President’s Message: End of Season 2016

Season 2016 is over, and what a great year it was! Bring on 2017 and the new challenges it represents.

Season 2016 marked my first year as President of this fantastic football club. It also marked the first for our Director of Football – Mark Leonard, Secretary – Andrew Mortlock and Treasurers – Rod Baston and Heath Lee. Rarely do all executive committee roles change at once.

Heartfelt thanks to Sean Woods, Kevin George, Paul Hayes and Bryan Holmes for their guidance and support during the transitions. Also our thanks to the balance of on-and-off committee roles that are filled by our fabulous and dedicated folk. Your combined support has led to a truly united team. Thank you all.

As volunteers, sometimes it is a thankless task that is undertaken, however to see how united our great club is, shows that we are all (as a club) doing the right thing. Please, I encourage all of the membership to get behind their committee and give your assistance and support in 2017.

The Season

After a hectic start to pre-season training, due to the lack of availability of Stintons, things soon were underway proper. With all three ovals available by May, both training and match days were returned to normal. With the advent/continuation of U8’s and U9’s as separate teams, relocation back to Stintons and new opposition, our Auskick numbers were down this year. Thanks goes out to Damian Noonan and Michael James, our Auskick Coordinators, for their commitment, dedication and organisation of this year’s season. To field the amount of boys and girls each Saturday was great to see. Well done team.

Our Mr. Reliables, Kevin George and Paul Hayes organised our pre-season matches at Kinglake and against Boroondara. Our yearly pilgrimage to Kinglake saw the first of our intra-club practice hit-outs on the 20th of March. The benefits of not only the matches but the money raised for Kinglake are huge. Since the fires, our club has been the biggest sponsors of this community.

If anyone would like to question why we go there or what it means to the Kinglake community, my door is always open. I’m happy to relay how our attendance and financial support brings grown men in this community to tears. In our opinion 2009 is not the past and help and support is not a part-time thing.
Practice matches at home and away after Easter were against Hawthorn and Camberwell on the 10th of April. Some teams gelled straight away, for others, by golly it showed they would need a lot more training sessions to gel.

Round 1, April 17th, Season 2016 was off and running. The first half of the season created stormy waters from time-to-time. What with some questionable grading decisions by the YJFL, off-field indiscretions and some perceptions that created issues. A meeting of all Coaches and Team Managers was called whereby it was reiterated what is acceptable behaviour and standards. Our club holds one of the best reputations in the league and many people work hard to keep it so. As always, our membership is encouraged to read and understand the Code of Conduct and Rules that apply to children’s sport at the Sharks.

After Queen’s Birthday (mid-season) our teams positions were a mixed bag. This year we fielded 18 teams, totalling approximately 400 players. Seven teams were in U8’s, U9’s and U10’s. Of the 11 teams fighting for places, we had 4 teams in the top 4, 3 mid-range and 4 in the bottom section. The lower placed teams suffered more so due to grading and maybe lacking a bit in numbers. However, no matter the position of the teams, all players were trying their best. The spirit displayed by the Sharks football club was filled with determination. Even more so, it was pleasing to see the parents support and hear encouragement each week.

August 2016 – Finals. The season ended with five teams qualifying to play finals. The U11’s Red and U12’s Red bowed out in the first week. The U11’s Black, U15’s Red and Colts Red made it to the Grand Finals. Congratulations to our U11 Black and Colts Red on the 2016 Premierships. Acknowledgement must go to our Colts on their history making division 1 win. A first for PONRPJFC.


Youth Girls

This year saw the Sharks embark on Youth Girls recruitment and focussing on fielding five teams for season 2017. A lot of work has gone into properly targeting our growth by a number of people. In particular, thanks go to Mark Leonard, Melanie Eva, Nina Foxwell and Ingrid Ross. Their input of time and perseverance has been immense. All 29 primary schools in Maroondah and 4 schools in Manningham have been approached. We have been involved in two Round-Robin Lightning Premierships with a number of these schools.

Registration of interest is now being accepted at the Sharks website. Our goal is to create some skill sessions during Term 4 for all girls who register. This will help all who participate to better understand Youth Girls football, build friendships and stay fit and healthy. So, calling all mums and dads, we need your input in spreading the message and to become actively involved in assisting us to make our targets a reality.

Colman Reserve

After nearly 3 1/2 years we have reached compromise with the Manningham Council to redevelop unisex change rooms and adding a social space. Council wanted to build out the back of the existing premises. We wanted out the front and lower/closer to the actual playing arena. To do this, the Sharks and the SWCC committed to funding the shortfall. An extra $206,000 was needed. We have received pledges from Bendigo Bank ($75K), AFL Victoria ($60K), Cricket Victoria ($40K) and Manningham Council ($20K). The balance is being sought via fundraising by the football and cricket clubs. Hopefully in the next couple of months construction will commence. Thanks go to Scott Brasher and Dave Philipsen for their help.

Trivia Night

The Sharkwiz Trivia night was held at Domeney with in excess of 180 people in attendance. The night was a blast of fun-filled noise, high excitement and over $11,000 raised for the club. To our host – David Philipsen, Events Coordinator – Mike Newton and our U13’s parents for ticket sales and setup, thank you very much. Thanks also to our Sponsors (Gold), – Hoskins Property People and Club Ringwood, (Silver) Opulent Homes, RJ Waller, Essential Wetsuit Holders and Mark Leonard Plumbing.

Sharks Cocktail Function

This year we headed to “The Farm” in Warranwood for a fantastic evening. With two chefs from Rockpool, the food tasted every bit as good as it looked. The dance floor was rocking and the mums certainly did themselves proud in how much they had prepared themselves. As I said in my President’s Message on the 31st “If a Miss Australia talent scout has been on hand, we would have seen 50 new entrants to next year’s event.” All had a great evening and I’m already looking forward to next year.

Burger Night

With only three nights scheduled for the year, we as a committee were speechless with the numbers which turned out. Even in the middle of winter approximately 200 of the Sharks family were in attendance. This year saw more Rebel vouchers for the raffle, and amazingly, I think we only had two redraws for the year. Thanks to all our parent helpers on the BBQs, in setting up and generally giving assistance where needed. Your attendance on the nights is really appreciated. Finally, a big huge thankyou to our resident raffle runner – Matt Fasan – Well done.

Buddies Program

The continuation of our Buddies Program between the U8’s, U9’s and our two Colts teams were pleasing to see. I know the young blokes really look up to the Colts (yes and literally) and thanks go to all parties for their participation. To see the smiles when the boys got their letters or to be involved during the Colts matches will be a memory they’ll have forever. Thanks to Mick Choveaux for coordinating and the Coaches and Team Managers for their support.


During the season we had two main educational programs. The course run by Jo each year is a must for parents to attend. Jo runs a two day First Aid and CPR course for our membership. Approximately two dozen are able to attend each year. Thanks Jo for your assistance. The second was S.A.L.T. (Support and Life Training) that approximately 30 of our Committee, Coaches, and Team Managers attended at the YJFL headquarters. A very insightful and comprehensive program that challenged our thinking. During 2017, more programs similar to these will be run, so please keep an eye out for what and when by reading each week’s presidents message.

Rounds with a Difference

This year we trialled an actual match for points on ANZAC Day. This was held at Heidelberg Oval with the U15’s Red team competing for points. The match was a curtain raiser to the Seniors. Well done all on your contribution and pulling the event together.

An Indigenous Round match was played between Fitzroy and our Colts Red under lights on a Friday night. It was held at Victoria Park in Collingwood. Once again, played for points and deemed a success by all in attendance and by the Committee and Coaches involved in organising. I’ve really appreciated the ability for us to try different things this year and for the attitude of all to give it a go.

Well done for your assistance and input.

Club Captain/Vice Captain

On behalf of the Committee, I would like to thank our Club Captain – James Fasan and Vice-Captain – Max Lowther. Their assistance and leadership around the club and outside functions/events has been exemplary.

Colts 2016

What can be said about a history making team that played as one for each other. Congratulations to the Coach and players. The junior club wish you all the best as you commence a new chapter in your playing life next year.

Our Committee

On behalf of the membership, I’d like to humbly thank and acknowledge how much our committee do around the club. Without their input the club would not exist. Every week there are fantastic contributions by volunteers who want to help make a difference in kid’s lives and provide the sporting opportunity for them. The work done by those on and off committee all adds together. Without you and your assistance, I’d be quietly rocking in the corner. Thank you very much doesn’t seem enough to say and convey my feelings to you all, so, thanks again. You all are really appreciated for who you are and what you do.

Season 2017

Every year, we the Sharks as a club, experience various challenges and this year was no different. What is great about our club is how we deal with them. Thanks to previous committees for the policy and structure that is in place.

Without mentioning names and whilst respecting various families privacy, we recognise there have been hardships this year.

Our thoughts and prayers are with families who have had life-changing circumstances this year. Whether from death in the family or debilitating injury, you are in our thoughts and we encourage all to find the strength to keep going and fight through these challenges.

On a football front, most of the boys I’ve spoken to have enjoyed their year. Especially our youngest players. Our Director of Football – Mark Leonard and myself are aware of the problems three or four of our teams had with grading this year. Please, stay strong, we have spoken to the YJFL and will be seeking a meeting at the commencement of 2017. We are active in trying to get a better result for these teams whereby they can be more competitive next year. We will hold the League to account on their poor decision making in 2016 and move forward for 2017.

As a club the Sharks provide the support, facilities, and assets to enable children to play the game of football. However, in terms of promotion and recruitment we rely on you – the players, parents and families. Start spreading the word over the next few months please about our great club to your friends and school mates. Get them a long for Season 2017. More players equal more teams which means more game time for all.

Our sponsorship levels were low this year in terms with Major, Gold and Silver. Moving forward for next season, please keep in mind, how you, your business or someone you know could assist in this area. Credit goes to Julie Brown, our Sponsorship Coordinator, who really made a difference this year. Please contact her in readiness for 2017.


Special mention of thanks to three people in particular who go above and beyond. Their workloads are unbelievable. Thanks to Beaver (Mark), Morts (Andrew Mortlock) and Haysey (Paul Hayes). It’s the very early or very late calls and emails that lead to action that you guys do that’s appreciated. All those extras, thanks.

Also, thanks to my wife and sons for putting up with interruption and absences. Thanks for your understanding about what this role is and what the club and members mean to me. My love is strong for you all.

As I write this last paragraph, I must digress for a moment. I have just attended (Tuesday 6th September, 10.00am) our Youth Girls Primary School Gala Day. Six schools, eight teams of year 5’s and 6’s for four hours of Y.G. Football. This is the future that I’ve just observed. I have just experienced the most amount of “happy noise” since being at Tackers Day (U8’s Round Robin). The pure innocence of faces, the unbridled joy of the occasion as they get “their” chance to play Aussie Rules Footy. Just girls against girls, school against school. Mark, Mel, Nina, Gary and I couldn’t believe the excitement and desire that these girls wanted to compete today. I must admit, I was totally blown away with it all. You know what – the future of our great club is certainly in good hands.

As I go over the season, I can’t believe how quickly it has gone. Also, actually what a great season it has also been for our club.

The aim of your committee and as a whole club is to provide a safe place for your children to attend. To be able to play this great game (with competitive nature as they get older) and increase their skills and fitness. The football club offers the opportunity to be mentored by great role models and peers whilst developing lifelong friendships. We want our young people to grow up as well adjusted citizens and we believe that this is the environment to help make this happen. Looking at our Colts and the boys that have gone through to the U19’s and Seniors, I think we are on the right path.

So, in summary, thank you to all the parents for assisting, playing a role in your children’s lives and being a part of the Sharks family.

Thank you for your commitment and support.

Go Sharks!

Ritchie Appleby
President, Sharks JFC
0408 367 444