Edgeworth Eagles undergoing significant infrastructure upgrades

Historic Northern NSW Football side Edgeworth Eagles have officially moved into their brand-new facilities, with further upgrades now underway.

The club, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2017 and currently are coached by former Newcastle Jets forward Michael Bridges, have gradually developed their home-ground Jack McLaughlin Oval into the veritable home of football it is today.

Edgeworth Players

12 premierships in the last 22 years means that the Eagles are undeniably one of the leading clubs in the Northern NSW National Premier Leagues division. Their investment in upgrading their player sheds, car park, canteen and toiletry facilities will mark a major step towards being a dominant force within the Northern NSW sporting community.

For Warren Mills, Football Director, Treasurer, long time committee member and clubman at Edgeworth Eagles, the prospect of getting the infrastructure upgrades underway was an exciting one.

Canteen

“It’s gone ahead now, it’s nearly a $1.5 million dollar development and we’re losing a bit of our land, but the car park outside is getting refurbished as well as there being a new entrance in the middle of the ground. So, there’ll be two entrances, an electric car charging port and an even bigger car park, which is all very exciting,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is, there’s no one worse off than us. Jack McLaughlin Oval is the only facility we’ve got and we’ve gone from three senior teams to four youth teams and eight SAP teams. Compared to seven years ago (and the 100 odd years before hand) we’ve now got fifteen teams.”

Dressing Rooms

Mills drew comparisons of Edgeworth’s latest refurbishments to the setup at English League One side Sunderland AFC in the ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’ series.

“I’ve been running Edgeworth FC for the last 25 years, so, it’s been a long road and I’m probably getting a bit long in the tooth,” he added.

“We’ve spent about $600,000 of our own money and about $150,000 through grants over the last eight years. We’ve put in over a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of floodlighting – we’re the only NPL club that would have 500 Lux on their ground.

“We managed to get 25 $480 sponsors in order to cover the costs for player booths to be installed, as well as ice baths and tiles. Very similar to what you would’ve seen in ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’ with their dressing shed, we’re putting about $15,000 into our setup.

“So, to get these new facilities along with all the work we’ve got out there – the clubhouse and everything else – it’s going to be a pretty fair setup.”

New Eagles building

When asked to reflect on the massive changes that Mills has led the club in undergoing over the years, the Edgeworth stalwart acknowledged the hard work of all involved.

“It’s massive. When I first went out there, there were a couple of old stands and it was falling apart. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I think whether you’re a player, an administrator or whatever the main reason you do it is for all of the friendships you make. The friendships you make through sport are what keeps you going,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of great people on the committee who are great friends and we’re very fortunate that three or four of our main five people involved at the club don’t have sons playing at the club, and I think that helps not having an attachment and doing it for the football.

“This particular development has been with the Lake Macquarie City Council and they’ve done an awesome job. We deserve this support and we certainly needed new facilities.”

Refurbishment Edgeworth

Australia awarded hosting rights for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026

Football Australia have announced that the country has been awarded the hosting rights for the 2026 edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

This decision followed official ratification by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee at their meeting on 15 May 2024 – held in Bangkok, Thailand – on the eve of the 34th AFC Congress after lengthy discussions. Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan had expressed interested in hosting but withdrew from the process.

This will be the second time the country has staged the Women’s Asian Cup, having previously hosted the competition in 2006.

This tournament will feature 12 of the qualified AFC nations, placed into three groups of four with matches played in the confirmed host states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia.

Australia co-hosted the record-breaking FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 alongside New Zealand, with the Matildas making it to the semi-finals and have grown the sport exponentially over the past 12 months.

The success of Australian national teams, including the Subway Socceroos and CommBank Matildas, has led to a nationwide increase in football participation, with an overall 12% increase in 2023 and an impressive 20% increase already noted in 2024.

Football Australia is leveraging the AFC Women’s Asian Cup as a platform to further boost participation and develop the sport, aligning with upcoming international events like the Brisbane 2032 Olympics & Paralympics.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa explained the exciting decision to reward Australia another major women’s football tournament.

“On behalf of the Asian Football Confederation, I offer our sincere congratulations to Football Australia on being confirmed as hosts of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026,” he said in a statement.

“I am confident that we will see a more vibrant and competitive edition in 2026 in Australia where the unrivalled passion for the women’s game is so palpable and we wish the Local Organising Committee the very best of success in their planning and preparation.

“I know the Asian football family joins me in reinforcing our confidence in Football Australia to elevate the ever-evolving stature and growth of women’s football in Asia.”

Football Australia Chairman Anter Isaac mentioned the benefits this will bring to the game in Australia.

“Securing the AFC Women’s Asian Cup is a testament to our nation’s dedication to football. It is not only a victory for the sport but for every Australian, offering significant economic and cultural benefits,” he added in a statement.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the AFC, its Executive Committee, the Secretariat, and our fellow member associations for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting this prestigious tournament. We are committed to advancing the exceptional initiatives already established and delivered by the AFC and the broader Asian football community in women’s football.”

Football Australia confirmed its intention to launch a hosting bid in September 2022 and now expects the Women’s Asian Cup to generate up to $260 million in economic output and create over 1,000 jobs for the host states.

These states were chosen after discussions with state governments to ensure they are fully prepared to support the successful delivery of the tournament.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson expressed his excitement for the winning bid and upcoming tournament being played on home soil.

“We are profoundly honoured to host the 2026 edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. This decision reflects the global football community’s confidence in our capability to deliver outstanding events. Following the resounding success of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™, we are eager to create another tournament that celebrates women’s football and inspires a new generation,” he stated.

The tournament dates in 2026 will be confirmed with the AFC in due course and training and venue inspections will occur in the coming months.

It remains an extremely exciting time for women’s football in Australia, with the Matildas consistently selling out large stadiums, the growth of the Liberty A-League and now another major tournament on the horizon that is sure to boost the grassroots game as well.

Football Queensland confirm radio collaboration with Sea FM and Mix FM

Football Queensland (FQ) recently confirmed a duel radio partnership with Airwaves Sea FM and Mix FM, with both stations to provide support for events and tournaments in the state.

The collaboration was made official via the FQ website, both stations will simultaneously provide a media platform for important FQ tournaments and events.

Both media companies are situated across the Sunshine Coast, with the agreement between the pair and FQ to operate throughout the remainder of the calendar year.

90.9 Sea FM have remained a prominent commercial radio outlet throughout the Sunshine Coast since their first live air date, stemming all the way back in 1989.

Comprehensive throughout their distribution, the outlet are predominantly a music based radio station, targeting a broader audience demographic.

To showcase further involvement within the broader community, the original partnership between the radio station and FQ has proved the fruitful acquisition for both parties, this is the second year running the two entities have collaborated.

Falling under the same ownership umbrella with Sea FM, Mix FM have made head-waves throughout the airwaves across the sunshine coast as a commercial radio targeted towards an older age demographic.

As publicised upon the FQ website, CEO Robert Cavallucci discussed his appraisal for the continued partnership between Mix FM and Sea FM.

“Football Queensland is excited to again partner with Sea FM and Mix FM for our 2024 Sunshine Coast events and tournaments following a successful partnership in 2023. We look forward to bringing these events to the Sunshine Coast community with the support of the two local stations as we work together to provide high quality and exciting events for all participants.”

A magnitude of events are scheduled to be showcased upon both platforms throughout the duration of the 2024 football calendar year.

The FQ Academy Junior Cup, WinterFest24, FQ Premier League 3 Grand Finals and Pacific Championships are all upon the broadcasting wish list.

Both Radio outlets are to continue in within the rich vein of form they showcased throughout the 2023 football season.

Continuing on with their respective on-site activities while ensuring that engagement with the community remains at its optimal level.

There is a uniqueness surrounding what this partnership means to a broader community of people within the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

The participants involved within the events will have a profound feeling of importance, noticing that the events they are participating are being featured on a live broadcast.

It also allows for aspiring broadcasters to have a genuine platform to kick-start their journalism careers upon.

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