The first ever AFL Outer East season 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.
Next on the list – Beaconsfield FC.
On the 21st of April 1890, a group of individuals down at the local watering hole, Gissing’s Gippsland Hotel, decided to form a football club. Almost 129 years later and the Beaconsfield Football Club is still going strong, now playing their games alongside the Beaconsfield Netball Club.
It’s been a long journey from the Gissing’s Hotel to the AFL Outer East for Beaconsfield, as they like many clubs entering the competition from the South East, have had multiple homes in their long history.
They initially did battle in the District League travelling in all directions to take on Pakenham, Clayton, Ferntree Gully and their now AFL Outer East counterparts – Gembrook and Belgrave.
Post – War Beaconsfield became a foundation member of the South West Gippsland Football League and spent the majority of its lifetime amongst this competition, before jumping across to the West Gippsland Football League in 1993. In 2002 they were placed into the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League and took their place in the Casey-Cardinia Division in 2003.
You could understand if long-standing Beaconsfield people were a bit over moving leagues, but president Troy Robinson says it’s only positive vibes heading the Outer East’s way.
“We’ve got a lot of excitement heading into this season,”
“Playing against different clubs, different sides, different players – it’s all exciting for us, to go and play new clubs that also have their own history, in a competition that looks like it is going to be a stable and strong one, just really excites us.”
Beaconsfield won’t just be bringing across their incredible story to the Outer East for season 2019, they’ll also be bringing one of the best local football grounds in Victoria.
It’s home Holm Park, hosted last seasons Interleague clash between the South East Football Netball League and the AFL Yarra Ranges and played host to the 2016 NAB Challenge game between Richmond and Hawthorn.
“We’ve got one of the best facilities in the state and no doubt clubs will enjoy playing on it in 2019,” said Robinson.
“We pride ourselves on how we accommodate our visitors, we have a friendly and welcoming culture.”
On the field ‘Beacy’ can be quite the powerhouse. The club has won 10 premierships across it’s history, but has won five of those since 1998, including the final ever Casey-Cardinia premiership in 2014.
Whilst it hasn’t been as successful in recent years, unable to make it past the SEFNL semi-finals, Robinson is adamant that the glory days are not far away for his club.
“We’ve got a young list and we’ve had a good retention rate over the past few years, the guys are really beginning to buy into the focus on where we are going.”
That young list will no doubt have some more youth going through – Beaconsfield collected back to back Under 19 premierships in 2018.
“When everything’s working, the club can be absolutely buzzing and we are building back towards that,”
“We can be very powerful.”
Whilst the football club look to rebuild, the Netball club will be looking to take the next step after it had all four senior sides going as far as the preliminary finals, with B Grade finishing runners up and C Grade winning the premiership.
President Valerie Edge is confident her club will give itself every opportunity to bring home silverware in 2019, but still maintains perspective ahead of the move.
“This year is a let’s see where we are at year I think,”
“There is a lot of quality in the Yarra Ranges netball competition, so it’ll be interesting to see how we go.”
Valerie and her committee must be doing something right — the club has 31 junior sides who play mid week association netball at Casey to coincide with its Saturday sides. They also have a strong supporter base, made up of loyal and still active life members who have been around for ‘decades’.
Whilst she can’t speak for all of her players and supporters, Edge thinks it is something to do with the clubs atmosphere that sees so many people continue to stick around.
“I think it’s because of our family atmosphere, that players want to play for us — that’s why our depth is so strong both on and off the court.”
Beaconsfield will take on Cranbourne in Round One of the AFL Outer East Premier Division Season on the 13th of April.