As we come in to the last month of the year, I thought I would share with you, on behalf of the committee, some highlights of 2015. What a great year it was – and we are really excited about 2016! A total of 354 kids from 26 schools and 50 or so older kids “aka Dads” were having a run around each Saturday afternoon and kicking the footy. With the new playing kits making it more personal for each player and the coaches calling out the kids' names, we hope you kids enjoyed the season this year. There were a few standout numbers that people liked (#12, #15, #23) and some more colourful names (“Goliath”, “Smoked Salmon”, “Frozen Eel”, “Royda 3”) but we were delighted with the outcome of having the kids' names on the back of each jumper.

The club, being a volunteer based group, relies heavily on its members and a warm “Thank You” to each of you who helped out this year, most especially the coaches and the bbq volunteers. The committee works hard behind the scenes helping steer the club in a path that is both positive and community-minded and thank you to Dennis Cornwell, Vaughan English, Michaela Iivonen, Mark Berridge, Junia Avramopoulos, Damian Davies, Murray Naismith, Godfrey Azoor, Marlon Herft, Milan Rokic and more recently, Victoria Pollock and Daniel Tyson-Jones. Thank you also to Josephine Ong who works behind the scenes in administration to help the club run as efficiently as possible.

Coaching
The new hi-vis shirts this year certainly helped the coaches stand out even further this year. The coaches led by Dale Carmody and Ian Forbes were outstanding in 2015. Over the three years that they were leading, Dale and Ian did a great job running the coaches to run the drills and games with the kids. The structure of the drills and skills of the kids (and Dads) have been very positively influenced by the leadership of Boof and Forby, so thank you.  Travis Mills did a great job keeping the senior kids and older Dads, or should it be older kids and senior Dads, in check. Thanks Trav. The AFL Level 1 coaching courses that were done by many a parent were put to great use and again, we wish to thank Neil Barras for running this for us. You could see it worked well with the kids footy skills growing throughout the year. With the carnival we ran through the year as well as the lightning rounds for the older kids, the coaches certainly were well rewarded by seeing the kids play so well. Whilst Dale and Ian have decided to hang up their coaching boots for a while, we are delighted to have two new coaches in 2016 – Scott “Murph” Murphy and James “Stevo” Stephenson. You can find full bios and photos of Murph and Stevo on the Sharks website.
 
Games, Games, Games
We heard you. We still hear you. More games in 2016! We continued the annual round robin with HK with a footy trip in 2015. No trip is complete without taking in an AFL game on the big screen in a family friendly gastropub. The boys played very well and we welcome HK who are coming to Singapore in 2016. We will be arranging a tour to Bangkok in 2016! Etihad Oval saw the sharks carve up the half time game in July and a small contingent of Sharks took on Cottesloe in Perth. Thanks to Nixa, Marty, Darren, Tim and Simon for helping arrange.  The lightning rounds ended the season and congratulations to the players who participated in what was a very exciting and well run tournament. Thanks to the organisers who ran this in term 3. We will be extending this even further in 2016 with lightning rounds for the U9s also, numbers permitting. The old boys also did well coming runners up in the Bali Masters 9s in June. The Nick Auden Memorial Cup was once again claimed by us with a comprehensive victory over the Singapore Wombats for the fourth year in a row.


Player Visits
We were really lucky to kick start this last year with Dan Jackson but we went even better this year with two players coming up – Andy Otten from the Adelaide Crows and Jack Trengove from Melbourne. Both players were really generous with the time spent with the kids and we will be looking to continue this in 2016. This exercise takes an enormous amount of organisation and negotiation, so thanks to John Rogers, Damian Davies and Tom Katsaros for arranging. We will soon be scouting for new names to come to Singapore so an open call again to the community with contacts of current (or potentially very recently retired) players who may fit the bill.


Sponsors
We are very fortunate to have the support of our corporate partners in 2015 and again in 2016 – National Australia Bank, Dallas Restaurant and Bar, Telstra, Visy, Caterpillar, Fitness First and of course, the Australian International School. Thank you also to the many in-kind sponsors this year also.


Social Events
Perhaps a little too social sometimes! Without doubt the highlight of the year (as it has been for some years now) is the Annual Trivia and Members night.  With the Quizmaster George “Coops” Cooper keeping a fine balance between trivia and social engaging, we hope the 250 or so guests enjoyed themselves. April 23 is the date for 2016 to lock in your diaries for what we hope will be another superb event (and value for money)! We also complemented the Trivia night with a number of other social engagements in 2015 – the AGM and New Members night, both evenings post player visits socialising with the players and lastly, finishing with End of Season function post the GF of the Lightning rounds.


Diary for 2016
The full schedule for 2016 is on the website but a brief summary is as follows:

31st January        Registration Day
6th February        CNY – No footy
13th February      Footy starts
9th April              Break
23rd April            Annual Trivia and Members Night
4th June              Break up
18th June            Final week
23rd July             Lightning rounds start
 
Final Thoughts
We have lots of thoughts about how to do things better in 2016 and also to learn from our mistakes this year. We received feedback about how our organisation can improve in both the BBQ area as well as the U7’s coaching – we will do better next year. Thanks especially to Jo, Glen and Prendo for helping out especially and pulling things together.  We will try and be more efficient with our communication in 2016 – especially with the newsletters. We heard you about the need for more games. We will continue to have the kids' names on the back of the jumpers so we all can call them by their name. We will strive as always for a great quality club, not striving to have a large club. Hopefully, we will make the experience for your kids an even better experience next year!

You would be pleased to know that there will be, for the seventh year in a row, no increases in fees in 2016. Hands down the best value for money club in Singapore. With the schedule for the lights going in to the school on track, this will another unique and exciting feature for next year. More on the lights in the New Year!

A lot of families are leaving the community and heading back to Australia or away from Singapore in general. I would like to personally thank Mark and Lucy Berridge, David and Tania Plant, David and Katrina Snow, Ben and Lee Rampling, Marlon and Renee Herft and George and Trish Cooper for their many contributions to the club. To all the other families leaving, thank you for being part of the Sharks AFL and good luck in your move back!
 
For those of you who are staying in Singapore in 2016, we welcome you absolutely once again to the club next year. Those of you who are departing Singapore, we wish you all the very best for your next move and thank you for your support.  If you or your kids find yourselves in Singapore over the weekend when footy is on, this is an open invitation to join in. All the very best for the upcoming holidays and for 2016.
 
Tony Davies
President

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