Local club on the move to Docklands

Local club on the move to Docklands
David Schout

Soccer club announces move, “waving goodbye to our North Melbourne legacy”.

North Melbourne Athletic Football Club is on the move to Docklands, in what the club has called a “super exciting” relocation that paves the way to establishing a junior soccer program.

Now known as “Docklands Athletic FC”, the club’s new home will be at Ron Barassi Snr Park after being based at Royal Park for a number of years.

The ground, situated on the waterfront near the Bolte Bridge, has been home to Docklands Sports Club (DSC) which since 2019 has hosted a range of junior soccer, cricket, and Aussie Rules clinics on the picturesque playing fields.

The move will see a newly established Docklands AFC largely absorb DSC, in a move that is deemed a win-win by both sides.

For years North Melbourne Athletic FC has harboured plans to establish a junior program to provide a pathway to their senior men’s and women’s teams which play in Football Victoria competitions.

 

 

Conversely the fledgling DSC, which boasts a core group of keen youngsters, has been looking to expand and provide competitive fixtures at Ron Barassi Snr Park for their juniors to move into.

The move allows both clubs to achieve this stated goal.

Docklands AFC already has eight qualified coaches and is keen to establish a strong community foothold in the Docklands area, which until now has not boasted a competitive sporting club.

“It’s super exciting,” president of the new Docklands AFC Matthew Tate said.

Mr Tate told North West City News that the club surveyed members about changing its name and location, which came back a resounding 86 votes to nil.

“They love it. They’ve been calling out for a number of years now for a change in facilities."

“The facilities we had at our old ground weren’t great at all.”

“People within the club that are keen to push it forward are really excited about the junior program. We’ve got women’s teams, and some of them are super excited to come down and coach the kids.”

He said the club had a choice to either start a junior program from scratch or look for an existing program to partner with, opting for the latter.

Outgoing DSC president Carina Parisella, one of the key drivers in establishing community sport in Docklands, was similarly positive about the move.

“As I step away from my presidency role at the Docklands Sports Club after four fulfilling years, I reflect with immense pride on what we've accomplished,” she said.

 

Through the trials of the COVID pandemic, our dedication to the club and our community never wavered.

 

“Passing the baton to our friends at Docklands Athletic fills me with excitement.”

“I’m not going far; I'll stay actively engaged, ensuring that our focus on children's wellbeing and our commitment to diversity and inclusion in sports continue to thrive.”

The DSC name is not completely gone, however, with junior cricket programs at Ron Barassi Snr Park to continue under the name.

Mr Tate said the club was confident it could submit two “Miniroos” teams (small-sided games for five to 11-year-olds) for the 2024 season and an U12 side either then or in 2025.

Its five-year plan includes a goal to have, by the end of 2027, a competitive U16 team.

“It’s not going to happen overnight – it’s a five to 10-year project, but that’s what’s most exciting about it.”

“Docklands has never had a proper competitive sporting team playing out of it, and now we’ve got seniors men’s and women teams here as well as the juniors. It’s great for the girls, too. About 25 to 30 per cent of the clinics have been attended by girls, so to have the senior women’s team, they can hang around and watch them play too.”

On-field volunteers won’t be an issue, either, with the ambitious club’s eight coaches meaning, with a ratio of one coach to 15 players, they can scale up past 100 juniors already.

In a social media post to members, it said: “We can confirm the rumours are true! Exciting times are upon us as we unveil a major transformation for our football team! We are proud to announce that we're now Docklands AFC, waving goodbye to our North Melbourne legacy”.

Docklands AFC have hit the ground running and will host a six-week clinic at Ron Barassi Snr Park starting on October 29.

For more information email [email protected] or visit the club’s Facebook page for updates.

 

Caption: New Docklands AFC president Matthew Tate and outgoing DSC president Carina Parisella.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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