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Fresh start for Blues as new president hits ground running

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By Colin MacGillivray

KILMORE Football Netball Club is looking forward to an exciting new chapter in its history after appointing a new president and new coach ahead of the 2023 season.

Ben Egan was elected president of the Blues at last month’s annual general meeting, taking over from long-serving leader Paul Maher.

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Along with senior coach Paul Derrick, who was announced as the successor of Nathan Phillips in August, and some fresh faces on the board, Egan said he was excited to turn over a new leaf.

Egan said he hoped to continue the success that Kilmore experienced during Maher’s six-year tenure.

“I love this club. I’ve been playing at Kilmore since under 16s, so I’ve been associated with the club on and off for about 13 years now. I’ve been a senior player, helped out on the committee and done a lot of functions and sponsorship stuff,” he said.

“Paul has done a fantastic job, so I wanted to carry on his good work. The club has done a lot of work over the past six years, from being close to bankruptcy and nearly going into recess to thriving.

“Off field, we’re financially the strongest we’ve ever been. On field, all three footy teams made the finals in the season just gone, and we had eight netball teams, which is a record. Five or six years ago we struggled to get one netball team going.”

Egan said building the club’s social and sponsorship ties and continuing to solidify its player depth would be priorities.

“Building up on-field depth is always going to be important. We’re now the fourth-biggest club in the league in terms of combined numbers. In netball we’ve got the third-most teams in the entire league,” he said.

“Continuing the pathway from the junior club to the senior club so that we’ve got a constant stream of under 19s coming through is important so that we don’t have to go out and recruit just to fill a team like some clubs have to.

“We want to be able to use our own depth and pathways, and then just add a few recruits on top of that to strengthen us.

“Off-field, reaching out to the community is going to be important for us this year. We want to build stronger connections with the other groups at JJ Clancy Reserve and also put ourselves out as a community club that both businesses and community groups can benefit from.”

Egan said the impending completion of a new integrated community hub at the reserve would be a boon for the Blues and other user groups.

“With the new pavilion, we’re looking at ways in which we can offer that up to the community, like opening it up for different events or charity work,” he said.

“We’re in a massive growth area, so we want to make sure that Kilmore is the destination club in the area.

“The way to do that is by reaching out to the community and making sure we’re a welcoming club that everyone wants to come to.”

Egan said creating a family-friendly atmosphere at Kilmore was also important.

“I’ve got a two-year-old, so whereas some of our past presidents might have been a little bit older, I try to bring that younger family perspective,” he said.

“We threw a big Christmas party for the club and the community, and we had kids there who weren’t necessarily attached to the club, but when it’s their turn they’ll hopefully want to play there because they’ve had those memories and their parents are going to want them to go there.”

Egan said Derrick was already putting the senior footballers through an intense pre-season training regimen ahead of what he hoped would be a Northern Football Netball League division three premiership campaign in 2023.

“Nathan has obviously done a fantastic job, but Paul is bringing a fresh perspective, which has been really good,” Egan said.

“The boys are training probably the hardest they’ve ever trained before Christmas and getting really fit.”

Egan said the club was open to potential new sponsors and urged local businesses to contact the club via email

“We want to open ourselves up to new sponsorship opportunities. Whether it’s merchandising, advertising, mutual benefits or access to events, all those things come as part of our sponsorship,” he said.

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