Looking back on the 2018 we can look back as a club with real pride with what we have achieved. The committee’s original design for the 2018 year was built on three pillars. Firstly, we wanted to build culture amongst not just the players, but the greater membership. We wanted to ensure that the club was financially sound and secure in its liquidity and finally we wanted to deliver improved on field performance.
In terms of culture, all you have to do is reflect at the sellout end of season Blue Ball. To me this personifies the camaraderie that we as the committee have attempted to foster throughout the year. In terms of financial viability, on behalf of the committee, I would like to thank Lloyd Darmody and Alex Walling and all of the staff behind the bar. I would also like to thank Gillian Forde as our sponsorship coordinator, but more importantly I would like to extend our eternal thanks to all of our great sponsors. Without you we would cease to exist.
On the field, we have visibly improved. Firstly the ladies, shorn of a number of a number of their star players you battled bravely until the end of the season and blooded more than a dozen new players. Keep the faith ladies your day will come. In reserve grade, CB tells me that this is the best season we have had at the grade for more than five years and only lost out in the shield semi final by a couple of tries. In premier grade, the flagship team of this club, there were marked improvements and great camaraderie throughout the squad. We made the top six which was a goal Ian Fowler set at the start of the season and only narrowly missed out on semi finals in a five point loss versus eventual champions Associates. In fours and threes, the trophies tell you how well we did there! To all the Coaches, physios and management thank you all for your efforts.
In terms of the committee, we had a reshuffle at the start of the year. Sam Turner went to secretary and Sam Diamond moved from club Captain to Vice President. We wanted to invigorate the committee with youth and get as many of our playing group involved. Jack Ellis, Katie Barnes, Craig Fairhall and Rory Edwards play integral roles in the committee and add life and vibrancy to the likes of the two Sam’s and I, Debby, Gillian and the other committee members. A big thank you from me personally to you as a committee. I would encourage any of you out there, who want to get involved to step forward. This is your club, it is a great club and many hands make light work. To Galsie and the underage committee, you are the future, it is your young girls and boys that hopefully will replenish our ranks as we go into the future. Every Thursday night we see almost a hundred parents around the club house and it adds so much to the atmosphere of the club at as a whole. I repeat, these young girls and boys are our future and we must leave no stone unturned in making their rugby experience an enjoyable one. There are probably many other people to thank, but I wrote this on the back of a beer mat so apologies if I left you out. Know that your loved!
There are were many highs and lows throughout the year and thankfully the highs far exceeded the lows as is usual with Cottesloe rugby club. Firstly to the highs, we have a championship!!! The Fours for life delivered this year. It was the ladies last year but this year our fours have ensured there is silverware in the cabinet for another season. Third grade were the cultural life blood of the club this year and probably performed the strongest on field, well done lads!
We have touched up the dressing rooms and extended our patio so that supporters can actually witness tries going in, in the left corner. Our coffee shop and wellness centre, The Nest, has got up and running and has had a successful first year, an idea that could barely be envisioned a few years ago. Rachel herself has spruced up the area on front of it and it looks fantastic and there is no doubt that Lloyd has won functions for the club because of it. We hosted our first ever semi-finals just two weeks ago and it was a great success. I want to thank all of the volunteers who put their hand up and made that possible. We successfully hosted the inaugural Super W rugby match for the Western Force in which they trounced the rebels 85 points to 17, and it has to be mentioned we had a number of Cottesloe players on the panel. We have a number of representatives on the Perth Spirit and Western Force teams this season and Just last week Rebecca Clough and Mhicca King represented the Wallaroos against New Zealand in Auckland. There have been many other highlights, almost too many to count, but they are just an example of what the club has achieved in the 2018 season. As for the lows: this is a family club and a community club, and there was a couple of bereavements of life members, former players and supporters, chief of whom was John Heazelwood for decades, ... decades, he was the heartbeat of this club, and it was savage blow to the club particularly for our life members.
To the joyful mysteries. The plan for last year of the triumvirate of culture/financial viability/on-field performance, still stands, and we will endeavour to improve. We have a young and vibrant committee but with more participants I know we can even beat this year. All of our five adult teams no doubt will improve with the players at our disposal and I know that their are premierships around the corner for all grades. Andrew Forrest’s, revival of the Force has and will provide a platform for our young players to progress into professional rugby if they so wish. A major issue that we must address though is that we must swell the ranks with young blood. We need to revisit restarting our colts team. I feel this is our biggest challenge in the years to come, but I know it is one that we can overcome if we put our collective minds to it.
My family and I have decided to leave for Shanghai to pursue an opportunity, Susan and I felt, that we could not turn down. It saddens me to leave just when we are on the cusp of something great. But I know in Sammy Diamond, Debby Carley and Sam Turner we have the talent to drive the club forward in the years to come. 2019 will most likely be another great year for the club, but I fervently hope it can be a historic year.