We did it! The Canterbury Football Club are premiers, in both the senior and reserve grades! This is the club’s first senior flag since 2003, the first reserves flag since 1965, and the first time both flags have been won in the same year since 1956!
A massive thanks needs to go out to everyone who helped achieve our goals this year, especially the coaches, the players, the support staff and of course, the committee. Hopefully the club can now build on this season as we venture into VAFA Division 3 – the last 2 D4 premiers have gone on to take the D3 flag the very next year, dare to dream Cobras!
So, how did this all come about?
Like every year before this, the season officially began at the AGM, held at the end of October, 2014. The meeting saw myself, Sue Bach and Carol Pearce all re-elected into the positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Hamish Giles and Rex Johnson again nominated for a spot on the committee, while James Nicolas would also rejoin after some time away. The position of Vice President wasn’t immediately filled, though before the end of 2014, newcomer to the club Kirsten Kent would join the committee and take on the role. Michael Kruger, Siobhan Barker and Amy Bennett elected not to return to their positions on the committee, the club thanks them for their efforts and we hope to see them return in the near future.
On field, things could hardly have gone better. After almost earning promotion in our very first VAFA season – finishing 3rd after going down to eventual premiers West Brunswick in the preliminary final – it was obvious that the club had a great bunch of players, as well as a fantastic coaching group. It would come as no surprise to all that Michael Harper, Damien Reeves, Tim Nichols & Chris Adames were reappointed in their senior roles, as was John Doak in the reserves, bringing with him Andy Gill as his assistant.
After training resumed in February, practice matches were arranged to be played against our old EFL opponents in Surrey Park and Nunawading. These games gave the coaches their first real look at how the teams might line up in round 1 and a glimpse of what potential the playing group had.
The year started out with a thumping of league newcomers Parkside in the reserves to the tune of 164 points, while in the seniors a last quarter comeback saw the Cobras get over the line by the slimmest of margins, edging out the eventual fellow grand finalists by a solitary point. The reserves would then go on to lose only 3 games for the home and away season, and the seniors dropping only 1, which was in the final round. Apart from a semi final hiccup by the seniors, the team’s then went through the finals series undefeated to take both flags, with the reserves knocking off the previously undefeated and highly fancied Westbourne Grammarians. Well done once again to all!
The on field success the club had this season was due to the retention of almost all players from season 2014, as well as some handy acquisitions and a few ex-players returning to the club. It’s imperative that we again retain our players as well as recruit well to ensure we’re up the right end of the ladder in 2016.
During the home game against Mt Lilydale in June, the club also hosted an Auskick game at halftime of the seniors, where around 35 local kids participated in a scratch match. The event was certainly a success and the kids enjoyed coming down and playing in front of a crowd. As well as the community benefits, it’s also great advertising as a place the kids can play once they’re old enough.
Also on field, though in a non playing role, the club stepped up both the roles and payments of the trainers, which paid immediate dividends. Sarah Scott, Caitlin Kent, Xanthe Foster and Sue Bach did a huge job throughout the year to keep the players on the field, both on game day and at training, thanks to all for their amazing work over the season.
Major sponsors of the club The Harp of Erin and The Bendigo Bank were both back on board for season, with the Harp increasing their contributions via their loyalty program. Many of the local business sponsors were also back on board, though overall, sponsorship was slightly down on 2014. This is an area the club can certainly improve in seasons to come, and can certainly use assistance in. As always, if you know of anyone who may be willing to sponsor the club, please get in touch ASAP.
Socially, the club had another successful year. Events that were held included the Cobra Quarrel (family feud), ladies day, past player/sponsors day, Snakes on a Train (follow up to Snakes on a Plane), the annual ball, a trivia night, as well as the reverse raffle. Presentation night was slightly different this year compared to years gone by with extra entertainment provided and from all reports enjoyed by all. Each event was well attended, and we look forward to putting together another enjoyable social event for all for season 2016.
It should also be noted that Andrew Mack and Lachlan Giles were awarded life membership at presentation night. Both reached the 200 game milestone at the club, and both were members of the 2003 senior premiership, as well as the 2015 reserves flag. As well as this both have also contributed off field, helping where they can, and Lachy also served on the committee for a number of years. Though both have indicated that they’ve played their final games, the club looks forward to seeing them for many years to come. Congratulations to both on their life memberships.
Once again, congratulations to all on achieving two premierships in the same year, something we’ll all remember forever. I certainly look forward to the reunions that will take place in the years to come.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our outgoing, premiership winning senior coach, Michael Harper, for his efforts at the club during my time as president. Over the past two seasons. Harps was instrumental in obtaining pitch covers from council, pulling in extra club sponsors as well as raising player sponsorship to a figure never seen before. On top of this, Harps also stepped into the role of council liaison, ensured the maintenance of the club rooms was upheld and took care of a number of other matters throughout the year – as well as coaching the club to a senior premiership. The work Harps has put in has been amazing and the results certainly show that. Harps, thanks for everything you’ve done, I’m hoping you can continue to assist in some capacity next season.
A big thank you also to the committee this season – Kirsten, Sue, Carol, Rex, James and Hamish, you should all be extremely proud of what our club achieved this season. Thank you also to everyone who helped in any other role this year, everyone from the team managers to the time keepers, line markers to the ladies in the canteen. There really are too many people to name, the club would fall over without people like you assisting each week, I hope we can have as many volunteers (if not more) next season as we did this year.
Looking on to 2016, Damien Reeves has been appointed senior coach and has arranged Paul Luby and John Doak to be his assistants. Paul is new to the club, while Doaky has been the reserves coach for the past two seasons. With John stepping up into a senior role, this (at the time of writing) leaves the reserves position vacant, though we’re chasing up a few potential leads, stay tuned for updates on that.
Off field, as always, there are areas we can improve. I’d like to see a rise in committee member numbers next year to help spread the load across more people. Many hands really do make light work, and with just a couple of extra people on board, the impact will be immediately noticed. Sponsorship is the main area I’d like to focus on improving next season, though we could also use assistance in social and membership. Everything the committee does is on a volunteer basis and is for the benefit of the club, your club. If you’ve thought about joining the committee before, now’s a great chance to do it.
I’ll be running for president again in 2016, and hope that we can continue to build the club up in the local community while also tasting success in VAFA Division 3.
Here’s to another great year at Canterbury in 2016.