Port Stephens eye a Powerful Future
Port Stephens AFC President Darren McKimm says the club is working hard to build a very strong Junior base and its AFLHCC Womens team, who are entering their second year of senior competition.
“Last year in Juniors, we had a pretty good season. One of our teams, our Under 13s, made the Grand Final and our Under 11s made the semi-finals, which was very good as the year before (2017), the 11s were winless.
This year, we were hoping to an Under 14s Girls side, but that appears unlikely at this stage. We have a full Under 17s Mens team, in a three-club arrangement between ourselves, Singleton and Lake Macquarie.”
In the mixed younger grades, the Power are thriving, stated McKimm. “We are fielding 2 Under 9 and 2 Under 11 sides this year, an Under 13s team and we have an average 15-20 AusKickers registered. In early March, our numbers are very close to last year.”
McKimm indicated that the Power are drawing their players from a large catchment. “Towards Nelson Bay, we reach as far as Lemon Tree Passage, Tanilba Bay, then going north, we take in Karuah and Swan Bay, then west to Dungog. We actually have a player and Coach who come from Lostock, an hour and ten minutes each way, and we also cover Raymond Terrace.
With the Terrace being dominated by other codes, we are gradually making inroads there, but it’s a slow process. Towards Newcastle, we go as far as Fern Bay, including the RAAF Base at Williamtown. We get quite a few players from the RAAF, of course noting that every couple of years that RAAF staff are transferred to another posting.”
The home of the Port Stephens Power is Ferodale Park in Medowie, home to the AFLHCC Womens Representative Tri-Series Carnival on Easter Monday this season (April 22). McKimm enthused about last year’s inaugural representative carnival and advised that Port Stephens Council deserve great credit for the quality of Ferodale Park; “It’s always been a great ground, Council always prepare the ground very well and it is a pleasure to play on.
They have also just started building the $6.5 million Medowie Sports Community Complex on the eastern side of Ferodale Park. It will a community sporting complex including a Bowling Club and will face the Oval.”
The Port Stephens Womens side won one game in their first season in 2018, and McKimm is confident that the Womens team can build on that in 2019. “Winning that one game was a great bonus and gave everyone a massive boost during the season. At present we have 18 Womens players already registered, which is a good start.
We are always looking for more players as you really need a squad of 25-30 players to have a viable squad in this League, with unavailability, RAAF postings and injuries. A couple of our players picked up serious finger injuries last year, as an example. We had 36 players play for us last year. Our ladies have been training two nights a week for the last six weeks and things are looking good for the new season.”
Darren McKimm says that the long-term vision for the Power is to field a Senior Mens team “in the next 2-3 years. We have a fair side for our Under 17s this year, and they have nowhere to go when they are finished at Under 17 level. We are hoping to get a Mens team up and running in, I hope, 2 years; we will just have to see how that goes. It took us 18 months to get the Womens team up and running, so we are looking at a similar timeframe for the Mens team. Our ultimate aim to have good solid teams in every grade, Juniors & Seniors.”
The Port Stephens Power wish to acknowledge their wonderful sponsors:
- Coast Crete
- Century 21 (Curtis & Blair)
- Dowling Real Estate
- Great Aussie Bush Camp
- Raymond Terrace Bowling Club
- Medowie Car Care
- FMP Body Balance
- Healing Reflections
- TMP Tyres
- Tea Gardens Dental Surgery
- Ray White Tea Gardens
We thank Darren McKimm for his time and we wish Port Stephens all the best as they look forward to an exciting future.
Written By David Redden