Healesville Football Netball Club had a challenging year in 2021, hampered by lockdowns and underwhelming performances which left the club unfulfilled.
However, the one element of the Bloods which could never be doubted was their spirit and willingness to stay positive and stick together throughout the year.
Vice president Toby Millman said it was a tough year with the covid interruptions but the comradery and mateship which existed around the club meant they were still able to enjoy themselves when they could.
“It was an interrupted year and it was hard to manage,” he said.
“It was hard for everyone in terms of the stop-start and then we had the final trigger point that cancelled the season, which meant it was an unfulfilled season from our point of view.
“Our club spirit was fantastic, but our performances were not what we were hoping for.”
The 15 & Under junior team was the standout of the entire netball department, where improved participation saw them finish in third on the ladder with six wins.
One of the shining lights from the club in a tough year was the positive attitude and mateship shown in the women’s football side where despite only winning one game in 2021, there was plenty of fight and a willingness to go hard at the ball.
Many of their games were decided by a matter of points and the competitiveness they brought to the field after winning the Division Two premiership in 2019 brought great smiles to members across the club.
“Our girls are fantastic with things like comradery, mateship and the attitude they bring to the club is first class,” Millman said.
“I hope our male footballers can look to them for inspiration for the years to come.”
Highlights from a tough year at Healesville included the two wins for the seniors over Belgrave and the development of young players including Max Renouf, Tennyson Amarant, Dylan Sissins and 15-year-old Cody Anderson who featured in seven games at senior level.
The standout players for the Bloods included Will Kristelly-Kelety who had a fantastic influence in the ruck as well as captain Nick Mende who always put in the hard work every week to lead his side from the front.
Millman, however, is particularly fond of Amarant who put in some tough performances to showcase to the competition what he is capable of.
“He showed incredible performances and leadership, demonstrated by his ability to put his head over the ball,” he explained.
“When our opposition applied the pressure to us, Tennyson never backed off from them which is really impressive for a young man.”
With community sport being heavily affected by the COVID-19 regulations and subsequent lockdowns, Healesville rose to the challenge with the assistance of its volunteers who were dedicated across the year to helping the club.
“Our volunteers have been second to none throughout this whole period,” Millman beamed.
“The fact they have been willing to do whatever they had to with all the covid stuff has been fantastic.”
Looking towards 2022, the Bloods will have a new senior coach, with league and club life member Dean De Munk taking on the role.
It is hoped De Munk’s signing will generate great improvement and provides the club with a great opportunity to set up well to be a challenger for the years ahead.
“It’s a really good appointment from a club point of view and we have already set off in our plans for next year with recruitment where we have been able to bring some of our locals back which is really good,” Millman said.
“We have got a depth of talent between the 18–21-year-old bracket and Dean will be aiming to help improve those guys as well.”
Millman took the opportunity to thank everyone involved at the club for its efforts in what was a hard year and is already looking forward to an off-season of preparation for 2022.
“I could not be more thankful for everyone’s commitment to the Healesville Football Netball Club in what was a tough, trying year but we’re on the pathway to improvement now with our on field and court performances,” he said.
“We are getting there.”
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