On behalf of your Executive Committee, I am proud to present the 35th St Mary’s GJFC Annual Report for the year ending 30 September, 2008. The past year has been an extremely interesting, demanding and rewarding experience for us all.

I would firstly like to thank Phillip Cattenazi and Tom Chapman for their ongoing support, guidance and counsel throughout the season. Both Paul and I had big shoes to fill with the departure of the “A” team and I hope we have carried the baton they passed to us, with similar distinction and integrity.

A sincere thank you to all of our wonderful coaches and team managers who did such a great job throughout the year. Personally, I do not measure the success of any junior football club by how many premierships they win, instead I prefer to measure performance on how many kids are given the opportunity to play our great game. Approximately half of our competitive teams played finals this year. Our goal for the coming season is to increase that to 2/3rd’s. We are planning to increase the management of our football department from 1 to 3 people and to increase the football department’s budget by up to 400%. This additional money will be spent on employing more specialist coaches, who will work to educate both our coaches and players on how to become a better footballer. This was trialled this year by employing a fitness instructor to train our Colts during pre-season and resulted in significant benefits.

Under the guidance of Greg Norden we are proposing to expand this concept and employ specialist skills coaches who will focus particularly on the younger age groups and teach them the basics of kicking, marking etc. Our long term goal is that every player will be given the best possible football education at St Mary’s and given every opportunity to become the best that they can be.

I would also like to briefly recognise all the executive members who made such a significant contribution to the running of our great club in 2008.

Paul Millet who took the difficult role of Club Secretary on and thrived as well as being a tremendous backstop and confidant for me

Paul Mitchell who brought so much enthusiasm to every task

Greg Norden who brought such integrity and vision to the most demanding role in the club.

Lynne Yates who’s commitment and reliability was second to none.

Joanne Rockwell who spent many hours updating and improving our registration process

Guy Iacona who continues to improve our bottom line each year.

Jon Benson who’s humour was a constant source of amusement plus his ability to organise the club’s biggest and best dinner dance ever

Walter Ferronato who brought a new level of professionalism to the club in such a demanding role.

Livio Basile who is the backbone and soul of St Mary’s and who’s commitment could never be questioned.

I would also like to congratulate all of our players who received awards at the YJFL best and fairest or were lucky enough to be selected in the YJFL representative teams, as well as the many boys who played 50, 100 or 150 milestone games during the course of the season.

Congratulations also to our new Life Members, John and Pauline Snell as well as Les and Vita Jessop. Both wonderful St Mary’s families that have given outstanding service to the club over many years.

This year again we spent up big with all the kids receiving FREE training tops and footballs when registering as well as purchasing new jumpers for all of our Colts teams and significantly upgrading the lighting at both Greensborough and Whatmough Parks. All this could not have been possible without the continued generous support of all of our Major, Club and Team sponsors.

I can also report that the clubroom re-development looks like commencing at some stage next year. Thank you to all our members and those of Riverside Cricket Club who attended the Banyule Council meeting in June and made such a strong united statement to all of the councillors. However, we are still waiting for final confirmation from the state government in regard to their $220,000 grant which we expect to receive prior to Christmas.

Some other highlights during the year included:-

Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton) and Patrick Vespremi (Sydney) playing their first AFL games after being drafted last year.

Nick Stevens and Matthew Kreuzer returned to their junior club and conducted clinics with U/10 and U/11 players throughout the season.

The creation of a separate St Mary’s Senior Football Club which will offer all of our players a pathway to U/19/Senior football in the future.

Our canteen being voted the best in the YJFL by an independent panel

Updating of our website and email communication.

Mick Drake “taking over the running of the bar” & managing so brilliantly

Finally on a personal note a huge thank you to my 4 children and my wife Kerry, who have supported me throughout a very long year. I promise it will be shorter next year. With a club record 582 children, playing in 26 teams, 2008 was another outstanding year at the St Mary’s Greensborough Junior Football Club. I look forward to an even better year in 2009. Thank you to all our members for your ongoing support and ensuring that your child continues to represent the biggest and best junior football club in Australia.

Chris Freeman