Russell Robertson spoke of his experience playing in the AFL with Melbourne at Shepparton United's junior season launch yesterday.DAMEN FRANCIS February 13, 2014 4:38am
Former high-flying Melbourne forward Russell Robertson was a special guest at Shepparton United’s junior season launch yesterday.
Robertson, 35, played 228 AFL games between 1997 and 2009 and shared some of his experience with about 60 players at Deakin Reserve, before taking part in a goal-kicking contest against United senior playing co-coach Tim Looby.
United fielded three teams in its foundation Shepparton District Junior Football League season last year and has upped that number to four — two under-14 teams and two under-16 teams — for this season.
Demons junior development officer Dean Walton said the junior part of the club had great support from the senior and under-18 playing groups, which ensured United was developing into a great family club.
‘‘We were really happy to get back involved in junior footy last year and we decided from when we got the go ahead we would focus on the bottom age, so you’ve got them longer at the club,’’ Walton said.
‘‘Being co-tenants we don’t get to use Deakin a lot just because of how much use it gets, so anytime (Greater Shepparton City) Council lets us on we’re very grateful.’’
Walton said the club was hoping to build on its Goulburn Valley Football League rivalry with Deakin Reserve co-tenant Shepparton, with the possibility of playing junior derby games at Shepparton’s premier football facility.
Robertson’s link to the club was through Melbourne Football Club foundation hero member Joe Di Conza, whose children play at United.
United is the only Shepparton-based GVFL club Robertson has not played for, having spent a season at Shepparton Swans in 2010 and made a one-off appearance for Shepparton in round one last year.
‘‘He had to give United a go,’’ Walton said.
‘‘Hopefully he likes what he sees tonight and we might be able to sign him up for the year.’’
Robertson, who grew up in the regional Tasmanian town Penguin, said a GVFL return was unlikely, but he enjoyed giving back to clubs in country areas.
‘‘Football is supposed to be enjoyable and young kids can get it wrong and take it all too lightly, but you can teach them the basics of training, which is when the drills are on, concentrate, when it’s off, you enjoy,’’ Robertson said.
‘‘There’s been bad press over the years about the culture in football clubs, but it’s a changing culture and we’re starting to get it right.
‘‘Football clubs can be a place for young men to grow in a positive learning environment.
‘‘It’s a young boys’ club, but then there’s the netballers and it’s a great place for boys to learn about girls. Some boys don’t know how to mix socially with girls and treat them with respect and football can do all of that, especially in the country.’’
United club training sessions are shared between Kialla Park and Wanganui Park Secondary College twice a week.
The sky is the limit for Wanganui Year 12 VCAL student Leigh Polan, 18, who decided to create two posters examining birdlife around the school.
The under 16 Pigeons kick started the YFNC's finals campaign with a resounding victory over the Paul Spargo led Scots College in the Grand Final of the AWJFL Elwyn Langford Shield at the Albury Sports Ground on Sunday.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
An ad for the Healthy Ageing Project will be filmed in Echuca, Rushworth and Rochester today.
More than $15,000 was raised at a family day on Sunday. The event was to raise money for the families of Barry Purtell and Dave Lobb.
Book Week gets colourful turnout.
Deaprtment of Environment and Primary Industries unhappy about Mt Disappointment vandals.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Farmers have a new weapon in the fight against mice.
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
History is recorded to inspire the next generation, author John Northage said at the launch of, Mending the Goulburn Broken, in Shepparton last week.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
The Benalla Indian Myna Action Group will pay a $1 per bird bounty on live birds delivered to CAL farm. National Party MP Bill Sykes donated $100 to fund the bounty.
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