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AFL Victoria

Welcome to the 2018 WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships

The battle for the ultimate football bragging rights will be up for grabs today, with the return of the 2018 WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships.

This year, the WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships once again promises to deliver another exciting round of community football, as the opportunity to participate in senior representative programs continues to be a highlight for footballers in community competitions across the state.

Today, a total of 32 leagues will compete in a one off head-to-head match across 16 different venues around Victoria, including JLT Community Series venues Central Reserve Colac and Moe’s Ted Summerton Reserve, while Peter Jackson VFL and TAC Cup venues Preston City Oval and Queen Elizabeth Oval (Bendigo) will also host matches.

Highlighted this season is the return of the highest ranked country game at the MCG, with the 7 v 8 match between Ballarat FNL and Goulburn Valley League to be played as a curtain raiser to the Round 9 AFL Country Game match between Essendon and Geelong.  In addition, the leagues’ next crop of local senior stars will also headline at one of Melbourne’s iconic turfs, with the leagues’ Under 19 representative match to be played at Punt Road Oval.

This is a fantastic opportunity for not only players, but for umpires, coaches and volunteers to run out on the game’s biggest stage. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making this match a reality, including our competition sponsor WorkSafe, AFL, Essendon and Geelong Football Clubs for their support.

The battle for community football’s top ranking is set to be another blockbuster, when the current number-one-ranked Geelong FNL attempt to secure its third straight Community Championships title when it lines up against the Eastern FL at Etihad Stadium. Big crowds are expected at the match which will be a curtain raiser to the Round 9 AFL game between St. Kilda and Collingwood on Saturday night.

In addition, the Community Championships will take centre stage in Melbourne’s south-east, with the 11 v 12 match between AFL Yarra Ranges and South East FNL to be played at Beaconsfield’s Holm Park as a curtain raiser to the Round 7 Peter Jackson VFL match between Richmond and Sandringham.

We are delighted to be able to bring the best of community football to the some of the game’s most iconic venues and provide players with the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of big crowds.

In addition to the Championships, it’s great to see a host of junior and senior female community football stars don their local colours and participate in a number of representative games taking place as curtain raisers to their respective Community Championship senior match. Visit aflvic.com.au for the full fixtures.

Following on from a successful 2018 Community Umpiring Week earlier this month, I would like to congratulate all the umpires who have been selected to adjudicate in today’s matches.

Their hard work, dedication and strong performances either in the V/Line Umpiring Academies or metropolitan league associations will put them in good stead to officiate community football’s top players.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the leagues, staff, players, coaches and volunteers involved in the 2018 WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships, for their enthusiasm and support in the lead up to the event.

We hope that you enjoy the experience and wish you the best of luck for the remainder of the 2018 football season.

Stephen O’Donohue
AFL Victoria Community Football & Development Manager

NFNL

The Northern Football Netball League welcomes you to Preston City Oval for the 2018 WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships
First, I’d like to say congratulations to all players and coaches on their selection in the representative program. It is a great achievement to be chosen as the best players among your peers and we wish everyone the best in their pursuits throughout the course of the day.

We have three games to entertain us today, beginning with the next generation of community football stars, who have the opportunity to don their local colours during the under-19 representative match being played as curtain raisers to the two senior games.

This is a terrific opportunity for younger players to be able to showcase their talent, represent their league and test their skills against some of the best players across metropolitan Melbourne and country Victoria.

History will be made at midday when the first siren sounds for the inaugural senior women’s representative match between the NFNL and the South Eastern Womens.

This is the first time each league has played a senior women’s representative game and we are thrilled to bear witness to this history-making event. May this be an experience that all players look back upon fondly once their playing days have come to an end.

Currently ranked third and fourth in the AFL Victoria rankings, plenty is at stake when the senior men’s sides lock horns at 2:00pm, with the winner to proceed to the 2019 number 1 vs 2 match for the state title of the best community football league in Victoria.

Both leagues enter this game with strong squads and healthy records at representative level in recent years, so we look forward to the game living up to its billing.

We once again wish all players and coaches the best of luck in today’s matches and acknowledge the support of the umpires who will officiate in the three games. Without your efforts, there would be no games for us to enjoy.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful sponsors who have supported the league throughout 2018 and allow us to put representative sides on the field each year.

We are also extremely grateful for the support staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make today’s games possible.

See you at the footy,

Peter McDougall
NFNL Chief Executive Officer

MPNFL

Welcome all to the Cramer Street ground in Preston, where today City meets Country in a very important clash in the 2018 WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships.

At AFL South East we are very proud of our Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League (MPNFL), which last year played off at the MCG against Geelong for the right to be the top-ranked league in the State.

Today we take on the Northern Football League (NFL) for the right to return to that top-ranked game next year.

Coach Chris Holcombe will have a new look side this year, built around some high-quality local talent. Several ex-AFL players who play in the MPNFL have elected not to play interleague football this year.

While that is disappointing to some degree, it also gives a wonderful opportunity for the young talent in the MPNFL to showcase their skills on the biggest stage in community football.

It is an honour at any time to play representative football. Playing with your peers at such an elite level is an experience most players never forget. I wish Chris and his support crew all the very best.

To Josh Moore and his Under 19s, best wishes to your group as well as you take on the very best that the Northern Football League has to offer. 

It is also a very special day for women’s football with an historic clash to take place.

For the first time, women will have the opportunity to represent their league when the AFL South East Women will take on the NFL Women in what will be a very proud moment for the girls of both competitions.

A special thank you to Megan Snart who, as inaugural coach, has put a lot of time and energy into preparing the squad for their first representative experience.

Thank you to Northern for staging the event, and I wish both leagues a close, exciting and injury free day of football.

John Anderson
AFL South East Regional General Manager

Coaches Senior Football

MPNFL Senior Coach – Chris Holcombe

I would like to start by thanking Haydn Parsons and AFL South East for giving me the honour of coaching the senior interleague side this year.

As a player, it’s still memories I hold dear of pulling on the Sharks jumper and representing the Peninsula and, now as a coach, that feeling of pride still remains. The side that we’ve been able to assemble is one of reward for effort with an eye to the future.

There are players who have done the jumper proud over the last few years, coupled with an injection of our talented up and comers. I would like to thank my assistant coaches Andrew Morrison, Brendan Dunne and Stuart Seager who have helped me to scout the Peninsula, starting way back at the beginning of March when clubs first started to roll out their practice matches.

The last few months has only reaffirmed what our initial beliefs were, and that is that the Peninsula is laced with talent across the board. The passion that the players show, week in week out, to get a result for their home club is the envy of the rest of the state.

To the volunteers, trainers and physios who sacrifice their time to help the team, we truly appreciate your work. A special mention to Team Manager Dave Morrison, who’s passion for the team and what it means to be part of the Sharks’ at interleague time rubs off on every one of our new players.

We know we face an extremely tough challenge against Northern, and I would like to wish our women’s coach Megan Snart and our Under 19s coach Josh Moore all the very best as they take on the best that the Northern Football netball League has to offer.  

Good luck to all players for the weekend and let’s get back to that top bracket where we belong.

SHOT AT BEST MOTIVATING NFNL

NFNL senior men’s representative coach Garry Ramsay is confident the league will field the best available side in Saturday’s clash against the MPNFL.

The two leagues lock horns for the second time in three seasons when they meet at Preston City Oval from 2:00pm Saturday as part of the 2018 Worksafe AFL Victoria Community Championships.

With 14 members from last year’s victorious representative team named in this year’s 24-man squad, Ramsay is confident the NFNL can again produce a strong showing after last year romping to a 125-point win over the WRFL.

“We’ve had a few injuries unfortunately this year, but I think we’ve got the best available side playing,” Ramsay said.

“We think we’ve got some real strength in the midfield, enough goal kickers up forward and I think we’ve got a solid backline.

“We think we are really well rounded with the side we’ve got and there are definitely some specialist players in there who we expect to perform well.

“It makes my job a lot easier when many of the boys have played two and, for some, three times together.

“That gives me a lot of confidence that they like playing football with each other and play for the jumper as well. There is a really confidence there that they understand the way that we want to play.”

The stakes are high on Saturday, with the winner to be elevated to the top-billed game in 2019 against either the Geelong Football Netball League or Eastern Football League.

It was the same situation when the leagues met back in 2016 – with the MPNFL victorious by 30 points on that occasion.

Ramsay is confident the NFNL can reverse the result this time around.

“That’s a really big carrot for our players, as well as for me and our coaching staff, to be part of something that leads to a chance to play in the 1-2 game next year,” he said.

“That’s something that is motivating everyone.

“I watched the game two years ago when we played (MPNFL) and I found them to be a very enthusiastic group.

“They’re very hard at the ball and look a very tough unit – but all of them look very close. We will have to match that and even lift that to make sure we are hard at the ball and bring real enthusiasm to the contest.”

Montmorency on-baller Jesse Donaldson will lead the NFNL solo this year after three-time Frank Rosbrook medallist Matthew Dennis was forced to withdraw through injury.

Donaldson and Dennis have shared the captaincy over the past two years, however Ramsay is adamant the side won’t be lacking any leadership, despite the absence of Dennis.

“Leadership certainly won’t be a problem.” Ramsay said.
“We’ve got Josh Grabowski and Justin White in supporting roles as vice captains, but there are also other club captains and leaders who are playing as well.

“There are blokes who have played a lot of footy and guys who have played VFL footy too, so I think there is a lot of natural leadership there anyway.”

Coaches Women’s Football

South Eastern Women’s Coach – Megan Snart

I am incredibly humbled to have been asked to coach the inaugural South Eastern Women’s Football Interleague team. Thank you to Rod Hamilton for the opportunity to lead this fantastic group of players and for all the work he has done behind the scenes to have us ready for today's match against Northern. 

I am also extremely appreciative of the support from Pam Rogers, Kris Smith and Bianca Jacobson over the four weeks of trials and training, and assistance with selecting the squad. What is so exciting amount our depth in the league, is that all 10 teams in the SEWF Division 1 are represented within our 24-player squad.

With the amazing growth of women's football in the last few years it is so exciting that these players get to showcase what is up and coming within our region. All players who trialled, whether they were selected or not, all turned up with a great attitude and amazing endeavour to give it their best, and represented their clubs so well.

Despite being opponents’ week to week, the players have come together well over a short time and we are confident they will work well as a unit, and make the most of this amazing opportunity. Congratulations to Emily Wallace and Lauren Law for being named as captain and vice-captain of the team.

Wishing Josh Moore and the 19's team, and Chris Holcombe and the senior men's team the best of luck today. We are really looking forward to representing South Eastern Women's Football at the next level and playing a competitive and skillful match again the Northern league.

INAUGURAL REP PROGRAM A SUCCESS FOR NFNL WOMEN’S

NFNL senior women’s coach Chyloe Kurdas believes the league’s inaugural representative program will be deemed been a success, irrespective of Saturday’s result.

The team will make history when it takes on the South Eastern Women’s at Preston City Oval in the league’s first-ever senior women’s representative football match.

Following the formation of the NFNL’s senior women’s competition just last year, Kurdas said the playing group had shown great development during throughout the representative program, which would benefit NFNL clubs immediately.

“The number one focus was to develop their skills, learn more about the tactics and strategies around the game,” Kurdas said.

“They’ve just been a really amazing and coachable group of women who are already reporting that the things they’re learning in our program they are applying in their club games on weekends.

“They feel like they are more confident and more competent footballers and have a great understanding of how you play the game – that’s the type of feedback they are getting.

“I feel like the program has been a success and the game on the weekend gives us an opportunity to apply things we’ve been learning in a match context.”

The NFNL’s 24-player senior women’s team contains representatives from 14 clubs within the league’s women’s competition.

Kurdas, who last year coached the league’s under-15 girls representative team to premiership success at the AFL Victoria Metro Junior Championships, said it was important to have a great cross-section of the league represented within the women’s team.

“What’s been really lovely is that we’ve got great representation across the many clubs within the league, which was one of my main focuses when agreeing to take the role on,” she said.

“We wanted there to be an opportunity for all clubs to have a representative. We wanted not just the best players in the league, but the best players at each club to give them the opportunity to represent the league.

“They’ve been a really terrific group of women to coach.”
As the squad prepares to make history as the NFNL’s first senior representative football team, Kurdas said the honour was not lost on her or the playing group.

“It’s a great privilege,” she said.

“I love creating history, particularly in relation to gender because historically there have been so many doors closed to girls over a very long period of time.

“It’s nice to be there as we open another door.

“I feel a great sense of privilege and responsibility to be walking alongside this group of people, both the playing group but also some really critical leaders in the league – who are both men and women who have been instrumental in making sure this door opens.

“I feel a great sense of privilege and responsibility but also a great deal of connection that we can share this experience together.”

Coaches U/19 Football

MPNFL Under 19s Coach – Josh Moore

Firstly I’d like to thank AFL South East and the MPNFL for giving me the opportunity to coach the Under 19 Interleague team.

It is a great honour and one that I certainly don’t take for granted.

I’d also like to thank the coaches and support staff that have been outstanding so far. They have given the under-19 playing group a taste of what footy is like at a higher level.
Adam Hunter, as my senior assistant, has gone far and beyond the call of duty, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him as well as the two other line coaches in Paul Scanlon and Byron Barry -  both legends in their own right.
Our Team Manager Michael Nocella has also done a power of work behind the scenes and we couldn’t have done what we have without him.

In terms of the playing list we have put together a highly talented bunch of kids, and right from the start their commitment to the program has been super impressive. It’s a credit to their coaches at local level who have produced not only quality footballers but quality people.

I have no doubt the 24 players that will be selected to represent our region will do us proud regardless of the end result.

I’m keen for the boys to show off their talent on match day, as it’s an opportunity that not many get. I want them to have fun and enjoy the experience. That’s what interleague is all about, having fun. They also get the opportunity to meet other players and coaches from the league that they can build relationships with that will last long into the future.

Good luck to Chris Holcombe and the senior team, and to Megan Snart and our women’s team. Let’s bring home three wins today.
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