The 2016 AGM saw a complete turnover in the club committee with David Landrigan taking the helm as President. Dave took over at a difficult time but, as reported at the AGM for 2017, presided over a committee which achieved substantial improvements in player retention, club culture and an overall reinvigoration of the organisation. It has been said time and time again that involvement in the operation of a Junior Football Club is a largely thankless task. Volunteers can be thin on the ground and for those of us who accept the role, the responsibility can be significant. The demands of a new baby and a successful business meant that Dave had to withdraw from his role prior to the start of the 2018 season. From myself, and on behalf of the committee, I would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Dave for his contribution as President, Coach and volunteer.
The organisation that I inherited exemplified everything that we have strived to achieve in the culture of our club. The committee is dedicated, hardworking and inspirational and I look forward to continuing in 2019 along the path of growth and development that we have thus far established.
Last year one of the goals that we set ourselves was to implement a quality coaching environment. We sought to establish a coaching structure that delivers a uniform message to the coaches as well as the players. It is still a work in progress and I want to thank our director of coaching, Wayne Oswald, firstly for his continued acceptance of employment at PJFC and most importantly for his input, counsel and advice. Wayne is continuing the process of the development of our coaching program and our coaches. An example of a significant change is that we are currently midway through a summer pre-season training program for the U/10s to U/12s.
In 2016 we saw a reduction in membership and fielded 17 teams. In 2017 we managed to stem the decline and stabilised the club at 18 teams. In 2018 we fielded 21 teams which were constituted by a record 490 (?) registered players. Of those 21 teams, 7 were girls teams. The phenomenal growth in girls football of the club has been largely due to the efforts of one of my committee members, Sam McKay, whose efforts have been recognised by the awarding of the Sam McKay trophy to the senior girls Best and Fairest.
Our continued growth presents challenges including, as always, the availability of ground space for training. We continue to work with the Stonnington Council in an endeavour to secure more space for training nights. We are already up and running for the 2019 season with training programs underway and registrations due to open on December 1. Present forecasts indicate 23 teams for 2019.
Financially, we continue to do well returning yet another profit. One area however where we have slipped is in the retention of sponsors and I have personally taken on board the responsibility of developing a wider coterie of sponsors for the club. For those sponsors who supported us in 2018, whether by way of financial support or an in kind contribution, I extend our thanks and gratitude and I hope that you can continue to back us in 2019 and beyond.
Our reason for being is, self-evidently, to provide an opportunity for kids to experience football. Some of the highlights for the 2018 season included;
- The expansion of the girls teams.
- A number of boys, predominantly in the u15s, played their 100th game for the club.
- Josh Brown from the u12s received an award from the SMJFL.
- We had 5 teams qualify for finals with 2 teams playing in their Grand Final. Of the Grand Final contenders we had 1 win and 1 loss.
- Amongst the juniors we had 1 winner in the Lightning premierships.
- Toorak Park once again played host to the Junior Lighting Carnival. The games were well attended and provided a significant return to the club.
- Our Indigenous Dream Time Round expanded to two games this year incorporating the U/14 girls and the U/15 boys and we would like to try and make it a day long carnival in 2019.
Can I also extend my thanks to the wider PJFC community – to the parents, grandparents, siblings and so on who support the kids in their quest for football glory. It’s a great thrill to travel around the suburban grounds on a Sunday watching “two blues” kids take the ground whilst being cheered on by an army of enthusiastic supporters.
All in all, the feedback from the PJFC community this year has been fantastic and reinforces my view, and the view of my committee, that the roles that we fulfil are genuinely appreciated.
In conclusion I would like to thank all of the committee members their support and hard work over the last season and I want to thank the committee for their continued support of me as President of PJFC in 2019. For those committee members who are continuing in 2019 as well as those who are joining us for the first time, I look forward to working with you in what I expect will no doubt be another challenging but exciting year for our club.
I wish everyone in the PJFC community a rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable season 2019.