It’s been a journey

19 FEB 2015 | BY JUSTIN GROSE


It was nearly 25 year ago when former player, committee member, life member and club president Dave Healey first walked into Seebeck Oval. I started with RFC in 1991 round 3, I had just turned 19 the man affectionately known to everyone as “Banga” recently told us.

It was a good time to join as the ground had just been resurfaced and looked fantastic.

A neighbour was PLAYING in his second year of U18’s at Rowville and he had been on my back for a while. After PLAYING all my Junior football at Noble Park. ( U10’s – U16’s ) l decided to come down and have been here ever since, he said.

So much has changed over my time, the club has taken on a more professional approach and it is great to see the club continuing to evolve. It has gone from more a social club to a football business, pretty amazing really Banga said.

In my early days when we were looking for players we would say “can you drink” and then would ask “can you PLAY a bit of footy as well”.
The social rooms were always full, mainly due to smoking in the club rooms which was permitted back in those days. The smoke used get so thick, it looked like there was a permanent cloud hovering in the rooms (never needed a smoke machine for the dance floor).

Straight after PLAYING a game on Saturdays, walking into the change rooms there would be an ice cold slab of beer sitting on the floor (Seniors and Reserves), and we were into it. Even if it was a cold day out on the ground, we would pass a bottle of Stones around during 3/4 time to warm up. Afterwards we would stay at the club till stumps, which in some cases were early Sunday mornings.

That’s what used to happen in all clubs back in those days, ahhhhh…..the memories, he laughed.

However that path was not sustainable if we were to get where we are now. Strict liquor license laws, player welfare, player recovery, increase in coaching staff, upgrading facilities and a planned vision are key factors in the changes I have witnessed.

One thing that has not changed is the loyal dedication of unpaid volunteers, they were just as important and helpful back then as they are now. Any club can be bought to it’s knees if they do not have these special people Banga added.

Actually another change I have noticed is, once Rowville players finished their PLAYING career they would help out around the club and join the committee or volunteer for a weekly role. That has not happened in recent times which is disappointing but l guess that’s the way of the world today Banga lamented.

Catching up with mates, watching a good game of footy and having a good laugh, (you’re sure to have many at the club) were all part of the fun.

Where do you START and end a question like that when asked to describe some of the characters he has met over his time at the club?.

Banga told us when talking about the mental and moral qualities distinctive of an individual it’s just too hard to answer. Naming the characters would do injustice to the ones I left out because there are so many, and they are all great club people.

Looking forward I would love to see the club try and have more committee members, we should encourage RETIRING footballers. It’s always the same old people year after year left to carry the workload and it’s just getting harder and harder to run clubs like ours.

In part because of the FINANCIAL pressure and in part because of all the “:ever changing” rules and regulations.

Players really need to understand and respect “how bloody hard” volunteers work to raise the FUNDS to pay them, doing this whilst competing with clubs who have revenue income streams like POKIES, or RICH supporter networks is a credit to the volunteers.

Then they throw silly amounts at players “just to buy success”, most of which who are not worth it.
I have little time for players who come or go just for the MONEY, very little time he repeated!!

Even finding $20/$25 bucks a GAME adds up to $360/$400 a year per player, do the maths on that times 22 players. Where does that MONEY come from?

This and all the rules and regulations the volunteers must work within to please local government authorities and bureaucratic organisations just to allow these blokes TO PLAY a game of footy is a joke.

I understand and respect things need to change and it cannot be like it used to be because society has changed BUT really some of the decisions made by people who have “no idea” of what the impact is on clubs and their volunteers is frustrating.

When quizzed on the clubs FUTURE Banga again said that’s a tough one to answer for me, on and off the field. I haven’t seen a final PLAYING list and the AGM is still 2 weeks away, with some significant changes being made “who knows”?. I just hope the club goes ok and more people get behind it, he finished

THINGS WE LEARNT ABOUT YOU BANGA
Favourite song Jessie’s Girl and American Trilogy (Elvis)

Favourite movie Life of Brian

AFL team Collingwood

Other sports you watch/PLAY Currently Body Building and PLAYING squash.

Favourite holiday destination USA

Favourite restaurant Vasko (Ivanhoe)
Favourite dish 550g Black Angus Porterhouse and a SPECIAL mention to Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns (served warm) ….MMMMM
3 people you would invite to dinner Dan Roberts Smith, SHANE WARNE and The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)