We are two thirds of the way through the first grading period and I would like to draw attention to the excellent performance of two of our firsts teams. The 16/1 girls under Zac Natoli are ranked 20 and have so far beaten Melbourne Tigers (ranked 2) and Dandenong 2 (8). The win over Melbourne was particularly pleasing and a big shock to Melbourne. The 18/1 boys coached by Jason Smith are also ranked 20 and have beaten Ballarat in Ballarat (ranked 17) and Waverley (8). Both of these teams have a great chance of qualifying for the Victorian Championships competition before Christmas, either directly or after cross over games.
Of course, we have also had excellent results in other age groups, particularly in our traditionally strong under 12 & under 14 teams. What is exciting is to see our recent success in the younger age groups begin to filter through to the older levels. It is early days of course but credit should go to our Director of Coaching Kelly Breazeale, her panel of coaches at every level, and of course to the players.
As a Club, our aim and a sort of benchmark is to have a team in VC in every age group for both boys & girls and we are not far away from this. It is harder to gauge success for our 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th teams. Some of our 2nds may also make VC but for other teams the grading period is all about finding a level where they can play competitively and improve during the regular VJBL season which only starts in April. Losing grading games now is therefore inevitable but it can be dispiriting for parents & players. Parents should remember that it is all about finding a level – it is better to be a good team in VJBL3 than to scrape into VJBL2 and get beaten every week.
We had unprecedented numbers of good players try out for Magic for the 2013 season including lots of existing Magic players & some very good players from other clubs. As a result we have increased the number of teams and have changed the pyramidal structure of the club to an extent by naming 16/4 teams for both boys & girls. Initially we planned 31 teams but had to drop our 18/2 girls because of a lack of players, leaving us with 30. This is only one team more than in 2012 but even this has created major problems in finding court time for training, particularly as many of the coaches have asked for full rather than half courts. We have been fortunate to find extra courts to use at Greythorn Primary and Wattle Park Primary. Many parents will not appreciate how difficult this process of formulating a training grid has been for the committee and I pay tribute to the work put in by Jane Barry our secretary and by John Phillips our operations manager, as well as by the Boys & Girls Coordinators. There is enormous competition for courts in Boroondara, particularly during the week when domestic teams train. My hope is that Magic will continue to grow each year in terms of the teams & players, particularly as our strong bottom age under 16 players move up into the under 18s. This growth will have to be gradual however and will be limited by training venue availability more than anything else.
The Hawthorn Magic AGM was held in early November & I thank the parents who attended this meeting. The major change which occurred at this meeting is that Sharon Kneale has stepped down as Girls Coordinator after 3 years of wonderful service to our club. I cannot speak more highly of Sharon’s work ethic, attention to detail, integrity & vision – those of you with daughters playing for Magic will understand what I mean. Fortunately John Phillips has agreed to take over from Sharon & I welcome him into this important role. John’s place as Operation Manager has been taken over by Jane Barry & Sharon has agreed to stay on the committee as Secretary. Steve Priddle will continue to be our Treasurer & Richard Wraith as our Boys Coordinator. For the record, I am happy to continue as Chairman as long as I have a child in the programme as I love being involved in Magic & I love the direction Magic is moving. Having said that, all organisations need new blood & fresh ideas , and there will come a time to hand over to someone new, either next November or sometime after that. All Committee positions are open to any parent and I would encourage all members of the Magic community to consider volunteering in future. Thanks to those parents who have already volunteered as age group coordinators, team managers, our registrar & our uniforms volunteers.
We are about to complete the 2012 basketball programme either this Friday or next. The time between mid-December and the start of February is meant to be a rest for tired children, parents, coaches & committee. I hope everyone does have a great break over the holiday period, stays well & safe and comes back full of enthusiasm for the Australia Day tournament. Go Magic.