SFNL Year In Review

Season 2016 was again another brilliant year for the Southern Football Netball League, with many new initiatives, developments, announcements and achievements at both club and League level.

SFNL Media reflects on those stories, events and moments that shaped the League, its clubs and the community in 2016.

View a snapshot of the 2016 SFNL season here.


20 - Carroll and Clark Have Lift Off

It was a great year for hangers, with two SFNL stars reeling in huge grabs that were hard to split for Mark of the Year honours. Firstly, Oakleigh District defender Pat Carroll provided the undisputed highlight of the Interleague Day, climbing high above his Ellinbank opponent to pull in an absolutely breath-taking mark. Later, in the Division 2 Second Semi Final, Port Colts livewire Mitch Clarke had a great ride on the back of Caulfield’s Nick Gilbert and teammate Jackson Brown before sticking a sensational grab. Both marks were featured on the Almost Football Legends segment of Channel 9’s The Footy Show.

View both grabs in the video players below.


19 - SFNL Trio Represent Vic Metro

Following brilliant individual performances at the AFL Victoria Community Championships, St Pauls onballer Jarryd Allan, Bentleigh forward Matt Troutbeck and Dingley midfielder Chris Horton-Milne all earned selection in the Vic Metro representative team that took on Vic Country for the AFL Victoria Community Cup in July. For Allan, it was his second time donning the big V jumper, and was also appointed Vice Captain of the team. A further five SFNL players were selected in the initial Vic Metro training squad, which was a wonderful result for the League.


[caption id="attachment_12104" align="aligncenter" width="630"]AFL Victoria Bulldog Jarryd Allan was named Vice Captain of the 2016 Vic Metro team.[/caption]


18 - Green Light Given for Moorabbin Redevelopment

The future of the SFNL is secured at Moorabbin Reserve after the City of Kingston approved a planning permit for major redevelopment works at Linton Street. St Kilda Football Club submitted a town planning application to the council back in June, an application that has since been given the green light. The application included concept designs for the $29m project, which will see the site become a football and community hub. The redeveloped Linton Street facility will see the return of the St Kilda Football Club, as well as become the long-term home of the SFNL, South Metro Junior Football League, AFL Victoria regional office and the Sandringham Dragons.


[caption id="attachment_11867" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Moorabbin Reserve One of the concept designs for the redeveloped Moorabbin Reserve.[/caption]


17 - SFNL Launches Inaugural Media Day

In a first for community football, the SFNL launched its inaugural Media Day in the first week of March. Held in the old offices at Moorabbin Reserve, the day saw representatives from each of the 10 Division 1 clubs come together to record several different media initiatives that were rolled out on various platforms throughout the year. The Media Day proved wildly successful, and will become an important part of the SFNL calendar moving forward. One of the resulting media products, The Awkward Bounce, was awarded Best Use of Online Media – Technology at last Friday’s AFL Victoria Community Media Awards – one of three gongs the SFNL collected on the day.

[caption id="attachment_13654" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Mordialloc's Carey Neville fronts the camera at the SFNL Media Day in MArch. Mordialloc's Carey Neville fronts the camera at the SFNL Media Day in March.[/caption]


16 - Lyndhurst Makes Its Debut

April 9 was a landmark day for the Lyndhurst Football Netball Club as it made its debut as a senior entity in the SFNL Division 3 competition. Once only a junior football club, Lyndhurst’s powerbrokers put in a mountain of work to start up a senior team ahead of the 2016 season. Although the result didn’t go its way on the big day, comfortably beaten by Hallam, the Lightning enjoyed a reasonably successful year under coach Paddy Cooke, with the young team winning six games in its inaugural season. The club also took home some silverware, with the Lyndhurst netballers winning the SFNL Division 6 premiership.

[caption id="attachment_13656" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Lyndhurst Start-up senior club Lyndhurst had an impressive debut season.[/caption]

Relive Lyndhurst's inaugural match in the player below.


15 - Hallam's Meteoric Rise to Finals

Another of the SFNL’s recent start-up clubs, Hallam, enjoyed its best season to date and in doing so provided one of feel-good stories of the year. Since its debut in 2012, the Hawks have languished in the lower reaches of the Division 3 ladder, winning just 11 games in its first four years. However, they showed remarkable improvement in 2016, winning 12 matches and qualifying for its first ever SFNL finals series. While the senior team were defeated by Doveton Eagles in the First Semi Final, their reserves made it all the way to the big dance, and went close to causing the boilover of the century against unbackable favourites Mount Waverley.

[caption id="attachment_13657" align="aligncenter" width="630"]The Hawks surprised many with it's stunning improvement from cellar-dweller to flag contender. The Hawks surprised many with its stunning improvement from cellar-dweller to flag contender.[/caption]


14 - Tony Lavars Goes Out in Style

Dingley skipper Tony Lavars will go down as one of the club’s all-time greats. A three-time premiership skipper, SFNL League B&F winner and 2008 Division 2 Meneilly Medallist, there is probably no more revered figure at the Den. So when coach Shane Morwood announced Lavars’ retirement at the three quarter time huddle of the Grand Final, it took many of his teammates by surprise. The consummate team man didn’t want the game to be about him, but with the cup firmly in the Dingoes grasp, the backline stalwart was switched into attack for the final term in the hope he could jag a late goal. Lavars’ mark and goal at the 17-minute mark of the last quarter sent the Dingley faithful into rapturous applause, and his subsequent mobbing by teammates will remain one of the SFNL’s most enduring images.

Watch Lavars' goal and celebration in the player below.

[caption id="attachment_13155" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Tony Lavars' grand final goal and celebration is one of the iconic images of season 2016. Tony Lavars' grand final goal and celebration is one of the iconic images of season 2016.[/caption]


13 - Records Tumble as Gough Goes Nuts

It was a massive day at Mayfield Park in Round 10 that had SFNL history buffs reaching for the record books. Mount Waverley was simply incredible as they romped to a demoralising 329-point win over Sandown, which currently stands as the fourth largest winning margin in the SFNL’s 24-year history. Their whopping score of 54.18-342 is not only by far a club record, but also the fifth highest in League history and the most recorded in a senior match since 1995. But the match’s talking point was the performance of burly Mountain Lions spearhead James Gough, who booted a stunning club record haul of 20.1. This was only the second time in SFNL history that a player has scored 20 or more goals in a match behind champion goalkicker Ken McDonald’s 27 goals for St Kilda City in a match back in 1992. But in amongst all the hysteria that surrounded Gough’s stunning performance, it is often forgotten that teammate Luke Galle also booted 10 goals on the day.

[caption id="attachment_13645" align="aligncenter" width="333"]James Gough boots his 100th goal for the season. James Gough boots his 100th goal for the season.[/caption]


12 - Mykelti's Day Out

Without doubt the individual performance of the season belonged to St Kilda City’s Under 19 sensation Mykelti Lefau. The big fella booted a staggering 25 goals out of his team’s 28 as they cruised to a 162-point drubbing of Carrum Patterson Lakes in Round 18. Lefau entered the final round eight goals behind Oakleigh District’s Liam McCabe on the Under 19 goalkicking table, but by the end of the day he had jumped 15 goals clear of the Oak’s diminutive playmaker. Umpire Peter Martin, who officiated the match, later described Lefau’s performance as the best he had ever seen from a junior footballer in his 40-year career with the whistle.

[caption id="attachment_13649" align="aligncenter" width="333"]Mykelti Lefau is an unstoppable force for the Saints. Mykelti Lefau is an unstoppable force for the Saints.[/caption]


11 - Saints and Dogs Play With Pride

In August, the SFNL helped facilitate the establishment of the League’s first Pride Shield Match between St Kilda City and St Pauls. This community initiative, which coincided with the AFL’s inaugural Pride Match, aimed to promote diversity, acceptance and inclusion in sport, with rainbow colours featuring prominently around the Peanut Farm in a show of solidarity with the LGBTI community. Gay footballer and LGBTI advocate Jason Ball was one of several key speakers at a special pre-match luncheon, and provided some compelling words around the importance of this initiative.


[caption id="attachment_13644" align="aligncenter" width="601"]Pride The Pride Shield match promoted diversity, acceptance and inclusion.[/caption]


10 - Bolger Takes Centre Stage at beyondblue Luncheon

The League strengthened its partnership with beyondblue in 2016 after a number of tragic incidents that had rocked the SFNL community over the previous 18 months. A dedicated League-wide beyondblue themed Round was established, with a flagship beyondblue Cup match between Mordialloc and Dingley taking centre stage. A fundraising luncheon was also held at Ben Kavanagh Reserve before the senior game, and although beyondblue Ambassador James Podsiadly was engaged as the luncheon’s keynote speaker, it was former Dingley premiership star Daniel Bolger that stole the show. Bolger bravely spoke at length about his long-standing battle with depression, and his raw and confronting story ensured there was hardly a dry eye in the house. Bolger is now thankfully well on the road to recovery, and frequently speaks at local sporting clubs about mental health and the importance of seeking help.


[caption id="attachment_13651" align="aligncenter" width="340"]Daniel Bolger's raw and emotion speech touched everbody that listened to it. Daniel Bolger's raw and emotion-charged speech touched everybody that listened to it.[/caption]


9 - Lawry Claims Second Straight Ellis

Few SFNL players are more decorated than Bentleigh’s Scott Lawry, but the great man elevated himself into a new stratosphere at the League’s Annual Awards Dinner in October. The hard-running halfback took home his second Ellis Medal as Division 1’s fairest and best player, and became just the second back-to-back winner since David Martin’s three in a row between 1997-99. The medal was Lawry’s fourth League B&F in five years, after consecutive Division 2 awards in 2012-13.


[caption id="attachment_13301" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Scott Lawry receives his medal from the great Kingsley Ellis. Scott Lawry receives his medal from the great Kingsley Ellis.[/caption]


8 - First Female Headlines 2016 SFNL Hall of Fame Inductees

After the success of the first Hall of Fame event in 2015, a further six legends joined the 22 inaugural inductees in June of this year. Among them was Moorabbin Kangaroos stalwart Margaret Torpy, who made history as the first female to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Federal FL champion and SFNL administrator Kingsley Ellis, former SFNL Chairman Mark Seymour, Bentleigh luminary Garry Matlock, long-serving St Pauls President Ken Shaw and decorated umpire David Luttrell also earned induction for services to the League and its clubs.


[caption id="attachment_11849" align="aligncenter" width="638"]The 2016 SFNL Hall of Fame inductees pose with their plaques The 2016 SFNL Hall of Fame inductees pose with their plaques[/caption]


7 - Colts Complete Clean Sweep

What a difference a year makes. Rewind to September 2015, and the Port Melbourne Colts were on their knees at the bottom of the Western Region Football League Division 1 ladder. The Colts’ transfer to the SFNL was approved last November, and they quickly set about making their mark in the Division 2 competition in 2016. The competition newcomers opened their account with a 99-point thrashing of 2015 Grand Finalist Murrumbeena in Round 1, and established themselves as clear flag favourites with their dominance through the year. Port Melbourne’s spectacular undefeated season was completed on the last Saturday in September, as they bested underdogs Caulfield, who broke a lengthy club drought by reaching their first senior Grand Final in 22 years, to claim the Division 2 flag in emphatic fashion.


Recap the Colts' maiden SFNL premiership in the video player below.

[caption id="attachment_13179" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Everard Fenton The Port Melbourne Colts couldn't be beaten in their first season in the SFNL.[/caption]


6 - Heatherton Dominates Netball Grand Final Day

Rowan Road Netball Complex was a sea of black and white in August, with Heatherton seemingly monopolising Netball Grand Final day. The Tonners qualified for Grand Finals in each of the seven senior netball divisions they competed in, with all bar one of their eight sides represented. Although they were narrowly defeated in Divisions 4, 7 and 8, Heatherton sweeped the cups in the top three divisions. Highlighting the club’s dominance was their stunning 67-46 belting of three-time defending champions Dingley in Division 1.


Watch SFNL TV's coverage of the Netball Grand Finals in the video player below.

[caption id="attachment_12755" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Heatherton Premiers Heatherton's Division 1 netballers claimed the ultimate prize.[/caption]


5 - Dingoes Go Back-to-Back

As far as team performances go, you will struggle to find any better than what Dingley produced on the final day of the season. Up against Bentleigh in the premiership decider, the reigning premiers were simply awesome from the opening bounce as they cruised to a phenomenal 107-point win. In fact, no hyberbole could ever adequately describe the Dingoes' slick ball movement, manic pressure and ferocity at the contest that day. On the back of their victory, Dingley become the first team to win consecutive Division 1 Senior flags since St Kilda City in 2009-10.


Relive the highlights of the Dingoes' stunning 2016 Grand Final victory in the video player below.

[caption id="attachment_13149" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Dingley 2016 Premiers You won't find a better performance on Grand Final day than the one Dingley produced.[/caption]


4 - Mount Breaks the Drought

No SFNL team of the modern era has experienced more heartbreak than Mount Waverley has over the last decade. Since 2007, the Mountain Lions have appeared in every single Division 3 Senior finals series, and despite reaching the Grand Final on six occasions during that time, they never managed to bring home the ultimate prize. That was until one sunny Saturday afternoon in mid-September, when the boys from Mayfield Park finally hoisted that elusive premiership cup following a 67-point victory over local rivals Ashwood in the Grand Final. The win capped a stunning undefeated season for the Mount Waverley seniors, while their reserves were also crowned premiers and champions.


Watch the Mountain Lion's drought-breaking senior premiership in the video player below.

[caption id="attachment_13061" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Photogenix Glory at long last for Mount Waverley.[/caption]


3 - Under 19 Netballers Win Maiden Rep Trophy

Initiated in 2015, the SFNL’s commitment to the Netball Interleague program paid dividends in May after our Under 19 girls broke through to claim the League’s first representative netball trophy. Led by captain and best on court medallist Mia McMillan, the SFNL thoroughly outclassed Ellinbank & District Netball Association, winning 51 to 36 and getting the Interleague day, hosted by the SFNL out at Lyndhurst, off to the best possible start.


[caption id="attachment_13652" align="aligncenter" width="631"]Our Under 19 girls brought home the SFNL's first Netball Interleague trophy Our Under 19 girls brought home the SFNL's first Netball Interleague trophy[/caption]


2 - Southern Claims Football Interleague Title

It had been a long time between drinks (almost a decade, in fact), and after a string of recent heavy defeats to metro opponents in recent years, the SFNL finally tasted representative football glory back in May. Hosting Ellinbank & District Football League at Marriott Waters Reserve as part of the revamped AFL Victoria Community Championships, and resplendent in a brand new guernsey that honoured the League's rich history, the Southern boys were keen to put in a good show. And they delivered in spades, and were never headed en route to a drought-breaking 49-point triumph. The commanding performance is a massive endorsement for the SFNL Interleague program, and a credit to head coach Ben Lockwood and his team.


Watch all the Interleague action in the video player below.

[caption id="attachment_13653" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Our boys claimed a long-overdue piece of representative silverware after a terrific win over Ellinbank in May. Our boys claimed a long-overdue piece of representative silverware after a terrific win over Ellinbank in May.[/caption]


1 - SFNL Launches Women's Footy

Riding a wave of excitement generated by the launch of the impending AFL Women’s competition, the SFNL announced in May that it was committed to establishing its own Women’s football competition in 2017. A female football working party, headed by project officer Brett Phillips, was established to ensure the competition’s viability and sustainability, as well as assist clubs with the formation of their women’s teams.

Following the recent disbandment of the VWFL, it was recently announced that the SFNL would form part of the South Eastern Women’s Collective, in conjunction with the Eastern Football League, AFL South East and AFL Yarra Ranges. This collective would jointly manage and administer a three-tiered women’s football competition, with the SFNL to manage its own development competition. Up to a dozen SFNL clubs are working towards entering new women’s teams in this development competition, while a further four clubs that have existing women’s teams would compete in the higher regional divisions alongside established teams from other leagues, including the VWFL.

The announcement of the SFNL Women’s Competition is the most exciting new development the League has undertaken since the introduction of netball in 2012, and we are looking forward to helping facilitate increased participation in community sport.


[caption id="attachment_13586" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Women's Footy Excitement is building ahead of the inaugural SFNL Women's Football season in 2017.[/caption]

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