This year, like last year, saw an enrollment of approximately 27 boys, keen on a game of proper footy for the first time since most of them commenced playing Auskick 3 or 4 years ago.
The difficult decision was made once again to split into 2 teams to ensure that all of the boys could have a game every week rather than either having to have boys miss out on a game of football, or run 10 man interchange benches for every game.
I have once again had the honour of coaching the Booragoon White side whilst Richard Mulroney, who with his lovely wife, Jade, handled most of the organisational aspects for both teams, took control of the year 4 Blue side.
As was the case last year, the year 4 White boys were a pleasure to coach and showed amazing development over the course of the year.
On a Wednesday night training, we trained the 2 teams together which helped to continue the camaraderie of all the boys (even though they were split into 2 teams) as players of the Booragoon Bulldogs Junior Football Club Year 4 Age Group.
This year saw the football become much more willing with tackling now being available to the boys. It is fair to say that most of the boys took to the physical aspects of the game like ducks to water and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that they were playing football more like their AFL heroes.
Over the course of the season we were extremely competitive in most games, the only problem being that on most occasions we were only able to field 12 players and therefore had to even up with the other side over the course of the season. This usually saw us borrowing 1 or 2 players from our opposition for every game with mixed results.
At various stages, however, all the boys shone and the most pleasing aspect of any game was when we were able to see genuine teamwork support for each other.
We saw a couple of new players join the Club this year, and without exception, they were welcomed by the old stagers , fitted in extremely well and were a pleasure to coach.
From the first bounce to the culmination of the season there was considerable improvement and development by all players and in their ability to hold their positions, use their teamwork and play disciplined footy.
This was never more apparent than in the performance of the boys at the Lightning Carnival held at East Fremantle Oval on Sunday 31 August 2014. For the carnival, we combined the 2 teams so that every boy who wanted to play in the carnival was able to be involved. This left us with a large interchange bench and the bench rotations were
extremely well handled by Greg Collins and Andrew Kelly while the boys were extremely well coached by Richard Mulroney on the day.
It was an absolute joy to sit back and watch the boys come together and play some wonderful football. They were undefeated after the qualifying rounds of the carnival having won 3 games in a row, but unfortunately narrowly missed out on the final on percentage. We were left in little doubt after watching the first half of the final that we would likely have been very competitive in the final.
The calibre of the boys and their families was even further brought to light when both teams combined to enjoy a lovely sundowner on the Sunday afternoon. It is quite clear that although the boys come from a large range of different backgrounds and schools, some great mateship is developing and we can only hope that they will continue to play their football together for many years to come.
Coaching a football side has its moments but I have found it to be a wonderfully rewarding experience. There is a lot more to it, however, than just turning up and coaching the boys and a lot of the extra stuff that needs to be handled was done with great aplomb by the Booragoon Whites team.
Firstly, a big thanks to Karen Ganza who took on the job of manager of the White team when the two teams were split at the start of the season. Karen carried out all of the organisation, kept everyone informed as to what was going on by email and made sure we fulfilled our roster obligations, the jumpers were available, that the boys had oranges at half time, the goal umpires were always present and, most importantly, reminded me where to put my name on the match day report sheet
at the end of the game. Thanks to Karen for her fantastic efforts over the course of the season.
Thanks also to our wonderful assistant coaches, Richard Power and Geoff Cooper, who on the 1 or 2 occasions where I was unavailable to coach on match day, took over the coaching of the side and also assisted during mid week training sessions.
Thanks to Emma Walsh who donned the extremely fashionable first aid jacket which she became very fond of over the course of the season. Her efforts to identify the deficiencies in our first aid kit and ensure that this was upgraded were fantastic, and over the course of the season, she was quite busy dealing with a number of life-threatening superficial injuries to our players, all of whom she was inevitably able to return to the paddock a short time later.
Thanks also to Richard and Jade Mulroney for all of their organisation over the course of the year which allowed me to have a more pure coaching role over the course of the season.
To the parents, it was a pleasure to coach your children and to get to know some of you over the course of the season. I think we are blessed to have quality people involved at the football club who were uncomplaining when it was their turn to produce oranges, put on the mad scientist goal umpire s jacket (apart from John Waters who was simply too big for it), keeping time and operating the lame duck siren at Karoonda, and just generally supporting their children throughout the season.
Thanks once again to the Booragoon Junior Football Club for providing the opportunity to coach again this year.
Angus Castley (Coach)