As we head into the final round of the 2020 Home and Away season, we take a look back on the season so far, one that has been riddled with uncertainty and has without a doubt been a season like no other. Every single person across the world and across every industry has had to adapt to a new way of life in the COVID-19 pandemic, and here at SUANFC we have been lucky enough that our players have been able to take part in a 2020 season of community football. Since returning to training, and over the past 8 weeks of the shortened season, our players have felt extremely fortunate that they have been able to run onto the field and take part in the game they love with their teammates by their side.
The ability for our club, and the rest of the clubs involved in the 2020 AFL Sydney Season, to be able to play fixtured games each week and compete for a 2020 Premiership, is a testament to the work of AFL NSW/ACT as well as the work and commitment from the players, coaches, medical support staff and volunteers at SUANFC. In order to get the club back onto the field, a number of protocols and restrictions were introduced, and the way in which all members took these on board and took ownership to ensure all protocols where adhered to is something that all involved can be proud of. When speaking on the clubs return to the field post shutdown, SUANFC President Sam Power said: ‘I’m really proud of the way our members have responded to those restrictions ensuring the safety and wellbeing of each other and themselves’.
While this year and this season has presented many challenges and obstacles, it has also presented a unique opportunity for the club to come together in the face of uncertain times. This year was an exciting one for SUANFC; after the merger with the Sydney Uni Womens AFL club, SUANFC fielded teams across the mens and womens competitions for the first time in its history. It has been fantastic to see the Mens and Womens teams training, playing and working together at Oval 1 over the preseason and over the past 8 rounds of the season. SUANFC prides itself of being a club run by the players for the players, and this season has particularly showcased all teams across all grades working together to ensure home game days ran smoothly and all 10 teams put their best foot forward every time they entered the field.
Our Mens & Womens Premier Division team got off to a strong start both getting wins on the board against strong opponents, Pennant Hills. Under the strong coaching of Tom Morrison in the Mens side and Alex Roberts in the Womens side, both teams have remained highly competitive throughout the season. The Mens Premier Division team has come together extremely well to be a force to be reckoned with this season. After 8 rounds, the team remains undefeated and raring to go for their match against North Shore this weekend. The Womens Premier Division team have faced some strong opponents this season after losing several of their experienced players at the end of the 2019 season. With that in mind, the team have still managed to notch up 5 strong wins and only 3 loses so far, and they are only going from strength to strength.
The Mens Premier Division Reserves had a tough start to the season, after a close loss to Pennant Hills, but have since come back stronger losing only one more game after that initial loss. Under the leadership of Anthony Overall, the Mens Premier Division Reserves team have been improving each week and are a strong presence on the field.
Our U19 Teams, led by head coach Oscar Gibbons and Division 2 coach Jon Dyster, are a strong group of over 60 players who have demonstrated some high quality footy during the season across both the Division 1 and Division 2 teams. Although plagued with injury from the get-go, both the Division 1 and 2 teams have only lost 2 games each this season against top of the ladder teams.
In the lower grades, SUANFC has fielded a Womens Division 1 team, Mens Division 1, 2 & 3 team and a Masters team. The Womens Division 1 team, under coach Jemma Still, have been playing consistently strong football over the season, however after coming from Division 2 last year they have faced some extremely strong teams. They have managed, however, 2 extremely deserving wins and the team has really developed over the 8 rounds already, with some girls playing their first ever games of footy this season! The Mens Division 2 team, led by coach Adam Birman, came out swinging, getting their first win in Round 1 on home turf, following that with 5 more wins since. The Mens Division 1 team got off to a tough start with a loss to Pennant Hills, however the team regrouped after no doubt a strong pep talk from coach Jim Beard and have not had a loss since. The Mens Division 3 competition this season has been of an extremely high standard, with our Division 3 team under the leadership of Charlie Goodsir managing to get one win up on the board so far. The Masters season of 4 games this year, with one unfortunately washed out, has seen the team enjoy one win and show their clear love of the game on the field.
The season, however, is far from over, with some big games coming up in Round 9, the final round of the 2020 Home & Away Season. All teams are away this week, with the Mens Premier Division, Womens Premier Division, Womens Division 1, Mens Division 1 and U19’s Division 1 all preparing themselves for big games against the strong North Shore teams at Gore Hill Oval. The Mens Division 2, Mens Division 3 and U19’s Division 2 will all be looking to get another win on the board to end the home and away season as they take on Camden, Southern Power and UTS respectively.
With potentially 7 of our teams looking to head into Finals, there is still plenty to see of SUANFC in 2020, and everyone involved is extremely excited to have the opportunity to continue to run onto the field each week!