OUTLINE OF THE BEGINNING OF THE MERBEIN FOOTBALL CLUB
Football information taken from the 100 year centenary booklet
The Merbein Football Club was formed after discussions at Jack Cameron’s boarding house in 1910, and the first game played by the Merbein boys was against a team that travelled out from Mildura on 2nd July, 1910. There are no records of any games being played in 1911.
In 1912 there were enough players to form two teams, so it was decided to enter them in competitive competition against teams in the Mildura District Football League. The First’s Grade Premiership teams where made up from teams from Mildura, Irymple, Rovers and Merbein. This First’s team was known as the “Maroons” and wore the colours of maroon and blue. The team was captained by Jack Thompson.
The second team played in a competition of three teams, Rovers Junior, Nichols Point and Merbein and was known as the Second Grade Premiership. This team wore the colours of black and white, which was apparently chosen after the captains Sid Smith’s black and white dog. The team became known as the Merbein Magpies, hence our name and colours today.
The First’s team only won one game for the 1912 season and the Second’s team where Runners Up. Both teams changed to the vertical black and white stripped guernsey in the early years, although throughout the war years when things we unavailable, plain black jumpers were also worn.
Merbein’s dominance of the football between the two world wars was outstanding, wining ten First Grade Premierships and runners up nine times.
Our first home ground was cleared two weeks prior to the start of the 1912 season and was at the Merbein Railway Station grounds in Game Street.
Eventually, Kenny Park become our permanent home, and originally our clubrooms/change rooms were a tin shed which was brought in from the RAAF base and placed at the southern end of the ground.
When the Merbein Baths where built in 1938/39 the club began to use these facilities, giving the players showers and toilets. The change rooms that we still use today at the northern end of the field was officially opened in 1955 and gave us facilities of our own.
The current function rooms were built on the site of the original tin shed and was officially opened in March, 1985.
In 2006 the club officially changed its name to the Merbein Football Netball Club Inc.
Netball became part of the Sunraysia Football competition in 1991 with A & B Grades. Merbein fielded an A Grade team in 1991 and then in 1992 entered teams in both the A & B Grade competitions.
Kaye Kiff (Matotek) organised the original netball team and continued her assosiation with netball until 1995. The foundation Committee was formed in 1996 by Sarah Nethercote & Sharon Ryan (Walder). Merbein was the first of the SFL clubs to form a Committee.
In the early years netball was played on grass courts which were situated on the Number 2 Oval. A court had to be marked every week, and goalposts fitted. Neville Ward was a huge support to the netball club, and would ensure courts were marked every week and goal posts fitted. He was a fantastic advocate for netball and helped push for support from both the Merbein Football Committee and the SFL Committee of which he was a member.
There were many problems associated with playing netball on grass. The court were slippery after rain, and the dirt patches were caused by ware after several games. This would make the surface uneven and unsafe for play. As a result, from time to time games were played on the netball court at Our Lady’s Primary School.
The last game played on grass was in 2009 and the current hard court was officially opened in 2010.
To date the netballers have only one Premiership - the C Grade team in 2014, coached by Lisa Saunders.
2002 17&U competition begins
2005 15&U competition begins
2008 C Grade competition begins.
2011 C Res competition begins.
To this day we still do not have change room and shower facilities.