House debates

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Healesville Football and Netball Club

7:42 pm

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Casey, Liberal Party, Deputy Chairman , Coalition Policy Development Committee) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise this evening to pay tribute to the Healesville Football and Netball Club. On Friday, 5 August the Healesville Football and Netball Club hosted a team from Canada, who came across to play a game of Aussie Rules football. They are the North Delta Juniors, as I said, from Canada. They are also known as the Canadian Wolfpack under-19 team.

Mr Speaker, back in 2008—as an AFL fan you would be aware of this—the Australian Football League celebrated its 150th anniversary. Of course, the AFL held an international football carnival in that year. The Healesville Football and Netball Club then first hosted the North Delta Juniors under lights at the Don Road Sporting Complex. That was where the bond between the two clubs was first formed.

Of course, as all members of this House would be aware—particularly my Victorian colleagues: the member for Dunkley at the table; you, Mr Speaker, and the member for Corio—the tragic bushfires at the beginning of 2009 in and around Healesville affected many members of the Healesville Football and Netball Club. That bond formed the year before led to the North Delta Juniors raising $1,200 to assist Healesville Football and Netball Club families who had lost some football memorabilia and other goods during the bushfires. It started a tradition of the club coming out from Canada and playing a game in Healesville. On Friday, 5 August they did just that. Twenty-seven players, 17 parents, adults, coaches and other visitors from the North Delta Football Club came to the Yarra Valley. They visited the sites, as you would expect—the Healesville sanctuary and some of the other iconic local sites—before the night match, again at the Don Road Sporting Complex.

It will not be a great surprise that the local Healesville team won the match, nine goals four to four goals five. But I am told it was a very competitive game throughout. The Wolfpack played amazing football, hampered by the fact that they do not have Australian football league sized grounds back in Canada; they have to play on whatever is available. But I am told they were very competitive and gave the local boys a run for their money. They will be back again next year and in coming years.

I was going to offer them Carlton football club jumpers on the night—because I was not sure what they played in—as a visiting team; but, Mr Speaker, given that you have given me the call, I will offer them Brisbane Lions jumpers, I think, because I know that will come from a hereditary support for Fitzroy. I have a soft spot for Fitzroy and for the Fitzroy Football Club.

I just wanted to pay tribute to the Healesville Football and Netball Club. They are a great driver of the local community there in the Yarra Valley. I want to thank Kym Estcourt, the President of the club, and Kerri Goding, the secretary, for all their hard work in making the visit a wonderful success. Of course, they could not have made it so without all of the help from the club volunteers and parents, who cooked dinner for the visitors and made them feel very welcome indeed. It was my pleasure ahead of the match to provide the club with some Australian flags for representatives of the team to take back to Canada to help them remember their visit. I hope when they come back next year, after a bit more training, the match is competitive again. It would be great if they were able to beat the local guys here in Australia out in Healesville.