A couple of AFL young guns, a female AFL footy star and several elected members helped the South Metro Junior Football League officially launch season 2014.
The event began with highlight videos from last year’s Grand Finals from the U11’s through to the U17’s before League General Manager, Jake McCauley, began the night’s proceedings by introducing Chairman, Roger Teale.
Mr Teale pointed towards the progressive nature of the League over the past few years as the catalyst for such big strides forward to become Australia’s number junior football league, and he joked, “probably number one in the world”. He took pride in being the first league to employ a full time Director of Female Football Development – something that has since been mimicked by other league’s across the country.
McCauley returned to the stage and treated guests to a lively Q&A with Saint Kilda’s Arryn Siposs and Tom Lee. Amongst other things, the crowd in attendance learned the vastly different pathways that both players took to arrive at their respective AFL careers. While Siposs took the more traditional route, Lee discussed being delisted by Adelaide and going back to the WAFL to rediscover his passion for the game, something he thinks he was too young to appreciate in his first go around.
While football seems to be working out pretty well for him at the moment, Siposs was also asked about his skill with the bat and ball after hitting 70 runs off 30 balls at a recent 20/20 charity game. While he said it was nice to hit a few runs, instead of promoting his own batting skills the modest forward was more interested in raising money for the Glen McGrath foundation for which the game was played,
The night’s final guest speaker was Alicia Eva, who was drafted to the Melbourne Football Club in the inaugural AFL women’s draft last year. Eva spoke at length about how far the game has come for the inclusion of girls at the junior level. She also shared some experiences of her times playing football growing up, the most memorable of which was kicking five goals after being taken too lightly at the beginning of a game.
McCauley returned to the lectern one more time to launch the SMJFL TV website, the site will be broadcasting all finals this upcoming season, and has already got all Grand Finals that have been played in all age groups over the past two years.
Now that the formalities are out of the way, the League is gearing up for a big season ahead and next fortnight’s Round One.
The League would also like to thank the following for their attendance:
Mick Daniher (AFL Victoria)
Elizabeth Miller MP (State Member for Bentleigh)
Paul Publich (Kingston Council Mayor)
Cr Laurence Evans (Bayside Council Mayor)
Cr Jamie Hyams (Glen Eira Council)
Cr Felicity Frederico (Bayside Council)
Cr John McMorrow (Stonnington Council)