2024 Season Fixtures

Our wonderful Director of Operations, Brian Jackson, has been working tirelessly at the mammoth task of coordinating fixtures for all of our teams and various home grounds this season. 

Fixtures will hopefully be uploaded to PlayHQ after Easter, and there is going to be a lot of junior footy played on the North Shore this season! Including our home games, as well as those of the Mosman Swans and Lane Cove Cats, there will be 347 games played across Gore Hill Oval, Tunks Park, Blackman Park, and Middle Head Oval.

We will be fielding 11 Wildcats teams from U9 to U12 this season, and together they will play 85 home games, with the U9s and U10s at Gore Hill, and the U11s and U12s at our new location at Tunks Park. 

In addition to these Wildcats games, the Lane Cove Cats will be hosting 59 home games across U9-U12 at Blackman Park, while the Mosman Swans will be hosting 60 home games across U9-U12 at Middle Head Oval.

Our U11, U13, U15 and U17 girls will again be playing this year in joint-venture Willoughby/Mosman Swans teams. Across these age groups we will be fielding 5 teams who will play a total of 43 games at Tunks Park, Middle Head Oval, and Gore Hill Oval.

Finally, our U13-U17 boys will be playing in a new alliance with Lane Cove and Mosman, the North Shore Swans. The North Shore Swans will field 11 teams across these age groups and are scheduled to play a total of 99 home games at Gore Hill Oval, Blackman Park, and Middle Head Oval.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Brian, along with all of the volunteers on our committee, who have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure we are ready for another big season of footy to kick off on the 7th April. 

EARLY BIRD REGO OFFER EXTENDED

SEASON 2024 EVENTS

Please join us at our upcoming Pre Season events as we gear up for the best time of year- footy season!

NORTH SHORE SWANS CLUB ANNOUCEMENT

2023 PRESIDENT’S REPORT

YEAR END 30 SEPTEMBER 2023

Summary

  • The Willoughby Wildcats remains a fun, strong and highly competitive Junior AFL club for its members and the community. 
  • In 2023, the club delivered great Auskick and AFL footy programs for boys and girls aged 4 years to 17 years playing our great game with friends and making new friends. 
  • Players were provided quality coaching which enabled them to be involved in every aspect of the game, learn and improve their footy skills and enhance their game awareness. 
  • Coaches encouraged players to focus on teamwork and respect for their opponents, the umpires and all game officials.
  • The club’s footy activities and social functions offered enjoyable and fulfilling opportunities for families to volunteer and give back to the community through their support for the club.
  • The club continues to provide a valuable service to the community and a safe and happy place for kids and families to come together and socialise. 
  • The club recognised Indigenous culture by participating in Sir Doug Nicholls Rounds activities, displaying Aboriginal flags at Gore Hill Oval (GHO), educating players on the contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players have made to AFL and performing Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies before Auskick and junior footy games.
  • The club offers a great way for kids and families to remain active and get fit. 

Through the club’s activities over the course of the year ending 30 September 2023, the club has achieved its objectives under its Constitution, which are:

  1. To organise and conduct AFL at the junior level for both boys and girls;
  2. To encourage participation, inclusion and enjoyment of players at all levels of ability; and 
  3. To promote the AFL code on the lower north shore of Sydney. 

Highlights

  • After three COVID impacted and weather interrupted seasons, 2023 was the first full season where Auskick did not miss a day and most teams played all home and away rounds, with only a handful of games washed out. 
  • 2023 saw an increase in the number of volunteers stepping up each week for game duties and helping out in committee roles. 
  • It was great to see such rich contributions from our Youth football girls and boys who lent their support for the Auskick program each Sunday morning. 
  • There was a lift in the number of players stepping up to help out with umpiring.
  • The club’s generous sponsors (HomeHQ Artarmon and The Willows) provided valuable and much needed financial support. 
  • The club raised over $10,000 from the annual fundraiser and secured $5,000 in grant funding from the AFL. 
  • The club’s canteen service was enhanced, driven by the club’s new GM’s passion and energy. 
  • All of this contributed to all teams and players enjoying a fun and competitive season, culminating in ten teams qualifying for finals and five progressing to compete in grand finals. Three flags were won by the club’s Div 1 U16 girls, and both U17s boys teams (Div 1 and Div 3). 

Outlook for the club

  • AFL is exploring a pathway to senior footy model that will principally impact youth footy from 2025. This initiative has opportunities and challenges for the club and junior footy on the North Shore. The club will be closely involved in the AFL’s consultation over 2024. The committee members will keep members updated on the progress of that consultation. 
  • 2024 will see the club involved in an expanded youth footy club alliance bringing Lane Cove into the Willoughby Mosman fold. The youth boys program in 2024 will run onto the field under the banner of the North Shore Swans. The club must make sure it maintains its club identity and culture while working closely and collaboratively with its new and existing partners to ensure a smooth transition into the next phase of the club’s history.
  • Contributing to the acquisition of a new high-quality scoreboard will be a big investment for the club in 2024. A new scoreboard will bring a much better footy experience for players, coaches, ground managers, umpires and spectators at GHO. The investment needs to be managed well, but also funded properly and ongoing costs accounted for and revenue sourced to fund. 
  • Closer ties with the senior footy club (North Shore Bombers) are important for the club’s success and viability. Mutual respect for what each club offers the other and each club’s accountability for supporting the other needs to be nurtured to allow independent club identities to flourish, but under a common culture and love of the game. 

Areas of focus for 2024

  • Registration numbers fell from 2022 to 2023. The “COVID hangover” and cost of living pressures are impacting families’ desire to get kids involved in multiple sports. The club needs to make it easy for families to re-engage with AFL, not just as a fun sport for the kids, but also that being a member of the club is a great family and community activity to get involved in. 
  • Revenue for the club must not rely too heavily on registrations, key sponsors’ donations and the annual fundraiser. Although the balance sheet is healthy, annual loses are unsustainable and threaten the success of the club and the community’s trust in its future. The club needs diligent focus on developing robust and sustainable revenue streams to complement registrations and member fundraising. 
  • During 2024, the club must uplift the efforts to secure community sporting grants, potentially in partnership with other users of GHO.  The likely beneficiaries of future funding initiatives include the scoreboard, revitalising Auskick and the girls football programs, future club rooms and season/post-season football tours.  
  • Girls footy offers such great potential for growth for the club. It benefits the community for the club to be actively involved in supporting girls sport on the North Shore. Dedicated activity to boost the female player and coach ranks and enhance female player enjoyment of the game (from Auskick to Youth footy) is high on the club’s agenda for 2024 and beyond. 
  • Attracting, upskilling and retaining enthusiastic and committed volunteers, who are the life blood of the club, are key focuses for 2024. The club will need to engage strategies and initiatives to enhance volunteers’ experiences. Volunteers themselves are the best advocates for recruitment, so ensuring they are happy and feel proud of the work they do, which contributes to the club’s success, is critical if the club wants to grow its volunteer ranks and enrich the footy experience for players and families.
  • To support the existing volunteer ranks and help attract new volunteers, new office holder roles will be explored to spread the load of responsibilities to make it easier for parents to contribute in a meaningful way without the volunteering role being too burdensome for busy families. 
  • Coaching the coach is a critical factor to the success of the club and one where the club sees valuable investment will generate high returns for players and the community. 
  • Club review and strategic plan – through the funding from the AFL, the club will conduct a strategic review of the club’s culture and purpose and explore ideas for improving every aspect of the club over the next three years (not everything can be done in 1 year, but we’ll get there). 

Acknowledging key contributors 

Huge thanks to the Committee and Age Group Coordinators who offer so much of their time and valuable insights to help the club function well. They are a major asset to the club, which, although not acknowledged on the balance sheet, it is easy to see how lacklustre the club’s performance would be in their absence. 

Thank you Ben Hoch (U11s AGC) for leading the annual fundraiser at HomeHQ which secured over $10,000 in vital funding for the club. Building on the playbook from 2022 and 2023, the club is in a great position to ensure the ongoing success of the annual fundraiser in 2024 and beyond. 

Thank you Paul McPherson, Director of Sponsorships, for stepping into the role which will play a critical function in the years ahead. 

Thank you to the club’s key sponsors, Home HQ Artarmon and The Willows. Their ongoing support and commitment to the club is greatly appreciated and hugely beneficial to all the kids who pull on a footy jersey each week. We look forward to a long and successful partnership in the future. 

Thank you also to our key footy partner, Mosman Swans. With their enduring support, the nature of footy for the Wildcats and down at GHO brings a better footy experience to all involved. 

Thank you to Ally Spellacy, the club’s General Manager. Ally’s energy, commitment and overall friendly spark has made it a joy for volunteers to help out down at GHO, created a great sense of ease for the Committee around the management of game day operations and helped plug (or identify) gaps to ensure the Wildcats experience is one to remember fondly for all. 

Big thanks to our retiring Office Bearer and Committee member:

  • Rachel Charles, Treasurer – Rachel has been a highly regarded member of the Committee and a rich source of financial and operational advice. Rachel’s ability to tell it how it is (at least from her perspective) is so important in a community club to keep people accountable and forge a principled approach to proposals and decision-making. Rachel leaves a healthy legacy at the club with the finances in great shape to support the future plans, helpful guidance provided to the Committee on how to protect the club’s financial viability and safety, and a solid foundation to build on the success in 2023 around game day operations, namely the appointment of our GM and the smooth running of the canteen. Rachel will be warmly missed, but also well deserving of her recognition as the 2023 Club Person of the Year. Congratulations Rachel and we wish you all the best. Hope to see you around GHO during 2024. 
  • Lucius Orsini, Co-Director of Coaching – Lucius has developed the Director of Coaching role (with Craig Tidemann) and helped shape it into a critical function contributing tangible results for the club. Lucius has also been a critical mentor for Presidents (past and current) on negotiating the ups and downs of managing the club and its interactions with the AFL and other clubs. Lucius’s passion for AFL, and in particular, for the Wildcats, is palpable in every discussion regarding the club. He is a great role model for coaches and Committee members alike, although he may be the first to declare that there may have been rare and isolated instances displayed on the sidelines where he lead by the motto, “Do as I say, not as I do.” – which only goes to demonstrate his passion, but also he’s appreciation that all coaches, no matter how experienced, are human. The key legacy Lucius leaves, as a result of his Co-Director of Coaching role, is the coaches’ professional development and self-confidence has been enhanced by his wealth of experience and generosity of time to help them in their vital role shepherding the players (and families) through the challenges and rewarding experiences every season. His fire and humour will be warmly missed and we wish him all the best. We expect to hear him from the sidelines in 2024. 

I am proud of what the club has achieved in 2023. I am honoured to have been one of many to help lead the club through season 2023. I know there is lots we can do to enhance those achievements and I am confident we have the right team to ensure that can be done. 

I encourage everyone involved in the club to take stock of how season 2023 felt to them. The best way to improve that feeling for season 2024 is to certainly express your thoughts, concerns and ideas, but be prepared to stand up, chip in and give a hand to bringing those ideas to life. The Wildcats are no different to any other not-for-profit club. It is by virtue of the efforts of generous volunteers, passionate about the game and, in particular, their kids’ lives and the communities they live in, that the success of the club is dictated. 

I look forward to seeing what I can do to help this great club become better in 2024 and beyond! All I ask is, what about you?

Go Wildcats!

Stephen Taylor 

President

Willoughby Junior Australian Football Club Inc 

13 December 2023

2024 Registrations are Open!

It is time to register for Season 2024! The sooner the better to give us plenty of time to organise coaching and team structures for the season ahead. We will have an Early Bird offer of $250 for Juniors and $300 for Youth available until 31st January 2024. After this there will be a price increase so please get in early and enjoy the savings.

Click on the link below to register- Go Wildcats!

https://www.playhq.com/afl/register/35940e

Sydney Derby- Giants vs Swans Saturday August 5th

The most-anticipated fixture in the GIANTS calendar is here – Sydney Derby XXVII. It’s not only the Battle of the Bridge for bragging rights over our cross-town rivals, the Swans, it’s also shaping up to be a defining game for both teams in a race to secure a finals berth in 2023.

The Wildcats are invited to be a part of this epic fixture next Saturday August 5, 7:30pm at GIANTS Stadium.

The AFL are offering an exclusive deal for Junior Clubs – $10 off adult tickets in Category 3*. Every paid adult ticket unlocks up to 2 complimentary junior tickets (generally $20).  Please share this offer with your family and friends!

PURCHASE HERE – https://gwsgiants.spinzo.com/23RD21-JNRCLUBS

Join us at our Annual Fundraiser!

Tickets are selling fast for our exciting club social event and fundraiser on Saturday the 29th July at 7pm. Please click here to buy your tickets so you can join in the fun! Ticket price includes canapes and drink voucher and will go towards supporting future club initiatives that will support all of our kids. If you are unable to attend on the night please consider making a donation to the club via the link above.  

We have had some fantastic donations from Home HQ and other local businesses and we are very excited about our silent auction and raffle.

The raffle prize winners will be drawn at the Fundraiser. If every family at the Club bought just 1 raffle ticket, Willoughby Wildcats could do amazing things with all the cash!

Full details and link to purchase your ticket – click here

1st Prize

2024 Red Family Membership for 2 adults and up to 4 juniors, along with 4 stylish Sydney Swans T-shirts valued at $500. 

2nd Prize

A family pass to the enchanting Magic of Christmas concert with the Willoughby Symphony on Friday, December 8th with a $200 gift voucher at the Bridgeview Hotel Willoughby.

3rd  prize

A versatile Little Giant ladder valued at $450 plus a Bunnings gift vouchers

4th Prize

a whopping $300 worth of Remedy Drinks

5th Prize

Laser Clinics Australia Neutral Bay donated 1 LED Facial treatment and 1 Laser Hair Removal treatment, with a total value of $129.

Women’s Intro to Coaching

U13 BOYS- IMPORTANT INFO

Registrations for U13 Boys are close to capacity for teams in this age group. Please contact Age Group Coordinator, Dave Micheletti if you are interested in registering for U13 for more information 0414 209 278 or davidmic71@gmail.com