The battle over the past four years to get to the Premiership included the 2019 Black Summer bushfires, the 2020 and 2021 COVID pandemics which saw two seasons cut short, and then the 2022 floods which effectively wiped out both playing fields and equipment.
But they never stopped believing and this year has seen them rewarded.
Club accolades include winning the Under-16 minor Premiership on the way to the Grand Final victory, having the NPL3 1st Grade Coach of the Year in Dean Bertenshaw, and Player of the Year, as well as Goal Keeper of the Year.
Club administrators were forced to evacuate the club house three times after the grounds and grandstand were completely submerged each time but the players stayed grounded by turning up week after week to games, training and functions at a variety of other venues.
“The club’s performed really well considering the position it found itself in,” 1st Grade Coach, Dean Bertenshaw, told us.
“We didn’t have adequate training facilities [because of the floods] and had to play so many games away from home due to the grounds being flooded and closed pretty much all year. We haven’t been able to play on our home turf since January. The water sits out there [at Bensons Lane] and really hurts the pitches. But we expect the players to be strong and resilient, and they were. They have been training on tennis courts and bits of concrete and it’s hard to maintain the pressure in tricky conditions, but we’ve done it as a team and played 30 matches.”
Coach Bertenshaw says the parents and carers deserve a big shout out too and had been instrumental in the teams’ success, with not only the Under-16s performing at the top of their game but the 1st Grade team also fighting hard and just getting pipped at the last hurdle, coming in second in their final.
“They’re just good kids,” says Dean, “and the parents understood the position we were in and we all stuck together. It’s all about enthusiasm and backs against the wall all the time but they were rewarded for it in the end.
“I’d like to thank all the parents, because they are the ones who have to get the kids to multiple training venues and keep it alive for us until we can rebuild our facilities and they are always the first ones to put their hands up and be there for working bees. That will help us rebuild.”
It’s a big job, with fencing, dugouts, scoreboards and the pitch to all be either rebuilt or heavily restored.
But despite all the challenges placed in their way, the Coach says, “we’re glad the players have stuck by us and we’re looking forward to the next season.