Like many clubs in the context of local community sport, Olinda Ferny Creek Junior Football Club were light on with numbers in the off-season, but a strong recruitment drive throughout the summer period now sees the Bloods in a great position to have a good year with participation numbers.
The club dedicated the time towards running after school clinics in each of December and term one where the turnout was terrific and have managed to recruit well in the local area.
The school clinics we did really gave us a good understanding of the fact that the younger age groups are training hard and look forward to getting back into playing football, as this has flowed onto the pre-season training program which has flourished.
“All of our younger age groups with 9’s, 10’s, 11’s, and 13’s are going really well and the recruitment has worked well, but the numbers start to get thin with the older age groups,” said club president Simon Gilson.
“We will be ok to field teams in under 15 and 17 boys, and under 14 and under 16 girls but we would like to chase a few more players to fill these teams to be safe.
The pre-season program for the older age bracket has been focussed on an eventual transition into the senior club for both girls and boys, where players have trained on the same night as the senior clubs.
Some of the under 17’s boys often stay around to train with the under 19’s to get a good feel for it, while the girls’ teams have often trained with the senior women’s team where Gilson is the head coach.
The overall strong participation numbers are reflective of a solid off-field position where the vision is to build the foundations towards future projects and infrastructure.
Playing on the Olinda green oval this year, it provides a great base for the club to set itself up well with two ovals available.
The potential to host social functions this season such as family nights are high on the agenda to bring the club and wider community together to enjoy themselves.
With the new season not far away, the club who punch well above its weight are ready and raring to go and look forward to engaging with the community.
Despite looking good in terms of on-field competitiveness, Gilson has no expectations for his side this year, with the focus solely on getting back together and reconnecting the juniors with footy again.
“We believe we have some strong sides and hope they do well, but we will not be placing any expectations on them,” Gilson explained.
“Participation is the number one thing in junior sport, not results.
“We are really looking forward to the year, having the kids come back for pre-season has been really good.”