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Broadford Junior Football Club’s 50-year celebrations

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Broadford Junior Football Netball Club, BJFNC, will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Sunday, July 16 at Harley Hammond Reserve.

The event starts at 1pm with finger food provided and drinks at bar prices. All are invited to come reminisce about the club’s impressive 50-year history.

BJFNC began after then Broadford Football Club secretary Kevin Fothergill contacted founding member Barry Withers sometime around 1969-70.

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Mansfield Football Club had asked if the club could organise a scratch match before an upcoming senior game at Broadford.

“Mansfield had a lot of younger kids not able to play a game so they said they’d be prepared to bring them to Broadford for a scratch match,” Mr Withers said.

“I organised a team from the keen early and pre-teens, and we obliged them with a game. It was a great success so we told Mansfield we would bring up a team to their game.

“I gave the boys a few training sessions and promised them that they’d all get a run, not expecting many parents would take the long trip to Mansfield and we wouldn’t have many takers.

“But to my surprise about 35 boys persuaded their folks to take them up, I was running players on and off to give them all a game.”

Yea Football Club later joined the arrangement and additional junior matches began being played before senior games.

Broadford junior footballers in the July, 1984 edition of The Free Press.

With an age limit of under 14, Seymour and District Junior Football League formed the year after consisting of Puckapunyal, Avenel, Seymour St Mary’s, and Broadford.

Mr Withers was the coach of Broadford with assistance from several parents including Len Allen, Ian McKenzie, and Jack Bill.

The only win for the side that season was against Avenel but as there were only four teams, the side still made the finals.

The side had an end-of-season celebration barbecue at the town’s old golf clubhouse.

“I gave every player participation certificates, as we had no best and fairest award then, and the boys gave me a pair of cufflinks, which I treasure and still have,” Mr Withers said.

After a few seasons the BJFNC committee was formed and the league expanded, adding under 12 and later under 10 sides.

Mr Withers served as president while John Peters and later Sue Stoddart served as secretary.

He said they received great support from parents including Lorraine and Alan Cook, the Speechleys, Edgar Lejins, Mick Dorman, Len Allen, and Joan and Bert Pedlar.

Since its foundation, the BJFNC has experienced premiership success.

The under 10s won a premiership in 1987, under 11s in 2019, under 11.5s in 2004, under 12s in 1987, under 13s in 1999, under 13.5s in 2000, under 15.5s in 2002 and 2005, and under 16s in 2018 and 2019.

Barry Hall returned to Broadford Junior Football Netball Club for a commercial. In the television advertisement, Hall’s nephew featured and the coach of the under 11s side was also Hall’s under 11 coach when he played for Broadford in the 1980s. ​

Also a source of club pride is the multiple players who have continued their football careers into the VFL/AFL.

Barry Hall played for BJFNC before playing for the St Kilda, Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs – captaining Sydney to their 2005 grand final victory.

In 2011, Hall became the first player to kick 100 goals for three AFL teams, twice leading St Kilda’s goalkicking, and Sydney’s goalkicking from 2002 to 2008.

He was named Sydney’s 2004 best and fairest and is ranked the AFL’s 16th highest all-time goal kicker.

In 2007 Hall returned for a Ford television commercial, taking on his former club – the Broadford under 11s.

The commercial shows Hall taking a few swipes at the players, and it also featured his nephew and old BJFNC coach.

David King was a Kangaroo through and through, going from BJFNC to North Melbourne Football Club, debuting in 1994 and winning the 1996 and 1999 premierships.

King was twice an AFL All-Australian and retired in 2004.

Alan Ezard played 184 VFL/AFL games, debuting with the Essendon in 1983 and retiring in 1993.

He was Essendon’s leading goal-kicker in 1986, won the club best and fairest in 1991 and played in the 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1990 grand finals, winning the second and third. Ezard also won an EJ Whitten Medal in 1991.

Richard Douglas and Tim Fleming were also drafted to the AFL.

For more information or to RSVP for the 50th anniversary event visit the BJFNC Facebook page.

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