The Oakleigh Dragon Football Club celebrated its 50th birthday on July 24th.
The club has been a family institution in the Oakleigh community since 1965, and is becoming a bigger club by the year.
The Oakleigh Dragons has managed to produce some AFL stars including current North Melbourne forward Robin Nahas and was the junior football club that Sydney star Warwick Capper began his illustrious career.
Former Carlton premiership player and Norm Smith medallist David Rhys-Jones also cut his teeth at the Oakleigh Youth Club Football Club.
Rhys-Jones still gives back to the club when the need it, recently attending a fathers night at the club which addressed the issue of mental health among Australian men.
Long time club servant Pat Heverin says that the club provides a service to the community unrivalled by any other, “The Oakleigh Dragons Junior Football Club does an incredible role within the community involving 230 kids in many different age groups, providing a ‘Grub at the club’ dinner every second week to over 150 kids, and parents on a Sunday evening.
The OYCFC doesn’t have a team above under 17’s but share their home ground of W. A Scammell Reserve with Victorian Amateur Football League side Oakleigh Krushers; who have an under 18/19 team helping young footballers move into senior football without needing to leave the ground they love.
“All players coming out of underage football have an automatic pathway to senior football via the Oakleigh Amateur Football club,” Heverin said.
South Metro Junior Football League General Manager Jake McCauley spoke about what the club does for the league.
“It’s a very important milestone for any Club. Turning 50 is a significant milestone and is a reflection of the strength of the Club and the volunteers that run the club.”
McCauley said that the connections the club has with both Auskick and the VAFA team shows how strong they have become.
“The club enjoys a very strong relationship with both the Oakleigh AusKick center and the senior Oakleigh Amateur Football Club.
“Having a defined pathway of AusKick centre to junior football to senior football is vital for the success of any club through the retention of players through their football career,” McCauley said.
McCauley paid tribute to the volunteers that help run the club saying: “The strength of any Club is a reflection of the strength of the volunteers.”
The Oakleigh Dragons Football Club has had a very successful 50 years and with re-developments of their home ground facilities not far away the club seems to be continually on the rise.