Barooga Hawks hope new shield honouring its former stars will set a positive tone for season.ROBERT HENSON March 27, 2014 4:10am
Barooga Football Netball Club hopes the inaugural Byers Tranter Shield, which honours two modern greats of the club, will get its season off to a flying start .
The shield, set to become an annual tradition, will be up for grabs in the Hawks’ practice match with the Shepparton Bears on Saturday.
The shield is named after Matt Byers and Tony Tranter, who played and coached for both Barooga and Shepparton over the past two decades.
Barooga FNC chairman Andrew Leighton-Daly said both men were highly respected at both clubs.
Tranter has long been involved in coaching at Barooga, for 10 years up to 2006, and Byers coached in 2007 and 2008.
Of the connection between the two clubs in separate leagues, Leighton-Daly said there was a common spirit.
‘‘There’s a mutual respect for each other, I guess you align yourself on clubs of a similar ilk.’’
This Saturday also marks Barooga’s official season launch, where past players, coaches, members, life members and supporters are invited to the club rooms after the game.
Hawks stalwarts Vin and Jill Toohey will perform the jumper presentation ceremony for the seniors side.
‘‘It will be an introduction into what’s in store for 2014, and an opportunity for some of our stakeholders and older members to meet some new members,’’ Leighton-Daly said.
He said the club had good numbers across football and netball, but junior footy numbers was a concern, not only for Barooga but for many clubs in the region.
‘‘Especially under-17s, that part in the age groups seems to be the hardest to fill.’’
Leigh Ramsdale will coach the senior footballers, while Kristic Primmer has been assigned A-grade netball.
Leighton-Daly said Ramsdale had his charges hard at work since late October in pre-season, preparing a squad for the first home game against Moama on April 12.
Although the Barooga senior side finished second last on the ladder in 2013, the club is staying positive and looking ahead to the coming season.
Among the big names available to the Hawks are former AFL player Tim Hargreaves, Damian Kennedy and Tony Tranter.
But Leighton-Daly said not all the club’s successes were recorded on the scoreboard.
‘‘We’re judged on success of senior footy side, but as a club we’re more concerned on the success of players, not only in sporting achievements, but becoming better people off the field,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re hopeful of the groups we’ve got assembled this year; we’ve got good support structures in the coaching and administrators.
‘‘Focusing on providing a comfortable safe environment for players and supporters — if we win a few games or make finals along the way then we’re more than happy.’’
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