By Nick Creely
For president Pam Rogers and the entirety of the Casey Thunder Football Club, the club’s inaugural year in 2020 is all about culture.
It’s all about creating an avenue for budding female footballers to grow both as a player and a person, all about building a family culture, and all about being a premier female sporting club in the south-east of Melbourne.
The Thunder will enter its first teams into the South Eastern Women’s Football Division 2 competition in 2020, in what is sure to be a landmark moment for a club that’s slowly but surely done all the groundwork to bring its vision to life.
Based out of the excellent Hunt Club Recreation Reserve facility in Cranbourne, The Thunder is certainly getting excited about what 2020 will bring, and the opportunities its set to create female footballers in the region.
“It’s been a bit of a slow burn over 2019 getting it all organised, but now that it’s happening it’s pretty awesome,” Rogers told Star News Group.
“The girls are really happy and so is the coaching staff, so we’re all really excited.”
Rogers said that all of the hard work, and long hours that have gone into making the club’s dream a reality has all been worth it with the excitement building as each day passes towards the season.
“It was hard but it was easy at the same time if that makes sense,” she said.
“We had a vision, and then it’s hard to put things into place, so the hardest part for us is with the council and the league, and with the league you have to submit applications for clubs, AFL Victoria have to approve it before it happens.
“That was the hard part with nothing behind you, but council and the league were fantastic – once we secured ourselves an oval, it was easy from there, and it was a matter of advertising for girls, and we’ve had massive interest at the end of 2019.
“We’re now getting anywhere between 30 of 40 girls rock up to training, and other committed girls who are currently training at VFL clubs.
“It’s been a lot of work, but not at the same time, everyone’s got around us.”
Rogers said that the rise of female football, and in particular in the south-east, was evident, but wanted her club to make the girls – and creating that pathway for them –a main priority.
“I’ve been involved in female football for about 15 years, in playing and coaching and I’ve seen with the VFL coming along the interest is just now enormous,” she said.
“We felt we needed to create something that made female football the number one and have a home for girls and women to kind of feel like they’re the priority.
“Just from the interest alone, and from the amount of people that have contacted us, and going ‘this is great’ is just massive – this is just the start, two senior women’s, but we look at 2021 and potentially entering a juniors side, and in five to ten years have everything from under 10s to maybe masters one day.
“We want women from all ages come down and get involved – we want somewhere that’s a hub, everyone’s together and just try and connect and become a family.”
While the Thunder will be hoping its first season in the South Eastern Women’s competition will be a success on-field, Rogers said that this year is all about the journey, and creating a sustainable culture into the future.
“Obviously from the board our message to the coaching staff to drive is culture, and creating a platform for the years to come, that’s our priority,” she said.
“There isn’t a lot of pressure on the coaching staff, but we’ll be competitive and hoping to get some wins on the board.
“We’re not striving for a premiership, at the end of the day we have to concentrate on getting the platform right, and if we get the wins, we get the wins.
“Hopefully with a good culture that comes hand in hand anyway, and in 2021 it’s going to be a big year for us to see where we settle in.”
For more information on how to get involved with the Casey Thunder, head to the club’s Facebook page.