By SANFL Media
Walkerville Junior Football Club’s brilliant season on and off-field has seen it win the 2023 National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors Club of the Year Award.
Introduced by SANFL three years ago, the award recognises excellence throughout the season in club governance, club development, volunteers and behaviour through a points system, with the winner showing outstanding performance across all areas.
The Walkerville Cats finished with a total of 1380 points to edge out second-placed Tea Tree Gully on 1275.
In addition to achieving a player retention rate from 2022 of 70 per cent, Walkerville also experienced tremendous growth in its junior ranks, with a total of 453 junior players (341 boys and 112 girls) registered with the club and 23 teams entered in the competition this season.
The club also has seen strong recruitment of umpires and was one of the leading clubs for good behaviour on and off the field. It recorded zero ‘poor coach ratings’ from umpires and remarkably did not have any red or blue cards issued to players across the season.
National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors competitions manager Oliver Graham said this was an outstanding result for Walkerville and a reflection of the efforts of all the clubs’ junior administrators and coaches in managing behaviour and growing club numbers.
Mr Graham said it was pleasing to see a significant improvement across all clubs in National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors this season, with the average points total for clubs increasing by more than 200 points on 2022.
“We not only congratulate Walkerville Junior Football Club on being such a deserving winner of the National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors Club of the Year Award, but all clubs for their hard work and dedication in providing an enjoyable footy environment for all participants,’’ Mr Graham said.
Walkerville Junior Football Club President Jim Fairweather said the club was thrilled to be acknowledged with the Club of the Year Award which he credited to the club’s “incredible group of volunteers”, hard-working committee and strong leadership to oversee such a large playing group.
“It has given everyone associated with the club a great deal of pride and reinforces to our parent group that their children’s footy development is in safe hands,” Mr Fairweather said.
“We have also worked hard over the recent years to ensure we have sound structures around football management, team manager training and support, as well as coach development, with the inclusion of coach co-ordinator roles.
“Everything we do is ultimately focused on giving players and their families the best environment to enjoy and better their football. We teach respect for opponents, club, volunteers and officials.”
Walkerville Cats capped off its great season in 2023 with six teams competing in finals and three premierships won across the under-13 and under-15 age groups.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!