Chad’s dedication ensures a future for footy in Elliston

In the first of a series of articles on the finalists in the 2023 Hostplus SANFL Volunteer of the Year Award, we find out more about the outstanding contribution of Elliston’s Chad Fleming.


When his beloved Elliston Football Club on the Eyre Peninsula was facing challenging times, Chad Fleming had no hesitation in jumping into the fray and helping out.

Chad was club President at a time of great upheaval in the Mid-West Football League after two clubs merged and moved to the Eastern Eyre Football League prior to the 2021 season.

With the league and his own club facing an uncertain future, Chad was instrumental in the merger between Elliston and Western Districts and the subsequent move to the Great Flinders Football League.

Just two years later and the Elliston Districts Football Club is now thriving, having played off in the 2022 grand final.

“We were left in limbo a bit and there were people within both clubs who were passionate about keeping footy in our towns, so that’s how the alliance came about,” Chad said.

“There were lots of discussions and meetings and it was a pretty hectic time.

“We had a lot of consultations and presentations to Great Flinders clubs about what we could bring, so it was a hugely busy time.

“We are hugely appreciative to Great Flinders for letting us in because it created huge amounts of work for them.”

This is just the latest in a long list of examples in which Chad has dedicated himself to the club.

He has been recognised for his outstanding voluntary service to community football as one of five finalists short-listed for the 2023 Hostplus SANFL Volunteer of the Year Award.

After a distinguished playing career with Elliston, Chad moved straight into administration, where he has volunteered in many roles for almost 20 years.

This includes organising major fundraisers over the years that have helped keep the club alive, with Chad doing everything he can to ensure footy remains a key part of the Elliston community.

“I know the wonderful benefits of having footy and sport in the community, so it was just about doing my bit to keep things ticking over.”

Chad has managed to maintain his intimate involvement in the club despite also holding down a full-time role as a school teacher and now principal.

One of Chad’s many jobs at the club included coaching the A-grade team for five seasons, which included a premiership in 2012 that he rates as his best achievement.

“Ultimately you play to win premierships and the joy and excitement that came from that was a nice highlight.”

Appropriately, Chad was awarded club life membership in 2021 for his service to the club, but as ever remains humble about the achievement.

“That was a nice little cherry on top as well,” he said.

The winner of the Hostplus SANFL Volunteer of the Year Award will be announced at the annual SANFL Community Volunteer Awards night at Adelaide Oval on November 3.


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