Norman Griffiths Oval upgrade boosted by Northern Suburbs Football Association’s support

West Pymble’s Norman Griffiths Oval upgrade has been given a major boost with the announcement that the Northern Suburbs Football Association (NSFA) have presented a $125,000 contribution to Ku-ring-gai Council for the project.

Ku-ring-gai Mayor Dr Cedric Spencer and Councillor Jeff Pettett met with committee members and players from local club West Pymble FC, NSFA President Ian Plant and CEO Edward Ferguson at the field earlier this month to receive the NSFA contribution on behalf of Council.

Work on the site is set to commence in March 2022, with council having executed the contract to construct the playing surface.

The total cost of the upgrade is estimated at $3.3 million, with local football clubs contributing around $1 million in total of government grants and club funds.

Mayor Spencer treated the long-awaited upgrade as essential for the Council and sporting groups to manage the expected growth in participation.

“Local football clubs in northern Sydney are predicting the number of players to be 20,000 by the year 2026,” he said.

“An all-weather surface for Norman Griffiths Oval is necessary to help manage this level of growth and prevent a huge increase in wear and tear and maintenance costs.”

Despite three months of organised sport being cancelled this year due to COVID, the playing surface at Norman Griffiths Oval remains in poor condition, underlining the importance of the impending conversion to a synthetic playing surface.

The field conversion and associated lighting upgrades will triple the number of hours the field can be used per week, with the added benefit of year-round usage instead of a rest period during summer.

The NSFA player base continues to grow, eclipsing 18,000 players in 2021 and on track to break the 20,000 before 2026 with increasing demand and the upcoming Women’s World Cup in 2023.

NSFA CEO Edward Ferguson underlined the importance of the project for the ongoing development of football within the region.

“The on-site clubhouse pairs brilliantly with the field upgrade for not just match day experience but also refereeing and coaching courses that are run each season,” he said.

“The Norman Griffiths project fits into the overall NSFA Facilities Strategy, which aims to increase field capacity approximately 40% by 2032 to meet our growing participation base.”

The funds provided for the project by NSFA are a member contribution from the NSFA Facilities Levy.

Newcastle Jets secure A-League future with new owners confirmed

Newcastle Jets have confirmed Maverick Sports Partners as the Club’s new owners. This ownership, subject to final approval from the APL and Football Australia, will launch a “new era” for the Jets under MSP ownership.

This massive announcement comes not long after Australian Professional Leagues chairman Stephen Conroy failed to guarantee Newcastle’s future only three months ago.

The statement said that Maverick Sports Partners have confirmed an agreement to acquire the Newcastle Jets Football Club and are now deeply focused on implementing their plans to bring long term stability and success to this Club.

The Group lead by experienced sports administrator Maurice Bisetto who played a major part in the establishment of Western United FC in the A-Leagues.

Maverick Sports Group is an Australian sports consortium based out of Wetherhill Park in Sydney’s South-West.

Newcastle Jets CEO Shane Mattiske confirmed the significant news.

“Today is a hugely significant day for this Club and this community, as we confirm Maverick Sports Partners as the new owners of the Jets,” said Mattiske in a club statement.

“Over the last three years, we have built a strong foundation for the future of this football club, and it is exciting to be beginning a new era with incoming owners who believe in the opportunity that exists with this Club, with this community and with football as a whole.

“Throughout our process, Maurice Bisetto, the consortium representative, and his partners have demonstrated a deep understanding of football and how to bring success. They also understand this community and their plans are very much aligned with the work that is already underway. I know the Group will bring positive new thinking, new connections and a wealth of experience that will drive the growth of this Club moving forward.

“With this transition to a permanent ownership structure, it is important to acknowledge the support that the outgoing ownership group has provided to the Club over the last three and a half years. These owners believed in the importance of this Club to this community and to the A-Leagues’ competition as a whole.

“They have played a hugely significant role in the history of this Club and on behalf of all fans and stakeholders of the Jets I want to acknowledge the commitment and contribution they have made to us all. Their huge support of this Club will forever be remembered.”

Maverick Sports Partners Director Maurice Bisetto is determined to connect with the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Northern NSW Community.

“We believe in this Club, the A-Leagues and its players and we’re determined to build success for the Jets and this region,” said Bisetto in a statement.

“We have been impressed by the strength of football here in this region. We know there is a strong historical fanbase and a strong participation base here and we want to bring all of these people together for our Men’s and Women’s games.

“Our team at Maverick Sports Partners are absolutely committed to, and very excited, about the opportunity that exists here at the Newcastle Jets. We see this as the beginning of a new era for the Newcastle Jets and look forward to building a truly great Club with the support of this community.”

This news is huge for the league and the Jets financially, with the club no longer being a financial responsibility for the four other A-League clubs that funded them (Sydney FC, Western Sydney, Western United and Wellington Phoenix).

The Jets can easily recruit players and rebuild to become a stronger unit on the field whilst securing stability off it, and the foundation A-League club with a healthy fanbase and great location can continue to exist.

Iconic Lambert Park re-opens after $2m refurbishment

Lambert Park, home of the APIA Leichardt Football Club, officially re-opened on the weekend after a successful $2m refurbishment.

The extensive investment for the iconic local club includes:

– Replacement of the all-weather playing surface

– Improved drainage

– New concrete edge, stairs and fencing around the perimeter

– Improved access with a new ramp to allow access on the field

The ground is gradually improving to become one of the premier NPL surfaces in the country and this is another one of many recent upgrades helped by the commitment of the Inner West Council.

Currently the ground has two main stands on either side of the playing surface. In the southern stands, there are dressing room facilities, a social club with views of the game, press facilities and media facilities.

On Sunday, the new look Lambert Park was the home for the APIA Leichardt vs Gladesville Ravens NPL Women’s game, and the day was spent in celebration of the refurbishment, as the club organised an event.

The event included an official ceremony by Inner West Council pre-game, free ice cream and activations which drew a decent crowd to the game.

APIA posted an update regarding Sunday’s re-opening.

“Lambert Park was filled with Maroon and Blue as over 400 predominantly female footballers celebrated the $2 million Lambert Park upgrade,” APIA confirmed on their social media accounts.

“The day was filled with some fantastic football and some great activations and enjoyed by all.

“The clubs would also like to thank local clubs Balmain & District Football Club, Leichardt Saints and opponents on the day Gladesville Ravens Women’s NPL football for supporting the day.

“It was a special day for football in our community.”

Lambert Park is an iconic ground that has seen some of Australia’s best names start their careers there since it was first used in 1954.

APIA Leichardt Football Club has produced more Matildas and Socceroos than any other club in Australian history.

The ground gets another much deserved upgrade and will continue to host NPL NSW matches across all age groups in both men’s and women’s competitions.

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