Veronica and Les Alexander were awarded Life Memberships of the Bairnsdale and District Junior Football Association in 1992.
Veronica was a founding member of the B&DJFA Executive in 1988, taking on the role of Match Secretary, a position she then held continuously until the end of the 1990 season. Veronica became Match Secretary again in 1998 and again held the position continuously until the end of the 2003 season. This was a total of ten years of dedicated service to the B&DJFA Executive. Veronica's involvement extended well beyond her work on the Executive. She was also involved with the Lindenow Football Club (Juniors and Seniors), working tirelessly behind the scenes to support the club. Her work in the canteen ensured that much needed funds were raised for the club.
Les was appointed as President of the B&DJFA in 1989. He was again appointed President in 1998.
Prior to this Les was involved with both the Junior and Senior Clubs at Lindenow. His roles included both President and Secretary of the Junior Club as well as President of the Senior Club.
Les has the great honour of being awarded Life Memberships of the Lindenow Junior Club (1988) and the Lindenow Senior Club (1991), to add to his Life Membership of the B&DJFA.
Whether as members of the Lindenow Club or League Executives or as volunteers Veronica and Les have been involved with the B&DJFA and the EGFNL for over 28 years, providing dedicated service to Junior and Senior Football.
During the time Veronica and Les have been involved the B&DJFA has introduced a number of innovative initiatives, policies, procedures and by laws designed to encourage player participation.
One of the key initiatives was an Insurance Scheme for players, a forerunner to the present VCFL/JLT Scheme. The scheme was based on all ten member clubs contributing a nominal amount for four years, to establish a financial base of $10,000, and then a yearly premium was charged per club. The pay out for injuries was up to $500 above MediCare.
The only fund raiser conducted by the B&DJFA was the final’s series, which were organised by the Life Members and Executive. The clubs operated the canteen and provided stewards. Volunteers acted as gatekeepers and umpires. The money raised from the finals enabled the B&DJFA to cover all costs for the next season (Umpires, Inter league etc.) and thus reduced the operating cost for each member club. Each club only had to pay an annual membership of $100. This enabled the clubs to keep player registrations to a minimal cost. It also enabled struggling clubs to survive and also enabled a wide cross section of people to continue to participate in football. Also during the finals club representatives acted as officials wearing blue coats to ensure that a safe playing environment was maintained. The B&DJFA also introduced the flying of the club pennants for the Grand Final, adding colour and a high degree of professionalism to the day.
Another initiative was to set a limit on the number of players a club could register. The Under 15s had a limit of 22 players and the Under 13s had a limit of 28. This was designed to encourage players to play with the out of town clubs who were often struggling for numbers. Players who came up through the junior ranks of a club would retain the right to play for their own club. However players wishing to play for another club would have to gain approval from the Executive. This was designed to prevent the stronger clubs from becoming stronger and provided the opportunity for a wide range of clubs to taste premiership success.
The B&DJFA also
introduced a winning margin concept for the Under 13s (30 points) and Under 15s (60 points).
implemented a yellow and red card Send Off system, which included an automatic one-week suspension for any player issued with two cards in the season.
enforced an automatic send off for audible obscene language, with an automatic one week suspension. This was designed to instil a high level of discipline in players.
introduced a 15 metre penalty for the Under 12s/13s and a 30 metre penalty for the Under 15s/16s as opposed to a 50 metre.
implemented a no slinging rule.
implemented a no undue rough play rule (no shirt fronts).
implemented a Code of Conduct to deal with club officials, parents and spectators.
implemented its own Independent Tribunal and also had an Investigations Officer.
implemented a no kicking off the ground rule for the Under 12s/13s along with a one bounce rule.
provided jumper subsidies to clubs and also provided financial support to players in Schoolboys squads as well as players in Inter league squads.
In 1998 the B&DJFA decided that they would move to an Independent Executive. Thus no longer could a club representative be on the Executive.
The rotation of the position of president was introduced in 1999 when John Sharrock, from the Swan Reach JFC was elected.
The president was permitted to stay on in the position for a second year and thus in 2000 and 2001 Trevor Bourke from the Bairnsdale JFC held the position.
Veronica and Les are just as enthusiastic about Junior Football now as they were when they first became involved. They have thoroughly enjoyed their years of service and fondly recall the many outstanding footballers who have progressed through the junior ranks to senior football.
Les recalls that at the end of the season the players who had become over age would be introduced to the Senior Club, ensuring that they were made to feel welcome in their move to senior football.
Veronica and Les were most caring for the players in the juniors, often dipping into their own pockets to buy food or drinks for the players who had nothing to spend. Often they would drive players home if their parents were not at the ground.
It gives both Veronica and Les great pleasure to have former players come back in later years and express their appreciation for the care and support extended by Veronica and Les, whilst the players were in the Juniors.
Veronica and Les are still involved in local football, now assisitng the East Gippsland Umpire Association, of which Les has been Vice-president for a number of years.
Both take a keen interest in the B&DJFA, with Les attending the meetings of Delegates and providing support at home and away matches and during the final's series.
Veronica and Les have made a wonderful contribution to Junior Football. That the competition is still going strongly today is largely due to their magnificent efforts.
Veronica and Les your work is so much appreciated. A huge thank you from everyone involved in football in East Gippsland.