In a year that was presented with a lot of change at Alexandra Football Netball Club, the Rebels had a great season where they were always competitive and enjoyed each other’s company on the social side of things after a year of no community sport.
The senior football side was one of the powerhouse clubs of ATC Traffic Division Two, finishing in third with seven wins after being the ladder leaders at different points of the season, while the reserves finished in fourth with five wins.
The Rebels were a strong chance to challenge for the premiership had finals been played, which has come off the back of strong recruitment strategies and the promotion of Nick Wal to the role of senior coach, having previously been a senior assistant.
Club president Ray Steyger explained his clubs rise in form on the football field this year has been the result of a few different components that came together to rejuvenate the club into a stronger package.
“Steve Hedger took on a role 18 months ago to do some recruiting through his networking, most of which had come from Melbourne,” he explained.
“Nick worked well with his players to gel them together and play some brilliant football, so it was a team effort between Steve and Nick to help drive us up the ladder.”
The best players in the senior side consisted of Jim Wandin Medallist Dean Galea, Jason DeGabrielle, captain Brayden Norris and Josef Builder among the older, experienced players, while some of the young ones were able to crack into the senior side and prove their worth at different points throughout the year.
These included the likes of David Ray, Angus Smith, Jordan Laurie-Rhodes, Ben Jack and Cooper Phillips who all showed signs of significant improvement across the year and impressed members of the club along the way.
Another positive element of the football department from 2021 is the U17’s team, where despite finishing last in the four-team competition, still managed to win two games and show continual signs of improvement to suggest that some will be a part of the next generation of Rebels players.
With some starting out as juniors, most are local players who spent the year adjusting to life as a senior footballer, where they were often guided by the senior players along the way with things such as preparation, fitness and game day techniques.
The netball squads, meanwhile, had a tough year due to injuries and a shortage of coaches which had an impact in being able to extract the best from its players.
“Michelle Jack was the only coach we had across all grades, and she combined this role with playing in D grade as well,” Steyger explained.
“We had girls doubling up each week because of injuries, particularly to some of our top end players in A grade and we just managed to field a team in all grades each week.
“Despite this, the girls still plugged away and worked very hard which is a credit to them.”
Off field, this proud and family driven country club were finally able to finish the long-awaited construction of its brand-new club rooms that have been planned for 15 years but were awaiting much needed federal government assistance to complete the project.
This coupled with the brand netball courts completed some time ago, a new car parking area and an upgrade of power and lighting to the reserve has completely transformed the Alexandra Showgrounds precinct into a modern, first-class facility which has brought a new lease of life for everyone involved at the club.
However, the committee and volunteer group had to work hard to generate extra funds to compensate for additional costs to the project because of the delay in receiving the government grant.
As such, the club hosted a ‘Thank You Day’ against Yea in Round 12 where all life members, volunteers and other groups within the club were invited along for a special luncheon as a token of appreciation for everyone’s efforts to raise the funds necessary to finish the project.
As Steyger explained, the new facilities have lifted the spirits for everyone, and the positive feedback received from people in the community was fantastic.
“We have a high percentage of people who have been around the club for a long period of time, and it was uplifting to see the smiles on everyone’s faces on the day,” he said.
“We worked hard this year to raise additional funds.
“So, from a club point of view, we are very pleased with the efforts of everybody and the support of our community to help us raise that money.”
Looking ahead into 2022, the club aims to field teams in all grades of football and netball, and a key to this is to continue concentrating on development of players to be better people on and off the field.
Further aims are to make sure there are enough volunteers, coaches and support staff to help each team perform to the best of its ability.
Steyger wished to thank everyone within the club for their efforts in a busy year where they had to navigate their way through the stop-start year and complete the off-field projects.
“All clubs were in the same boat as far as the challenges we faced with COVID, but I am really proud of everyone’s efforts this year,” he said.
“We are looking forward to 2022 now.”
|ATC Traffic Division Two||3rd||7||2||1|
|PFG Australia Division Two Reserves||4th||5||5||–|
|Box Hill Institute U17 Boys||4th||2||5||–|
|Kärcher Division Two A Grade||6th||2||7||–|
|Kärcher Division Two B Grade||7th||1||8||–|
|Kärcher Division Two C Grade||5th||5||5||–|
|Kärcher Division Two D Grade||5th||4||6||–|