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The South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2021 on Wednesday 8 December at RSEA Park’s Junction Room.

While there were a few matters of business at hand, the meeting’s theme was to acknowledge all the dedication and effort necessary during the COVID interrupted 2020-21 seasons and to celebrate some outstanding achievements from individuals within the SMJFL community.

Firstly, three tenured members of the SMJFL board; Matt Webb, Jamie Gray and Lewis Bearman officially departed from their roles. With Matt and Jamie serving six and Lewis serving seven years on the board, their contributions to the SMJFL have been outstanding. Lewis also served the Chairman of the SMJFL for three years.

As the league farewells three board members, it also welcomes three new members to the SMJFL board, Simon Gorr, Brooke Hannaford, and Ian Jickell. The three new board members have a vast array of experiences that will be valuable assets to the league as it moves forward with its new Strategic Plan 2022-2024.

On behalf of the SMJFL Chair, Richard Bowen, the Board and the Executives, we would like to thank Matt, Jamie and Lewis for their service and wish them all the very best for the future ahead. We welcome Simon, Brooke and Ian and look forward to their contributions.

The SMJFL also announced its two newest Life Members at the event, former General Manager of the SMJFL, Emily Beventyre and long serving SMJFL volunteer, David Zivin.

Emily was an SMJFL employee for over 7.5 years through various roles, commencing as Football Operations Coordinator and finishing as the League’s General Manager. Emily’s knowledge of football and operations saw her manage over 3,500 games per year ensuring kids could play every week throughout the season. Her commitment and innovation throughout her tenure was instrumental in helping develop and implement league projects such as, the Umpire Academy and Interleague/Next Generation Academy in partnership with St Kilda Football Club.

David has been a life source of not only AJAX Football Club, but also the league itself. A tireless contributor, ever reliable and always with a smile on his face, David is the kind of person every successful sporting organisation needs. David has held many positions in his time with the SMJFL, and currently serves as both SMJFL’s Talent Pathway Administrator and t Kilda Football Club’s Next Generation NGA North Hub Training Co-Ordinator.

Congratulations to Emily and David, two very deserving recipients of life membership.

In addition to awarding life memberships, the SMJFL introduced its Inaugural Outstanding Service Award (OSA) to acknowledge and individual who, over a period of not less than five years, has made a significant contribution to the SMJFL through their time, actions, talents, and dedication. The inaugural recipients of the OSA’s were Paul Carrigan from Hampton Rovers Junior Football Club, Nicki Spencer from Beaumaris Football Club and Paul Connors.

Finally, it was the league’s outgoing CEO Sarah Loh’s final AGM. Sarah has been the leagues CEO for just over five years and has not only grown but instilled the value of ‘It’s About the Kids’ throughout the entire SMJFL. Chair, Richard Bowen spoke to Sarah’s drive and vision she provided the league to guide it through two Strategic Plans, a highly successful regional facilities strategy which saw significant contributions being made to improve club facilities in the region. He also highlighted her commercial partnership successes to place the league in an excellent financial position. Based on the success, Sarah created the first community fund for the league providing its member clubs with significant financial assistance during a Covid impacted season in 2020 and 2021 and beyond. The creation of the Football 4 Fun program last year and in November this year has been an amazing short-term program offered to kids due to the impacts of Covid for free and improve mental health and social connections. The important partnerships that Sarah has created with long term partner and major sponsor, Monash University, Reflex Paper and OpenCorp to name a few have laid the foundations for continued success. We wish our outgoing CEO, Sarah all the success and very best in her new role as Executive Manager – Future Healthy Group at VicHealth.


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