New Broadford senior football coach Russell Humphrey.

By Tricia Mifsud

IT’S going to be a big season ahead for Broadford Football Netball Club as it competes in its first season in the Outer East league.

The club will play in division two, fielding seniors, reserves and under 17’s sides in the football competitions and netball teams in A, B, C and D grades.

The Kangaroos were preparing for their move into Outer East in 2020, but their debut was put on hold due to the cancelled season.

Broadford will play against Alexandra, Kinglake, Powelltown, Warburton Millgrove, Yarra Glen, Yarra Junction and Yea across the season in the new league.

After being a part of Riddell District Football League, for 11 years, club president Bonnie Cavanagh said it was time for a much needed change.

“We spent 11 years in our previous league, so it was definitely time for something different,” she said.

“It’s been embraced with so much positivity and excitement. Everyone is really pumped up for the unknown.”

Cavanagh said interest had grown toward the club from the community who have noticed the changes happening ahead of the 2021 season, including the appointment of new senior coach Russell Humphrey.

“I think there is a lot of interest, there are a lot of eyes on the club because we’ve gone through such a significant change,” she said.

“Everyone is wondering ‘what’s going on here’ and are jumping back on board to support the club. There is a sense of nostalgia for previous members of the club as we go up again against sides like Yea and Alexandra. They want to see how they’ve changed over the years as well.”

The unknown lurks for the entirety of the club in 2021; unknown league, unknown players, and an unknown face taking the reins of the senior side.

Senior coach Humphrey said although there was all the uncertainty ahead of the season, the club was excited about the challenges.

“We’re trying to play a brand of footy that’s exciting for the supporter base. We’re going to make mistakes, we know though. Our aim though is to be competitive across the board,” he said.

“We’re going blind into a new competition, and so are the clubs we are going to come up against. They don’t know us.

“It’s really hard to give an indication on how we will go because we don’t know what the opposition is like. The first six weeks will be the most important, and to see how we can fit in the competition.”

Humphrey joined the Roos from the Calder Cannons, with previous coaching experience with Oakleigh Chargers, Strathmore FC women’s, Hurstbridge, Craigieburn and Wallan.

Throughout his time as a coach, Humphrey has worked with the likes of Neil Ross, Andrew Johnson and Chris Johnston to name a few of his colleagues, developing his own style of football that he hopes Broadford will embrace.

“It’s the methods I’ve seen and learnt over the years that I’m trying to teach the players. I’ve been extremely lucky to work under some great coaches,” he said.

“I’ve been able to utilise the people I’ve essentially networked with over the years and they’ve been able to give me answers whenever I have asked for some advice from them.”

Despite losing both its practices matches against Heathcote and Kilmore, Humphrey said there were good things to come out of the games, and provided positive signs of what was to expect in 2021.

Cavanagh agreed, saying the entire club had put in an immense amount of work to ensure Broadford Football Netball Club would survive through the pandemic.

“The amount of the work the committee and even the players did during COVID; the work didn’t stop. More work was done during the ‘no season’ than we usually see during a regular season,” she said.

“What I really want to see is reward for the effort we put in and the way we’ve embraced the change. I hope they really enjoy the season.

“Let’s see where this new journey will take us. We spent so much time doing the same old same old so I think the way everything has turned out really worked in our favour – it’s a total refresh.”

Broadford’s netballers have also enjoyed a strong pre-season, and head into their round one clash with confidence. 

“We’ve won all our practice matches in netball and we’ve got really strong leadership,” Cavanaugh said.

“We’re pumped for a new challenge.”

Broadford’s first game of the season will be at home against Yea on Saturday, with games starting from 10am and the seniors at 2.10pm.