Narooma AFL Lions get by with little help

I FELT compelled to travel to Pambula early on Saturday to see junior football and experience the starting point for the development of a great sporting club, that is the kids, parents and helpers that are the processing centre for community, pride and success. The Senior side is merely the shopfront behind a supply chain that is expansive.

I got a ride with Graeme Hingston who has become part of the furniture at the club, not so much a Moran sofa but more the decades-old recliner that sits in your sunroom, that you sit in to read your paper and is a heck of lot more handy. In every sporting club there is a person like Graeme, a jack of all trades and the ever-present, reliable, handy helper who will fill most voids and demand little in return.

When we arrived at the Pambula Football Ground, Virginia Hodge was buzzing about. I have come to know Virginia as the mother-goose of the Narooma Lions and the care, concern and diligence that have become known of her as a primary school teacher in Narooma are not discounted during her time off.

Without a job for the morning I was handed a time keepers card and sat up in a cold room overlooking the ground with a Pambula helper to assist with the under 13s match. During the hour we spent together I got an insight into what I hope to become of my own future as a father. He didn’t even mention his son’s number or mention that he had a child playing for me to identify his young lad. A tone of voice tells a lot. He then told me that he was heading to Canberra the following day for his daughter’s representative netball match. It’s like children’s sport defined this stage of his life.

The under 16s game rolled around and the atmosphere at the ground took a step up as if it were to be the main event – and it was. The boys, a lot who have been at the club for years, have spent their time in development as men, becoming skilful Australian Rules footballers. This was also the case for Pambula’s side as the spectacle played out. Coach Mick Clothier paced about speaking with a veil of doubt that covered his quiet confidence. The Lions won in a tough contest, much to the delight of their fans who had increased in numbers with the arrival of the Seniors’ players.

Harold Mackie appeared and had made the 80 minute journey just to help out. I had a loan of his dry sense of humour during our warm up for the Seniors’ match and talked up the flash new runners shirt he was wearing. He had a chuckle through his familiar, wry smile and then headed off to get ready for his task. So dependable is Harold who, despite approaching his late fifties still packs his boots, just in case we a short of players.

Another old stager of the club and the president, Bruce Day who had his grandson playing appeared exhausted as we sat and had a beer back at the Narooma Golf Club. He was clearly extending himself but it was his labour of love getting back there after the game, the same that has seen him be a servant of the club since he established the Lions over 31 years ago.

With all of the background effort of a few dedicated clubs persons, the Lions continue to struggle with Senior Player and wider committee participation. Senior Training numbers are low and it is a battle just to have a full list of 20 players on the field each Saturday. The club is in desperate need of a vision and the development of common goals which would breakdown the complacency and lethargy that is plaguing their 2014 season.

Results from the SCAFL Senior Grade were as follows: Bermagui 10-6-66 defeated by Merimbula 14-15-99, Tathra 21-26-152 defeated Eden 6-10-46, Pambula 33-27-225 defeated Narooma 4-8-32, Bega – bye.

The Narooma Lions Seniors are currently in fifth place on the league ladder. After their nine point win over Pambula, the Lions’ under 16s sit at second on the league ladder.

Narooma Lions Memberships: There are still plenty of membership cards available for entry into the Lions $5000 end of season draw. Memberships can be purchased from members of the committee or contact Geoff Wilson from Southpower on 0427 765 175.

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