1960 The club finish sixth in 1960, winning 8 games while John Halbert wins his second best and fairest and finishes runner up in the Magarey Medal for the third time.

Triple Magarey Medallist Len Fitzgerald shepherds for his team mate against Port Adelaide in 1960

1961 The club slump in 1961 winning only 3 games and finishing last, but one shining light was that of John Halbert who finally won the Magarey Medal after finishing runner up in 1955, 1958 and 1960, he also wins the best and fairest for a third time and is named in the All Australian team after a superb individual season.

John Halbert displays his Magarey Medal before the 1961 Grand Final

1962 Glynn Williams isn’t reappointed coach for the 1962 season and Sturt subsequently appoints former Norwood player and Premiership coach Jack Oatey to lead the club. Oatey then embarks on a rebuilding program for the Double Blues, John Halbert is named Captain and remains in that position for seven years until his retirement, Daryl Hicks wins the best and fairest and the club finish the season in seventh place.

A young Rick Schoff takes a strong mark in a game against Glenelg at the Bay

1963 Jack Oatey embarks on a recruiting campaign to strengthen the club and the club’s colt’s win the premiership with players such as Paul Bagshaw, Keith Chessell and Bruce Raymond, however the club miss the finals and finish sixth, but the signs are there that the club is improving.

The little master Jack Oatey takes charge at training in 1963

1964 A young Paul Bagshaw makes his debut for the club in round 1 and the Blues make it to the finals winning 14 games for the season and finishing third after the minor round. The club defeat Glenelg by 5 points in the 1st Semi Final, the club’s first finals win since 1955, but are outplayed by eventual premier South Adelaide in the Preliminary Final losing by 41 points. John Halbert wins his fourth best and fairest.

Jim Tilbrook in action in the 1st Semi Final against Norwood in 1965
Captain John Halbert takes a strong mark in the 1965 Grand Final against Port Adelaide

1965 The Double Blues finish third again after the minor round, but after defeating Norwood in the 1st Semi Final by 45 points then defeat South Adelaide in the Preliminary Final by 7 points to make it to their first Grand Final in 25 years against Port Adelaide. In front of 62,543 fans and after being down by 35 points midway through the last quarter the Blues make a miraculous comeback to just lose the game by 3 points however this was to be the end of Port Adelaide’s dominance with the Oatey emphasis on skill, handball and run to dominate the competition for the next five years. Ruckman Tony Clarkson wins his first best and fairest and Malcolm Jones leads the goal kicking with 73.

Paul Bagshaw flys high to take a mark against Port Adelaide at Alberton in 1966
(L-R) Malcolm Hill and John Halbert in action during the 1966 Grand Final

1966 All Australian Bob Shearman joins the club from West Torrens after sitting out the 1965 season to gain clearance to Sturt and seven time Premiership player and father of future club Captain Ben, Philip ‘Sandy’ Nelson makes his debut at Centre Half Back on ANZAC day against Port Adelaide in the replay of the 1965 Grand Final. The Double Blues defeat Port Adelaide at Alberton for the first time in 18 years by 2 points and again meet Port Adelaide in the Grand Final. Unlike 1965 the Blues are victorious by a an embarassing to Port Adelaide 56 points and claim their first premiership in 26 years, this was to be the beginning of Sturt’s golden era. Brenton Adcock and Rick Schoff are named in the All Australian team and Paul Bagshaw wins his first best and fairest.

(L-R) Brenton Miels, Roger Rigney, Captain John Halbert and Brenton Adcock holding the Cup after the 1966 Grand Final

1967 New players to the club in 1967 include Greg Wild, Peter Endersbee and future All Australian Tony Burgan. The Blues struggle in the lead up to the finals due to injuries and lack of form and when they lose the Minor Premiership to North Adelaide it doesn’t look like Sturt will be in the running for the flag, but when the Blues play the Roosters again in the 2nd Semi Final Jack Oatey has them fired up and they win comfortably by 44 points. So for the third time in a row Sturt are to play Port Adelaide in the Grand Final and in an even contest the Blues are unable to shake off the Magpies until late in the last quarter, but when Roger Dunn goals the victory is sealed with the Blues winning by 11 points. John Murphy accepts the Premiership Cup in the absence of injured Captain John Halbert who had broken his leg earlier on in the season. Ruckman Tony ‘Doc’ Clarkson wins his second best and fairest and Malcolm Greenslade leads the goal kicking with 54.

Bob Shearman gives off a handball in a game against West Torrens in 1967
The team celebrating in the changerooms after the 1967 Grand Final

1968 A 15 year old Michael Graham is signed and for the fourth successive year Sturt play Port Adelaide in the Grand Final, Captain John Halbert is unable to pass a fitness test which heartbrakingly rules him out of his second successive Grand Final and he subsequently retires after 244 games, a Magarey Medallist, an All Australian and a four time best and fairest winner. The Double Blues run away with the game in the second half to win by 27 points and make it three in a row and all of them against the powerful Magpies. Rick Schoff wins the best and fairest.

The players running a lap of honour after the 1968 Grand Final
Rick Schoff grabs a stunning mark in a game against West Adelaide at Unley in 1969

1969 The Double Blues lose a number of senior players including John Halbert, Roger Dunn and Tony Clarkson. Bob Shearman is appointed Captain and leads Sturt into the Grand Final where they meet Minor Premiers and flag favourites Glenelg. The Double Blues destroy the Tigers and win by 65 points and make it four in a row. Malcolm Greenslade kicks 9 goals in the Grand Final and Sturt’s score of 24.15 is the highest score ever kicked in a SANFL Grand Final. Paul Bagshaw wins his second best and fairest, Rick Schoff is named in the All Australian team for the second time while Malcolm Greenslade tops the goal kicking list with 85.

Paul Bagshaw reaching for the sky against North Adelaide during the opening round of the 1969 season
The players and coach Jack Oatey about to receive the 1969 Cup and Flag