Illawarra-Based Sides Join Forces in Bushfire Appeal

It’s been a rough few weeks for rural Australia, to be very blunt.

The bushfires ravaging the country have caught worldwide attention, with donations and help coming from far and wide.

Elton John, Chris Hemsworth, Gordon Ramsay, Russell Crowe and Leonardo Di Caprio are just some of the celebrities who have financially pledged for the cause.

In the cricket, various Big Bash League players including Matt Renshaw, Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell are donating for every wicket or six they hit in the tournament.

Brighton and Australian national team goalkeeper Maty Ryan is also making an effort from the other side of the world, as are various Australian-born players in the NBA including Ben Simmons, Dante Exum and Matthew Dellavedova.

The list of those who have donated is very extensive and it’ll only get longer, which is fantastic, especially from those overseas.

One of the worst affected areas is in rural NSW, in and around the coastal area of Illawarra, a region of NSW that holds over 300,000 people and the metropolitan city of Wollongong.

In response to the horrific events that have dominated the headlines, Football NSW have joined forces with the NRL and NBL in hosting a round of golf featuring players from various codes.

Despite being a much smaller city than the likes of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Wollongong is a very competitive sporting city. The Illawarra Hawks compete in the NBL and the St. George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL.

NPL NSW side Wollongong Wolves, who recently won the National Championship against Queensland-based side Lions FC, will also partake in the charity golf game.

Illawarra Hawks guard LaMelo Ball, who has taken the league by storm in the few games he’s played, also donated a substantial amount at a time when the fires were still in their initial stages.

It will be an 18-hole game with every hole available to be sponsored for $1000.

It has been truly amazing to see the support received from across the globe in response to these bushfires. As a country, we always help our fellow man or woman when they’re in a sticky situation. It’s in our nature.

But sometimes, we need a helping hand and we’ve received a lot of those.

The fight is far from over, with blazes raging across the country at the writing of this article.

But with fundraisers such as this, combined with the selfless donations from millions, we’ll be on the road back to normalcy before we know it.

The full press release from NPLNSW that came out last Wednesday can be found below:

The Wollongong Wolves, St George Ilawarra Dragons and Illawarra Hawks have joined forces to announce a first of its kind Illawarra combined codes bushfire appeal golf day.

Players and coaches from the Dragons, Hawks and Wolves will convene on Monday, February 3 at Wollongong Golf Club to help raise funds for the NSW Rural Fire Service, Salvation Army Disaster Relief Appeal and Australian Wildlife Rescue (WIRES) following the recent bushfires that have devastated Australian communities.

Entry for a four-man Ambrose team is $2000 and includes an afternoon of golf, cart hire, food and beverage package as well as a post-presentation event and the chance to mingle with all your favourite players across the three different codes that represent the Illawarra.
Each of the 18 holes are also available to be sponsored at a cost of $1000.

Spots for the day are extremely limited, with all queries and purchases available by emailing partnerships@dragons.com.au or partnerships@hawks.com.au.

Dragons coach Paul McGregor hailed the bushfire appeal golf day as a unique and significant opportunity to raise funds for several special causes.

“The codes combined bushfire appeal golf day is one of several causes the Dragons have chosen to back in response to the horrific fires that have overwhelmed the country,” McGregor said.

“The chance to see your favourite players across Illawarra’s three main codes on the one day is an opportunity that cannot be missed, all in name of a very good cause.”

Wolves coach and former Socceroo Luke Wilkshire echoed his fellow coach’s sentiments regarding the recent bushfire devastation.
“As far as sport in the Illawarra region goes, it is great that we can support each other and work collectively,” Wilkshire said.

“To showcase a strong, positive message by bringing our different sporting identities together as one for a great cause is very important.”
Hawks coach Matt Flinn gave a personal affirmation to the bushfire appeal golf day.

“This is an exciting event that all three sporting clubs are collaborating on,” Flinn said.

“I’ve been personally affected, with family members caught up in the bushfires, as have many of our members and supporters within the south coast region, so this is a way in which we can help unite our community and raise funds for a terrific cause.”

 

Avatar
Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Football Australia bolsters leadership with key new appointments

Football Australia has confirmed the appointments of Briana Harvey as General Manager of the Women’s National Teams and David Mason for the role of General Manager of the Men’s National Teams.

These strategic appointments are part of Football Australia’s ongoing efforts to strengthen and enhance the leadership and management of its national teams, ensuring both the women’s and men’s programs benefit from experienced and dedicated leadership.

Harvey has an extensive background in sports management, having held key roles at prominent organizations such as Hockey Victoria, the Australian Football League, Hawthorn Football Club, and, most recently, at the GWS GIANTS Football Club. Her diverse experience across these major sporting bodies highlights her expertise and leadership capabilities in the field.

Mason’s deep involvement with Australian football stretches back to 1998. Throughout his career, he has held numerous management positions in media and communications, football operations, and club administration at Northern Spirit, Parramatta Power, Sydney FC, and Football Australia.

His extensive experience across these diverse roles has equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the sport’s landscape, making him a valuable asset in his new role.

For the last seven years, Mason has served as CEO of Manly Warringah Football Association and Manly United FC, one of Australia’s largest football associations. Returning to Football Australia, Mason brings with him a vast reservoir of knowledge in local, regional, and global football.

His experience is complemented by a deep familiarity with Australia’s National Football Teams, positioning him to make significant contributions in his new role.

Beginning on August 12, both Harvey and Mason will take charge of the strategic, operational, and administrative aspects of Football Australia’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams. Their responsibilities will include planning and managing budgets, as well as coordinating overall annual match schedules.

In their roles, they will ensure that all logistical and operational needs are met, driving the success and efficiency of the national teams’ programs.

Their leadership will be pivotal in shaping the future of Australian football on both the national and international stages.

Head of National Teams Gary Moretti expressed his excitement of the designation via press release.

“We are delighted to have secured the services of both Briana and David who as individuals and collectively bring a wealth of industry knowledge to Football Australia,” he said.

“Briana has a strong corporate pedigree with extensive experience within elite level sport. Her background and passion for women’s sport will be an invaluable asset to our National Teams both now and in the future.

“David is a football person and has contributed to the sport at all levels for almost three decades. In addition to his strong football acumen, David brings significant business and operational experience from his highly successful tenure as a CEO within the football industry.

“Along with Andrew McKenzie (General Manager – High Performance), the appointments of Briana and David will strengthen the management and future prospects of our National Teams as we look to create an elite performance and operational environment featuring a world’s best-practice focus.”

CEO of Football Australia James Johnson added how their experience and wealth of knowledge will ensure operation excellence via press release.

“The appointments of Briana and David are strategic moves that align with our vision to enhance the performance and success of our National Teams. Their combined experience and leadership will play a crucial role in ensuring operational excellence, so we remain competitive on the global stage and continue to inspire the next generation of football talent in Australia.”

Football Australia – National Teams Senior Management

Head of National Teams: Gary Moretti
General Manager – Women’s National Teams: Briana Harvey (commencing 12 August)
General Manager – Men’s National Teams: David Mason (commencing 12 August)
General Manager – High Performance: Andrew McKenzie (commenced 10 July)
General Manager – Football Analysis, Data and Insights (to be appointed)

The creation of four new leadership positions within the National Teams underscores Football Australia’s commitment and investment in its Senior and Youth National Teams, as outlined in the XI Principles for the future of Australian Football. Every position plays a critical role in advancing, overseeing, and ensuring the sustained success of all High Performance and National Team programs and initiatives.

Football South Australia extend collaboration with SAASL

Football South Australia and the South Australian Amateur Soccer League (SAASL) have extended their collaboration, strengthening their cooperation in developing football in the state.

There was a meeting held recently where key representatives from both organisations discussed ways to continue their growth of the game in the state at all levels.

Since the partnership began in 2018, the two parties have made a meaningful impact in the South Australian football community.

Several key initiatives have been launched through this collaboration which include:

Referee Development: Football SA’s Referees Department is now responsible for assigning match officials for all SAASL games. In 2024, the strategic emphasis by Football SA and SAASL on referees has led to a notable improvement in match official coverage for Senior Divisions in both Saturday and Sunday leagues.

Officiating Initiatives: Football SA has introduced various initiatives to recruit new referees and support young officials, such as State Championships and specialised mentorship programs. Meanwhile, SAASL is actively working on strategies to enhance their Club Referee program, offering a clear pathway for both new and returning referees.

Respect Campaign: The Armband Campaign to protect young referees has been successfully launched. Embraced by clubs, participants, and the football community, the bright orange armbands worn by referees under 18 serve as a clear reminder that these officials are minors.

Venue Support: ServiceFM Stadium has been the venue for major SAASL events, offering a professional environment for amateur league matches.

Streamlined Registration: SAASL players will keep registering via a consistent Player Registration System, which enhances administrative efficiency and ensures the integrity of player registrations.

Shared Competition Management System: Offering uniform and efficient Competition Management Processes across all competitions, enhancing efficiency for clubs, referees, and association administrators.

Enhanced Player Protection: SAASL players are covered by the National Insurance Scheme, which offers essential protection for clubs, administrators, volunteers, and participants.

Michael Carter, CEO of Football SA spoke very highly of the partnership and its effects on the game in SA.

“This extension represents more than just a renewal of our agreement,” he said in a statement.

“It’s a testament to the evolving and strengthening relationship between Football SA and SAASL. We’re working closer together than ever before, and the results speak for themselves.”

George Fotopoulos, President of SAASL and SAASL Board members and Executive Officer Darcy Evan shared a similar sentiment about the excitement of this continued long-term partnership.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Football SA. Our ongoing affiliation has seen a significant improvement in our Referee coverage in 2024, that is due to the collaboration and hard work of both the Football SA and the SAASL administration teams. We look forward to further opportunities the partnership will provide,” SAASL confirmed in a statement.

Overall, this partnership enhances the infrastructure, safety, and quality of football in South Australia, encouraging greater participation for players, coaches and referees which is helping the sport thrive at all levels.

Amateur and grassroots football success is the core to any good footballing foundation and this prosperous partnership continuing is a brilliant result.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend