Passion Teamwork Fun Respect
Firstly, Happy Father’s Day for yesterday to all the dads within our club and community.
One of Jason Nicholl’s favourite sayings is “it takes a village to raise a child”. This saying has worn on me over the journey of the last two years, another saying that I have always lived by is ”build it and they will come”. Yesterday I witnessed many contributing things to confirm that our plan is working.
Premierships are not always a sign of success; people coming together for a common goal or shared belief is ideal. Our aim was to win each game a Rover team had earned the right to play. On Sunday, the long season was coming to an end and everyone was keen to see what our club was made of, win or lose, our season was first rate.
We make hard decisions each year. Some people don’t like these calls; we ask that you trust us, we must encourage our children to be brave, resilient, compassionate, willing to learn in the hope of being successful.
Our decision to form one team in the Under 18 Girls competition was always tough, given some young ladies would need to join Zebbies U14 and 16 teams as numbers just didn’t stack up to have stand alone teams in those age groups, likewise we had several ladies join our squad for under 18 from Zebs. I spoke to several girls from all teams and the feeling of a new environment, new friends, new coaches, yet the same PLAY LIKE A GIRL experience has been heart warming to say the least.
I watched Emma Nicholl who has done a tonne of work on all 100+ registered ladies this past 6 months, almost explode with excitement in the last 10 seconds of the U18 girls Grand Final. I am happy for many people: Richard, Jacko, Peter but the real heros are always the players.
The tempo and pace that the club song was sung had my iPhone shaking, 115kg blokes beaming and trying to forecast where these girls will have their 10 year premiership reunion.
Congrats Ladies, your Premiership bond is forged forever.
The Under 16 Div 1 squad have had an interesting journey the last few years. The word resilient was mentioned earlier, it does not do justice in what these boys have endured. These boys have shown nothing but class and resilience, from having their fearless leader in Will Murray struck down with a life threatening accident to being targeted on field by a coach that was out of control, they have travelled to remote outback Northern Territory communities and held their heads high on every occasion. They have come together from different clubs, not just Rovers or Zebs, some from Ormond, St Paul’s, Highett, Murrumbeena & Chelt to name a few. They came looking for opportunity, they found it and had the best coaching I have witnessed in 30+ years of admin in junior sport. However coaching will only give you a guide, the decisions fall with the players when the heat is on and questions asked.
In 2017 we decided to have 2 x U15 D1 teams. This didn’t sit well with everyone but what it did do was offer all boys that wanted opportunity at Rovers to play D1. Our lads at Rovers had only ever played D3 footy, several young men welcomed the new challenge and several became D1 Premiership players yesterday.
I am very proud and happy for lads that have backed themselves, went out there yesterday and sung the song with pride: Lucas Sharp, Ben Doolan, Lachlan Reynolds, Ben Caruthers, Finlay Kirkwood Burr, Finn Zeising are all lads that have been there from the outset at Rovers, well done boys!
It was with great pride I got to witness the last junior game of our U17 lads, every young man contributed, the level of courage shown was evident from the first kick to the last. A strong coaching message from Tom Marron at half time and then a backup from Jesse had the boys at fever pitch as they went back onto the arena after half time. Leading by 2 straight kicks the lads with the aid of a 2-goal wind opened up on Bentleigh early in the 3rd quarter, at 3 quarter time the lead was 27 points with 20 mins left for the fairytale finish.
The boys dug deep, throwing themselves in at will, nothing fancy in these trying conditions, inches and yards, Bentleigh surged but our lads got home by 13 pts and the party started, Miranda kept it together, I watched them sing the song and left to watch the girl at Le Page.
It’s been a pleasure watching these lads over the last decade fall in love with their sport, watching Tom and Ben Marron embrace after the final siren said plenty. Cam’s BOG was inspiring.
Well done to all players, coaches and parents.
Well, that’s it. 4 grand finals, 3 wins, the Seniors and Reserves are playing this week at Trevor Barker, let’s get along and show the colours.
With most teams having had their presentations already the season at Rovers has now ended. I would like to thank many people, but will no doubt leave someone out, so apologies if it’s you.
Firstly Jason. He backs his committee in always, his clear direction for the club is evident, his support from Richard Bowen is unparalleled, they both back me with the coaching and football path. To Amy my partner in crime thanks for putting up with me, to Gav you were awesome mate, Tan, Sky, Rohan, Michael, Steve on the committee, it was a blast. Thanks, Em for handling the girl’s movement this year, your help was outstanding.
To Lisa Beavan, your work on our social media is second to none in Melbourne Metro football clubs, thanks Lisa.
To Rick, Langers and Pooch at Zebs – great communication makes it easy to help children enjoy our sport, well done to you all.
To all coaches, TMs and volunteers, we have built it and they did come. 540+ children, our village has matured, we have grown stronger more enlightened and tolerant, we have offered the youth great mentoring, letting them see the no fuss actions of level headed people that allowed us to witness greatness yesterday in the utmost sportsman like fashion there is, our club can take a bow.
I need some time off, Jase asked me a few weeks back what my plans were for 2019. I feel we have unfinished business, we can get better via further education. I also need to get back into coaching a team, my Interleague experience taught me how much I need that. I promise to help make our club bigger than this year, that’s our challenge.
Finally, to my wife, Julie, my three sons who see me almost every day going to some meeting regarding Rovers or footy, thanks for putting up with me, your support is always cherished.
To my mates at the club (from a few age groups) and my father, Alf who are always offering encouragement and an opinion when I ask for it, thank you all.
I wish every member the best for the spring and summer months ahead, I look forward to seeing you all again in 2019 to do it all again, I love our community and our great club.