Dear members, players and supporters,

As you may be aware our main footy oval (Howard Harmer) is closed until March 30. Why is that you ask? Read on for a detailed response and news on a $370,000 Grant. Yes – $370,000 for lights!

It’s quite long, so grab a cuppa.

We all know how good our main footy oval is (Howard Harmer) – it is our home. It is home to the the tree on the wing and our great club rooms and the views.  It is where most teams train, play and just hang out. That is a good thing. The problem lay in that we love it too much. In short – as it is our only oval with lights – we over use the oval. 14 teams – training, playing, Auskicker’s doing their thing week upon week – this takes a toll on the turf.  Massively.

Last year Howard Hamer Reserve sustained over 41 hours use per week – from training, Auskick and Saturday/Sunday games.  The recommended usage per week for ovals is 20-25 hours.  To say it is over used is an understatement.

What are we doing to arrest this you ask? We are doing a few things.

Firstly – the club just spent over $8,500 to top dress and seed the oval (in the photo you should be able to see turf sand which help fills divots and provides a base for the rye dress to germinate and grow). In order to ensure this investment has the best outcome – and help sustain the oval throughout  the season – the Executive and Committee decided to close the oval until 30 March. I thank you for your patience in utilising many different venues during the pre-season.

The Howard Harmer oval will re-open on 30 March  – the date for our Family Day – where our Senior Men’s footy and netballer’s take on Cobden. It should be a cracking day. The entire club is invited to attend (although our Premiership winning Womens team have a training camp that day).

Secondly – lights on the cricket oval (RT Fuller oval in the 54’s aka Village Park*). The Club has been agitating for some time to secure lights for the cricket oval. Here is the very good news (with a buried lead no less) – we have received a Grant from the Federal Governments Community Sport Infrastructure Grant to the tune of $370,000. I expect to sign the funding agreement this coming week. The Grant will fund our aptly named Sustainable Sports Lighting Program.

This Grant will provide for lighting on the cricket oval. This is quite a coup for our club. The lights will spread the oval usage evenly across both ovals to around 25 hours per week each – thus reducing the problem with over usage on Howard Harmer. It will also allow for teams to train on a full oval – not cornered into pockets as is the case when we have 3-4 teams training on the one oval. This will assist with skill development, team work and allow space for game plans to be honed.

In addition – we asked that the Grant include upgrading the lights on the netball courts and Howard Harmer to the more energy efficient – and light emitting – LED’s. This should make a huge difference to both the netball courts and the footy oval. I would hate to think how much we have spent over the years on those lights.

This Grant will be a real game changer for our club.  As for the timing of the works we expect all of the lighting works to be ready for the 2020 Season. We are endeavouring to complete some works this season however.

On other matters, we are working hard to negotiate an outcome that sees the club in a better position with regards to the ongoing oval maintenance.  We have also completed designs to improve the facilities in our pavilion.

As you can see – providing facilities for our mighty club can sometimes be a battle. It is one which the Executive and Committee  are focused upon – as we all want the best for our members, players and supporters.

Let’s make 2019 a winner on all fronts.


Tim Goddard

Club President 🐦