Presidents Report 2016

In preparation for this year’s, Presidents report I took time to reflect on what I believe makes St Marys Greensborough Junior Football Club great and I kept returning to one word, passion.

It is the passion of our members, both past and present, our coaches and team officials and our players that place great responsibility on those charged with the running of the club to meet the expectations set by former committees and to ensure the clubs short and long term success.

As our season drew to a close, I sent what I naively thought was a rather innocuous email regarding the procedures and policies around the award of presentation trophies. What followed was two days of emails and phone calls, both for and against, and as the dust settled I pondered on how blessed we are to have so many members who care so much about what happens at our club.  Only those with real passion would take the time to pick up the phone or send an email, after the season had finished, on a topic that in the main did not affect them directly.

The passion of our members is also very evident in our well attended Sunday supporter’s nights, especially our showpiece events of Indigenous Round, Girls Football Round & Colts Heritage Round. To have our large clubrooms packed to the rafters on each of these nights was a great endorsement of our club and reward for the hard work put in by those who made it possible.  Our social events, Ladies Night, Poker Night and Volunteers Night were also incredibly well attended in a climate where other clubs are cancelling or scaling down events.

Our Gala Ball regularly attracts well over 300 attendees which is an incredible result for a Junior Sporting Club. On this night, our life members are asked to assemble on the dance floor and their number continues to amaze.  The fact that so many continue to support the club after their children have finished playing and in many cases moved on to senior clubs is another example of the passion held for St Marys.  This year we inducted Glenn & Debbie Costello & Mark & Jodie Stanley as life members and I would like to congratulate them on this honour.

Also evident to me is the passion of our players. At a recent school fete I attended I was taken that the dominant sporting apparel on show was not Carlton or Collingwood, Manchester United or Real Madrid or the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors but the Teal, White & Black of St Marys.  The same can be said of any weekend trip to Greensborough Plaza or any local school camp.  Our kids choose to wear our colours with pride and passion, in and out of season.

Passion is very obvious amongst our hard working 2016 committee, Aleks, Anna, Anthony, Brenton, Glenn, Kellie, Laureen, Lisa, Mark, Michael & Ray.  Our committees are deliberately assembled to offer a diversity of age, gender, experience, background, occupations and philosophies on junior sport.  What naturally follows are sometimes passionate discussions and decisions regarding the policies and position of our club, we don’t always agree but we do always have the best interest of the club, our kids and our members in mind.  My personal thanks goes out to every one of our committee members who I had the pleasure of working alongside this year.

Special mention needs to be made of two retiring committee members.

Michael Mefflin, has been a true right hand man during my term as President and I cannot thank him enough for his personal support of me and his outstanding stewardship of our club. Always the voice of reason, be it in dispute resolution, or at meetings he is the ultimate club person, putting aside his personal interests for the betterment of our club, both on a day to day basis and in positioning St Marys for future challenges.  I will miss our often tri-weekly phone calls that ramble from the issues of the day to how we can do things better as a club to general philosophies on sporting clubs and junior sport in general.

Glen Costello has led an outstanding Football Department. Once again, he is selfless with the best outcomes for our teams and players foremost in his mind.  An amazing amount of time is spent ensuring every player and every team is at a level where they have the best opportunity to develop and improve and are led by a coach and team officials that are professional, qualified and encouraged.  Our record breaking season of five premierships was a fantastic reward for his efforts, but our football department should be more proud of the fact that all bar one of our 26 teams were able to be competitive in their league.  True to form, the experience of our one unfortunately uncompetitive team dominated discussion post season rather than those that achieved the ultimate success.

As I stand down from the committee at the completion of the 2016 season, I am most proud of the fact that the committees I have been a part of have been able to look beyond the busy week to week running of the club and attempt to position St Marys for the future. Our club and sport continue to face significant challenges, the majority of which are beyond our control such as the ageing demographics of Greensborough, the increased social and sporting opportunities for the youth of today and the density of football clubs in our area.  With that in mind, a personal and group goal has been to position St Marys with a point of difference and a destination club, somewhere that parents and players would feel compelled to join and find it difficult to leave.

This goal remains a work in progress but some of the steps achieved have been:

  • The completion of two major capital works projects – the electronic scoreboard and the Greensborough Park change rooms redevelopment. Through sponsorship, fundraising and volunteer labour both projects were completed without having to access any of the clubs surplus funds.
  • The ongoing emphasis on coaching and player development, importantly both at the elite level and for those who just enjoy playing the game.
  • A policy around playing jumper replacement and match day kits and merchandise that presents St Marys in a professional light each week.
  • The ongoing development and investment in our Girls Football program.
  • The strengthening of our Colts & Youth Girls programs, giving those at the pinnacle of junior sport the due recognition they deserve, highlighted at our Gala Ball, Heritage Round & end of year “Brownlow” night.
  • The strengthening of our relationships with our key partners – the St Marys Senior Football Club, the YJFL, The City of Banyule, Diamond Creek Senior Womans Football Club & Watsonia Football Club.

Our Sponsors are also an invaluable and important part of the St Marys community and I would like to acknowledge all of generous team & club sponsors and in particular our major sponsors, Stuart Broadley & Associates, The Blind Spot, Banyule Dental, Barry Plant Real Estate Greensborough & Active Environmental Solutions. Sponsorship funds raised bridge the gap between our registration fees and the true cost of running the club and without them we would be forced to lift our fees or reduce our services and activities.  As always I encourage all members to support our sponsors as they have supported us.

In closing, our club remains as always indebted to the efforts of our fantastic coaches, team managers & age group managers. They are the lifeblood of the club and are the first and often the only point of contact for our parents and players. As well as performing their roles to great ability they also act as role models and mentors for our boys and girls, young men and young woman.  A more dedicated, professional and passionate group of people would be hard to find and on behalf of the club and committee I thank them sincerely.

Finally, on a personal note, it would be remiss of me not to thank my wife, Sam. Sam encouraged me to put up my hand for the role of President two years ago, probably not fully appreciative of how much time it would take from our family and our business , I am very appreciative of the sacrifices she has made in this regard.

I leave the committee extremely comfortable that the next team of volunteers are ready, able and enthusiastic to tackle the challenges ahead and I look forward to next season as just a parent and maybe (very) occasional barman!

Thanks to all that have supported our club in 2016,

Evan Butterworth

President 2016