What a year 2016 has been!  With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I, on behalf of the committee, would spend a minute reflecting on the Sharks AFL season for 2016 and highlight some initiatives the committee had in mind for the 2017 season.  Before this, however, the club does not operate without the thousands of hours as a community we get together to provide our kids with a touch of the footy, a little bit of Australia in Singapore, a “come on, shake it off” from the sidelines, a mark or a goal plucked from nowhere (or pure talent) and of course a sausage and a drink after the game! Thank you to all the volunteers, coaches, assistants, ice runners, mouth-guard reminders, journos, umpires and of course the committee.
 
I would like to highlight a number of people who really did a lot of work to help the club:
·         To the committee who helps the club tick over: Dennis Cornwell, Vaughan English, Michaela Iivonen, Victoria Pollock, Damian Davies, Murray Naismith, Milan Rokic, Daniel Tyson-Jones – so much work running the lightning rounds, running point on the BBQ, the newsletter, finances, social events and trivia nights, the decisions forged to keep our family club a great club.
·         To the super-efficient Josephine Ong who behind the scenes really is the one that keeps the club operational – and super friendly and polite.  
·         Scott Murphy and James Stephenson for leading the coaching duties for 2016, and agreeing to continue in to 2017. Thanks also to Murph’s thumbs for bringing back Fonzie’s signature style in every photo.  Thanks also to each of the coaches who were there week after week.
·         Trav Mills for leading the older kids and dads in a session a couple of times a week. Each Wednesday nights under lights (Ahhh..the lights…) and each Saturday after the kids training trying to give us some direction. Thanks to all the other people who put their hand up to take over when Trav is unavailable – Scooter, Katsy, Eel … big shoes to fill.  
·         The sponsors who help keep the club the best value for money club in Singapore – Cat, Dallas Restaurant and Bar, Telstra, Visy, NAB, Cliftons and Sliding Doors Entertainment
 
Lights, Camera, Action
 
There were many nights through the year where the footy was able to be enjoyed under lights. I know the older crew each Wednesday night particularly enjoyed the lights with a little bit of coolness in the air. Well, not coolness, but certainly not a 34% sun and 100% humidity. For all those reading, please do feel free to join next year on Wednesday nights also for a run and a kick – or send this to your husband / wife / partner for them to join.  The kids also enjoyed the Friday Nights Under Lights concept and we will look to run similar nights through 2017.  A special thank you to the Australian International School, who were truly excellent partners not just in agreeing to the lights (and equal funding) but also each week for the usage of the grounds, the gymnasiums, the BBQ and every other facility allowed when we have asked. Thank you Bertus, Andre, Simon, Justin, Denis and the executive team.
 
Player Visit
 
For the third consecutive year, our kids are able to share an afternoon with a current AFL player and Matt White certainly proved a hit this year. Matt joined Dan Jackson, Jack Trengove and Andy Otten from previous years to share experiences, impart wisdom, kick a footy and show leadership and friendship to our kids. After signing around 400 autographs and answering about 400 questions, he just wanted to do more. We will continue to support player visits to the club in 2017 and once again and open invitation that all suggestions are welcome from any member in the community who has connections to any players. A special thank you to Telstra for supporting Matt’s visit to Singapore.
 
Competitive Footy
 
We keep hearing you and we keep increasing the amount of competitive footy we give the kids. Three highlights in 2016 – Carnival Day, HK Carnival Day and Lightning rounds. As the only junior AFL club in footy, we will continue to find ways to help kids play competitive footy in Singapore. With the continuation of the intra-club carnivals such as the lightning rounds we hope the kids will continue to enjoy this.   We will tour North Asia in 2017 – either HK or Shanghai or both!   In 2016, the club also introduced a new concept to recognise the outstanding work that one member of the club provided to the development of the players over many years – a lot of the kids starting as juniors, then intermediate and now seniors – the Carmody Cup on behalf of Dale Carmody. The club will host an annual derby of the ‘seniors’ versus the ‘super seniors’ or older kids versus dads.   The inaugural game was held last Saturday afternoon and whilst the dads won, scores were tied with only a few minutes to go. The inaugural ‘Norm Smith’ AKA the ‘BOOFLOW MEDAL’ was won by Michael Avro. Well done Avro.
 
2017
 
·         A brand new kit design (well, some similarities) with our kids choices of number and names on the back. Christian names can be replaced by nicknames, wanna be nicknames (“the package”) or a totally different name than you gave your child. They can have whatever number they wish for (well, every number except one number!) be it their favourite or that of their favourite player. The supplier and the orders were generally very accurate over the last two years and we hope for this to continue, albeit with a slightly longer lead time per order. The kits are designed to last two years and we hope you will like the new design.
·         Visy, Dallas Restaurant and Bar, Telstra, CAT, Sliding Doors Entertainment and Cliftons will continue as sponsors for 2017, as well as the addition of a new sponsor in JLL.
·         We will have significantly more focus on participation from girls and if numbers allow, a girls league in 2017.
·         As we continue to be a junior AFL club in Singapore that provides a little bit of Australia to a predominantly Australian supporter base each week, we will also try to expand the networks to a wider reach in the Australian community. With our club being represented within 42 schools across Singapore we are hoping for higher participation to increase competitiveness across the age groups.
·         Thank you to Simon Heagney, Mark Whelan and Remon Gazal who have agreed to join the committee in 2017.
·         We are finalising our schedule for 2017 for tours and the like. With the first AFL game in Shanghai and our continued home and away against HK 2017 should be a busy year for the club.
·         Registration day Feb 5 at the Australia Day BBQ with first week Saturday February 11.
 
Thank you for supporting the club in 2016 – and please accept an open invitation to come back in 2017. Please ask your kids to bring their friends – the more the merrier. A personal thank you to a number of families and kids who are leaving us in 2016 – Murray and Jacqui Naismith, Dale and Felicity Carmody, Chris and Junia Avramopoulos, Harvey Brown, Aidan Ross to name a few.
 
For those families that are staying in Singapore in 2017, we welcome you absolutely to the club once again next year. To those that are leaving, you are always welcome back at the club anytime either as a one off weekend you are in Singapore (with or without kids) or more permanent. All the very best for your future endeavours, and thank you for being part of the club. Have a healthy, happy and safe holiday period and see you back in 2017!
 
Tony Davies
President

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