Moonee Ponds: Former Bulldogs player Matthew Croft kicks back at the historic home

Former Bulldogs football player Matthew Croft is selling his Moonee Ponds home, which includes a huge back yard.

Former Footscray/Western Bulldogs footballer Matthew Croft and his wife Elissa are paving the way for their family home in Moonee Ponds after almost 20 years.

Croft was a key defender for the club throughout the 1990s, making his debut as an 18-year-old in 1991 before scoring 186 appearances during his 14-year career.

He played alongside fellow Bulldogs players such as Simon Garlick, Chris Grant and Luke Beveridge, while defending a handful of legendary forwards such as Tony Lockett, Wayne Carey, Gary Ablett Senior and Barry Hall.

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A few months after his retirement in 2004, Croft and Elsa bought the house at 40 Derby St in a decision to upsize as they were expecting twins.

At the time, the auction for the 905-square-metre property was broadcast in an episode of Australian TV personality Michael Caton’s series, Hot Property.

“It was an interesting experience, and the film crew was very helpful when making the final negotiations, funny enough,” Croft said.

Huge en-suite bathroom upstairs with double vanity and spa bath.

He added that the 1915-built house, known as Morkalla, was previously owned by Italians who historically used it to support families migrating from Europe via Bonegilla in rural north-east Victoria.

“It had a separate outbuilding and an apartment in the back to help immigrant families,” he said.

“(Our kids) put a Pooh Bear sticker on the door so we called it the Pooh Bear House… Some of the Oregon timbers from the roof framing were later reused to upgrade the main fireplace.”

The couple completed an extensive renovation of the four-bedroom pad in 2009, maintaining the interior vaulted ceilings and whalebone carving on the facade.

Now, after many years, family memories and parties attended by numerous soccer teammates — and a Premier League trophy — they have listed the home with an asking price of $3.4 million.

28 Apr 97 Western Bulldogs v Adelaide.  Matthew Croft in action.  A/i/football

Croft played 186 games for the Bulldogs over 14 years.

Matthew and Elissa Croft are on home soil with the 2016 Premier League Cup, won by the Bulldogs. Photo: Matthew Croft.

“One of the famous celebrities they visited was the 2016 EFL Cup and the Bulldog Cup,” Croft said.

“We had a surprise party for guests where we invited friends and family to our house a few weeks after the 2016 AFL Grand Final. We placed the trophy on a table in the middle of the room…it was a fantastic night.”

He added that he loved the open-plan kitchen, living and dining area, front garden, upstairs “parent retreat” and sitting on the balcony with a drink on balmy summer nights, greeting neighbors passing by with their dogs.

The house spans two floors, with a sunny retreat joining the spacious master bedroom upstairs, the latter featuring a walk-in wardrobe and double en-suite bathroom with spa bath.

The downstairs living room opens onto a covered outdoor entertaining area at the rear of the property, overlooking the backyard and lush gardens.

The parents’ retreat is located on the top floor.

One of the spacious bedrooms is downstairs.

“It’s large enough for kids to play soccer and basketball and accommodate pets of any size,” Croft said.

Nelson Alexander Ascot Vale partner John McKenna said the house would likely suit another family, especially those who wanted to live close to local private schools.

“You might also be able to walk to Penleigh and Essendon Grammar, Lowther Hall, or St Columba’s College,” McKenna said.

He added that the north-facing backyard was attractive to buyers and made room to install a pool.

“It has a lot of potential for families.”

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