What a great year for the Singapore Sharks in 2013 and with planning already underway, next year promises to be even bigger and better.
 
A total of 300 kids – from three to fourteen year olds, from 21 schools – graced the turf at the Australian International School and indoor halls through the year while 70 “old boys” signed on as members and enjoyed a run on a Saturday evening. As the only Auskick program in Singapore, the club has grown with your support to be one of the best community clubs with a great social base in Singapore - and we thank you.
 
As a club that continues to grow in numbers, so too does what it stands for and what members should get out of the club. The uniqueness of being part of a club that gives a little bit of Australia & Aussie Rules (and a sausage after training) says it all but it goes a little further than this. The club has shown strength in four main areas: organization, communications, value for money and community spirit. I wanted to touch on each of these four main trends a little more as we wish to expand them even further where possible into 2014.
 
Dale Carmody and the exceptional number of coaches and helpers who weekly have a kick of footy with their kids and their kids mates create a fun atmosphere but one where the structure of the session can also concentrate on skills. Oh, and a game of footy of course. We will continue to expand this in 2014 by offering an AFL coaching accreditation course in weeks 1 and 2 as well as a round-robin team based games program, both internally and with touring teams from hopefully the rest of Asia. On the administration side, Josephine Ong has been exceptional both in terms of accuracy and delivery which we appreciate very much.
 
Craig Brennan, having an upper hand at writing compared to the rest of us due to him being a journalist, puts out a weekly and informative newsletter each Thursday. With our members aware of what is going on, there is higher engagement and higher participation which hopefully translates in our kids touching the footy a few more times than they would have normally have done each Saturday.
 
The SSFC is the best value for money club in Singapore hands down. Fees will not increase in 2014 – for the fourth year in a row.
 
With the membership base consisting of parents and kids that love AFL – even from 21 different schools the community engagement is already at very strong levels. Starting the year on registration day at the AIS/ANZA Australia Day BBQ (which we will once again be part of on Sunday, January 26 in 2014) to ending the season by hosting jointly with the AIS Parents Association a Grand Final Family day at AIS, the club has been very community minded. You will be pleased to know that the club, through your contributions, also helped support financially the building of houses in Cambodia, donated jumpers and playing kits to the Sunrise Children’s Village in Siem Reap, donated $1,250 and spare playing jumpers to Sharks Basketball for further donation to The Treasured Gems Academy, a burnt-down school in the Philippines that is close to Sharks Basketball’s heart and lastly, donated a further $1,250 to the AIS Typhoon Haiyan Appeal. We hope to continue these small but very valuable community acts in 2014.
 
Looking back on 2013, the season began brightly with a brand new playing strip and style. Lighter, cooler and brighter fabric was very well received by everyone.
 
A special thank-you must go out to AIS for their on-going support of the Singapore Sharks in allowing us the use of their superb facilities.
 
We should also extend our gratitude to all the coaches who spent a considerable part of their Saturdays in helping the kids develop their footballing skills and to all those involved with the BBQ for their untiring work in often very warm and trying conditions.
 
To our sponsors – National Australia Bank, Dallas Restaurant and Bar, Holiday Inn Express Singapore Atrium Hotel, Caterpillar, Fitness First, Orthosports, MyPhysio, Asian Tigers, The Australian International School and our many in-kind sponsors through the year – the year could not have been as big a success without their support.
 
Thank you to the outgoing committee members of the SSFC, Nick Taylor, Tim Chegwin, Andrew Connell, Craig Brennan, Brandon Batagol - your contribution to the SSFC has been tremendous and has set a terrific base for future years. Nick, Cheggers, Whitey, Craig and Brandon (and of course Karen, Liz, Mel, Jill and Gab) have worked tirelessly for the club over a number of years – we thank them and wish them all the best as they return to Australia in 2014. With that, we welcome the Sharks Footy Club committee for 2014 – Anthony O’Neill, Damian Davies, Johanna Nuttall, Marlon Herft, Murray Naismith, George Cooper, Nick Carracher, Dennis Cornwell, Vaughan English and myself.
 
Ex club president Rob Schaefer and his family, Adrienne, Bowen and Lucy have also left Singapore to return to Australia. We wish them well back home. As Rob was the coach of the dads team, I wanted to say thank you to David “Snowy” Snow and Ben “Benny” Rampling for agreeing to take over the duties in 2014. Congratulations to Ben and Lee also who have just had a baby boy so bets are on as to how long it will take little Levi to put on a pair of boots.
 
The season highlight for the dads especially was the incredible goal by Nick Taylor at a crucial time in the Bali Masters 9s in June. Coming runners up in the tournament was pretty special and disappointing at the same time but a mere fraction to the celebrations seen post-goal. Runner up in this highlight stakes was the victory for the second year in a row of the Sharks against our nemesis the Wombats in July to win the inaugural Nick Auden Cup, with what turned out to be quite a convincing win. Captain Anthony O’Neill, a driving force behind the team, was a proud man as he led the team in song following the win.
 
While the “old boys” enjoyed their glory, the kids also had their chance to shine on the big stage. The young brigade headed to Hong Kong in May and showed incredible skills against the junior teams from Lantau, Central and Kowloon. It was pretty special seeing 60 kids watch and cheer the Geelong / Collingwood game later that night on tour.
 
In late June, there was also the opportunity for the kids to have a run for the main grid game at Etihad Stadium, where representing West Coast they played against the “Hawthorn” team. We look forward to seeing what main game and grid games we are allocated for the 2014 season once again.
 
The 2013 season ended with a bang. More than 250 people turned up at AIS to see the Hawks score over the Dockers in the AFL Grand Final. Everyone enjoyed the afternoon with the kids enjoying a kick of the football while the parents could relax and enjoy the excellent food and beverages on offer, and listen to the Aussie tunes of “No Worries”.
 
Planning for the 2014 season is well underway with the new season kicking off for the SSFC on Australia Day – January 26. This will coincide with the AISS/ANZA Australia Day barbeque at the school.  This will be the day to register, pick up a new kit if you need it, have a chat, meet your coaches and perhaps have a kick. Structured training will occur the week after the CNY break, February 8. If you (or your kids) have any old pairs of footy boots please keep them and bring them along to the club for a ‘boot swap’ – more details to follow. We are also on both Facebook and Twitter so please sign us up to receive updates also.
 
We would encourage those members returning in 2014 to monitor the website. There is already a registration form online (www.sharksfc.com.sg) where you can register and pay via PayPal.  Volunteers are crucial to the club so please do think about ways you can contribute in 2014. As a call for help straight up, a sausage and a can of drink (or water) is as part of footy as Mork is to Mindy, or Strop is to Hoges, or Jack is to Jill or even Itchy is to Scratchy so if you are able to put your hand up to take charge of one Saturday afternoon through the season, please do reach out early.
 
Please make sure you mark down in your 2014 calendar – Australia Day – January 26 – it’s the day AFL returns to Singapore at AIS for registration day.

Key Dates for 2014
January 26 Registration date
February 8 Season commences
April 5 Easter Break
April 26 Trivia Night
May 17 AFL Carnival
June 6/7 Bali Masters
June 14 Break Up
June 20-22 Melbourne Auskick game
Sep 25 Grand Final Carnival
   

As a final note, as we head in to the New Year, on behalf of the Sharks Footy Club we wanted to wish those families that are heading back to Australia or beyond permanently thank you for your contribution to the club and  best wishes and to the wider community a safe and happy End of Year break.
 
Tony Davies
President

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