Pakenham Lions Netball Club had a great year across its senior and junior squads, with seven of its ten teams finishing in the top five on their respective ladders.
Inclusion and a priority on involvement was a key aspect for the Lions as they rode the waves of another interrupted year, but still managed to get some good results.
Club President Marg Jones was proud of the way her club handled the year, with enjoyment and positive wellbeing at the forefront of her mind throughout the season.
“We had a fabulous year,” she said.
“Our priority as a club this year was participation, and it was so good for us to get everybody back out on the court again.
“It was really important for us to be engaged with everyone.”
The A grade side are a young team who are still working to build momentum but enjoyed great wins against Upwey Tecoma and Doveton.
The junior teams showed signs of great talent emerging, with Under 17 White and both Under 15 sides all finishing second on their respective ladders.
“We have a fantastic netball program with a key focus on developing our young players into future seniors,” Jones explained.
“All our players did a great job this year considering the difficult circumstances.”
2021 was a big year for the Lions from the perspective of game milestones, with a clear highlight being club veteran Kate McGowan reaching an astonishing 400 games.
Kate’s milestone achievement and long-standing involvement with the club, which spans more than 20 years, was appropriately recognised with the awarding of life membership.
Other highlights included the 150 game milestones for Emma Jones and Hayley Melsen, and 100 games for Charlotte Reid.
Standout players across the club came from Best & Fairest Winners Charly Jovic and Avani Singh in the juniors, Charlotte Hudolin and Melsen who each scored the most number of goals in their respective divisions, while Rebecca Langford had a terrific season in defence in A grade.
The Pakenham Lions are a proud club who care a lot for the mental health and wellbeing of everyone involved at club land.
As such, to cope with the interruptions and eventual cancelation of the season, the club were instrumental and leaders in the community sport space, with weekly Zoom meetings consisting of training and catch-up sessions specifically designed to keep players engaged and connected throughout a challenging period, just as they did in 2020.
“We have done a lot of work in the mental health space; we are very aware of it and that’s our initiative,” Jones explained.
“We have been very touched by it in our club community, we are very aware of it and worked proactively in this space.
“Community sport to us is more than just a game, it’s offering people a family and a community, and that’s why we do what we do.”
With respect to the work of club volunteers who have done it tough over the last 18 months, Jones understands the importance of volunteers in community sport and is incredibly grateful for the work they have done in 2021.
With a strong club culture whose key values lie on respect, inclusion and family values, the Lions are incredibly lucky to possess hard-working volunteers, with a group of 20 on the committee who are actively involved in the operational side of the club.
“I always say that our players are our heartbeat, our coaches are our oxygen, but our volunteers are our lifeblood,” Jones said.
“We have outstanding volunteers and 2021 was a challenge on our volunteers because it was stop-start and hard to keep the momentum going, so I am really proud of their efforts.”
2022 shapes up to be an exciting year for the Lions as they return to its home at Toomuc Reserve, alongside their friends from the football club, where there will be new club rooms, change rooms and courts.
Additionally, the club has received grants for new shelter and electronic scoreboards that provide the finishing touches of bringing the facility up to modern standards.
Jones thanked everyone involved at the Pakenham Lions for the exceptional job they have done in very challenging circumstances, as well as everyone from AFL Outer East for doing their best to keep the competition going.
“I would like to express my gratitude to AFL Outer East, to Tony Mitchell and the board, and to Aaron Bailey and his team for the tremendous work that goes on behind the scenes to give us a strong and growing competition,” she acknowledged.
“We are very proud to be a part of this competition and look forward to the years to come in the league.”
|Kärcher Premier Division A Grade||8th||2||7|
|Kärcher Premier Division B Grade||4th||6||3|
|Kärcher Premier Division C Grade||5th||6||3|
|Kärcher Premier Division D Grade||7th||4||5|
|Kärcher 17 & Under Blue||5th||3||5|
|Kärcher 17 & Under White||2nd||5||2|
|Kärcher 15 & Under Blue||2nd||7||1|
|Kärcher 15 & Under White||2nd||7||2|
|Kärcher 13 & Under Blue||6th||0||8|
|Kärcher 13 & Under White||4th||3||5|