In March 2022, the Black Rock Football Netball Club started the process of becoming a Member Club of the South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL), working through the 3 stages of the New Club Criteria. On the 28th August they were endorsed by the SMJFL board and their application officially accepted by AFL Victoria on the 4th September, and welcomed as the 26th Member Club of the SMJFL. The Black Rock Football Netball Club are the first club to have their application accepted and be admitted to the league under the New Club Criteria.
Junior Operations Manager Nick MacMillan said that the New Club Criteria was mostly a straight forward process however, it was met with some challenges along the journey and the alignment of some constitutional rules to be able to join the SMJFL and create a sustainable junior football program.
Black Rock enjoyed their first season in the SMJFL on a provisional license for 2023. Nick stated that it “couldn’t have gone any better, we had an U8 & U9 team, and it was received very well by the parents and players & wider community. The parents were very involved and hands on in the first season and played a driving role in the trial”. He further stated that the “kids had immense fun – it wasn’t about winning all the time, as long as the kids were developing their skills & having fun it was a success”.
Black Rock approached the SMJFL in 2022 to join as the 26th Member Club due to wanting to create a sustainable junior football program and create a local community pathway from its Auskick program into an Under 8 competition. At the time, a third of the Auskick participants at Black Rock weren’t taking up ‘club football’ after Auskick and the formation of a junior football program at Black Rock is now a pathway that keeps the community together and consistency for families in the early days of participating in Australian Rules.
When asked what becoming a Member Club of the SMJFL meant for the club and the Black Rock Community, Nick reiterated that “it meant the kids were able to have a clear pathway from their Auskick program into junior football and it gave families that sense of belonging at a football club. The retention of kids participating is at the forefront of the club and Nick hopes that they can continue to build a sustainable base for the future.
The Black Rock Football Netball Club would like to thank the SMJFL, local community & families, along with Bayside City Council for their support through the process, especially the sport and recreation team.
Black Rock welcomes any new members/families in the local community, for further information please visit the clubs website: https://blackrockfnc.com.au/ or their (Auskick & Juniors only) social media page https://www.facebook.com/blackrockjuniors
The SMJFL are looking forward to working with Black Rock in the years to come and wish them well for the 2024 season.