Just give the kids a game of footy.
The above words typify the passion that Joan and Rob McPherson have for Junior Football.
Joan and Rob McPherson were awarded Life Memberships of the Bairnsdale and District Junior Football Association in 1995.
Joan has the unique distinction of being awarded two Life Memberships in Junior Football. Her first was with the East Gippsland Junior Football Association and was presented to her in 1986.
Joan has worn many hats in her association with Junior Football. She was President of the Lindenow South Junior Football Club for many years, commencing in 1982, when Lindenow South JFC was in the East Gippsland Junior Football Association and remained as President up until Lindenow South won its first Under 15 Premiership.
Also in 1982 Joan was appointed Secretary (this included being Match Secretary) of the East Gippsland Junior Football Association; the Association having been formed in 1981 from the Tambo Valley Rural Football Association. Joan held the position of Secretary until the end of the 1984 season.
On any match day Joan would be seen performing many tasks around the club, including working in the canteen.
Joan reflects that her association with Junior Football provided her with many pleasurable moments. To be there with her own boys (Leigh, Richard and Matthew May and Sam McPherson) was a highlight, as was being able to contribute to the wider development of Junior Football.
Joan wrote in 1980 that Leigh and Richard both played their first games with this club (Lindenow South) in its first year of Junior Football (in the Tambo Valley Rural Football Association). The team did not break any records for scoring but showed great perseverence and enthusiasm and played every game till the final siren. Those of us who followed the team saw some great future footballers and a team to be reckoned with in the future.
Players for Lindenow South were;
Matthew Norman, Jamie Norman, Dayle Robinson, Travis Dickson, Michael Pearce, Mark Websdale, Wayne Morgan, Greg Morgan, Russell Thorpe, Kevin Thorpe, Brendan O'Rourke, Andrew Sutton, Brian Hilsley, Terry Watt, Leigh May, Richard May, Andrew Guy, Darcy Neal, Stuart Neal, Roland Ward, Dean Starr, John Grant, Vaugn Christie (Vice Captain), Brendan Greaves, Paul Kennedy, Keith Harding, Paul (Mussy) Martin, Matthew Buchanan (Captain), Nathan Buchanan, Daryl Cotton, Jason Davies, Steven Stuchree, Anthony Edwards, Shane Delana, Matthew Collier, Darren Ashworth and Aaron Jenkins.
Coach was Laurie Norman, assisted by Brian Thorpe. Trainer was David Collins. First Aid was Keith Websdale. Boundary was Scott Dickson. President was Colin O'Rourke and Secretary/Treasurer was Lorna Dickson.
Joan remembers that Vaugn Christie kicked the first goal for the Lindenow South Under 15s in their first year and this caused a great deal of celebration as the club struggled to trouble the scoreboard.
1981 saw the formation of the East Gippsland Junior Football Association with eight Under 15 teams and 10 Under 12 teams.
Players for Lindenow South were;
Leigh May, Richard May, Jamie Norman, Matthew Norman, Chris O'Brien, Robbie O' Reilly, Terry Watt, Paul (Mussy) Martin, Brendan O'Rourke, Travis Dickson, Scott Dickson (Captain), Andrew Guy, Mark Websdale, Darryl Cotton (Vice Captain), Jason Davies, Darcy Neal, Ben Hurle, Chris Tanner, Chris Turner, Paul Thomas, Matthew Turner, Michael McCullough, Mark Sutherland, Jamie Phelan, David Moore, Greg Hine, Paul Freeman, Rodney Scott, Graham Scott, Leigh Rynkiewisz, Warren Rynkiewsz, Robert Daymond, Kevin Thorpe and Scott Edwards.
Rob McPherson was coach and Robbie Genekis was boundary umpire. Keith Websdale was again trainer and umpires included G. O'Brien, Peter Baylis, Jimmy Jarvis, Kenny Mitchell, Brian Thorpe, R. Cotton and D. Collins.
In Season 1982 Lindenow South players included;
Leigh May (Captain), Richard May, Jamie Norman, Travis Dickson (Vice Captain), Matthew Norman, Mark Sutherland, Paul (Mussy) Martin, Kevin Thorpe, Paul Thomas, Scott Edwards, Chris Turner, Matthew Turner, Chris Tanner, Chris O'Brien, Steven Bartlett, Brett Ellis, Brendan O'Rourke, Darcy Neal, Bradley Bennett, Barry Hine, Jason Hine, Greg Hine, Graham Scott, Andrew Guy, Matthew Collier, Corrie Mills, Timmy Jarvis, Lionel Bakes, Robin Duncan, Paul (Bub) Freeman and Bradley Watts.
Rob was coach of the Lindenow South JFC for many years before he was appointed as President of the East Gippsland Junior Football Association in 1987. When the East Gippsland Junior Football Association was disbanded at the end of the 1987 season Rob became the founding President of the Bairnsdale and District Junior Football Association for the commencement of the 1988 season.
Rob was one of the first coaches to undergo the Coaches Accreditation Course.
Rob also has many happy memories (some a little blurred) of the Inter league trips to Alberton and Sale. (He was definitely led astray by a certain Turtle Stewart.) He remembers how Sale used to give the Bairnsdale teams a hiding each year until they found out that the Sale team was Under 16 and the B&DJFA was fielding Under 15s.
Rob also reflects on how well the B&DJFA ran as an independent body, prior to being taken under the umbrella of the VCFL.
Rob is also most appreciative of the generous sponsors who have supported Junior Football. In particular the generousity of Brian Francis (Terminus Hotel), Kevin Barling and the Alexander family, to name a few, has been most appreciated
Whether as members of the Executive or as volunteers Joan and Rob have been involved with the B&DJFA for over two decades, providing dedicated service to Junior Football.
During the time Joan and Rob 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.
Joan and Rob 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.
Both Joan and Rob have gained great satisfaction from being involved in the introduction of modified rules, which saw an improvement to the way in which Junior Football was played. It is worthy to note that many of the modified rules introduced by the B&DJFA have been adopted on a state-wide basis.
Joan and Rob reflect on how pleasing it was to see the clubs come together at finals time to conduct the matches.
Also they note that it is an indication of the success of the B&DJFA in that so many parents, whose children have been long gone from Junior Football, remain heavily involved. This truly says something about the organisation.
Joan and Rob believe that another strength of the B&DJFA is the calibre of coaches that have been involved over the years. The majority have been nothing short of outstanding and were in the game for the benefit of the players.
Joan and Rob fondly recall that in the early years of the Association there were a number of teams struggling for players. The boys from the opposition team would happily swap jumpers and play their hearts out for the other team. Joan recalls one of her boys volunteering to swap and kicking his first goal in football. There was a great spirit amongst the players.
The boys were out there to have fun without the emphasis on winning.
Joan and Rob McPherson are truly a credit to Junior Football. We say a huge thank you for your amazing contribution.