As we are coming into the last month of 2014, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights we had as a club in 2014. Firstly, without the support of all the members and volunteers, the club would be non-existent so thank you for all your contributions. As with many clubs, however, there is a core group of volunteers and coaches who behind the scenes, spend considerable time and energy to keep things running smoothly. Thank you to the club Committee comprising of Nick Carracher, Murray Naismith, Dennis Cornwell, Vaughan English, Johanna Nuttall, Marlon Herft, George Cooper, Damian Davies and Mark Berridge, who above all else, helped steer the club in a positive direction. Also behind the scenes is Josephine Ong who does an outstanding job as our club administrator.  Those who are not behind the scenes are the very generous volunteers behind the barbeque each week – thank you. A drink and a sausage after footy is as Aussie as you can get. It is hot and messy work and we appreciate it.

Coaching

Each week you see a sea of white shirts coaching our kids which is a fantastic sight. Led by Dale Carmody and Ian Forbes (who showed us a somewhat entrepreneurial yet very successful method to drills) who kept the coaches on track each week, you could see our kids’ skills each week develop very strongly. In January prior to the start of the season, we were graced with the training skills of Neil Barras, an accredited AFL train the trainer. Neil led 31 of our Mums and Dads to attain the AFL Level 1 Coaching Accreditation and a further refresher / update following in early 2015.

Competitive Footy

It is not lost on the Committee that we are the only club in Singapore that offers Auskick and Junior AFL development – we would love to offer more competitive games each year, over and above what we have. That being said, this year we toured Bangkok and Bali and hosted tours from Hong Kong and Bali which will continue even more strongly in 2015. The club will tour Hong Kong at a minimum in 2015 with a few other tours being worked on, and possibly an Australian event with the help of alumni who are returning back to Australia in 2015. The carnival day with HK Dragons touring SSFC is a highlight of my time at the club with not only the quality and spirit that our kids played through the day, showing considerable maturity and skills in what was for them a pressure cooker environment – we should be proud of them. Rain delays and staying around after the games meant watching the amazing comeback of Richmond over the Swannies which was pretty cool. Especially I suppose, for the Tigers in what was their last win for the season…. As our kids also increase in size (some of the more senior kids are bigger than their dads!) and age, we will help migrate their skills to both the Wombats and the masters teams in order to keep their competitive spirits fulfilled.  We also had about 40 kids play on the main oval of the MCG at half time during the Richmond v Swans game in June. A truly memorable evening for both parents (and grandparents) and kids.

Player visits

Speaking of the Tigers, we were really overwhelmed by just how positive an influence Dan Jackson was to our club this year on his visit. The day before training, a lot of the older kids at AIS heard him give what was a candid talk on leadership and development where the timing of this was just ideal as the kids were coming into mid-year exams. He left three messages with us – Do the work, hang around positive influencing people and enjoy yourself. Words that apply not just to kids I suppose. Good luck to Dan in his post retirement career but he knows he always has friends at SSFC that he can pop in on any time! Dan travelling up to Singapore in his only bye weekend but this was not lucky or a fluke and it was many months in the making so those people that helped influence this trip – very well done.   We will absolutely continue this in 2015 and this is an open invitation for any member of the community to store this information in the memory bank on any contacts you may have with players, both current and former.

We were also fortunate to participate in an afternoon with Spida Everitt just prior the Grand Final (where Hawks won back-to-back wins) where he not only coached the kids but answered their questions – all of their questions – about fitness, team mates, different teams, life after footy, radio stardom and getting into trouble and the like. He was very impressive and gave the kids a great afternoon. Thank you to ANZA and the Wombats for letting us participate in that session.

Sponsors

We are fortunate as a club to have so much support from the community, not just volunteers but also from our corporate partners as sponsors in 2014 – National Australia Bank, Dallas Restaurant and Bar, Caterpillar, Holiday Inn Atrium Hotel, Fitness First, Asian Tigers (KC Dat), MyPhysio, Orthosports and of course, the Australian International School who allow us to use their first class facilities each week. Thank you also to the many in kind sponsors who were so generous throughout 2014.   We continue to be fortunate in 2015 with our corporate sponsors who include two new partners, Visy and Telstra, as well as continuing sponsorship from Dallas Restaurant and Bar, National Australia Bank and the Australian International school to name a few.  I am also pleased to inform you that the committee unanimously voted to support keeping the fees we pay for our kids footy at $200 for the year, the sixth year in a row. The Sharks AFL is the best value for money club in Singapore hands down. Watch out for a brand new designed uniform also in 2015 with a few additions we are all excited about – player’s names on the back, choosing their own numbers, a new bright strip with new sponsors and I am sure everyone reading this will be happy – this uniform is included in the registration fee.  

Masters

Snowy has done an outstanding job as lead coach for 2014 with Ben Rampling assisting. Thanks Snowy. He has handed over the reins to Travis Mills which we are all excited about. Hands on hips pushups penalties may just retire with Snowy. Thank you to Travis for agreeing to take charge and also once again, thanks to Ben Rampling for agreeing to continue in his role as Assistant Coach. Snowy won’t fully retire as he will still be training but also, we hear, in charge of working out what names each masters player has on the back of their jumpers so those of you thinking about what glorious nicknames you give yourself may be out of luck.

Nick Auden was known by many in the club as he was both an alumni of Sharks and the Wombats, but it is fitting that both the Sharks AFL and the Singapore Wombats played their annual home derby for the Nick Auden Memorial Trophy. Thanks to Orica for supporting this event and for joining us in celebrating an excellent win by the Sharks once again. A hard fought and highly spirited game.

The Bali Masters 9s was once again also supported by the Sharks, who won their division of the tournament. There was different format in 2014 as the overall winners of the Bali Masters 9s was the Audo United team, which was a one-off team made up of both the Shark’s and the Wombat’s more talented players. Well done to Audo United and the SSFC Masters for their wins.

2015

2014 was a busy year for the SSFC – and a great year. We hope you enjoyed the season and more importantly, your kids loved it. 2015 is just around the corner and a few items to highlight:

  • Registration Day will commence at the Australia Day BBQ on January 25 as in previous years. First week back for actual footy will be the following Saturday – January 31. We will continue the schedule in the first half of the year but introduce a lightning round in August coming into the AFL finals.
  • Registration fees remain at $200 per player, which includes full uniform and 2015 Auskick packs for the junior players.
  • The annual Trivia night has been locked in for April 25, which is ANZAC day. We are grateful of course to the strong patronage of members in 2014 both in turning up to what was a very memorable evening, but also in supporting the club with the auction items. We will continue to make enhancements to this evening to make this even more fun, if this is at all possible.
  • Teams in 2015 will be registered by age, rather than grade with ages of U5, U6, U7, U9, U11, U12+ and the adults being U15+. Times will generally be consistent to 2014.
  • We have significantly enhanced (we hope) the logistics surrounding the uniforms in 2015 with a bespoke order per player choosing both name and number and a turnaround time of no more than 3 weeks. We will have sample sizes for early ordering so that delivery can occur prior to the start of the season. Those registrations that occur on or around registration day on January 25 (and January 31) will have a delivery the week following Chinese New Year. 
  • I wish to personally thank, for their contributions to the club, Nick and Kate Carracher, Sam and Sally Davies, David and Rachael Walden and Andrew and Karen Clough, who are all leaving Singapore for what are exceptional opportunities ahead.  Nick and fellow Sharks Alumni, Paul Cotter, are already planning the Westchester Auskick side!
  • We are hoping to have a date organized shortly for the annual tour to Melbourne for the main square games for the kids at half time.  When HK’s dates also come on line, we will also be able to share this date giving plenty of notice to families wishing to make the trip.
  • Two further members have joined the committee for 2015 – Junia Avramopoulos and Godfrey Azoor. Thank you Junia and Godfrey for your contribution and time.
  • We continue to further align ourselves to a relatively newly formed pan Asian group of clubs making up AFL Asia. They have been forward thinking in their partnerships with each club in Asia as well as harnessing the ‘one voice’ with various groups such as the AFL directly and product suppliers such as Sherrin. More to follow in 2015. Dennis Cornwell is the Auskick and Junior Development Director of AFL Asia, as well as an active committee member of the SSFC which is a great benefit for the club.

For those of you that are staying in Singapore in 2015, 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 2015.

Tony Davies

President

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