While the club has its earliest beginnings back in 1882, the name Preston was used to identify the area in 1885 and later used to name the Preston Football Club.
Preston Football Club played in the VJFA and used its current ground, which at that time was known as Preston Park (Preston City Oval). The club later joined the VFA in 1912 where it remained for many years.
The name “Bullants” is thought to have first been used in the late 1930s when they were referred to as “like a swarm of busy bullants”.
Preston merged with the Northern Knights under-18 team in 1996 and this lasted until 1999. They were then known as the Preston Knights.
In 1999, the name of the Northern Bullants was created and the current red uniform with a white bullant was adopted. The PFC letters representing the Preston Football Club remained on the rear of the jumper. Initially, the Northern Bullants were formed as a “standalone” VFL club.
In 2002 an affiliation was formed with Carlton Football Club which continues today. Our club is working well with Carlton in the development of young players and providing opportunities for senior players to mentor and support VFL players. Home games are shared between Preston City Oval and Ikon Park, Carlton’s home ground.
The “Ants” have a fabulous history of players and coaching staff. Roy Cazaly was one famous player/coach who, in 1931, attempted (albeit unsuccessfully) to win a premiership for the club.
Carlton’s first Brownlow Medallist, Bert Deacon (in 1947), also played with the Ants as a 17-year-old in 1940. Alan Joyce, later Hawthorn Premiership Coach and Footscray Coach, took Preston to Premierships in 1968 and 1969. Premierships were also won in 1983 and 1984 under the guidance of former Collingwood Captain and Bullants Hall of Famer, Ray Shaw.
The VFA/VFL Best & Fairest Trophy (Liston Trophy) has also been won by some very skilled Preston players including Dick Telford (1968) and in 1969 and 1971 by Laurie Hill. Our current Club Best and Fairest Players Trophy is named after Laurie Hill.
Other tremendous players who have worn the Bullants colours include Ted Henrys, Harold Martin, Ray Shaw (Liston Trophy winner), Neil Jordon, Jamie Shaw, Peter Weightman and Frankie Raso, just to name a few.
In 2009 and 2010, under the coaching of David Teague, the Bullants played (and lost) consecutive Grand Finals at Etihad Stadium against North Ballarat. The Grand Final in 2009 was the club’s first Grand Final appearance since 1984.
In 2011, the Northern Bullants continued to strengthen its relationship with the Carlton Football Club and, as such, gave equal recognition to the Blues for their support. A Special General Meeting held on 2nd November 2011 saw a majority of members vote in favour of changing the club name to the Northern Blues. On 7th February 2012, the Northern Blues Football Club officially launched its new name at Preston City Oval.