Junior Girls AFL: A Sport that Needs a Change

How growth at the grassroots is being stunted

Teenage girls playing junior AFL at St Luke’s Oval are getting ready in a small, cold public toilet block while boys are in the comparative luxury of purpose-built dressing sheds next door.

Officials at the Canada Bay Cannons’ home at Concord’s St Luke’s Oval say they are embarrassed for the girls but there is no option when games overlap at the busy ground.

Visiting female teams playing their semi-finals two weeks ago were forced to queue up to 20 at a time to access the two metres by four metres space with chipped tiles and two cubicles.

The club is desperate to fix the situation.

As young girls are flocking to the sport, the club says plans to build more change facilities and to upgrade the playing surface to make it safe for kids have stalled because federal and state government funding promised two years ago has not eventuated.

Leon Cameron, head coach of leading AFL club the GWS Giants, was dismayed by the conditions when he visited the junior football oval and said it contradicts the sport’s promotion at the grassroots.

“We’re pushing our girls into these sort of change rooms that are totally unacceptable whereas the boys have obviously got pretty good facilities, he said.

“If we are really going to push this game for women we’ve got to support it as well.

“What looks like a fantastic concept will all of a sudden disintegrate within a couple of years because the facilities are just not up to scratch,” the coach said.

Cannons’ long-time junior girls AFL player Gabi Stanwix, one of 100 girls at the club, said funding delays to improve facilities were frustrating.

“Often I’d miss quite a few things just because I had to get changed somewhere else,” the teenager said of her 250-plus games with the club.

“The difference between the boys and the girls is so drastic,” Gabi said.

While GWS Giants’ women’s football star Nicole Barr said the launch of the AFLW competition last year had sparked massive interest in the code for girls.

“It’s important that the facilities continue to improve and I know AFL NSW is working really hard to ensure the best programs and infrastructure are in place for the next generation of boys and girls coming through.”

The club has proposed a $5 million upgrade to the oval that will providing appropriate facilities for women and to resurface the uneven ground to make it safer for all young players. It would also serve junior athletics and cricket.

Cameron said protecting kids with a safe playing surface was also a priority.

The 256-game Western Bulldogs and Richmond player – now a father of two boys and a girl – shared the safety concern.

“The dirt patches all across this ground are so unsafe for ankles and knees,” the AFL mentor said.

“There are probably 15 to 20 (divots) across the ground.”

Cameron, the junior club’s players, parents, volunteers, and senior AFL women’s stars agree that the kids deserves better.

A Cannons club spokesman said a $2 million funding shortfall and further unfulfilled funding promises threatened to stall construction on the second stage of the proposal.

Local federal government MP Craig Laundy promised $1.9m to overhaul the oval in the lead-up the last federal election, he said.

Minister Laundy confirmed $500,000 as a contribution to install field lights, electronic scoreboard and storage rooms as a first stage.

He is non-committal on the remaining $1.4 million but the former Turnbull government minister suggested more funding to sports clubs in Sydney’s inner west, including the Cannons, was on the horizon.

“I’m looking forward to making further significant announcements about sporting grants over the coming weeks and months.”

The club received $230,000 from the State Government two years ago to help complete the first stage of St Lukes Oval development.

But it claims promises of a multi-million dollar State boost to complete the vision have stalled. 

NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said his department was pulling its weight on suburban sports ground support, when contacted this week. He suggested the door remained open for the Cannons club to secure more funding.

The cash from the two governments was “critical” to the project’s future, said Cannons’ strategy head Jeremy Stanwix.

“Surely (the girls) have waited long enough to get access to facilities that are appropriate for their participation in our great sport,” he said.

Meanwhile, The Australian Football League said the state’s jump in junior numbers including young girls and that some facilities were challenged by the demands on use.

The NSW/ACT AFL said it had earmarked $250,000 for the St Lukes’ Oval project and remains confident it will go ahead with the support of the federal and state government, local council and the club.

Photos by Alan Nunez

AGM: 4 September

We’d like to invite all Concord GIANTS families to our AGM over a light dinner at the Canada Bay Club.

Tuesday 4 September
18:30-20:30
Canada Bay Club
4 Williams St, Five Dock

We will be looking to fill our Committee positions for 2018-2019 so we can focus on preparing for Season 2019.

Involvement on the Concord GIANTS committee is a great way to be a part of your local community and be involved in something that your child loves.

This is a community club, run by parents, so their kids can have fun playing AFL. Please consider how you can help.

Don’t really know that much about AFL? Not a problem, we need people with admin, organisational and marketing skills as well!

Don’t have a lot of time? That’s OK, too. Not all roles require a big commitment. We can make this work for you.

If you’re interested but unsure, come along anyway! Or speak to one of our current committee members.

You’ll find new membership and membership renewal forms below, plus a volunteer appointment form.

AFL Holiday Camp at St Luke’s

If you are looking for some school holiday activities for the kids, the Concord GIANTS recommend this camp, run by Super Sports Camps at our home ground of St Luke’s Oval.

Super Sports Camps AFL flyer

 

 

Reasons to SHOOSH!

Yelling from the sidelines in a negative way is not OK – we all know that. But as part of #shooshforkids week, we also want to highlight how negative conversations about sport can have an impact.

Umpires

We all make mistakes, particularly when we’re learning – and all umpires on junior AFL games are still learning. Unfortunately, there have been examples of young umpires giving up because they’re afraid to make mistakes, or because of criticism they’ve received.

That’s sad enough. But what if it is not yelling? What if it is just complaining about umpires in conversations with the players?

Blaming an official for a result is an excuse and modelling disrespect for authority. There are thousands of decisions and actions made during a game – by players and umpires – focusing on just those made by the umpires, or just one decision as a turning point in the game – teaches players that is OK for them to abdicate responsibility for their own actions.

So, what can be done about poor umpiring decisions? If there’s something that needs urgent attention, the team manager (and only the team manager) can approach the ground manager, who can then decide whether it is something that needs to be discussed with the umpires immediately. Under no circumstances should a parent or team official approach the umpires directly.

Coaches also have access to a form to provide constructive feedback on umpiring. This allows umpire coaches to know what issues need to be addressed at umpire training.

The other team

We’ve all come across teams or Clubs that have a reputation for being “dirty”. But are they really? Or are they kids who are still learning the game and making mistakes? Are we focusing on those mistakes, but forgiving our own? Is the push in the back by an opponent deliberately dirty, while the push in the back by our player just a mistake?

We may not like an opposing team culture, but we need to remember that all players are still learning, and that team officials are volunteers doing their best for the love of the sport.

Don’t forget, these children may one day play WITH each other – kids can change clubs, play in the same development/representative teams, the same academies etc. Let’s focus on building positive relationships in football!

As above, if there are issues that need urgent attention during a game, the team manager can raise these with the ground manager.  If you want to lodge a formal complaint regarding another Club, contact our Club. If warranted, we’ll take it further on your behalf.

#shooshforkids

 

GWS GIANTS Junior Clubs March: 28 April

For those that have registered for the GWS Giants Junior Clubs March on Saturday 28 April, please make sure you EITHER wear your game day jumper home OR your training shirt (or even your GWS GIANTS gear) for the march to identify yourself as Concord GIANTS.

Here are the major timings for the day:

2pm  club participants can start to arrive at Cathy Freeman Park.
3:10pm  clubs to start marshalling kids in their groups.
3:15pm  start to move over to go through gate D, everyone will going over in order, which we confirm with clubs on the day.
3:35pm  clubs to all be at the ramp behind the Members stand. Clubs to ensure all parents know that they need to be back at that spot to collect their children once they come off the field.
Approx 3:50pm  march to begin. We can walk slow due to having a good amount of time on field.
Approx 4:20pm  all clubs to be off oval and walked back to meeting point for collection at the top of the ramp.
4:35pm  game starts

If you missed out on tickets, you can still get them by emailing Lauren at the GIANTS. You’ll still be able to march and get access to the game, you just won’t be able to sit with the rest of the Concord GIANTS players.

PS: Send some pics for Facebook! Email: lovefooty@concordgiants.com.au

LJ Hooker Drummoyne and Concord logo

2018 Sponsor: LJ Hooker Drummoyne – Concord

Our sponsors don’t just hand over a cheque, they’re part of the Concord GIANTS team!

LJ Hooker Drummoyne/Concord is one of our Major Sponsors for Season 2018.

Principal Ben Horwood is a local and is an avid sports fan – AFL, NRL, rugby, cricket, golf (so, basically, if there’s a ball involved, Ben’s interested).

As the leader of the Concord and Drummoyne offices of LJ Hooker and a director of LJ Hooker Commercial Inner West, Ben is widely recognised as one of the Inner West’s leading estate agents and has been ranked in the top 100 agents in Australia.

He has a strong reputation for playing it straight, and always putting his client’s first.

The commitment of our sponsors goes a long way to ensuring long term financial stability for the Concord GIANTS (and keeping registration fees down). So, when you see Ben around the grounds or in the community, make sure you say g’day.

And, of course, if you’re looking at buying or selling, please have a chat with LJ Hooker Concord & Drummoyne – and let them know you’re from the GIANTS – so they know their support goes both ways.

Thanks Ben and LJ Hooker. We look forward to a successful Season 2018!

You can follow LJ Hooker on Facebook and on Twitter.

2018 Sponsor: Horizon Homes

Denis and Esther Carroll from Horizon Homes have been around our Club so long, they’re family.

Over the years, they’ve been parents on the sidelines, active volunteers behind the scenes and generous Major Sponsors. We’re thrilled that Horizon Homes is back as a Major Sponsor for Season 2018.

Horizon Homes’ commitment to grassroots footy also extends to our youth club as a Gold Sponsor of the Canada Bay Cannons. And there’s no need to remind you that sponsors are vital in ensuring the long term financial stability of our club!

Horizon Homes is a boutique home building company unlike any other. They’ll not only deliver your high-quality, cleverly designed dream home, but their unique processes will ensure you actually enjoy the building and design journey as well.

Each home is tailored to the needs of your family and your site – there are no ‘cookie cutter’ options with Horizon Homes!

If you’re looking to knock down and rebuild, please visit the Horizon Homes display home and have a chat with Denis and Esther (and make sure you mention you’re from the GIANTS). You’ll find Horizon Homes at the Homequest Display Village, 48 Bruhn Circuit, Kellyville. They’re open seven days.

And if you see Denis and Esther on the sidelines, make sure you thank them for their support!

 

 

Wednesday 14 March: Grounds OPEN/Mouthguards

After all this rain, we’re pleased to advise that St Luke’s is now OPEN for training.

Today is the first session for our Auskick U5, U6 and U7 teams. Training for these grades starts at 4.30pm.

U8 and U9, training continues at 5.30pm while U10 and U11 start at 6.30pm.

All sessions are at St Luke’s and the best parking is via Crane Street.

Don’t forget – our professional mouthguard service is available today! We will have a fitting service in the amenities block from 4.30pm. The cost of mouthguards will be $90, but if you have private health insurance, this may be fully refunded to you. (The item number is 151 if you would like to check with your fund.)

Mouthguards are compulsory in Junior and Youth AFL, and recommended for Auskick grades.

AFL School Holiday Camp!

WHAT?! School holiday camps already?

We know it feels like they just started school, but if you’re super-organised you’ll benefit from the early bird discount (the price break expires 17 March). A school holiday footy camp on our home ground – what could be more convenient!

AFL School Holiday Camp Flyer

imagine of first aid kit

First Aid Volunteers Wanted!

Know first aid? Always been meaning to do first aid training? This is for YOU!

We need qualified first aiders at all home games. The basic qualification is a first aid certificate, obtained with the past five years. If you’d like to do a course – or a refresher – the Club can reimburse you for the cost.

Of course, if you’re a doctor, nurse, paramedic or pharmacist, no course is required!

The commitment is generally for a two hour slot, two or three times during the season at home games. It will overlap with your child’s game time, so you get to watch them play.

Can yo help? Our first aid coordinator Sally can give you with all the details. Direct message through this page or email Sally direct: slgarner@icloud.com