By RUSSELL BENNETT
FOR the love of the game, and by the passion and dedication of its members. They’re the two, overriding reasons the St Francis Xavier Old Collegians Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) club continues to exist.
Chris Seuren, the club president of the ‘X Men’, admitted to the Gazette last year that they were lucky to have a club at all after all they’d been through.
And yet they went on to claim the Club XVIII (2) premiership with a big win over the Melbourne High School Old Boys in August. The result marked a seismic shift from where the club had been less than 12 months before as a lack of numbers forced them out of Division 3 and back to Club XVIII – right where they started in 2007.
But that’s what the love of the game can do.
As the sport of football, even at a local level, continues to become more and more monetised, the X Men are proof of where a club can go on the back of the passion and dedication of its members, and the sheer love of the game. They’ve got a long way to go, but under Seuren and new coach Luke Fulton-Tindal they’re headed well and truly in the right direction.
Fulton-Tindal is new to the area, in fact he’s moved in opposite St Francis’ new campus in Officer. But he’s already embraced the community and everything the club has to offer.
He comes to the club with a playing history including stints at the Shepparton Bears, East Coast Eagles (Sydney), and Uni Blues (VAFA A Grade) and coaching stints at Uni Blues, East Coast Eagles reserves, and Melbourne Uni Women’s Football Club.
He’s still in his 30s, but an osteoarthritic condition in his hips forced him to walk off the field for the final time as a player at just 24.
“I look at these guys and think they don’t know how lucky they are to still be able to play footy – to be out there running around and enjoying what this game has to offer,” he said.
“I’d give anything to be able to play again, but this is my way of giving back to a sport I love and to a new community.”
And now, he can’t wait to take the X Men to exciting new heights. He’s in it for the long-haul, too.
“I saw it as an opportunity to come in and help build a culture for football in the area about the love of the game,” he said.
“I think it’s just that. There are a lot of clubs around that’ll pay players good money to play, but when it comes to playing football for the love of the game nothing beats the Amateurs. It’s football for people who love playing, and that’s what I want to get back to – that passion.”
The X Men are based at Beaconsfield’s St Francis Xavier campus on Beaconsfield Avenue. For anyone interested in playing for them this season, visit www.sfxoc.com.au or www.facebook.com/sfxocfc.