The East Perth Football Club, nicknamed the Royals, is an Australian rules football club based in Leederville, Western Australia, current playing in the West Australian Football League (WAFL). Formed in 1902 as the Union Football Club, the club entered the WAFL in 1906, changing its name to East Perth. It won its first premiership in 1919, part of a streak of five consecutive premierships. Overall, the club has won 17 premierships, most recently in 2002. The club is currently based at Leederville Oval, which it shares with the Subiaco Football Club, having previously played home games at Wellington Square (from 1901 to 1909) and Perth Oval (formerly known as Loton Park) from 1910 to 1999. The current Director of Coaching is Tony Micale assisting the League Senior Coach of East Perth, Jeremy Barnard.

From 2014 until 2018, East Perth served as the host club for the West Coast Eagles of the Australian Football League, the arrangement saw West Coast's reserves players playing in the WAFL for East Perth.


The club was actually founded in 1902 as Union Football Club (not to be confused with the defunct Unions club from Fremantle) and competed in the Perth Third Rate Association Competition (however an earlier ‘East Perth’ had formed in 1891). The club was successful and was promoted to the First Rate Association. After continuing to succeed at this level they applied to join the WAFL and hence became a member in April 1906. The club became known as East Perth in accordance with the WAFL's policy of having each club represent a district in Perth.

After a relatively slow start – despite being competitive form its first season – East Perth after World War I went on to become one of the most powerful clubs in the West Australian league with the appointment of former Subiaco player Phil Matson as captain-coach. The club won five consecutive WAFL premierships between 1919 and 1923, and after a brief lapse due to Matson's death in a truck crash recovered to contest the finals every year from 1931 to 1940, but won only one premiership – a frustrating record to be repeated in the 1970s.

Although the club garnered an undefeated premiership in the under-age WAFL competition in 1944, East Perth became very much a middle-of-the-road side after open-age WANFL football resumed until the emergence of champion ruckman Graham “Polly” Farmer in 1956. That year, despite being held to the lowest WAFL score between 1946 and 2002 by Perth in torrential rain and genuine darkness at the WACA, the Royals won fourteen of their nineteen games and beat South Fremantle twice in the finals. Under the coaching of Jack Sheedy, and aided by becoming the first WAFL club to play players formally, the club contested the following five grand finals for further premierships in 1958 and 1959 and a huge upset loss to Swan Districts in 1961.

The loss of Farmer, however, saw a decline in fortunes: in 1964 the club won only one of its first eighteen games and finished with its first wooden spoon since 1929, but with the recruitment of Kevin Murray the club returned to the top quickly. It returned to the finals in 1966 and played therein during every one of the next seventeen seasons except 1974. During these years East Perth won 246 and drew one of 388 games for a success rate of 63.5 percent: clearly the highest in a competition that – at least during the first half of this period – was extremely even and characterised by very rapid fluctuations in teams’ fortunes. By 1980, the club had made a submission to enter the VFL/AFL, however this was withdrawn, and from 1983 their fortunes declined abruptly: between 1985 and 1995 East Perth won only eighty and draw one of 235 games for a success rate of 34.26%. Indeed, between 1985 and 1989, the Royals actually won just 24 of 105 games for a success rate of 22.8% and did not finish above sixth, with a lowlight being the sacking of coach Greg Brehaut on 13 May 1986 that was followed by a walk-out of three managers from a reserves team that had won five matches out of seven.

In 1996 the Royals returned to prominence and took the minor premiership before losing narrowly to Claremont in its first grand final since 1978. However, the club returned to the lower reaches of the ladder in 1999, winning only five of twenty games. East Perth later acted as the host club for West Coast Eagles players recruited from interstate from 2000 to 2001 until the host club arrangement was abolished. This made them favoured for high honours in 2000 - which was achieved with five Eagles in the grand final side, though the Royals’ “old guard” made a much larger contribution than expected to the club's first flag for twenty-two years. It repeated the dose emphatically in 2001, holding South Fremantle to 0.3 (3) after half time, and yet again in 2002, but fell off steadily in the following four seasons to win only six games in 2005. A partial recovery in 2007 saw the Royals finish fourth, but it returned to last in 2008 before again rebounding in 2009 to finish fifth.

Its first home ground was Wellington Square. It then moved to Perth Oval between 1910 and 2002, although it played games at the WACA from 1988 to 1989. East Perth began playing its games at Leederville Oval from 2000, formerly the home of bitter rivals West Perth), but the club only officially moved there in 2003. They have since been joined at the ground by the Subiaco Football Club.

2010 season

The 2010 season of home and away matches ended on a high for the Royals, as they defeated minor premiers Clarement in a tense and physical round 23 encounter. The win enabled them to hold their fourth place in the top four, earning a first semi-final appearance against East Fremantle.

After a slow start where East Fremantle lead 7.2-3.2 at quarter time East Perth eventually overran the much more fancied Sharks by 14 points 15.12 (102) to East Fremantle 13.10 (88). West Coast Eagles listed player Ben McKinley lead the charge up forward with 6 goals while Zac Beeck and Zac Clarke dominated the ruck.

A week later East Perth met Swan Districts at Bassendean Oval for the chance to meet the top of the table Claremont in the Grand Final. This time it was East Perth who flew out of the blocks to lead at the first change 5.2 to 3.2 but after that they would manage only 4 goals for the rest of the match as Swans steamrolled their way past a valiant East Perth 15.11 (101) to 9.9 (63). Swan Districts then went on to win the 2010 WAFL Premiership defeating Claremont in one of the great Grand Finals by 1 point at Subiaco Oval 8 days later.

The Reserve grade team went one step further than the Seniors in 2010 going down to Claremont by 12 points 13.6 (84) to 10.12 (72) in the Grand Final.

Craig Wulff was finally rewarded with his first FD Book Medal as the Best & Fairest for season 2010.