100 Senior Players for 3 Senior teams. Bring on Round 1

14 February 2016

A brief snapshot of our playing list as we prepare for Round 1

Training numbers through the pre season have been strong, but we didn’t realise how strong until club Football Director, Craig Connelly, and the committee sought to start to finalise the senior club playing list for season 2016.

Pleasingly, it seems of the 26 players who participated in the successful 2015 Seniors finals campaign, 20 of those players are returning in season 2016, and maybe 21, depending on how Chad Jones (and his wife, Nat) copes with his exciting new adventure as a Dad to Lachlan Jones, coaching Footscray VFL and maybe still pulling on the boots at Bernards.  We wish Simon Caven (Coburg VFL), Tom Gleeson (EDFL Strathmore), Ben Ronke (TAC Calder Cannons), Ben Considine (London work transfer), Mitch Hannan (EDFL Avondale Heights) all the best in their new football challenges and opportunities.  We also welcome Josh Wallis (Footscray VFL) and Xavier Dimasi (Box Hill VFL) as 2 quality additions to our senior playing squad, and wish Alex Boyse, and Chris Peart (both training with Essendon VFL) well as they strive to make a VFL list for the first time – whilst remaining important cogs in the Bernards senior team.

We also farewell retiring club legend, Andrew Merrington, who has pulled on the boots for Bernards for the last time; having provided unbelievable service to our football club since his return from WA.  We wish Merro all the best in his post-football life.

Equally exciting is the decision by match committee to elevate 3 more eligible U19’s (in 2016) as permanent senior squad members in season 2016.  Mitch and Chris Hughes and Jed Carey all get the chance to develop their football skills under the guidance of new senior coach, Mark Riley.  They join premiership player, Michael Caven, as well as Josh Wallis and Xavier Dimasi, who will all play as U19 eligible, but permanent senior squad members as the football club maintains a football development focus as our mantra.

In addition to Mitch, Chris and Jed, we have 15 other U19 players from season 2015 (18 in total), including Marcus DeLeur, Zach O’Halloran, Tom Madden, Tom Delzoppo (U19 Prem 2015 team of the year skipper) and Will Considine, all playing their first full year as senior players in season 2016.

The average age of the 100-odd players currently on our senior playing list for season 2016 is 23.3 years old.  The football club remains a very young club, benefiting clearly now from the 6 years of the successful St Bernards Football Academy.  Player retention from the “unders” years through to seniors is clearly working well, as demonstrated by our very strong player numbers and the strong skew to younger players transitioning to senior football.

Enjoying the ultimate success in Premier division in season 2015 was an amazing result for the playing group, the coaching group, our sponsors, members and supporters.  And we recognise  and hope that many players will strive to achieve a similar result in season 2016.

But, that is not our focus.

The message for our members and our supporters is that the committee will again strive to provide an enjoyable, supportive and inclusive football environment for all of our players.  Success comes from developing and maintaining a great football community and extended “Bernards” community.  We are confident that with such an environment, the 100-strong playing group will once again prove a very competitive outfit in each of the 1sts, 2nds and 3rds sections of Premier division.

Whatever results might flow from creating this playing and club environment for our players will take place on the football field, and is in the hands of our senior coaching group and of our senior playing group.  We wish them all the best as they embark on another exciting year of Premier VAFA football.

Bring on round 1.

The Committee

The Committee