The 2008 season was the clubs 30th year of competition. As we embark on our second 30 years we reflect on the club’s history and that of the league in which we play. A history that all players and parents should be proud of.
THE EARLY YEARS
The St Damians Junior Football Club was established in 1979 as a non-denominational football club with 85 players providing a supportive and social family environment and a facility to play junior football, to acquire athletic skills and to develop sportsmanship.
Player numbers rose steadily from 1979 (including our first girl in 1985). By 1986, the club had a record 322 registered players, the highest number of players of any other club in the Doncaster and Districts Junior Football league which at the time was the largest junior football league in Australia. Season 2008 saw a new club record being set with 360 registered players.
By the Club’s 10th anniversary in 1988, player numbers were still over 280. Despite rises and falls in these numbers over subsequent years, the Club is proud to have claimed player registrations of 188 in 2004.
The Club moved from its initial 1979 home ground of Yulong Reserve to Greensborough Park in 1981 before establishing permanent residence at Binnak Park in 1982. Past parents started a $70,000 building program in 1986 and successfully completed the present rooms at Binnak park in 1987, involving hours of voluntary assistance and the borrowing of over $20,000 which was fully repaid by 1989.
YEARS OF SUCCESS
The Club has also had success on the field winning more than 35 Premierships over the last 30 years, including 3 Premiership wins in each of the 4 years leading up to 1998. The last of these Premierships was won by the our Under 12’s and Under 13’s sides in 2008. Our players have also won 27 League Best and Fairest Awards. An impressive record indeed!
OUR PLACE IN THE LEAGUE
An interesting turn in the Club’s history occurred in 1981 when we transferred from the Preston District Junior Football Association to the Doncaster and Districts Junior Football League (DDFL).
The DDFL was established in 1968 and has always been a strong league – in 1985/86 it was the largest junior football league in Australia. Over the 29 years of its existence, the DDFL aimed to be a quality junior Australian football league dedicated to providing opportunities for all approved participants to maximise their sporting and personal potential in an enjoyable, educational and vibrant competitive environment.
In 1996, six clubs from the Hawthorn JFL fielded a total of nine sides as part of the existing 115 DDJFL teams as a prelude to a full amalgamation of both leagues. In the following year (1997), another six clubs joined to form a combined Yarra JFL. This was designed to increase the viability of junior football in the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne which was evidenced by a 30% increase in player numbers from 1996 and a 50% increase in teams taking the field each week.
The Yarra JFL now fields almost 250 teams. This is in total contrast to 1995 prior to amalgamation when the then DDJFL fielded as low as 104 teams. From a declining 1995 base of 2,500 players in the DDJFL, there are now over 5,000 participants playing with the Yarra JFL.
With the support of players, parents and Club officials, we hope that the Yarra JFL continues to grow and provide opportunities for our youth to improve their skills on and off the football field.
Since 1979 the Parade/St Damians Junior Football Club has had many notable past players. The following have been junior members of our club.
Glen Sandford – (Collingwood)
Jarrod Molloy – (Fitzroy, Brisbane Lions, Collingwood)
Brad Boyd – (Fitzroy, Brisbane Lions)
Leigh Montagna – (St Kilda)
Peter Helliar – (Comedian and Radio personality)
Adam Pattison – (Richmond, St Kilda, Hawthorn)
Adam Crosthwaite – (Victorian Bushrangers Wicketkeeper)
Patrick Veszpremi – (Sydney Swans)
Louise Stephenson – (Western Bulldogs-Womens AFL)