It’s been an outstanding year for our 180+ Auskickers in 2014 who enjoyed a season that spanned April to September with many highlights along the way. We set out with 3 key goals for the year – connecting our kids to the club, building a strong sense of community, and playing as much footy as possible.
We were thrilled to be back at ‘The Boss’ after having spent the 2 years prior over at Castlefield after the resurface. This brought our families much closer to the heart the club and provided us with much better facilities to accommodate the swelling numbers within the centre. Over the past 3 years, Auskick has grown from close to 120 kids to over 180 in 2014.
It takes 36 coaches, 150 footies, 16 sets of goal posts, 150 cones, lots of parent help and a lot of planning to make each of our 16 sessions come to life and each week we take great pride in watching the kids love of the game and skills grow.
We were lucky to have 3 opportunities for our centre to play half-time at the AFL matches, one of which was the preliminary finals match Essendon vs North Melbourne, which was an amazing match to have been a part of. This meant that 72 of our players were able to run onto either the MCG or Etihad in front of between 34,000 and 89,000 screaming fans.
We also started a new tradition, Auskickers playing half time for the Rovers home games – this was well received by the seniors, Auskickers and the loyal supporters who watched and cheering through the home games and half time games. We had players ranging from 4 to 12 years old running onto the Boss and then forming a guard to cheer in the Rover seniors for their 2nd half. One of the year’s absolute highlights was being able to run 24 kids onto the field at half time for the seniors grand final match and then present the Rovers with their medals when they went on to win the match and the grand final for 2014 – We’re still not sure who was most excited by the win as the Auskickers carried the joy of the victory as if it were their own.
Other highlights for the season included a special day in which the seniors took over the Auskick session to run the kids through their paces (this is sure to be the start of an annual tradition), the Auskick mothers day longest kick competition, the Father’s day Parent’s vs Kids match (which didn’t end even after the whistle blew for the 5th time) and the Big Bash party hosted by our community partner Lollipops playland.
We have a passion for making football accessible to ANY kids that want to play and so halfway through the season, after extensive community engagement, we started up a girls only Auskick group. Starting for small foundations, the group went on to run a girls only half time grid at the final Rovers home game, and has resulted in a firm commitment to run a girls only group for all ages for the whole of the 2015 season.
Special thanks go out to each of our community sponsors: Brazillian Butterfly, Yo-get-it, Grill’d, Brumby’s, Intensity, Cold rock, Lollipops playland, Mecca Cosmetica, Sherrin and Penguin Books. Also a special shout out goes to Kinder Prep coaching co-ordinators Ken Jefferd and Ali Khanbashi and Grade 1-4 coaching co-ordinators Daryl Weavers and Chris Sando, plus their teams of dedicated coaches who made each session come to life with fun, games and lots of skills. Also, thanks goes out to Mary Cole for being a tremendous support throughout the season.
We were lucky enough to end the season with a huge accolade – our centre was named southern region Centre of the Year, receiving the coveted prize in recognition of our efforts engaging the centre and club, supporting girls to play footy and making Auskick a great starting point for AFL players.
We look forward to 2015 being bigger and better for the club and our kids.
Congratulations to Rovers Auskick co-ordinator Louise Khanbashi on being nominated as a finalist for AFL Auskick Co-ordinator of the Year. An outstanding effort!
Information regarding 2015 Auskick at the Hampton Rovers will be available soon.