The first ever AFL Outer East is creeping every closer, and as anticipation builds we’ll be taking a closer look at each and every club in our newly formed home.
2018 was a big year for the Officer Football and ROC Netball Clubs. ROC’s A Grade netball missed the finals due to their regular season tie with Cranbourne, whilst the senior football side appeared in their first South East Football Netball League (SEFNL) finals series, where they were beaten by Beaconsfield in the elimination final.
It was a fitting way for the Roos to send off the now defunct league, and will be hopefully looked at as a massive stepping stone for the club in years to come according to football president Nick McLennan.
“Making the finals was a big deal for us, our supporters, life members and past players, you could see in their eyes how much it meant to them,” said McLennan speaking about last seasons successes.
The Roos edged out Tooradin-Dalmore for the coveted fifth spot, despite going down to them in last round of the home and away season.
Not only was it the clubs first finals appearance in the SEFNL competition, it was their first taste of September action since their move from the West Gippsland Football League in 2005. Their next big change was to become the Officer Football Club once again.
Officer were known as Rythdale – Officer – Cardina Football Club after a merger between the clubs in 1977. The club then decided to change their name prior to the 2016 season, from ROC to Officer. The change was made help the club better identify itself with the local region.
McLennan also described the change as a chance for the club to press the reset button and start afresh. Their first move was the acquisition of Senior Coach Doug Koop.
“Bringing in Dougie has been a massive driver behind the change around the club, blokes who previously didn’t want to work that hard for their spot are now busting a gut, and that work ethic has just spread around the place.”
McLennan suggested that whilst the Roos had always been a well liked club with a family feel, they often lacked that ruthless cutting edge and thus the on-field respect they craved, but that’s not the case anymore.
It now has another chance to build upon its new found persona with the move across to the AFL Outer East and a divisional structure.
“What divisional football offers up or clubs is the chance for them to find their level, play competitive footy week in, week out and a better chance at on field success.”
Nick’s views are shared by his netball counterpart Laura Quinn, the President of the ROC Netball Club.
“We’re looking forward to the new challenge,” said Quinn when speaking about the upcoming season.
“It offers us a chance to create some new rivalries and hopefully win some premierships.”
ROC have kept a hold of their head coach from last season Sharon Massey-Chase (Hook) and will have some new faces changing the make up of their squad and coaching panel.
However the Roos will not be straying to far away from their usual formula, with the club maintaining its pathway from juniors to seniors as it has done so well in previous years.
“ROC are known for having a strong junior program, and previously our A and B Grade sides have been majority ROC junior players,”
“We have a great history of junior players hanging around.”
AFL Outer East and season 2019 looks to be offering the Roos a chance to build upon the clubs newest chapter in it’s intriguing history. Whilst the new competition still remains the great unknown for many of the clubs members, there can be one certainty according to McLennan – the club won’t be forgetting its roots.
“What makes Officer(/ROC) great is the unity and pride it offers throughout the Officer community, and that won’t be going away anytime soon.”
The Roos kick off their season with a Good Friday away clash against Doveton on the 19th of April.