Around 250 players, family and supporters packed the Narrandera Golf Club to celebrate the 2018 Junior Eagles’ season.
Outgoing President Jason Williams noted that winning premierships is great, but more important are the numbers of juniors participating in both football and netball.
By this yardstick, the Junior Eagles are flying high. As well as fielding three football and four netball teams in the South-West Junior Competition, the Club also nurtured an U9s netball side with a series of unofficial matches throughout the season.
Additionally, for the first time, two Eagles teams played the SWJ Youth Girls football competition during the pre-season. The U13 Blue netballers enjoyed a successful season, making their way through to a preliminary final with skill and tenacity.
The U11 footballers also experienced finals footy, bowing out after a semi-final appearance. Each year the junior players develop football and netball skills, but correspondingly benefit from the value of playing team sport.
The prestigious club awards were presented by Mr Williams and Netball Coordinator Suz Litchfield. There were a series of awards presented on the evening to players and club personnel alike.
Surprised winner of the Mick Dillon Memorial Club Person of the Year was Suz Litchfield.
In her final year as Junior Netball Coordinator, Suz’s hard work each week to achieve a smooth-running season was underpinned by her flexibility, diplomacy and communication skills.
The Junior Eagle Netballer of the Year went to a very worthy recipient, Cyd Ryan. A member of the U15s, Cyd regularly assisted at training, worked with beginners, umpired junior and senior matches, and routinely helped out with whatever was needed.
The Junior Eagle Footballer of the Year was awarded to a champion young man who heads to senior football next year.
Kane Williams’ playing season with the U15s was cut short by injury, but he made a powerful impact both on and off the field.
Kane helped with set-up each week, regularly filled a boundary umpire role, and generally helped out wherever it was required of him. The Henry Mathieson Memorial Most Improved Junior footballer was presented to Drew Matthews.
After developing through the grades from U11s to U15s, Drew has matured into a versatile and reliable player. Mr Williams thanked the large number of local sponsors who donate time, funds and services to the Junior Eagles.
The Club could not function without volunteers, including coaches, managers, coordinators, canteen helpers, umpires, runners and other support crew, and their contributions were also highlighted by Mr Williams.
A fond farewell was given to outgoing President Mr Williams, Netball Coordinator Ms Litchfield, and Secretary Megan Bloomfield.
Although Megan continues to shun accolades, the Club was delighted by her recent recognition as SWJFNL Volunteer of the Year.
All assembled recognised the combined dedication of these three over recent years to give them a rousing ‘thank you’.
For a considerable number of netballers and footballers, the evening was the culmination of their junior playing days and those players were wished every success as they move into the seniors.
For the remainder, it will be a very short time until the call goes out for Junior Eagles to come together for 2019.