By Nick Creely
Berwick Springs have a clear vision of what kind of impact they want to make on the community.
The first-year senior football and netball club in the AFL Outer East competition will continue to expand over the coming years, in a sign of their already extraordinary growth in 2019.
Fielding an under-18 football side this season, as well as C Grade, D Grade, under-17 netball and under-15 netball sides, football club president Ashley Allison reflected on the first year as a senior club after its transition from a junior club, and the challenges that await them as they continue to build a sustainable brand in the Outer East competition.
“It’s been a massive learning curve for us – taking boys from junior football and trying to develop the senior culture has been a learning curve,” he said.
“We’ve had some challenges in the first half a dozen to ten games, but I thought winning six games and drawing one was a good result, especially moving into Premier Division.
“(But) our biggest challenge now is generating funds from sponsorships – moving from a junior club to a senior club – and a home ground, which we’ve got a temporary one. We play out of Sweeney Reserve now, but council has committed to a new facility, which will be up for season 2020, and that’s great.
“We’ve had plenty of interest, but the challenge now is generating more interest from genuine senior footballers, so attracting them will be the challenge.”
But despite the challenges that come from building a new club, Allison said that from an on-field, and off-field perspective, the club has exceeded all expectations.
“In terms of development of players we are ahead for sure – we’re ahead of where we thought we’d be, but we’ve still got a long road ahead of us,” he said.
“Having a true home facility, where we can put on sponsors lunches will be a real advantage, but we’re ahead of where we thought we’d be.”
On-field in 2019, the Titans showed some tremendous signs in their under 18 side, with one of their young stars – forward Ryan Ladd – finishing sixth on the goal kicking table with 32 majors, as well as a host of others rapidly improving and pushing some of the top sides in the competition.
And the club is set for a big boost in 2020, with Allison confirming there will be a reserves team fielded in Division 1, and has left the door ajar for even bigger and better things by the time footy season kicks off next year.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do in years two and three, we’ll launch into reserves next year and seniors the following year at this stage,” he said.
“If we get the numbers for seniors next year we’ll do that, but we are in the process of meeting with Outer East to see what that could look like, but it’s a little too early to know if we can get those numbers.”
Allison said the key for his club moving forward was to attract the right people, and urged aspiring young footballers and seasoned players looking for a new challenge to jump on board.
“We’ll sell the dream – it’s a new club, and an exciting opportunity, so we’re looking for experienced players who can fill a mentor role for the kids coming through,” he said.
“This year is all about creating buzz and excitement about joining a new club.
“If we look around Berwick, Beaconsfield and Narre, I see a number of past players of our club playing there now, and in the past had nowhere to go so we hope to attract those kinds of players back as well.
“We’re seeking some support coaches, and we’re going through a senior coaching process at the moment, so we’re seeking interest in coaching, particular line coaches.
“We are a young and exciting club, and it’s a great opportunity to not be a part of the norm, so it is exciting for anyone that wants to join us.”