Upwey Tecoma Football Netball Club had a tough year overall as they fought its way through an interrupted football and netball campaign.
The Tigers won two of eight games played in senior football this season to finish seventh on the ladder, while the netballers struggled to keep all players on the court at full strength, with A grade also winning two games for the year.
As a young side who are going through a development phase, club president Craig Waters says his club have made progress in its football department to be more competitive against the stronger sides.
“I feel under Hilly (coach Stuart Hill) we’ve got a lot of upside to take us forward again next year,” Waters said.
“Our 19’s performed really well and they would have played finals if we were able to do so.
“We were really pleased that some of our young guns in Blake Burrows, Jai Sheehan and Ned Park Jenkinson featured in the seniors a lot this year.”
One of the shining lights for the club this year was the performance of its women’s football team who were competitive and showed great promise.
The girls enjoyed five wins in Kärcher Women’s Division One, in addition to a semi-final win over Pakenham, where a preliminary final appearance against Beaconsfield had them in with a good shot at victory, had the game been able to take place.
Captain Kiana Oates was a clear standout of the team, with her supreme skills and leadership of paramount importance for the Tigers.
Oates was rewarded for her efforts throughout the season, securing the greatest number of votes to be the league best & fairest.
Speaking of her success in winning the award, Waters spoke in high regard for Oates and the effort she invests in her team.
“I’m immensely proud of Kiana because she’s a fantastic young woman, a fantastic contributor around the club and a great leader of the girls,” he explained.
“She’s in it supporting everybody, there’s great buy-in and she leads it.
“On field, she is a sensational footballer and her leadership qualities are unquestionable.”
Other standout performers across the club this year came from the likes of club best & fairest winner Bailey Oates, Glenn Costas, playing coach Stuart Hill and Sam Waters while Charlotte Davies was also a standout, having featured in the Team of the Year.
As COVID-19 continued to cause disruption to community sport in 2021, the men and women of Upwey Tecoma stood united with a strong culture through a disruptive season.
Waters explained that his club have great buy-in from its members and it’s their efforts which have always been able to make things work through a hard year.
“You couldn’t be prouder of people who give up so much of their time to make things work,” he said.
“I think people had to give up more of their time in the COVID bit than if you had a season playing and they continue to do it.
“They have all put in a fantastic effort to get us through the season and keep the club in a great position, with a positive frame of mind and ready to step up again next year.”
As the Tigers look towards 2022, they have set their sights on targeting new recruits to the club to strengthen its side as they look to win more games and climb further up the ladder.
With a finals appearance being the key objective, Upwey Tecoma will look to develop its game style further to make themselves more competitive and effective around the contest, while also trying to integrate more of its u19’s where possible, given they will be the future generation of the club.
As such, there is a bit of development work to do to streamline its processes with the junior club and the u19’s to make sure they are aligned with the seniors.
From a social perspective, Waters is really looking forward to the day when he can have large numbers of people back in the club rooms having meals and beverages and enjoying each other’s company.
“That would be the big win in creating that environment again, that’s the important stuff,” Waters said.
“We have a lot of premiership reunions to get through as well, but I think everybody is really excited about the opportunity to get back.
Waters thanked all members and various stakeholders within the club for their efforts in a tough season as well as AFL Outer East for hosting a competition where they could in difficult circumstances.
“As a club, I would like to reach out to all our sponsors who have been wonderful in sticking with us over the last two years,” he appreciated.
“Our supporters have been brilliant in turning up each week with great encouragement for our club, and all our players turned up to play each week with passion and I am really thankful to them for that.
“I am also appreciative to everyone at AFL Outer East and the commission for their support with the hard work they did for us, as they have had a lot on their plate too.”
|Totally WorkWear Berwick & Knoxfield Premier Division||7th||2||6|
|Coates Premier Division Reserves||9th||1||7|
|Box Hill Institute U19 Premier Division||4th||4||4|
|Kärcher Women’s Division One||3rd||5||4|
|Kärcher Premier A Grade||9th||2||7|
|Kärcher Premier B Grade||9th||0||9|
|Kärcher Premier C Grade||8th||1||8|
|Kärcher Premier D Grade||4th||4||4|