We are just over half-way through the season, and the senior side is sitting in 7th position of the 10 teams in Division 2, with four wins and five losses.
Season highlights so far have been thrilling victories over Old Paradians in round 2 (2 points), MHSOB in round 3 (1 point) and another 1 point win over Eltham Collegians on the Mothers’ Day weekend. And the team was valiant in just falling short in the final quarter against Yarra Old Grammarians on their home ground, after three of our players were sidelined with serious injuries during the hard-fought match.
Deakin University Affiliation
With much excitement, the Club entered into a formal agreement with Deakin University during the pre-season build-up earlier this year. Deakin University is a key sponsor of the Club for 2017. And with the agreement in place, the Club can use Deakin University’s name and the logo in its promotions and player recruitment. The Club had an active presence on the Burwood campus during Orientation Week in February, and was successful in attracting a strong group of Deakin students as players to the seniors team. Many of these players are students from country Victoria, living in Deakin’s residential accommodation. Interestingly, as described further below, women students at Deakin also approached the Club’s recruitment stall, asking about opportunities for playing women’s football.
In March, the Club celebrated the start of the 2017 season with a season-launch evening event held at Mrs Robinson’s Restaurant. The launch brought the playing squad for 2017 together with the Club’s retired players and stalwarts, and featured presentation of jumpers to the Club’s new players. Peter Schwab, who both played for and coached the Hawthorn Football Club (and was in fact recruited as a Hawk from the Bennettswood Football Club), was guest speaker for the night.
On Saturday 13th May, on the Mothers’ Day weekend, the Club held its major fundraising event for the year. The Ladies’ High Tea, held at Mrs Robinson’s Restaurant next to the football ground, was a great success, with some one hundred mothers, wives and girlfriends of the club in attendance. The function raised in excess of $12,000, which was donated to both the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Breast Cancer Network Australia Fund. This brings the total donation to some $27,000 by the Club towards breast cancer research in the past two years. And as on the same weekend last year, the players wore pink jumpers in honour of breast cancer awareness and research. It couldn’t have been scripted better, the team held on to the narrowest of margins, a one-point win, to celebrate the day.
As part of its commitment to community issues, the Club set aside the evening of Thursday 22nd June as a special focus on players’ mental health. Heath Black, who struggled with his own mental health issues during his 12-year AFL career, talked with the Club players over dinner in the clubrooms. The evening allowed for free discussion, led by Heath, on mental health and associated issues such as drugs and alcohol.
As part of its growth strategy within the community, and in collaboration with Deakin University, the Club is planning on staging a 2x20 min women’s football match at Bennettswood Reserve on Saturday 19th August. The match will be played in the break between the two senior men’s team matches, against a women’s team similarly compiled by another VAFA club, West Brunswick. The Club aims to recruit women interested in playing/trialling football, with specific targeting of Deakin students/staff and members of the greater Burwood community. The Club will provide two prior training sessions, and all playing equipment and support. The strategic intent is to assess the feasibility of developing and registering a women’s team in the VAFA for 2018, once the Club’s new pavilion and change rooms are opened.
The Club is pleased to continue it relationships with its loyal and valued sponsors within the community. Beretta’s Hotels remain the Club’s platinum sponsor for 2017. The Club’s other sponsors are:
· Deakin University Burwood
· Sofia’s Restaurant Burwood
· Camberwell Sports and Spinal Medicine
· Aussie Blackburn
· Goodness Gracious Café in Camberwell
· Anytime Fitness Burwood
· Graham Watt MP (State Member for Burwood)
· Cheeta Recovery
· Kosdown Printing
· Mrs Robinsons
· A-Team Carpentry
· The Posy Story – for flower delivery in Melbourn
Whitehorse City Council is currently building a new pavilion and change room facilities at the Bennettswood Reserve. The new facilities are scheduled to open well in time for the 2018 football season. The Club’s planned expansion into women’s football in 2018 is made possible by this major upgrade. And in fact, the Club is also assessing the possibility of introducing a development team of younger players (under 22 years) in 2018.
The Club is working closely with Council in the planning and fit-out of the new facilities. Additionally, the Club, together with the Deakin Cricket Club, is funding the installation of a new electronic scoreboard, which will modernise and enhance the Bennettswood Reserve sports facilities.
Another key enhancement undertaken by the Club has been the development of a new website http://www.emmausstleos.com.au/ . The Club’s aim is to fully expand its news, information and promotional reach to its members, affiliates, sponsors and the broader community through the website.