Great Lakes United Football Club is proof that hard work pays off.
The club secured their second grand final victory in consecutive years after Football Mid North Coast Premier League side Wallis Lake toppled Port United 2-0 in the decider on Saturday, September 23.
Jarrod Naylor opened the scoring for Wallis in the 35th minute with a clinical first-time right-footed finish. Wallis captain Beau Wynter then extended the visitor’s lead in the 53rd minute when his shot rebounded off the inside of the left post and dribbled across the goal line.
From there, the side’s defensive efforts proved valuable and secured the Premier League title.
“The boys claimed the win on pure adrenaline after playing the final only four nights ago.
“They had to play six sudden death games to win the competition from fifth spot,” Great Lakes United Football Club secretary Kevin Stevens said.
The Premier League grand final win followed the victorious Under 12s side earlier in the day and the over 35s the previous night.
“For a number of reasons our senior sides, including over 35s Vikings and Raiders, open men, open ladies and Premier League are the backbone or our club.
“Many of the players have been with the club for a long time and they provide kids for the junior age groups, coaching and support for the various tournaments the club runs throughout the year,” Ken said.
He also explained that the success was on the back of a five-year plan that has flowed through to all levels of the Great Lakes United Football Club.
The plan in 2013 was to:
- Drain the Number One field which, whilst was an excellent surface, was out of play with a “spit of rain”. With a combination of club, council and State government funding, it is now an all whether surface and acknowledged as the best playing surface on the Mid North Coast.
- Increase playing numbers – in 2013 the club had around 120 players. For season 2018, they forecast around 300 players and anticipate having sides in all junior age groups.
- Create a third full size playing field - following receipt of a State government grant, they worked with council to drain an affected area and create the third field for 2017.
- Introduce accredited coaching into the club - under the guidance of former Socceroo Jeff Summers they sought to have all club coaches accredited for season 2018. This will also include up to three coaches completing their C license. Jeff also runs the Great Lakes Academy which has kids from a number of the clubs in the area honing their skills.
- Additional lighting – additional ground lighting should be in place for the 2018 season. This will be possible due to club funds (generated from our Twilight and Viking Challenge Competitions) and State government grants.
- Add a junior element to out of season competitions - Thanks to the work of Peter Flower, Trevor McBride and Marcus Robertson, the club has introduced a junior six-a-side competition for kids in the area. This is played on Thursday afternoons prior to the senior Twilight games. They are also planning an 11-a-side ‘girls only’ competition for Saturday afternoons in the summer.
“Nothing happens without help and the club would like to sincerely thank all of our sponsors, providers of quality strips, balls and trophies as well as the hardworking members of MidCoast Council.
“The club would also like to thank the Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead and Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie whose support and efforts have secured us the necessary resources to achieve our goals.”
“Everyone is very proud of what we have done – not only for the kids in the club but for the wider community. It’s a family club and we all work twelve months of the year,” Kevin said.
He thanked all the workers within the organisation, with special mention to Leslie Campbell and Rozee Hansell who were awarded Club Persons of the Year at the recent junior presentation ceremony.
The Viking Challenge six-a-side tournament is another competition run by the club each year in March.
Now running for over two decades, it is acknowledged as the biggest sporting event in the area.
Under the stewardship of Jerrad Allen and Paul Sandilands it brings over 3000 people to the Great Lakes area and is estimated to generate over three million dollars into the local community.
Anyone interested in playing the Twilight competitions for juniors and seniors, the Viking Challenge or the regular winter competition can get all the information they need from the club’s website: www.thevikings.org.au