Brighton Beach Junior Football Club – History

2023  – 10th anniversary tribute to BBJFCs first ever ‘open’ age premiership team: the Under 11 Division 1 team of 2013

Perhaps the most famous opening line in modern English literature is that penned by LP Hartley in his rites of passage novel of 1953 ‘The Go-Between’: ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’…………they sure did in 2013, a year in which Tony Abbott won a landslide federal election, the Hawks won the flag before going back to back to back, twerking and selfies were all the rage and Lance Armstrong admitted to doping….and the SMJFL called the Division 1 competition in the lower age levels East (as they did in 2012). It is still a mystery. One wonders what they would have called a 5th division? Perhaps North West, which, incidentally, is what Kanye and Kim named their first child in 2013.

 

The Under 11 Division 1 mixed Grand Final of 2013 took place at 3 pm on Sunday 18 August @ Mentone Grammar’s playing fields Keysborough Oval 3

 

But first: how did we get there? A potted history of BBJFC

 

BBJFC was formed and incorporated in 2009 to fill a perceived void in the Bayside area, geographical and philosophical:  the existing clubs in the wider Brighton environ were relative behemoths, having between 4-6 teams at each age level. The BBJFC saw an opportunity, flowing out of the popular ‘Auskick’ program at Whyte Street on Sunday mornings, to build a stand-alone junior club having just 1-2 teams in each year level, focused upon nurturing junior footballers in a more personalised way. ‘Boutique’ would not be an inappropriate description. We are all the beneficiaries of that vision.

 

The initial Committee consisted of: Andrew Doquile, (President) Jon Frederico (Vice – President),  Scott Buchanan (Treasurer), Trina Hipwell (Secretary),  Halli Moore, Greg Hipwell and Huw Provis. The Club, through a foundation benefactor, established an alliance with North Melbourne FC and thus became known as the Kangaroos. 2010 saw the Club field 2 Under 9 teams and one Under 10 team in what was then the Moorabbin Saints Junior Football League (soon to become the SMJFL). The Club’s very first games were played at Kostka Hall, and we became well known for our light blue jumper ‘away’ strip in our first few years. Immediate on field success was achieved: lightning premierships were won by one of the U9 teams and the U10 team. 2011 brought more ‘silverware’: another U9 lightning premiership (co-coached by Messrs Doquile and Frederico). In 2012, BBJFC’s Under 11 side played off in the Club’s first ever ‘open’ grade grand final in Division 2 (known as the ‘West’ division: go figure!), losing narrowly to an East Malvern outfit featuring future AFL Roo Jack Mahony, 2.1 to 1.1.

 

 

The first of the Club’s lightning premiers: the Under 9 West team coached by Andrew Doquile, 2010

 

 

2013

 

Hope and promise were in the air. The coach of the Under 11 Division 1 team was the peerless Jon Frederico; I was the ‘assistant’ coach (aka as mover of witches’ hats), and Pete Cantwell the runner and the ‘brains’ of the operation. Sean & Anthea Conroy provided blue riband team management services and future club President and physio to the stars Paul Visentini was our trainer.

 

The home and away season

 

The regular season started promisingly: we thrashed the Vampires in Round 1 on a warm mid-April day and the mercy rule was invoked; future Port Power player (and future BBJFC U12 player) Josh Sinn kicked the solitary goal for the losers whilst Declan Conroy and (also) future Port Power player Dante Visentini kicked a couple each for the ‘Roos. Wins against South Melbourne, Mordi-Brae (featuring future Demon Blake Howes), Ormond (I had the red vest as Freddy was absent), Murrumbeena, Hampton, East Malvern (for whom future Cat Max Holmes starred) and Beaumaris followed. Round 9 pitted our undefeated boys against East Sandy at BBO. East Sandy had lost inexplicably to Beaumaris in Round 4 but came into this encounter in white hot form. We were handed our first defeat of the year after allowing East Sandy to get away to a quick start: Will Murray, future VFL player Darby Hipwell, future Bomber Archie Perkins and future Sheffield Shield cricketer Campbell Kellaway were instrumental in the visitors’ triumph. We lost to Ormond away in Round 13 and found ourselves in a spot of bother in the last round (14) against ‘Beena away in front of a rabid home crowd. Importantly, in spite of my coaching (my second and final red vest stint for the year), we found a way to win. Follow the link to see how the ladder looked after the home and away rounds:

 

https://websites.mygameday.app/comp_info.cgi?c=0-4901-0-244797-0&pool=1&a=LADDER#:~:text=POS,Us%20Privacy%20Policy

 

The finals

 

The coaching panel were cautiously optimistic: we were opposed to East Sandy in the major semi-final at Chisholm Reserve on 4 August. Freddy, Pete and I felt that if we could absorb the initial pressure, work hard in close not to let the ball get into their prime movers’ hands, then we could hurt them as they tired. We were a very fit team. East Sandy had the big names: we thought we had the game and the players to topple them. Wise head Mark Seymour contacted Freddy during the week of the first final to convey his view that we were the best team in it: we just had to believe. Sean Conroy produced all manner of stats providing key indicators as to how we could prevail. Meanwhile, the message to the boys was: we’ve earned the right, let’s go out and enjoy the occasion and do our best: we are a talented team who have nothing to prove to anyone but to ourselves. It was the same message we relayed throughout the 3-week finals series.  

 

The boys, for their part, were relaxed: witness the team pic below in the week before the major final:

 

The lads held a slight ascendancy on the scoreboard for most of the game. We had played to instructions so very well and held a two-goal lead at ¾ time. Freddy moved Will Doquile into the middle and Lukas Galanopoulos into the forward line for the last quarter to try and deliver the killer blows. Both moves worked a treat: Lukas kicked a goal on the left foot after evading a few Zebra defenders and then perfectly timed a handball to the running Zac Fullagar who slotted a beauty to put us 4 goals up. See pic below (Zac was just out of view). East Sandy scored a late goal and the siren sounded soon afterwards. BBJFC 5.5.35 defeated East Sandy 2.6. 18. Into the GF we went. East Sandy then had to beat Ormond in the Preliminary Final the following week to have another crack at us, which they did by 8 points, (though wayward kicking nearly cost them dearly, down by 2 points at ¾ time).   

 

 

 

The Grand Final

 

 

We lost the services of future Kookaburra Craig Marais in the lead up due to interstate hockey commitments. The day itself was a windswept but dry day. Oval 3 at the Mentone Grammar fields was open to the elements. A 35-40 km NNW wind meant that 65-70% of the play took place on the clubroom wing. I lost count of the number of throw ins on that side. You can hear the wind buffeting the surroundings in the attached video taken by Eva Mihailidis of the boys running out.

To the game itself: Lukas sharks first kick of the game out of the middle and sends it towards goal: with the aid of the breeze, it seems to be heading through! Not to be: Ben Paynter tries to make sure of the goal, takes possession almost on the goal line and under some pressure, kicks a behind (he makes up for it later with a crucial goal). Score at quarter time is our 0.1.1 with the Zebras scoreless. Our second quarter was excellent: Jack Scanlon, the Conroy twins, Dante, Harry Kirkham and Seb Dalton looked impassable down back. Nick Morris, Tom Cantwell, and Jack Seymour make important contributions at key moments. Midfielders Doquile, Dom Frederico and Galanopoulos were having tremendous games: Gus Burley was providing great drive and the ruck pair of Ben Graham and Angus Lewis were nullifying their opponents and providing first use to the Kangaroo mids at each of the many stoppages. Jordy Segar kicks the first goal of the game. Then, in the blink of an eye and against the run of play, the Zebras kick two very quick goals back-to-back and go into the long break 5 points up: 2.0.12 to 1.1.7. The arm wrestle continues into the 3rd quarter, during which Ben Paynter scores a crucial goal, and the teams can’t be separated at ¾ time, 22 apiece. The brains trust ask Zac, Angus Smith, Ben Morgan and Steve Stavrellis for special efforts in the final quarter. Alex appeared to have sustained an injury.  Then the almost unwatchable drama of the 4th quarter! Will Doquile kicks a lovely barrel goal on the run and we look home, 7 points up. Up steps Will Murray for the Zebras who kicks an astonishing dribble goal 30 metres out and we are a point up with approximately 2 and a half minutes to play. Stoppage after stoppage ensues and an unsavoury incident (in which Will Doquile is slammed into the ground in a tackle and is left with mild concussion) leads to a free kick taken by captain Dom in the middle of the ground. He spots Lukas on the wing and kicks it in his direction and Angus Lewis intercepts the kick. Angus soaks up as much time as the umpires allow, kicks to the HFF and the siren sounds. Final scores: BBJFC 3.3.21 defeated East Sandringham 3.2.20.

This was a consummate team performance of which every player and, indeed, every member / parent / guardian across the Club, should be proud. The victory provided a degree of return for the thousands of discretionary hours expended by the Committee, coaches, team managers and innumerable volunteers in the few short years since the Club was founded.  Not so much validation and legitimacy but a real sense of accomplishment.

 

In recognition of the significance of the occasion, the Club allowed every player to keep their jumpers as a memento, in perpetuity. Videos of the game itself were ordered by the Club for each player. ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’.

 

I remember the elation and the relief; I also remember that I was emotionally and mentally spent when my head hit the pillow that evening. Premierships are difficult to win: it’s a truism even for teams that do win them.  Today, we remember that golden day in August 10 years ago…….

 

Here’s how the SMJFL saw it:

From that day’s Footy Record:

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