Call Triple Zero! I nearly had not one, but TWO heart attacks on the weekend. Well, not really, but I’ll share more about that later in the report.
Wrapping up the 2019 season, and the Presidency
There have been many memorable experiences in our 2019 season, but the last few weeks have generated more that I hadn’t anticipated. It’s been equally humbling and satisfying. Many of these experiences have been based around the fact that my time as President of our beloved Hampton Rovers Juniors is coming to the end.
I love our football club; our members, kids and all we stand for, namely Passion, Teamwork, Fun and Respect. I believe strongly in the power of our village to raise our boys and girls collectively. And the role that team sport has to help children grow and build skills and friendships that will last a lifetime.
As I look back on the last five years at the club, we have collectively expanded our village, made it more inclusive, and hopefully put in place a foundation that will last the test of time. Rovers will continue to be a very special part of my life, and I trust, a place my family and I can call home for many years to come.
A special thank you
This year has been another amazing year for Rovers, breaking new ground with more than 600 kids playing each week, and our girls program expanding to more than 120 players. I know I have said it many times before, but it takes more than 260 game day volunteers to put 600 smiles on faces every week. Thanks to all of our game day volunteers. I hope you return in 2020 and help us continue to grow the club. If you haven’t tried to take on a role today, I couldn’t recommend it more. Be part of the Rovers Family.
To the coaches, assistants, and team managers; your roles and most importantly, responsibilities go beyond the weekend work. You all give up your time and get involved directly shaping the kids of the future for our boys and girls. You have helped create confidence in individuals, fostered friendships and created memories that will last a lifetime. I have watched many of you this year play amazing roles in our Rovers Village helping teach out kids our values through a game we all love. Thank you on behalf of the club, parents and the kids for your help in 2019. Please consider helping again in 2020.
Next in the thank you list is the broader #OneRovers group!
To Michael Curtis and all the team at Auskick: well done on an amazing year! We are looking forward to welcoming another 60 to 90 happy kids into the Green and Gold Army next year with your help.
To Gary and the Senior Committee: thanks to you for welcoming our 2018 U17s & U18s into the Senior ranks in 2019 and no doubt beyond. I know many of our families will be down with you at Elsternwick Park at 9.00am on Saturday to watch our U19s play in the Grand Final. This year we also had the pleasure of our Senior players helping coach and facilitate training throughout the year. Our kids have all responded very positively to the effort that you have put in the club. Long may it continue, and I hope we get even more Senior players coaching and training our kids in 2020. The #OneRovers initiative is stronger than ever and needs to carry on.
To our committee. It’s hard to do a bad job when surrounded and supported by such an amazing and selfless bunch of individuals. Having been on the committee for five years I have had the pleasure to work with so many generous Rovers people over that time. Thank you for all you have done for our Club and for our kids. Thank you for all you have taught me along the way too. I would like to indulge as part of my last report and say a quick bit about this year’s committee (arguably our best yet).
- Tim Hall – Registrations – 620 odd registrations this year. You are the master of herding cats!! Your patience while dealing with league governed software written in the 1980s is second to none. Thank you making the start of every season as hassle free as possible. I hope you will rest up ahead of rego’s starting in December!!! Thanks.
- Kabel Davis and Jeanette Boyd-Turner – Merch – keeping our green and gold gang looking its best is no easy task. Again, we have stickers on most cars in Bayside and the coolest player bags in the League. Well done to both of you. You will both be missed in 2020.
- Sarah Skinner – Child Safety – whilst not technically on the committee due to the need for independence, you are the guardian angel for our kids and making sure the Club remains compliant and therefore safe. Thanks for a great 2019.
- Rohan Bardwell – Vice President and my right-hand man in 2019. You have really been the utility around the Club this year helping all of us when we get busy as well as driving the strategy work with our club advisor. I hope you get the support you need at the AGM to be our next Junior President. Good luck for 2020.
- Lara Tascone – Social Coordinator – well it isn’t a party without you. Quite literally. From our amazing 90/40 celebration night to the kids’ pie nights throughout the year, thanks for the social co-ordination. I know you will bolster your social team in 2020 with plenty of fun parties on the horizon for Rovers. Good luck for 2020.
- Amy Stokes – Team Manager’s Manager – every year the SMJFL requires clubs to roll out more and more compliance to make our clubs and sport safer for our kids. Each year you have found a way to make it happen with a smile on your face. You will be sadly missed in 2020. Thanks for the massive contribution over the years. I hear the Senior Committee is looking for…
- Gavin Sharp – Secretary – when the ball doesn’t land where it should, namely because a fist has, you are always the right man to mediate a respectful and fair result. As a club secretary in 2019 you have been your usual proficient organised self. As our incident officer for the last two years, you are guardian of our kids and a key custodian of the Club values at all times. From over excited parents and kids, to some challenging situations, you have been a great asset to the club when we need to find a resolution to conflict or issues on game day with players and officials. I know you will be missed in either of the roles (hopefully not both) in 2020.
- Lisa Beavan and Elizabeth Bardwell – Communications and Social Media – you are both the queens of comms and social media. Our website, social media, newsletters and e-presence is second to none. If anyone actually saw the rubbish that I put in vs the magic that comes out, people would be amazed. Thanks for everything. I hope you can go around again in 2020.
- Paul Carrigan – Football Manager and Mr Football. The man with the biggest heart at the Rovers. We all know you bleed green and gold. It’s a pleasure to work with you mate. What you give to Rovers is simply amazing and all of our kids are better for you being in our club looking after all things footy. I’m looking forward to the Rovers DNA release next year under your guidance. Good luck for 2020.
- Emma Nicholl – The First Lady. Whilst not officially ‘on’ the committee, you definitely are from the amount of effort you put in for the Rovers. On top of being our Rovers legend for Girls Footy, you are always supportive of all of the time I spend at the club. Thanks for giving me the push to get involved in the club five years ago. I know you love the green and gold as much as I do. x
Congrats to all of our kids in 2019 and a special shout out to those players and officials that were recognised with awards, be it club, league or indeed both. I hope you take the time to ask and understand why you received this award, as often it’s much more than simply playing the game.
Finally, to my medical emergency (of sorts) I mentioned at the start of the report. While I was building up to my last day as Junior President, I was also preparing for a massive day as the final round of the season. I know I’m going to miss doing the role, but I’m keen for others to experience what I’ve been able to experience. But my final day as Junior President was also a celebration of another sort.
As some you may know, my amazing kids Gabi (U16D1) and Josh (U14D5) both made their Grand Finals on Sunday 8 September. The day started early with an 8.45am kick off for Josh and his mates in the U14D5. After finishing top of the ladder, they were favourites going in, but anything can happen on finals day. Mordi Brae got out of the gate and crushed our hearts in the first quarter leaving our boys reeling and me looking for the MICA unit just in case this didn’t end as planned. Christian and Zac (coaching superstars) settled the boys at the break and they came out firing to take control of the second quarter. The arm wrestle continued with the play of the day being Mal breaking on the wing in a one v two. Pushing hard to help his mate, Josh crashed the pack and took possession of a hard ball. Not only did he create a massive proud Dad moment he helped by setting the play and tone for the boys in the second half. My nerves were shot and my heart racing all game. It was very low scoring and it will all come down to the last 15 minutes.
With 40 seconds to go, a Mordi Brae defensive mark turned into second mark on the wing. With 15 seconds on the clock a kick and a final mark 35-40 metres out dead in front with our boys only five points up. Heart Attack one starts… The kick, the miss… and the win!!!! Go Rovers. The tears, the emotion, the reward for effort. This is why we do it. I have never see our boys play so well when under so much pressure. Josh played hard and showed the opposition that it is not wise to underestimate a player that is shorter than you as their heart is often much bigger. Heart Attack one was averted. Well done U14D5 boys and the Christian and Zac! Also, well done to the rest of the U14 squad for coming down to watch them #Respect.
Now find the next de-fib unit with my beautiful daughter playing in the U16D1 for East Sandy at 2pm. This year Rovers were unable to get a full U16 Girls team together so 5 of our Rovers girls went to Zebbies under our alignment policy. This policy was put in place to ensure as many kids as possible can play footy between our local clubs.
I’m sure she won’t mind me saying that Gabi has had a rough/interrupted year. With the challenges of year 11, work responsibilities, and footy injuries, she hasn’t had the season she planned. She went into 2019 wanting to have the best and most consistent of seasons and it wasn’t to be but sometimes that is football. Lucky for Gabi that in 2019 she was playing with a great bunch of girls and had every chance to win having beaten the top team in the first semi and now playing the team that had finished lower on the ladder in the big one.
While Josh had enjoyed a dry game, Gabi’s was to be an old-style muddy football tussle. Then it was the first bounce, and the rain properly started, ensuring it was always going to be low scoring and hard to mark the wet ball. Port Colts were first to score and I found myself stepping closer to the de-fib unit just in case my heart didn’t take this challenge. The first round of rotations started and Gabi strode onto the field with confidence. Having traditionally played in the back line last year she had more chance up forward in 2019. Gabi tried hard master this new task in 2019 as well as the challenges of D1 football. Loving footy as she does, she was always going to have ‘that moment’ when it all came together. Our girls fought well to lead at quarter time only for the rain to also ramp up its onslaught. But then it happened. A clearance ball from the back flank, a tussle on the wing and a long penetrating danger ball into the forward line for a one on one. That one on one was Gabi who took the chest mark to secure the wet heavy ball under pressure. At that moment I was overcome with excitement and pride. I could only think of the many times kick we together. ‘Gabi you have the kicking power – it’s all in the ball drop’. Then it happened. The booming right foot and dancer pointed toe…goal. What an amazing mark and goal. Proud Dad Moment for the day number 2.
The girls went on to win an amazing game and Gabi became a premiership winning goal kicker. Who would have thought it this year, hey Gabs? Very very proud of you and that game.
So that is where my chapter ends for 2019. A two-time premiership Dad and the Junior President of the best AFL club going around. Passion, Teamwork, Fun and Respect. #GoRovers. See you next year as a passionate Rover Dad and willing game day volunteer.
Green and Gold Love