When Hallam defeated a star-studded Bentleigh to take out the inaugural Seymour Law Cup in the pre-season competition this year, there was an ominous feel to the Hawks.
After finishing fifth in the Southern Football League Division Three competition in 2016 – and bowing out to the Doveton Eagles in a final – the expectation was that Hallam could be around the mark once again.
But coming into the pointy end of the 2017 season, Hallam are the premiership favourites, a tag that the club will relish as finals approach – but not let them become complacent.
“After we won the pre-season final against a Division 1 side, we automatically become the hunted this year – even though we finished fourth or fifth last year, we earnt that right after winning the pre-season comp,” Hawks coach Scott Slater said.
“And then when we beat Doveton Eagles for the first time this year, people started saying we were the real deal, and we welcome that.
“But we haven’t actually won a flag yet, we need to stay focused – we haven’t achieved anything but sit on top of the ladder.”
Slater said that the turnaround of his club’s on-field fortunes has come down to a clear plan focusing on little goals based around development of kids and lifting the standards of the whole club.
“It is really pleasing – had a three year plan put in place, we wanted to be competitive last year, make finals this year and have a crack at a flag next year, but we’re already 12 months ahead of that,” he said.
“When we looked at the draw, we sort of pencilled in some early wins against sides we hadn’t beaten before – we set little goals along the way and achieved that.
“We have tried to break the season down to six-week blocks – last year we won our first six games and everything looked on track – but when you get hit with a loss it’s hard to keep it on track.
“We’ve been big on pushing through the kids in games where it is safe to do so – we’re mindful on the kids’ development, we’re aware and mindful we need to get games into these kids to mould them into full time senior players in a year or two.
“The club train together, we don’t exclude as such, but our whole club is one- we’re big on educating our kids and enforcing a club game plan.
“We understand there is a long way to go this year – I’m happy to sit where we are at the moment, but we have to stay focused.”
Heading into a potentially epic finals series, with rivals Doveton Eagles, Ashwood, Endeavour Hills and South Yarra all breathing down their necks, Slater conceded that despite taking things one week at a time, looking ahead won’t hurt them.
“Player management is the key for us – if we get an opportunity to rest up a few older bodies or heal some niggling injuries we’ll do that – fresh legs in finals series do help,” he explained.
“But we need to focus on the next week, strive for the positive result, and the rest will take care of itself.”
A Berwick-based artists’ group has been left out in the cold by Casey Council after its grant funding application rejected at the 11th hour.
City of Casey Council unanimously approved their 2017-’18 community grants recipients, with 81 groups sharing in $217,468 of grants this financial year.
Council originally received 106 applications for this year’s round of grants requesting $286,554.
The list of 81 final recipients was considered at a general council meeting on Tuesday 18 July, where Councillor Timothy Jackson altered the recommendation.
The new recommendation removed grant money being awarded to Berwick-based Provenance Artists Inc and allocated it to the Berwick Business Group instead.
Cr Jackson said removing Provenance Artists Inc from the list of grants was an unfortunate but necessary decision.
“Unfortunately we were at the budgeted level for the grants, therefore something had to come out for any additional funding to occur,” he said.
“In discussion with my ward partner Cr Susan Serey, we felt that it was only fair that if we wanted to add the funding for something in our ward then something in our ward had to come out.”
Cr Jackson said as much as he wanted to be able to award grants to many community groups, he had to take budget considerations into account.
“The Berwick Business Group hosted a wonderful Christmas event for the community and local business which I attended. This was attended by more than 2500 people,” he said.
“While it would be great to be able to fund every event and every community group, it just isn’t feasible to do so.”
“I hope that should further money become available, we may be able to fund the art group again.”
President of Provenance Artists Inc Calvin Bell was contacted for comment, but declined to do so until he had a chance to speak with the group’s committee of management.
The full list of successful community grant applicants will be notified by council in the coming weeks.
AFL South East has listened to the 18 member clubs –nine football, nine netball – of the South East Football Netball League (SEFNL) and opened the door for a day grand final to take place on Saturday 16 September.
AFLSE has reconsidered its original decision to host this year’s grand final under lights at Casey Fields. AFLSE contacted the club’s representative last Friday (July 14) with news that – despite serious angst from the clubs – the night grand final would go ahead.
But at an AFLSE commission meeting on Monday night, SEFNL chairman and AFLSE commissioner Ryan Ford spoke on behalf of the clubs and their recommendation to hold the season decider at the venue of a member club – during the day.
The 18 clubs now have until Wednesday 26 July to put forward a compliant application to host the day grand final at one of three preferred venues, Beaconsfield, Berwick or Pakenham.
Key issues of concern for the clubs, amongst others, included the split of football and netball for the big day –with football and netball being 400-metres apart at Casey Fields – and the uncertainty surrounding who would benefit financially from the biggest event on the calendar.
Initial plans for the night grand final would see all 10 netball games –from under 13s through to A Grade- played during the day, concurrent with the under 19s and reserves football, before the senior grand final would take centre stage under lights.
AFLSE Region General Manager John Anderson explained that the overall decision was a complex one.
“There will be a sense of relief from the clubs, there’s no doubt about that, their thoughts came through loud and clear,” Anderson said.
“If the decision was purely based around football, I still firmly believe that Casey Fields is the ideal venue to host the grand final. But netball strongly influenced the decision; the clubs were united that the netball and football should be played simultaneously at the same venue throughout the day.”
Anderson said the ball was now in the club’s court.
“If a compliant application is not forthcoming, Casey Fields is still a viable option,” Anderson explained.
The Gazette has spoken with several clubs since the latest announcement, all praising AFLSE for taking their thoughts into consideration.
Jean Harrison is the Rotary Club of Endeavour Hills’ first female president.
“Five years ago when I joined there wasn’t any other women in the club,” she said.
“It’s moved along.”
She stepped into the presidential position at the club’s changeover dinner at the Dandenong Club on Saturday 8 July.
“I want to bring a bit of energy and vitality back into the club and, hopefully, encourage a bit of youth,” Ms Harrison said.
“We’ve got lots of experience but our members are getting older and we need to bring people in that can be mentored and take over.”
The group has about 30 members, including six women.
“I’m hoping that as a female president I’ll encourage some more women in,” Mr Harrison said.
“You need a mix.”
She said membership was dwindling in Rotary clubs across Australia.
“I’ve just been to the Rotary International Conference in Atlanta, in June,” she said.
“In a lot of the Indian and African countries they’re younger, they’re growing really strongly.
“In the US, UK and Australia they’re ageing and not attracting younger people.”
One of Endeavour Hills’ younger female members suggested privilege could be playing a part.
“Unless you’re involved with Rotary you don’t see the things people are trying to deal with,” Ms Harrison said.
“In other countries they see the need on a first-hand basis.”
She attended her first international conference last year in Seoul, South Korea.
More than 40,000 people from different countries, cultures and religions “all working for a common goal” turned out.
“That’s pretty amazing,” she said.
Endeavour Hills Rotary started a men’s shed in the suburb last year and is now helping the growing group to find a new home.
“We did a project with the Andrews Centre in Endeavour Hills. We put a whole new kitchen in for them.
“We did a big community garden which is at Gleneagles Secondary College.”
The club runs the Dandenong All Holden Car Show, started Disaster Aid Australia and has partnered with non-profit The SkyJuice Foundation to spread its SkyHydrant water filter around the world.
Ms Harrison said prospective members could check out the club at its weekly dinner, which is held at the Dandenong Club from 6.30pm on Thursdays.
Members can give the club as much time as they can spare, and children and grandchildren are welcomed.
Berwick Toyota is teaming up with the staff and pupils of Beaconhills College to dig in and celebrate the 22nd year of Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day on Friday 28 July.
Marking this special occasion, the Beaconhills College community and Berwick Toyota staff will get their hands dirty with planting activities at the school, as part of what has become Australia’s largest community tree planting and nature care event.
Not-for-profit environmental foundation, Planet Ark, has again partnered with Toyota and its extensive national dealer network to get both communities and schools across Australia involved in the initiative.
Through Schools Tree Day and National Tree Day, Planet Ark and Toyota hope to create a society in which people understand the value of their environment.
Berwick Toyota has been doing the National Tree Day with Beaconhills College for the past seven years.
Since 1996, National Tree Day and Schools Tree Day have been responsible for planting well over 23 million trees, plants and edibles with 3.8 million Australians donating their time throughout the years. In 2016 alone, more than 300,000 Australians participated in events across the country, planting more than 1 million plants with the support of 219 Toyota Dealers.
Debbie Agnew, spokesperson for Planet Ark, said: “Australia is a unique and breathtaking country and it’s critical that we conserve our natural heritage, as well as bring nature back to urban areas – our homes, workplaces, schools and cities. With the support of Toyota and its dealer network, we are sure Australians will get their hands in the earth and give back to their community this National Tree Day.”
General manager, Sam Freer, added: “Toyota has a long tradition of supporting the community at local and national level, and National Tree Day is a great way for us to give something back. Our team will be there, buckets and spades at the ready for a big day.”
Anyone and everyone can get involved in National Tree Day through Treeday.planetark.org or by contacting their local participating Toyota dealership.