2006 senior premiership co- captain, multiple Inter league representative and MVP, and out and out champion of the club.

Stephen Ryan joined Rye in 2005 with the intention of playing one or maybe even two years at best to see out his football career. Seven years later Steve was still around and has etched his name as one of the greats to pull on the Rye Guernsey. 122 games in total a club record 464 goals, 2008 B & F winner, 5 time leading goal kicker and 2006 Premiership player. With these outstanding achievements, the club now recognises the Senior Leading Goal kicker each year with the Stephen Ryan Trophy. Coached the club from 2008 – 2011, and returned as senior coach in 2023.

Rhett Sutton 205 senior games, 7 years as Rye Captain, 2008 – 2014, Premiership player in 2006, League B & F in 2006, Club B & F in 2014, Runner Up twice, League MVP, Nepean Team of the year player 5 times, and Vic Country Representative. The premier ruckman in the competition when Greg Doyle retired, Rhett took his football to a new level. Extremely fit and physical Rhett dragged Rye over the line in many games with his never say die attitude and willingness to run himself into the ground. Booming kick and great mark, a player who was rarely beaten.

Adam Kirkwood – A local player and like Scott Beel another player recruited from the Tootgarook Junior Football Club. It can be argued he has joined Greg Doyle and Clarrie Jennings as the greatest players at the club. A 5 time Jennings medal winner and also a 4 time runner up. A senior league best and fairest winner in 2018, multiple MVP awards and Interleague games. Adam has been one of the premier players of the competition for over 10 years. Can play key position or onball, Adam has saved many games when down back, or won them kicking goals up forward or on ball. A player who is rarely beaten one on one. Played his 200th senior game in 2019 and senior playing coach from 2019- 2022. An out and out champion player, on and off the field.

Matt Noldt –  241 senior games (264 Club games) Nolty, was one of the most skilful and durable players of his generation. A Rye junior who rose through the ranks, to be a senior premiership player in 2006 and go onto to be senior captain of the club in 2007 & 2008. A player who could drill a pass with either foot from 50 metres, he was a player who played well in big games and showed tremendous courage.

 Appleford-Luck Cup | O’Rourke – Matthews Trophy The Jennings Cup