LOOKING FORWARD - BERWICK

Thursday, February 07, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first ever AFL Outer East season is creeping every closer, and as anticipation builds we'll be taking a closer look at each and every club in our newly formed home.

We complete our tour of our new south eastern friends with the reigning premier Berwick.

One name that sent shivers down the proverbial spines of football clubs in the South East Football Netball League during its short lived existence was that of the Berwick Football Club.

 

Berwick are coming off a resounding win in last years Grand Final, knocking off the minor premier Narre Warren by 51 points, having 33 scoring shots to 12. That win meant Berwick had won three out of the four SEFNL premierships, all of their wins by a minimum of five goals. 

It hasn't always been the case however for the current powerhouse of south east football. Berwick’s rollercoaster ride saw them take part in the Berwick District Football Association, the Dandenong District FA and the South West Gippsland Football League, where the club showed signs of its current form, reaching eleven consecutive finals series, and collecting two premierships during the 70s and 80s. 

Due to their success and location, Berwick were bought into the VFA’s second division for the 1983 season. The VFA was then the second highest standard of football going around.

 

President Glenn Gambetta explains the reasoning behind the clubs move in the early 80’s.

“We’ve always tried to be progressive as a football club,”


“The whole idea of the VFA (re-structure) was to provide players from the Gippsland region an opportunity to play a high standard of football.”

 

With all good intentions the club battled away in the VFA for five seasons, but due to a number of circumstances they eventually moved back to the South West Gippsland League.

“We lost a number of supporters and players due to some extended travel to places such as Geelong West, then we had our rooms burn down,”


“So there we were playing in the second highest competition, without any rooms and with pretty much no income.”


Due to some loyal supporters and players, the club was able to find it’s feet once again when moving to the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League, with a focus on re-connecting with the local community and sponsors. 


“We’ve become very professional recently, we are well engaged with local businesses, and our fundraising has been taken to the next level.”


The Berwick Football Club rollercoaster looks to be continuing on it’s upward trend according to Gambetta, who points to the strong junior representation in it’s recent premierships, with 18-19 of the players involved in the recent successes coming through the clubs juniors.



“The strength of our club comes from our juniors, we’ve got a great relationship with the junior club,”


“We had four under 17 teams this year, and regularly run three under 17 teams, it’s just a flood of players coming through.”


For the Netball club, on field hasn’t been quite as fruitful as president Mel Broadley would like, but the club’s off-field persona is as strong as ever.

“A strong family based club, who is inclusive of all players, from all backgrounds and of all abilities,” said Broadley when describing her clubs’ culture.

The Netball club is almost half the age of the Football club, having a history of just over 65 years. They run 10 outdoor sides and 16 indoor each season, once again showcasing the love for sport in the Berwick area.

Whilst their recent on court history has been poor, they’ve made just one grand final in Broadley’s memory, the 2016 B Grade loss, there are plenty of positives for the club heading forwards.

 

“We’re coming to the end of our rebuild, our head coach Robynn Pym is returning after recently being announced as the Casey Demons inaugural VNL coach, we had some great numbers at our try out day and we’ve got some girls from the Casey Demons returning to play with us when they can.”

Speaking about the new league and what it offered, Broadley was quite excited. 



“We’re looking forward to playing against some new blood and coming up against some new challenges,”

“I just think it’s great that the two competitions can come together and create one new league,”


“It’s just fantastic.”

 

 

Berwick will do battle with Narre Warren once again, to kick off the inaugural AFL Outer East Season on the Sixth of April.