Our shortlist of nominations for “Best Sports Club in Australia” isn’t necessarily a list of clubs with the most impressive winning record … Rather, we are looking to reward dedication, integrity and sportsmanship.
1. Willeton Junior Football Club (AFL) - WA
The club had worked really hard to be inclusive and welcoming of everyone regardless of background or ability. The club received the district Club of the Year award in 2017 for the work in promoting female participation in footy, and running an intro program with the Indian Society of WA to expose this community to the sport. More recently they've partnered with the Intensive English Centre at Melville SHS to introduce kids new to the country to footy. Even though the club welcomes everyone from any background and ability level, it was the most successful club on the field in 2017 with every youth team playing finals, every youth team making it to the prelim final, 3 teams playing grand finals and 2 winning the premiership. This proves you can go about things the right way and still succeed.
Nominated by Tracey Wilkinson, parent
2. Bayside Hockey Club - VIC
Bayside Hockey Club is a deserving winner of this award for many reasons. Not only does our club provide a great social environment and competitive hockey - it manages to do this without even having its own home ground. Our club has no home ground, clubrooms or canteen. Yet -thanks to the many volunteers and committee members - it is still able to organise hockey teams for men, women and juniors - year after year. In 2017 we fielded 15 teams in total (4 men’s teams, 3 women's teams, 5 junior teams and 4 under 10 intra-club teams) - 1 of our men's teams took out the grand final, as did 3 of our junior teams. We also had 4 senior members representing at the Masters National Championships and 3 junior players at the Junior State Championships. These results show that, even with our limited resources, Bayside Hockey Club continues to punch above its weight.
Our club is not only proud of its on-field success – it’s extremely proud of its continued community support and engagement. Every year, the club and its members participate in various community events, such as: the Pride March in St Kilda VIC, Fair Go Sport! Round, Men's Round, Women's Round and the Hockey Victoria Women's and Girl's Breakfast. In addition to attending these events our Club also raises awareness and funds for the following organisations: BentMoor Community Men's Shed, Breast Cancer Network and Switchboard. Bayside Hockey Club also increased its community support in 2017 by partnering with Bayley House - a local not-for-profit disability service provider in Brighton VIC. By donating a percentage of our total fundraising efforts, the club was able to provide Bayley House with a special chair to assist people with a disability to sit and stand easily and with dignity.
In 2018 the club will continue its partnership with Bayley House, and deliver an Access All Abilities program - a modified hockey program for people with a disability. The Bayside Hockey Club has a progressive and inclusive culture, welcoming members and players of all ages and abilities. Our club’s long-term plan is to eventually find our own home and provide our members with their own clubrooms, facilities and a home ground – winning this award would be a huge step towards achieving this goal.
Nominated by Olivia Brown, member/player
3. Bowen Football Association - QLD
Bowen is a small town of approx. 10,000 people that is located directly between Mackay and Townsville on the North Queensland coast. The Bowen Football Association was formed in 1980 and has been a fantastic place for young children aged between 5 and 16 to come and play some sport and learn the values that are attached to a team sport - teamwork, discipline and reliability while also having the opportunity to make new friends.
The club plays in the Burdekin competition and games are played in Ayr, some 110km away so there requires dedication from both players and parents to participate every week. Some players also play in the Townsville comp later in the day which requires travelling a further 100km north to play there as well. However, the club is best known around the region for its Night Soccer social competition that runs for 9 weeks between Oct and Dec every year. The comp is made up of 72 teams and has some 650 people play every wed evening. It is a total family event that quite often sees every member of the family take part. Night Soccer is the club's major fund raising event of the year and allows the club to subsidise fees for the kids that play on Saturdays. The club committee do a fantastic job and are involved in soccer for some 10 months of the year - it can be very time consuming!
Nominated by Gordon Wilson, committee member and past president
4. Macquarie University Quidditch Club - NSW
As a team of a growing sport, the Marauders are constantly fighting an uphill battle to draw in new people, and keep things afloat. The club has existed since April 2012, one of the oldest in the country, and has come 2nd and 3rd at the Australian Nationals that are run every year. We aim to cultivate a welcoming and diverse atmosphere that accepts all kinds of people. Quidditch is the only sport that requires there to be gender diversity, enforcing that there are maximum four players of a given gender on field at a time, and accepting people as the gender they identify as. It is also a community that is very supportive of LGTB+ rights. The Marauders believe that they embody these ideals, having a very accepting team, with no tolerance for bullying and discrimination. A lot of members came to the club as the beginning of Uni, uncertain in themselves and looking for a sense of community, and have found strong friendships and confidence in themselves.
The team trains three times a week, and players are always trying their hardest to be the best they can possibly be. The gameplay department works relentlessly to come up with new innovative strategies, as the sport is still fresh, and are setting up bases for generations to come. A benefit of having a still small team, is how tight-knit it is. There is a true sense of camaraderie between the Marauders, who spend as much, if not more, time together off-field that they do on. It has brought together beautiful friendships, and a team where everyone has each other's back, supporting each other in every aspect of life. With the still limited exposure quidditch has, the club is constantly working to grow its community and provide proper training, equipment and fields for its players, and I believe this valiant effort is what makes the Marauders deserve to win a Clubbie.
Nominated by Ana Barciela, player/events and publicity officer
5. Nangiloc Football (AFL) Netball Club - VIC
This year the Nangiloc Football Netball Club started up a women’s football team. Everyone in the club was incredibly supportive and the guys even made changes to the club rooms to support us and we have some joint training sessions with them. They attended our games in support and we attended theirs. And wouldn't you know it the boys even took home the flag this year! Nangiloc is a very small country community and the old farmers even came to watch us play. The Nangiloc Football Netball Club is a very small club that does it pretty tough. We don’t have the best equipment but we make do with what we have. We have kangaroos that jump around while we are training. It's a great family club and one I feel really deserves some acknowledgement for the work that everyone puts in, from the family meals at training and after home games to the scorer to all the players. It's just a 100% Aussie bush footy club that I love playing for.
Nominated by Jo Turner, player
6. Saints Eagles Souths Football Club - QLD
Saints cater for boys girls men and women 5-55+. We are the only club in Townsville to field girls’ teams in every age group, and if it wasn’t for Saints there wouldn’t be any girls’ competitions. We are a family friendly club with a social atmosphere where everyone gets a go. This year the club gave over 20 grants to low income or refugee families to cover their fees to enable everyone to play.
Nominated by Annette Gregory, former committee member/parent
7. Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club - VIC
The Dimboola Boat and Waterski Club Inc. is a small non-profit organisation of approximately 60 members. We are located along the majestic Wimmera River, Dimboola, in Victoria. For many years our club has struggled with poor facilities but not abilities. Over the past three years in particular we have dedicated an extraordinary amount of voluntary hours for the river environment, community causes and their awareness. We have made a sincere and conscientious effort to maintain and make our river environment sustainable for our future generations (skiers) to enjoy. We have planted and will continue to plant native water grasses along the river banks to help with erosion.
With limited finances we have also been active and productive in promoting our sport locally and interstate. Specialised coaching clinics have been promoted and held for Barefoot and Slalom Skiing. Our enthusiasm and passion has enabled a new generation of skiers to be taught these waterskiing skills. Also on the 7th and 8th October 2017 our club in conjunction with Barefoot Waterski Australia, Victorian Barefoot Waterski Club and the South Australian Barefoot Waterski Club held a Barefoot Tournament and Night Spectacular Jump. Proceeds from this event went to W.A.C.K (Wimmera against Cancer in Kids) and also Cancer .This event was held in memory of Peter Taylor (passed of cancer this year). Peter was an Australian Barefoot Champion, mentor, coach and stalwart for barefooting in Australia. This huge event was made possible by the Dimboola Boat and Waterski Club and its committed members. Countless hours of organising with only enthusiasm and passion made this event a huge success for all. That's why I am nominating the DBWSC for the 2018 Clubbies Award.
Nominated by Anne-Marie Gaulke, member/fundraiser
8. Dumbleyung Gymnastics Club - WA
Dumbleyung Gymnastics Club punches well above its weight. We can be found in the Dumbleyung Shire in the south eastern wheat belt of Western Australia. Community is everything in a small town and this club is run and supported by many volunteers. We operate from an old wool shed, thanks to the Kukerin Agricultural Society and rely on our local shire for maintenance and upkeep. The coaches give of their time freely and passionately and the many parents who take on roles and cheer from the sidelines add to the many reasons why this club has thrived. We have 40+ gymnasts, from Kindergym, recreational, sporting schools and competitive gymnastics. The numbers are outstanding considering there are only 40+ students from the local Kukerin Primary school. However due to our success we attract gymnasts from surrounding towns- Lake Grace, Nyabing, Kulin and Dumbleyung. In 2017 our club entered the Go for 2 & 5 regional club championships in Katanning, WA. We entered 11 gymnasts into five categories - WAG level 1, 2 & 3 and MAG level 1 & 2. We came away with 5 regional champions. We entered one in each category – 10 gold medals and one silver. We were awarded Champion Club for the event also. This was an overwhelming and well deserved honour for our club.
We are so proud of how much we achieve with the challenge of isolation, small numbers but always big hearted volunteers. Gymnastics is a fundamental movement sport that supports all other sports, so come out and have a look at our small but strong community and our awesome Dumbleyung Gymnastics Club.
Nominated by Amanda Nenke, president/head coach
9. UNSW Wests Water Polo Club - NSW
UNSW Wests Water Polo Club has the best culture and community of any club I have ever experienced or observed. Their youth development program is exemplary and is demonstrated by the number of players who transition from youth to Australian representative level and national league. UNSW West’s have won four national league trophies in five years. They have more Olympians, current Australian representatives than any other club. The building of club loyalty starts early where we see national league and Australian representative players like Richie Campbell, Joel Dennerly, and Jarrod Gilchrist regularly in the audience to cheer on the U12 and U14 kids. They also commit a great deal of their time to supporting the development of the youth players by running regular training camps and attending the usual training sessions for youth players. They receive no payment for this. UNSW West’s does not have a clubhouse and relies on individuals to run a range of social events so that the community can gather in support of the club such as comedy nights and BBQ’s. These events draw the club community together and are very well attended.
UNSW West’s members are predominantly from low SES backgrounds. The club is entirely self-funded with very little income from wealthy members or alumni. It runs on “the smell of an oily rag” and the commitment of the members and the volunteer community. I firmly believe that UNSW West’s Water Polo club has a culture that is second to none, one that promotes loyalty and builds community. That is why they are so successful and why they will not diminish as a club because UNSW West’s Water Polo Club is a family.
Nominated by Roisin O’Reilly, parent of player
10. Coomera Cutters Junior Rugby League Club - QLD
Our club was started only five years ago and has now grown to the 2nd biggest junior ruby league club on the Gold Coast and we are still growing and will have more teams again in the district competition over 700 children. The Coomera area is growing at a rapid rate with all nationalities making up our great area. Coomera area's population is made up of all different cultures including Islanders, Asian, Irish, English, Australian and many more. Our club is the hub of Coomera which brings all these cultures together to do the one thing we love and that's play and support our great game Rugby League. We all respect each other cultural backgrounds but when we turn up to footy to play or train they are left at home and it is all about the footy and the kids that play the game. Once a year usually on a July weekend we celebrate all the cultures that make our club so great. This event is called Whanau Ors Day. The Coomera Cutters Junior Rugby League Club works very hard with the community of Coomera and its young people to try to arrest crime and poor behaviour by giving the young people of Coomera something to do instead of being on the streets making trouble. We do this by keeping our registrations fees at a low level as a result we are one of the lowest on the Gold Coast not only for rugby league by for all of the major sports. We do this by doing meat raffles at our local tavern and the Bunnings sausage sizzle. The Cutters committee members are very devoted to the club and work endlessly to make the club the great club it is today in the five years it has been around.
Nominated by Adam Craft, committee member
11. Noradjuha Toolondo Bullants (cricket) - VIC
There are many reasons why our club deserves to win, things like they are welcoming, friendly, encouraging and all round good sportsman and women, but for me the main thing that stands out is the camaraderie of these men and children. The 2017/18 season saw the return of a juniors’ team. We started with eight kids that were keen to play in an U14 team, we now can fill a side. We also have milo Cricket starting in Feb. We are a small rural club. The thing that I find most satisfying is that our juniors have won only one game, but you would not know that. They are always cheering, High fiving and encouraging every player even if they go out for a duck or can’t bowl. The B grade men are there at every game, they help with all the duties and mind you most of them don’t have kids even playing in the team. It’s this type of support and encouragement that I am so thankful my boys are involved with. We aren’t a very financial club so something like this would be amazing as we are hoping next season we can fill an U12 team...we aim to dream big!!
Nominated by Susan Mckenry, parent/junior coordinator
12. Northern Redbacks Women's Soccer Club - WA
Northern Redbacks Women's Soccer Club is a women's only club located in Perth, Western Australia, and is the most successful women's soccer club in WA, having won 14 Premier League Championships and eight women's State cups since forming in 2004. Among our past and present players, we boast three Matildas, internationals from New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Wales and Zambia and many current and ex Perth Glory W league players. We are a progressive, ambitious women-only soccer club, and pride ourselves in our ability to provide an environment where female players can enjoy their sport and to give the expertise and guidance to those who have ambition to further their soccer careers. This season we will have 3 junior teams and 4 senior teams, the most teams in our history. We were overwhelmed by the interest displayed by girls attending our selection trials last year. We have been influential in modernising the WA women's league structure for 2018 as we strive to grow the women's game in WA. We see the development of girl soccer players as crucial to the development of the sport in this state, notwithstanding the benefits soccer provides to the social development of confident young women in the wider context. A state government grant assisted us in developing women specific facilities at our ground and we now have a restricted club license to help raise funds. We have a level three Good Sports accreditation.
Nominated by Tony Mullen, president
13. Western Suburbs Touch Football Club - NSW
When it comes to a deserving Club to be named "Best Sporting Club in Australia", you need look no further than Western Suburbs Touch Football Club Illawarra. This club was established in 1975 by a small group of Western Suburbs Rugby League players that needed to be active in the summer months (off season for football), and had a need to catch up with their mates on a regular basis. The competition started with players turning up at Figtree Oval and forming teams on the night and playing a game of touch. 1976 the word had go out and the Social game of touch turned into a formal competition with enough players to have 10 competitive teams. At its peak the competition has had up to 24 teams. They have 5 players that have been involved in the club since its inception, and are still running around the field today, albeit not like they use too. The reason behind this clubs formation is still the reason that it is a thriving competition today. It gives players the opportunity to play a social game of touch footy, and encourages members from all areas of life to enjoy sport in a team environment and most of all form friendships that last a life time. The Western Suburbs Touch Football Club is supported by Wests Illawarra, and is run with minimal costs to the players, so that everyone can enjoy being part of a club. I think that they are a deserving nomination for the "Best Sporting Club in Australia".
Nominated by Leann Andrews, Wests Illawarra Sports Liaison Officer
14. Jupiter Creek Pony Club - SA
Jupiter Creek PC deserves a Clubbie as the founding members have come up with a different ethos in pony club- encouraging the over 15 year olds to stay in pony Club. This is a very new club officially starting July 1st 2017 We have formed a group of like-minded teenagers& their parents where the kids make decisions, designed their uniform, compete together, support each other & have a great time. As we are only a new club, we require equipment to encourage them to try new things & expand their knowledge - handy horse, show jumps, games. We are part of PCASA Southern Zone & we would like to be able to offer our grounds with some new equipment for a competition involving the other clubs in our zone. We have received a small grant from Mt Barker Council & some extra money will help immensely. We have 20 members under 26 years & 8 over. I would be only too happy to answer any questions you have.
Nominated by Deborah Cook, club member
15. Extinction Ultimate Club (Frisbee) - QLD
Ultimate Disc is one of the fastest growing team sports in the world. Ultimate is self-refereed at every level of the sport (social, state, national and international tournaments) due to a set of principles referred to as Spirit of the Game. The SOTG principles help guide players, spectators and coaches alike to ensure that the sport is fair, positive, safe and played with good intentions whilst staying competitive. The onus is on players and the club they play for to play with integrity and honesty. Extinction Ultimate Club is a Brisbane based club that caters for mixed and open's (predominantly men) on beach, indoor and outdoor competitions with expansion to women's in 2018. The club has catered for over 140 players in the last three years and represents at Australian level competitions.
Although success is measured through win loss ratios in many sports Ultimate Disc also recognises Spirit of the Game as a highly coveted award that is voted on after every game by opposition teams in five categories- rules knowledge and use, fouls and body contact, fair mindedness, positive attitude and self-control and communication. These categories are voted by each opposition team during the tournament and then averaged across the tournament; the highest average is crowned Spirit winners. Extinction Ultimate Club has achieved the Spirit of The Game Award at league (Brisbane Premier League) level, club tournament level (Halibut 2017) and National level (Australian Beach Ultimate Championships 2017 and Australian Mixed Ultimate Championships D2 2017). The spirit and sportsmanship that Extinction show on and off the field is exemplary and the club seeks to ensure this is not compromised in the pursuit of results.
Nominated by Corey Wakefield, club president
16. TNT All Stars (Cheerleading) - WA
This is the first WA club to be invited to compete in the Summit Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida. With a total of four teams invited and attending this is a huge accomplishment for cheer sports in Australia, and especially WA. It is a credit to the coaches and staff the hard work and dedication they put into achieving great results. This is not only a club it is a family, everyone feels welcomed and athletes are nurtured. Way to go TNT, keeping it real.
Nominated by parent, Laurel Corless
17. East Torrens Kensington Gardens Tennis Club - SA
The Club has been going for 100 years in 2018 and over that time has maintained its position as a leading tennis club in South Australia having one of the largest junior programs in South Australia. In order to maintain its size and standards the club has continually been willing to make tough decisions like moving location due of lack of courts in the 1960's, being one of the first clubs to put up lights in the 1980's and it has and continues to vary the coaching, competitive competition and social tennis offered to fit with changing times and requirements of members. The club is celebrating its 100th year with numerous events including a gala dinner and is trying to get in touch with as many past players as possible. The culture that has evolved over the 100 years means that families have stayed at the club with several families now having a 3rd or 4th generation playing at the club.
Nominated by Andrew Dick, life member
18. Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club - WA
Trigg Island Surf Lifesaving Club Inc was formed in 1953 and has a proud history providing volunteer lifesaving services to the thousands of visitors at Trigg beach each year. The club is a not for profit community service organisation offering community members and user groups access to club facilities, training, education and coaching services. The strategic decision making process and operational functions of the club is overseen by a Board of Directors whose portfolios are supported by appropriate committees. All position holders serve the Club on a voluntary basis. It is the contribution, dedication and commitment of the clubs volunteers that enables the club to operate successfully achieving good governance and sound financial management.
The primary focus of the club’s existence is to educate and provide members with the necessary skill sets to serve the community. This is achieved by providing club day activities, education, training, coaching and competition events. These are the clubs key strengths. We acknowledge the importance of providing options for our members who have joined the surf lifesaving movement, promoting social inclusion, health and wellbeing. The journey to inclusion begins with juniors that will see them one day serving the community. Our club welcomes diversity, caters for members with disabilities, provides access to the most disadvantaged community members and is committed to providing opportunities for life. Furthermore, the club embraces the services of other not for profit community stakeholders working collaboratively to support local events through access to facilities, providing support staff and marketing services often at nil cost. The club is a community hub and acknowledges that facilitating other community groups helps strengthen the community.
The 2016/17 season was a tremendous success on so many levels and the club excelled in the areas of education, competition, member participation and fundraising. The importance of community engagement with internal and external stakeholders has been the key to the clubs success this season. The club has recognised the importance of putting the interests of service users at the centre of the relationship in order to redefine the way we engage in the planning, design and delivery of our services. The club has adopted a consultative and collaborative approach based on two way communication and shared learning’s. These are the contributing factors in the club becoming one of the most successful surf lifesaving clubs in Western Australia (WA). The club is proud that since its inception no life has been lost between the flags.
Nominated by Jacqueline Eley, director promotions and marketing
19. Parkhurst Pony Club - QLD
On joining Parkhurst two years ago, it was a club of seven members total, and only five of them rode horses. Now 2 years on we have over 50 members ranging from 2 to 60, we have a rally day fortnightly and we have just had our first ever pony club camp. It was so much fun for all ages we incorporated this with our Christmas party. The kiddies’ faces, when they got to camp over with their horses, was priceless. We have also completed this year the children’s first ever PCAQ certificates. The club has a very friendly atmosphere. It is very rewarding to be a member and the chief instructor of this fabulous club.
Nominated by Niki Ryan, chief instructor
20. Ryde Water Polo Club - NSW
Ryde Water Polo Club is outstanding for many reasons. It has an affirming, inclusive and accepting culture, an experienced and passionately committed coaching staff, a world-class venue, and a one of the best junior development programmes in NSW. Just one visit to any of Ryde Water Polo's games or training sessions will convince even the most casual observer of the club's vibrant and celebrated multiculturalism; we have coaches and players from Italy, USA, France, Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, Russia, as well as Australians of every generation possible. We also have young players in our junior programme who are on the autism spectrum or have other learning challenges. However, the pervading atmosphere is one of warmth, acceptance, and cooperation that makes ours a dynamic and happy club that people want to join.
Despite the considerable expense, we remunerate most of our coaches. This has attracted five experienced professionals from overseas who have enhanced the overall professionalism of our programme. Each is an enthusiastic supporter of the club ethos of inclusivity and giving every player a game, no matter their skill-level. This has led to more players joining the club, with an increase of about 20% over the last two years. To fund this we collectively fund-raise, and while this is labour intensive, it contributes to club morale, social development and the opportunity for non-players to contribute. We are fortunate to have access to Ryde Aquatic Centre, which as the water polo venue for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. We not only play our home games and train there, but the venue is regularly used by Water Polo NSW to host finals and other events.
The club has a great relationship with the pool staff, and we are the use the pool more than any other group. Our Junior Development Program has been led by an ex-national player who is also a son of the founder of the club. That programme has grown with numerous up and coming young coaches learning and developing their skills at that level. Some are paid others are not, depending on various circumstances, but all offer young novice players a great foundation in the sport. In fact we have so many juniors attending 'JD' that we are struggling for pool space to accommodate them all. However, the club's commitment is that all develop to the best of their ability, with the hope that they will go on to represent the club in the NSW Sydney competitions; some have even gone on to join 1st division clubs to play in the National League and even for Australia. It is a wonderful programme and one we are all proud of, but its success is due to lots of very hard work by many people. Ryde Water Polo Club is the best club I've ever been a member of. It is truly worthy of support.
Nominated by William Randall, player/registrar/volunteer coach
21. Robertson Burrawang Cricket Club - NSW
Robertson Burrawang Cricket Club is the heart of our small community through the summer months. Robertson is a small town of approx. 2000 people in the NSW Southern Highlands and we draw players from our town and neighbouring towns and villages. Over the past 10 seasons we have grown to become the dominant Club on the field, whilst also setting high standards off it. In these 10 seasons we have played in 9 First Grade Grand Finals, claiming victory in 5 of these. Our previous win in this Grade before this period of success was in 1972/73 - so we are making up for lost time! Also in this period we have claimed the 2nd Grade premiership 3 times, and the 3rd Grade premiership twice, as well as 6 x HDCA Junior Premierships in grades ranging from U10s to U16s. We also won the prestigious Country Cricket NSW 'Country Plate' in 2012/13 - a tournament open to all Country Cricket Clubs and small associations in the State. We claimed the HDCA/Bradman Foundation's 'Spirit of Cricket Award' for our conduct on the field last summer. We play hard but play fair!
It's not just on the field where we have been a leader in our area, as we have taken part in the Leukaemia Foundation's World’s Greatest Shave, and The McGrath Foundation's Pink Stumps day on many occasions. We host trivia and games nights which are well attended at our Major Sponsor's auditorium - the Robertson Bowling Club, and even convinced the great Kerry O'Keefe to host a Sportsman's Dinner with us a few years ago, which saw the venue jam-packed!
We have a fantastic culture at our club and attract players who come not just to play good cricket but also a good time. We have many current players at our club who are at least 3rd generation players wearing our colours. Our six surviving Life Members are still great supporters of the Club and it's a great thrill to see them through the year around town and at our Annual Presentation Night presenting awards. We have great sponsors from within the local community, and other clubs in the area strive to reach our standards both on and off field. In both the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons we are the only club in our district competition to field teams in all 3x Junior and 3 x Senior Grades. Not even clubs from larger towns with rich cricketing histories such as Bowral (the first club of D.G Bradman), Moss Vale and Mittagong can lay claim to this fantastic feat. I may be a tad biased, but I believe we are a worthy nomination of the Best Club award in IS's 2018 Clubbies Awards.
Nominated by Aaron de Jager, club president/player
22. North Sunshine Football Club (AFL) - VIC
The camaraderie. I am only quite new to the club, but was gobsmacked at how great the people are at this working class club. NSFC lies in a low socio-economic area. It has had minimal success for a very long time, struggles to recruit any players, and has lost all of its junior base, mainly due to the massive change in demographic. Where once there were a lot of Aussie Rules playing families, they have been replaced by a new migrant set that primarily play soccer, if they play any sport at all. Not to be deterred by this, the club has begun a campaign to try to include these new migrant families into the club, which means having all of the recruitment posters translated into Vietnamese, or Igbo (main Nigerian dialect of our area). The senior players are taking training sessions in local primary schools, and paid out of their own pockets last year to reinstate Auskick clinics at the club, essentially ensuring every child who attended the clinics had no out of pocket expenses.
During last year, we had a large number of broken bones, and knee reconstructions. Again with our area being low socio-economic, this could very well had resulted in broken families, as all of those players had enforced time off from work. The players group as a collective all chipped in on each occasion, to ensure those injured players could still pay their rent, feed their children, and generally keep their heads above water until they recovered. This was done even though some of these players would never be able to return to the club to play, due to the threat from their bosses that they would lose their jobs, but the playing ground, knowing that they would not be returning, sent the hat around anyway.
We are a club that struggles to attract sponsors, so in order to keep the doors open, a couple of the older gents, spend near every weekend, doing sausage sizzles at Bunnings, or wherever they can do them, just to pay the bills. They have been doing this for many years, and this is our primary source of income. With a large amount of our players not in a position to pay their registrations, it would mean financial ruin if we did not have these sausage sizzle monies. So while we may not be a super club, who wins premiership after premiership, and we have started last season without jerseys, or even footballs, our people are amazing.
The dictionary describes "club" as - "A group of people or nations having something in common", and our commonality being to provide a safe, fun and inclusive environment for all of our Members, in an otherwise bleak area of low socio-economic outlook. I believe NSFC live up to the principles of being a "Super Club" from that regard, and hence my nomination.
Nominated by Brett Kennerley, coach
23. St George District Athletic Club - NSW
St. George District Athletic Club is a local athletics club in Southern Sydney, with around 200 members aged from seven-years-old to 80-yearsold. We cater for all levels of runners, from the recreational jogger to the elite athlete, as well as walkers, jumpers and throwers. We have a very rich history and have been in existence for 96 years. We have produced 8 Olympians, including the late great Albie Thomas, multiple World Record Holder, three-time Olympian and president of the club for 17 consecutive years. This is in addition to the countless number of State and Australian Champions coming from our great club. We conduct cross country races in winter at Scarborough Park, Ramsgate and has not once been called off due to inclement weather. On occasions, runners would start and finish in the Hall that we hire out each Saturday in Cross Country season. St. George hosts the annual NSW Novice Cross Country Championships, now known as the "St. George Classic", attracting around 500 runners from all over NSW. Next year will be the 78th consecutive year we have hosted this event.
Our members are very selfless, giving up much of their time to assist in the running of this event, as well as volunteering at other fun runs like the SMH Half Marathon, City to Surf, Bayside Fun Run and Brighton Beachside Dash. We constantly strive to make a positive impact in the community beyond athletics. One way in which we do this is through organising the Bayside Fun Run, which has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Knights of St. George Heart Association. We constantly look for more ways to give back to our community and support our athletes, with many members receiving free or subsidised registration, as well as financial assistance when selected to compete at a National or International competition. It is truly a club for the whole family, with a super supportive, encouraging and welcoming environment, which is seen amongst new members and first timers. We want to continue making difference, so any assistance financially or otherwise would be greatly appreciated.
Nominated by Nathan Breen, athlete/volunteer
24. Van Diemen Archers - TAS
Van Diemen Archers (VDA) is a small archery club located in Hobart, Tasmania. It has 70 financial members. Archery is a sport which appeals to all ages & sexes. It has categories across all age groups which enables members who wish to compete in club, state and national competitions. The club has a high proportion of mothers / fathers and sons / daughters involved in the club. VDA truly is a family oriented club. We have an active ‘come and try’ program for people wanting to try archery for the first time. The program is run most Saturday mornings for two hours over a four-week period. VDA club provides bows, arrows and targets for beginners to practice shorting at short distances. VDA club members who have undertaken an Archery Australia accredited coaching program, run the ‘come and try’ program, ensuring safe and correct techniques are delivered to the beginners. VDA coaches are also supported by all club members in a rotating 12 month roster. The ‘come and try’ program is a very social event which traditionally ends with a sausage sizzle each Saturday which encourages beginners to stay and talk to members and watch them shooting at long distance targets in the afternoon.
After the four week program, beginners can move into the OzBow program which is a nationally developed program by Archery Australia. OzBow enables beginners to learn scoring their arrows with the objective of reaching a specific score before moving onto the next increased distance. Once the score has been achieved the beginner is awarded a certificate of achievement. This encourages the beginner who in a short time becomes quite proficient and then usually looks to purchase their own archery equipment and take the next step of joining the club as a full member. VDA also has a strong focus on junior development and has been quite successful in recent years with a high number of VDA junior members representing Tasmania and competing in the Youth National Archery Competitions. This is an area VDA would like to develop and grow, as youth is clearly the future of archery as a sport in Australia.
VDA also have a very strong representation at the recent Australian Masters Games, which were hosted in Tasmania. VDA members (male & female) figured prominently in the medal count across all ages and archery classes. VDA is often approached by schools and community groups to conduct archery activities. Once again, club coaches and members run these longer half day sessions for students and community group members which have proven to be successful with numerous return requests for archery fun sessions! VDA also has a very strong club community social focus and often provides support to its members in times of need. Club members have come together and provided numerous working bees at individual club member’s homes for specific purposes. The club has an unwritten rule of looking after its members! We feel that VDA is a truly great community sporting club inclusive of all ages and sexes.
Nominated by Peter Carmichael, Vice President