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The Nineteens are ready, bring on 4041!

To all Under 19’s and the broader Bentleigh Family,

After the recent stage 3 lockdown due to the spike in positive Covid-19 cases, it is clear now we will not be playing out a season in 2020. On behalf of everyone at Bentleigh, I would like to thank the SFNL for their tireless efforts in doing all they could to provide us the opportunity to play. Even when the senior seasons were cancelled across the state, the league still looked into the opportunity to push the Under 19s through, highlighting their care and understanding for the importance of youth-aged football participation, and for that, we pass on our gratitude to the board and staff at the SFNL.

Although we never got the opportunity to play, there has been so much work put in by so many to prepare us to play and get us through the past 9 months of training. Unfortunately, we cannot celebrate or acknowledge all these efforts in person right now, we will as soon as the opportunity arises, but for now, as coach, I would like to make the following acknowledgements and announcements.

A huge thanks to my assistant coaches. James White and Ben Cooper. For all their efforts, contribution, and time they have given up helping develop each and every player on our list. To Paul Nankervis, a massive thank you for stepping up and accepting the challenge of coaching our 2nd side. Your optimism, patience, and commitment to development for both players and coaches has been a huge asset to all of us.

To our support staff, volunteers are the lifeblood of football clubs and we cannot survive without you.

Dizzy Smith – Dizzy’s commitment to all of us, his professionalism as head trainer and his ability to help build our culture, we can’t thank you enough palza. Your work in player welfare is much appreciated.

Stephen Black - Where would we be without Blacky? Each and every session, Blacky is there on time, with all of our equipment. We couldn’t do it without you Blacky and we thank you for all your support and time.

A big thanks goes to our Team Manager, Alison Levey, for all her work behind the scenes and for stepping up and taking on the role.

I would also like to thank the following volunteers in the 19s who would have assisted us if the season was to get underway:

George Poulos – Runner

Kate Charlesworth – Trainer

Kim Aitken – Match Day Communications/Photography

Pat O’Brien – Match day assistant coach/KPI’s. Thanks POB for all the work you did with us over the pre-season.

And to our valuable, supportive parent group who so many of you had offered to assist in anyway throughout the season, we thank you and will keep you communicated with what is happening at Bentleigh via email.

To the Bentleigh Football Netball Club Committee, we thank you for all the administration and work you put into the Under 19’s in 2020. Particular thanks to Garry Matlock, who is always offering support and assistance, and a big thanks to club secretary, Jayde O’Brien, who was a lifesaver in helping us get all the 19s players registered and cleared. Thanks Jayde for your timely responses! I would also like to thank the coaches and committee at the Bentleigh Junior Football Club, led by president Paul Jemmeson, who have really thrown their support behind us and have always accommodated/assisted the 19’s program anyway they can.

To the senior club, we thank you for embracing the Under 19s and working so closely with us over the pre-season. A huge thanks goes to Senior Coach, Peter Pirera, and Development Coach, Brad Atholwood, who both worked so hard over the pre-season in building a sustainable game plan that is consistent across Seniors, Development teams and Under 19’s. Their keen interest and help in the Under 19’s has certainly helped fast track the development of our playing group.

Unfortunately, we never ended up getting the opportunity to hold our annual season launch event, so therefore could never publicly announce our leadership group. But I would like to congratulate the following players who would have been appointed to leadership positions this season.

Joel Nankervis – Captain

Maxx Black, Josh Mackie, Josh Whittle and Max Charlesworth would have seen out remaining positions in our leadership group. We congratulate you all for your efforts.  Your leadership skills and commitment to the clubs/team’s values were clearly displayed and recognised by your teammates and coaches. Our leadership appointments for our 2nd team would have been announced 4 rounds into the season.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Joel Nankervis and all he has done so far this year. I think we can all agree that we would not be in the position we are in, with 2 teams, without his input. Joel’s passion, dedication and work ethic has been second to none. Joel’s ability to recruit, lead and make every single player and person at Bentleigh feel welcomed, connected and apart of the Bentleigh fabric must be commended. Joel, we can’t thank you enough for what you have done and what you will continue to do in our strive for success. Congratulations on being appointed Captain, you have definitely earnt it.

A big congratulations also to Joel also for being appointed coach of the Bentleigh Under 16s, and to Josh Mackie, the Under 15s. Joel’s assistants include Under 19 players James Apostolidis and Seb Erharter. Josh’s assistant is Dyl Stephens (current senior player, ex 19s) and current under 19, Christian Aloi, as runner. It is great to see so many of our current 19’s squad giving back to the Bentleigh Community, and we wish them all the best on their coaching careers.

And finally, but most importantly, to the entire playing group. On behalf of all of the club and the coaching staff, we cannot thank you enough for your professionalism, dedication, commitment and positivity throughout the entire year. What we have achieved in such a short period of time without playing is a credit to each and every one of you. We are currently the envy of many clubs, and we are fortunate to be a part of a wonderful community in Bentleigh.

Our list currently sits at 54 players, and I would have liked to formally thank and welcome each and every new member to our team at our season launch, however, we will at a function later in the year as soon a restrictions allow. Only 11 players remain on our list from the Under 19’s in 2019 due to age restrictions. This year we welcomed 21 players from the Bentleigh Junior Football Club, and 22 new players to the club. Many of those 22 new players are ex Bentleigh Juniors returning to footy after a year off, so we are excited to have you back on board! To all the new players, thank-you for choosing Bentleigh.

Our pre-season started back in November last year, and included sessions at Duncan Mackinnon, Bentleigh, the beach, and a pre-season camp to the Peninsula Obstacle Course and a Boot Camp on Sorrento back beach. Since November last year we have kept record of attendance at every training session. Congratulations to Max Charlesworth for attending more sessions than any other player, narrowly just ahead of Will Johnston, Kieran Foley and Conor Doherty.

 It only feels like the other day we were on our pre-season camp, stuck in Rye without a bus, searching for our lost bus key. At the time we talked about working through challenges and adapting to our circumstances. We thought that may have been the biggest hurdle to overcome for the year, little did we know what we would all be hit with globally a month later. Opportunities in life don’t always present themselves, however, at Bentleigh we all have the opportunity to create something pretty special over the coming years and decade. As your coach, I am 100% committed to leading us through these trying times, in return, I ask for each and every one of you to also 100% commit yourself to buying in and getting through this all together. We all need to play our part. We all commit to this, we all come out of it stronger, more united and better on the other side. We have the personnel to not only come out the other side of this pandemic as another Under 19’s team, but I strongly believe we can come out of this as the most coherent, united, discipline, hard-working, relentless, most connected Under 19s team in the State! We will continue to strive for greatness, and you are all an important piece of that jigsaw puzzle. The play may be on pause, but the momentum doesn’t stop, in fact, we build it bigger and better than ever.

Finally, we will do all we can to keep engaged over the coming months. However, enjoy the stillness and the break. For those in year 12, good luck for the remainder of the school year.

To our TAC players, Joe Nowell, and recently joined Bayleigh Welsh, we wish you all the best at your respective TAC clubs for the remainder of the season and hope you achieve everything within your potential.

Please do not hesitate to reach out for a run, kick, coffee, beer, with myself, coaches or any of your teammates when able to do so.

We definitely do have unfinished business!

As the skipper said, “next year is going to be huge, 2020 and 2021 together, bring on 4041!”

Stay resilient, look forward to catching up as a group as soon as possible. Go Dees!

Liam Dimattina

Under 19s Coach.

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