By Matt Fotia
Two finalists from Season 2019 are the latest in a host of EFNL clubs to have received upgraded facilities and both are confident their off-field progress will be matched by on-field performances in seasons to come.
Coldstream President Ryan Kerr has ticked off at least one of his goals since becoming the head man for the Cougars, with the club finally having brand new lights installed, increasing anticipation for season 2021.
The lights were scheduled to be completed well before their actual completion, but due to the current global pandemic, the delay is not unexpected, nor unexplained.
“One of the big things the new committee wanted to do in our time was upgrade the lights and through a good relationship with Bridget Vallence (Local MP) and a lengthy process with the councils we got something done.”
Funding from club sponsor Bendigo Bank Mount Evelyn was also a major part of the upgrade, with the bank putting in a substantial amount of money in on top of their usual sponsorship.
The new lights not only make the wide open spaces of the Cougars home ground much more trainable, but Kerr hopes it will also enable last seasons preliminary finalists to get more out of their home match-days, with night games for their Women’s and Veterans teams.
“One of the biggest things we wanted to do was to try and get some home games for our Veterans and Women’s teams on a Friday or Saturday night to get a bit more atmosphere around the club,”
“It helps with training times as well, it’s so much brighter down there now with the whole carpark lit up, so it’s good for spectators/parents too.”
Whilst last season’s finish will have left a sour taste in the mouth of Coldstream supporters, Kerr is confident that the club is building nicely both on and off field.
“With Chad (Rogers) coming in and building the senior team up with Daniel Price, the committee has been able to stay focused on doing our bit off-field and staying out of their (on-field committee) way,”
“The Women’s team are really keen and they were still training up until the second spike to stay together, so it should be a pretty good atmosphere down at the club next season.”
Coldstream will be hoping that their new lights are the start of something like the project down at H.E. Parker Reserve, with the home of the Heathmont Jets a completely new venue ahead of season 2021.
The Jets were able to open their new multi-million dollar facility for a short period of time between Covid-19 spikes, wetting the appetite of their fans.
The new 150 seater rooms, that were a shared project of both the Football/Netball and Cricket clubs, sit in the same position as the previous facilities, have the changing room capacity to host two simultaneous games, boasts a SuperBox – which was fitted out thanks to the clubs foundation memberships program – and will be the offices of Sport and Life Training (SALT).
Club Vice President Justin O’Dwyer is pretty bullish about his clubs new digs and you can’t blame him, given the five years of hard work that the club – and more specifically a working committee – has put into getting them done.
“The guys involved on this project have spent an enormous amount of time with all parties, engineers and so on, with about 200 meetings from start to finish and we’re excited for them to see the fruits of their labour,”
‘It’s one of the best local facilities I’ve seen – it’s a full modular rebuild which sped up the process as much as they could in these times,”
“We got it open for a couple of weeks when we were allowed to show people around and everyone’s loving it,” O’Dwyer said.
“We’re incredibly thankful to all levels of government who helped get this off the ground and the work they did – we got everything we needed including a commercial kitchen which will allow us to host events such as birthday parties which will help generate revenue for all clubs.’
🔸🔷✈️ REDEVELOPMENT UPDATE! ✈️🔷🔸Check out these awesome new aerial shots of a so-close-to-complete brand new…
The new clubrooms are the last piece in a nice looking puzzle down at H.E. Parker and O’Dywer thinks the ‘Hangar’ is almost unrivalled by any other EFNL venue.
He might have a fair point, especially when considering the recent ground resurfacing and the upgraded lighting.
He’s also bullish that the club’s on-field fortunes will follow the form of their off-field ones in seasons to come.
“We had new lights commissioned April-May last year, so we think we’ve got one of the best surfaces, we’ve got 350k worth of LED lights plus a four and half million dollar playing and social facility,’
“Hopefully all of that will continue to make H.E Parker a place to come for players and we’ll keep going on our journey, originally out of fourth division,”
“It has been a slow burn, a long term project with a big focus on developing our juniors and I think in last year’s elimination final we had 16 players who were 21 or under, which is part of strategic plan,”
“We’re trying to position ourselves to be an attractive club to talented young guys who want to play 2pm footy.”
Posted by Heathmont Jets Football Netball Club on Thursday, 2 July 2020
The Templestowe and Doncaster Football Clubs have also been the beneficiaries of new lights, with Templestowe Reserve and Schramms Reserve receiving the first LED oval lighting in the Manningham council.
The 100+ Lux lights will be a vast improvement on the two grounds and replace lights that have been in place for a number of years.
Both clubs look forward to being able to use the lights in 2021 both for their clubs training and for some prospective night fixtures.