Presidents Message on resumption of football 3 July
Dear Hurlstone Park Players, Volunteers and Supporters
Well, we are finally here on the cusp of the football season. In fact, as I write this, our over 45/1 team will be arriving at Blick Oval to warm up ready for the season opener for our club (and by the time you read this, they will have already played the kick off). Tomorrow we will welcome our under 6s for their very first games of football, and welcome back our under 7s. Our under 8s and under 9s, and under 8 girls on Sunday will be having their adventure in interclub football. And all the rest of our players, new and returning, will be heading out to the park for the first games of the season this weekend.
We would normally have a newsletter to start the season, but with all the additional activity we have had to get this season up and running, since we were allowed to return to training in early June, we have not had the capacity to do this. And we need your content as well – so in lieu of a newsletter, I am continuing the pattern that we started when the pandemic disrupted our season, by sending you an email update, with a few key points.
THANK YOU FOR GETTING US TO SEASON KICKOFF
First of all, thank you! Hurlstone Park Wanderers is very dear to my heart, and the past few months have confirmed how important our football community is. The stand out features that have come through this period is the enthusiasm of our club members for the game, their patience and understanding and willingness to help, to do everything that was needed to get us back to training and finally to games. The optimism with which people faced all the uncertainty, and the eagerness with which you all returned to training, albeit with reduced space and reduced training time, and the ups and downs of a damp and cold June have been amazing.
I particularly want to thank all our team managers and coaches, age coordinators and most especially the committee for getting us to the season kickoff with pretty much everyone ready to play. The hard work the committee and age coordinators have been doing, supported by team officials and other volunteers has been amazing. Some of you will have seen it, and others may not have. But there have been countless hours going on behind the scenes, on computers, the phone, out on the park, down at the canteen and the lock up and everywhere else. There are still some glitches that we are ironing out, but to have so few left is incredible. I don’t normally do this but I want to give a big shout out to Steve Cumming, our registrar (and u6-u8 coordinator) who has breathed his football role 24 hours a day pretty much for the last month. The rewards will be on the park this weekend.
Now is the time to remind that our club has a very strong history and culture of fostering fair and inclusive play, respect for officials and support of everyone in the game. This is fundamental to the Hurlo spirit, and we are relying on everyone to remember and support this in this short season. I know there will be pent up frustrations – everyone has been waiting to get on the park, some things have not gone as you hoped with your team, games may be washed out, there are rules you may not agree with, but when you sign up to play football, or for your child to play football, you agree to our code of conduct and we really want to make sure that you live it every time you are at the park, in any capacity.
Last year, to foster this culture we ran a two week trial of Silent Sidelines at Ewen Park on Saturday morning. This year, we are modifying this and expanding it to all our fields, and to all our teams when they are playing elsewhere. We ask that you represent us by following the Supportive Sidelines principles whenever you are participating in or watching a game of football at any park.
On the opposite side, we are determined to stamp out bad behaviour of any sort. Any incidents of poor behaviour by spectators, players or team officials will be referred to our Disciplinary Committee. We have also implemented a requirement that any player with a yellow card for a non-football offence (ie indiscipline or reckless behaviour) will have to write a report of the incident for the DC to review. Players with three yellow cards for non-football related offences will be suspended for a match. All red cards will be reviewed closely, and the club will impose additional penalties – usually in the form of a suspended sentence, to ensure that the player has the incentive to behave. In short, don’t be reckless, don’t be aggressive, and don’t EVER abuse or show dissent to the referee or the assistant referees. If you feel hotheaded on the field, come off and take a break. If you feel frustrated on the sideline, walk away. Don’t risk this short season being made shorter by a stupid loss of control, it just isn’t worth it.
RESPECT FOR REFEREES
This is something that follows from everything above. If we don’t have referees we don’t have a game. And the single thing that means that we lose referees is abuse from players, spectators and team officials. JUST DON’T DO IT. Referees are human and they generally make fewer mistakes than players, and very rarely do those mistakes affect the outcome of the game. Your job is not to tell the referee what they are doing wrong, it is to play football. Simple as that. We will not tolerate abuse of referees.
COVID SAFETY AND RESPECT FOR INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES
We have sent out lots of information about COVID19 safety over the last few weeks via our age coordinators, and have a COVID19 landing page on our website where we will include this information. https://hurlstoneparkwanderers.com.au/covid-information/
The situation in Victoria and more recently in the inner west has reminded us all that we are still in the wave of a pandemic, and need to be aware of this at all times.
We ask that all our players, team officials and spectators abide by the public health guidance – do not attend training or games if you are feeling unwell, or have been tested for COVID19 and are waiting results, or if you are a close contact of someone in these circumstances (more than 15 minutes face to face contact with a person who is confirmed or probable COVID19 case).
We realise this will create uncertainty for teams about whether games will go ahead in an already short season, but protection of public health is paramount. More than ever we need to remember, this is a game we are playing – so don’t put yourself or others at risk. We also request that everyone respects the decisions of players, volunteers or parents to not attend games or training – remember that you don’t know everything about the person’s circumstances, and they do not have to tell you. What we most want is for teams to get through this season in good health!
We have also implemented new practices to ensure COVID19 safety. You will have seen these already at training. We have nominated entry and exit points at Ewen Park and Beaman Park:
Ewen Park: Entry via the gates on Tennant Parade, Exit around the water tank and via the canteen
Beaman Park: Entry via Flinders Road, Exit via Vera Avenue near the gates
Please try to observe these, and also observe the guidelines of no more than 2 spectators per player at games (many of our senior teams would be stoked to get this many!) and that you observe 1.5 m distancing and minimising physical contact at all times. Please make sure that players come to the game ready to play, with their own water bottle, and that they leave promptly after the game (and after pack up for last teams).
As you know, we were successful in obtaining funding for the lights for Ewen Park last year. The installation has been delayed by the pandemic and then also by the recent wet weather, but we are hopeful they will go in this week or next week. We are planning a new training schedule that will include Ewen.
Finally, despite all the disruption, this is an incredibly exciting time for football in Australia. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched the announcement of the success for the #AsOne joint Australia and New Zealand bid for hosting FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, and I still get excited. This is a great opportunity for us to be part of something special, which will develop over the next few years. Our centenary is in 2024 and we are working towards having upgraded facilities at Ewen Park in time for this celebration. This is a huge task, and we welcome assistance from our volunteers.
Right now, enjoy the moment – the season is underway, and you have all helped to get us here.
Thanks everyone, and see you at the park!
On behalf of the HPWFC Committee
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