Whether it be at AFL or local level – every kid dreams of pulling on their club’s football jumper for the first time.
So just imagine the excitement at Lakeside Oval in Pakenham when the Cardinia Tigers Junior Football Club roared to life, with Blake, Cooper, Jasper and Noah pulling on the first-ever Tigers jumpers ahead of training on Wednesday night.
It’s the biggest and brightest sign yet that the Cardinia Tigers Junior Football Club was a dream that has now become a reality.
That reality will hit home even further this Sunday, April 7 when the Tigers play their first-ever official fixtures as part of Little Demons Day at Casey Fields.
Little Demons Day is the official opening of the South East Juniors for 2019, with hundreds of Under-8s, 9s and 10s converging on the elite VFL facility at headquarters.
And there’s still plenty of opportunity for families to join the Tigers in 2019 – with spots currently available for boys and girls born in 2011 to play in the club’s inaugural Under-8 team. Club President Phil Francis said these are exciting times for a club that will call the new facility at John Bathe Recreation Reserve it’s home, once complete.
“We started with Auskick last year and the kids all enjoyed it and it’s great to see those new jumpers out on the ground tonight,” Francis said.
“We’ve got a history and culture to build, a new song to sing, and we’ll enjoy all of those new experiences and challenges along the way. We’re in it for the long haul and we’re going to grow the club from the ground up with the support of the local community.
“At the end of day we’re here for the kids, they’re the most important thing here, and we’re up and running and want good people to jump onboard.”
Club Secretary Jess Enright was equally as excited about the prospects of the new club, born from the Cardinia Tigers Auskick Centre that was established by AFL Victoria, in conjunction with Cardinia Shire, to cater for the rapidly growing population and high demand for entry-level participation in Australian Football.
“To go from Auskick last year to this is very exciting and the kids just want to go out and get involved in the big world of football,” Enright said.
“We’re going to have new ovals to train and play on and we just want to do the right thing by the kids. They don’t appreciate it now but they get to be involved in something from the beginning and not a lot of kids get to say that about their football club.
“We want to set positive standards and create a positive environment for the kids and make the footy club a really good place for families. We’ve set the goal of becoming known as a family club.”
From left; Jasper, Blake, Noah and Cooper pull on the Cardinia Tigers Junior Football Club colours for the very first time.
AFL South East Region General Manager John Anderson said the addition of the Cardinia Tigers Junior Football Club was an exciting development for both the South East Juniors and the region as a whole.
“It is pleasing to see the establishment of a new club in the growth areas of Pakenham and Officer,” Anderson said.
“Auskick has been growing in the area and we hope that many of those boys and girls transition to junior football. I want to pass on my appreciation to those parents who have done the hard work in the formation of the Cardinia Tigers and also especially thank our Development Manager Stuart Clark for the leadership he has shown.”
The Tigers currently train on Wednesday nights at 5.45pm at Lakeside Oval in Pakenham, with coach Jason Francis and Team Manager Mark Vella keen to have new players on board.
Those interested in joining the Tigers can contact Jess Enright on 0423 281 043 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org