I wrote this earlier this year after going to see the very first AFLW game.
You could smell the pies 400 meters from the ground, people walking through the parkland of Carlton, the bars and pubs all open and light banter was filling the air, I felt like I was in a time warp, I figured I was on the way to see Buzz, Sticks, Doull & Kouta light up the park, the lines outside gate 5 were thirty meters long,10 minutes before the bounce. I am back at the ground I loved to go with my parents, this time I am a parent, Mason and Kai are with me as are their mates in Archie and Daisy.
The pre-game was light and what I expected, no negative words spoken, no one drunk and yelling out crap to umpires, old fashioned one on one footy with the girls going super hard, when players got injured the crowd clapped them off the ground every time. girls, boys, mums, dads, everyone chilled and watched history. some great tunes at the intervals, some sharp foot skills for goal and the Legend stand was rocking like it was 1995, sure you get a few sceptics but with time and the growth at grass roots the stars of last night’s game in a decade will be house hold names.
I must say I wasn’t sure what to expect and felt a little skeptical in the car on the way there, following 2 mins into the game it was Carlton v Collingwood and I loved standing there watching wonderful young Women wear the logo I have loved all my life. Our culture as a Nation took a stride forward last night, I was proud to play a very small part.
I went back and looked this up to share with our members, not because it is about Carlton but because it is about the changing face of our sport and the challenge of identifying what we need with infrastructure. We as a Committee are undergoing unprecedented growth within Hampton Rovers that needs us and our partners to consider what the game of football and the landscape will be into the future. The wonderful efforts of our girls’ coaches this year and the desire to improve has us feeling that our club is in a projected gain beyond 2020 of +30%. In the last 3 years alone we have gone from 13 teams to 22 in 2017 and with healthy numbers expected from Auskick next year, the future is bright. Female participation and acceptance into the game is a vital ingredient to our future strength as a club.
Sunday morning started with a will they, won’t they approach when it came to erecting tents at the Lightning Carnivals for under 8s and 9s as the wind was a concern for the health of all. It was decided to not go with tents which left everyone exposed. This was a small issue but didn’t hamper the mood of the players. I went down to watch the first few games of the Under 9s at King George reserve in Bentleigh. As cold as it was, the young Rovers put on a brave face and played with great passion given the circumstances. A mixed bag but a great day had by all.
Talk about being organised; check out the baskets that Under 9 TM, Paige King has her zone wrist bands in, BLOW ME DOWN!!!!
I love our community and what is has to offer our youth and Sunday night was a glowing endorsement of community spirit. Tan, Deb, Amy and a growing list of loyal volunteers put together the best AHWTR I can remember. The place was rocking and the Under 8 & 9 squads sung the song with Jason Nicholl, President, loud and proud.
Australian Football is unique to our culture. Yes it is sport and the game should always be seen as sport, it is not life and death as many would have you believe. It is about people and great clubs have great people. Hampton Rovers have many great people; I loved standing around Sunday night with these three talking about nothing and everything at the same time. The man on the right is the first person I met from Rovers back in 2007. He is Ralph Bergman. The man in the middle is Stuart Murray with Marty Charlton on the left. These three are the prototype coaches that a player loves to be coached by: passionate, fair, technical, supportive, encouraging yet challenging. They don’t take shots from the cheap seats – they pitch in and get on with it. Our under 16 squad are lucky lads indeed.
OK, let’s have a gander at what went down around the grounds.
Girls under 12 went on their merry way with another great performance. The Under 16 ladies had a hard game against Mordi Brae going down in the end but Gareth said they never lost heart even though down by 44 at 3 quarter time. The girls came home with a rush losing by a goal or two in the end.
Under 10 teams had a day they normally would be singing and loving life, however a few injuries and lack of numbers cost the mighty Silver and White the points (if they had points). We wish both teams a great Lighting Carnival this weekend. Daryl and Chris have done a stirling job along with Paul and Chris S as TMs this past season. Thanks guys, let’s see if you can go 3-3 this weekend.
Speaking of teams that went 3-3, Jonesy’s crew in under 8 Purple went coast to coast all year and never missed singing the song once (not good for development I hear you say, agree, but try telling 7 year olds that). Julian and Andrew reported their teams with 2-1 ratio, great season guys.
Under 11D1 had a great game against South Melbourne on oval 9. They went down but had a serious crack. D5 marched on to the tone of a different beat, dividing and concurring all mortals that dare get in their way.
Under 12s, Mike reported that the D6 lads enjoyed the contest and hung in with the opposition for most the game. D1 were in front on the score board for all bar the last 35 seconds, tough sport at times. Both teams have their last games this weekend, give it everything you have boys.
Under 13 D1 won a close one against Mordi Brae. Hozza was the star kicking 3 bombs to get the lads home in the wet. D3 came up against the raging Caulfield Bears and went down in a solid affair.
Under 14 had a great game at the Boss, in front with the breeze in the last. The lads just thought the breeze may do the hard work for them, the intensity they had showed for 3 quarters disappeared and all was lost. Never mind lads, you played your hearts out for the majority and I loved watching you give your all.
Under 15 D4 had a spiteful game against South Melbourne at Albert Park. Our lads stuck together and although losing the game got plenty of admirers for their conduct during and post the game. Gold lost by a point to East Malvern, whilst Blue had a day to forget against the Sharks. Good luck to Gold against the Sharks this week, instant Elimination Final.
Under 16 were decimated by BGS Camp and both teams were lucky to get on the park at all. It just goes to show how hard the coaching staff love these guys: plenty of emails, calls and pleading with the SMJFL from Ralph and Miranda to make sure the games went ahead. Although soundly beaten, this is the passion we need from members that are proactive, not sit back and point.
The Under 17 crew just keep motoring along holding a steady course, TOOT TOOT, all aboard.
Well that’s it, week 14 in the top draw.
PASSION – TEAMWORK- FUN – RESPECT
Have a great week all.