Benalla Rovers Soccer Club is focusing on rebuilding as it launches into a new season.MONIQUE FREER February 21, 2013 4:24am
Benalla Rovers Soccer Club is launching into a new season with passion as it tries to rebuild a club that has suffered as a result of AFL’s popularity.
While the club had close to 70 players last year across five different age divisions, it needs at least 90 players to fill the teams it hopes to enter into the Albury and Wodonga Football Association this season.
‘‘This year the club is entering under-12s, under-14s, under-16s, reserves ladies and reserves mens teams,’’ coach Craig McDonald said. ‘‘There’s the possibility of having a thirds and a girls team.’’
The Rovers have a rich history in Benalla, dating back to the early 1950s when the migrant hostel opened in town. The club was formed when a group of new Australians from the hostel formed a committee and began playing the game together.
Its first game was played at its former home ground behind the Benalla Aerodrome in 1954, before the the club relocated to its current premises at Churchill Reserve 18 years later.
Unlike the structure there today, there was no clubrooms, changerooms or shower, and the only income was made from the tin shed canteen.
Fundraising, donations and voluntary labour allowed the club to build its own canteen, clubrooms, function halls and field lights and with council having built changerooms at the ground, the soccer club has the facilities to develop into the large club it envisages becoming.
Last year, the club left the North East Soccer League in favour of the Albury and Wodonga Football Association, believing it would be a popular choice for members and junior development.
Last year also saw McDonald rejoin the club as coach, having played soccer for Benalla in the early 1990s before moving to Albury-Wodonga for almost 20 years.
Despite the club’s long history in the town, it is taking a dedicated and active committee to bring the club back into the public eye.
‘‘We need to get more players, and we need more exposure,’’ McDonald said.
‘‘Soccer is a great game for kids, and inclusion is for boys and girls equally.’’
McDonald has the reserve and under-16 teams’ pre-season underway, which he believes may be a change to what some are used to and help deliver good results this season.
With a long-term plan in mind, the club has already achieved one of its pre-season goals of securing more than one coach per team.
‘‘The kids are more likely to learn from that, and it becomes less boring,’’ McDonald said.
But obtaining more coaches is not enough to bring the club to where its committee wants it to be.
‘‘Our main aim is to try and build the club back up,’’ club publicity officer Michelle McDonald said.
Coach McDonald agrees the priorities for the club are to build up team numbers and to start playing the best possible football they can.
Registrations are open before this season begins on March 17.
Voluntary work beckons for David Gawne after deciding to retire as a paramedic.
UPDATE: NSW Police have confirmed the body of a Warrnambool woman, 61, who went missing in the Murray River yesterday has been found.
Sixty years ago, March 5, 1954, was a red-letter day for Tatura, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the first reigning monarch to visit, came to town.
Echuca and Kyabram Fire Brigade will play in today's Goulburn Murray Cricket preliminary final.
Ritchie Aschenbrenner is exhibiting six years worth of paintings, covering a range of styles.
Kyabram's 69th annual rodeo takes place this Friday.
What was expected to be a long wait was anything but as young Seymour man gets heart transplant.
NSW signs historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan agreement.
The History of Tooborac group will be keen for gather more information about its photo collection when the publlic comes to look through its archives.
Three Cobram firefighters have returned safe from the toxic Morwell mine fire in Gippsland.
Gun Rams forward Ash Morris has signed with South Bendigo for the 2014 season and one day hopes to play VFL
Some VIP exotic animals spent the night at Shepparton Regional Saleyards on Wednesday night.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.