Bonnet Bay Football Club at 2011
629 teams have represented the club since 1982
2,030 players have represented the club since 1982
1,461 (72%) of these players are male and 569 (28%) are female
In 2011 the male/female ratio of BBFC’s 605 players was 61% to 39%
These players have accumulated 7,883 years of service,
an average of 3.9 years’ service per player.
4 players have over 20 years’ service
23 players have between 15 & 20 years service
129 players have between 10 & 15 years service
654 players have between 5 & 10 years service
The club has been involved in 109 grand finals winning 54 premierships.
Sutherland Shire Football Association (SSFA) is the largest association in the southern hemisphere
In 2011 BBFC was its 12th largest of the 25 SSFA clubs, up from 15th in 2006 and 20th in 2001
BBFC is the 5th largest club for male and female players playing 21s and over and it is the youngest of these 5 clubs
When we look at BBFC in 2011 we see a still small junior club that has developed a culture which sees it retain players and develop teams to the point of being one of the largest senior clubs with teams spread across the grades. In fact, the structure of BBFC across juniors and seniors is quite unique to BBFC.
From 2006 through to 2011 saw the club come of age being represented in grand finals of Men’s 21A , Women’s 21A and Women’s Senior A. BBFC made the Men’s All Age 2 grand final in 2008 followed by 3 titles in succession to 2011.
Behind this team numbers improved dramatically across all the senior grades providing clear pathways for all our juniors.
It is important to remember that roo-ball is a non-competitive environment designed to introduce kids to the game and for them to enjoy it and learn some of the values of good sportsmanship. Almost without exception any problems in these areas are caused by overzealous family members, usually inexperienced mums and dads whose expectations are high. The vast majority of children don’t have competitive instincts at 5, 6 or 7 years of age and there is plenty of time for this later. Roo-ball or Small Sided Games as it is now known, is all about kids developing a love of the game. This concept has now been extended through to 11s.
During the formative years to 1988 the club fielded around 8 roo-ball teams most years. The number of roo-ball teams dropped to 5 on average over the next few years and this always made it difficult when teams went into the competition grades. The past three seasons have seen the number of roo-ball teams increase slowly which is a good sign for the future.
A significant commitment to a co-ordinated Player Development Program across the entire club was implemented from 2012 to help expand and improve the junior ranks so they can feed through to our ever stronger senior grades.
“The Bay’s” First Successes
Bonnet Bay’ 9Es won the minor premiership and association’s most improved medal in the club’s inaugural season. They and the 11Fs were both runners up in their grades. This was a remarkable result given the club only fielded two competition sides.
It would be 1984 before the 12Es brought home the club’s first premiership in its only third season.
Three more premierships followed in 1986 with the 10Ds, 11Ds and 13Ds all winning. Remarkably, none of these teams were minor premiers in their grade.
A Golden Period – 1989 to 1993
Statistically there can be little argument that the period from 1989 to 1993 was the club’s golden period in terms of results. During this 5 year period the 47 of the competitive sides fielded by the club won 14 premierships, 11 minor premierships, 9 runners up and 7 association most improved awards. In fact 57% (27 of 47) of the teams that represented the club during this period won one or more association awards of some type.
In 1993 the 15As brought home the club’s first, and only, “A Grade” premiership and minor premiership from a male team. Many players from this team had started together in roo-ball and thirteen years later would form the nucleus of the team that won 5 premierships on its journey to PL1 in 2011.
The results of this period were the culmination of a lot of hard work in those early years. Significantly the club’s roo-ball ranks had always been strong in those formative years to 1988 providing a strong platform for this golden time.
1995 – An “A Grade” Year
In 1994 ten of the club’s twelve competition teams were graded C grade or higher. Then the gradings for the 1995 season showed the emerging strength of the Bonnet Bay club with its ten competitive sides including 11A, 12A, 13A and 18A as well as a 16B. A number of these players were to go on to play in BBFC’s open men’s Premier League 16 years later.
Unfortunately the 1995 gradings proved a bit of an anomaly and the club has failed replicate it although in 2006 the club fielded a number of highly graded teams. Over this time a school of thought developed that if a player was strong they should go to another club to play A grade. Perhaps this is a quirk of a changing society seeking instant results rather than putting in the hard yards to build a well-earned success. Happily this is changing with club making a major commitment to player development.
After the heady times of the late 80s and early 90s the club struggled to come to terms with a demographic profile that was working against them. The kids of Bonnet Bay were mostly over roo-ball age which made recruitment more and more difficult. This trend continued for a number of years until the club started to tap into the Sutherland and Woronora areas to increase its numbers.
After these heady years junior men’s premierships have been hard to come by except for 2005 (11D, 12D), 2006 (11E, 14D & 16C) and 2007 (9F, 18B). Despite this growing success there was a big player exodus in 2008 driven by key players moving onto greener pastures. This started to be repaired with all junior men’s teams being retained from 2009 to 2012.
From 1991 to 2002 BBFC fielded a single men’s all age team in lower grades except for one season where there were 2 teams and 3 where there were none. From 2003 to 2008 there were 2 teams but by 2011 this had grown to 7 all age men’s teams being spread across the grades including 1, 2, 4, 7, 11, 12 & 15.
With the club continuing to move juniors through to 21s and a grade to suit everyone BBFC’s all age ranks should continue to be strong for many years to come.
There are two significant stories which have formed the basis of the club’s success in men’s all age:
In 2004 a group of returning BBFC juniors assembled a Men’s AL7 team. While a bit of a rabble this team won their competition. Over the next consecutive seasons this team developed to win AL6, AL4, AL3 be grand finalists in AL2. After a disappointing second season in the AL2 they went on to win it in 2010 then move through to the PL1 competition the following year.
In 2005 a similarly impressive story of development began with the 21B team winning their competition. They were to move through to 21A where they went down narrowly in the grand final in 2007. The next two seasons saw the team win AL3 then AL2 before becoming BBFC’s first Premier League 1 team, an honour denied our other men’s team the previous season. Dropping back to AL2 in 2011 they secured another premiership.
Together these two teams brought home 9 premierships over 7 seasons. The prospect of the players from these two teams merging to form the strongest possible men’s Premier League team from 2012 was tantalizing. The structure was now in place for our talented junior players to aspire to.
The first Over 35 team took the field at the start of the 1996 amid great fanfare. The guard of honour was comprised of a group of young fans in their club shirts who played the team’s theme song “Staying Alive” as members of the team ran, limped or otherwise made their way onto the ground. At the head of the guard of honour were two nurses dressed in full regalia who had an intravenous drip at the ready on the bench. It probably helps being married to a nurse as John Watson and Ray Cansdell were destined to be two of only three of those original players to successfully make it to their 10th successive season. The third was Peter Harrison.
35s soccer was serious but also a lot of fun. A barbeque and drinks followed every match at Lakewood with the crowds actually getting larger after the match. There was a real buzz around the team which was eventually to flow through the club.
The second year of 35s soccer was a great success with the D grade premiership being secured after a tight match against Lilli Pilli. The C grade title followed the next season.
A number of players from the Cronulla Seagulls team Bonnet Bay had beaten in the C grade grand final decided the grass was greener at “The Bay” and in 1999 two sides took the field in A and B grade. Unfortunately all the talent was in the A Grade and the Bs struggled. The B grade team was destined to drop one grade per season over the next few years as age and limited ability took its toll, but the fun never waned. On the other hand the other side was to alternate between A and B grade for a number of years, winning a B grade title in the process.
By 2011 the nucleus of these original teams continues while other teams have emerged since, mainly comprised of the fathers of kids playing with the club. While a number of finals appearances have been achieved another competition has eluded the 35s.
The 35s tradition has continued with the 15th anniversary in 2010 marked by some players receiving 15 year service medals. In 2011 BBFC registered 3 over 35 sides and a 45C team which contained a number of the original Over 35 players.
Bonnet Bay fielded its first women’s soccer team in 1997. The growth since then has been nothing short of phenomenal with the association have many grades of women’s competitions from 12s to 21s and opens as well as over 30s.
That first W14B side under the guidance of Rob Morris was to go into club folklore as they went on to win the 1997 grand final in extra time against a Lilli Pilli team that had defeated them 7-0 in the first game of the season – a truly remarkable feat.
The club’s next women’s competition was the prestigious W17A in 2001 where we beat a Menai team that had won the State Cup the previous year 4 times. That squad also played grand finals in W16A and W19A while the team behind them was runners up 3 years in a row to a very strong Gymea team in W14A, W15A and W16A. The players from these two teams formed the nucleus of the club’s very competitive open Women’s A grade side in 2011.
A strong junior team developed under the tutelage of Rod West to reach successive grand finals in W18A, W21A, W21A & W21A between 2007 and 2010 before moving through to Women’s A grade.
Women’s teams to follow significant pathways were:
TEAM 1 – 1998 to 1999 – formative years, 2000 – runners up W16A, 2002 – premiers W17A, 2003 – runners up W19A, 2004 – first WSA team
TEAM 2 – Some players moved through mixed juniors then 2000 – runners up W14A, 2001 – runners up W15A, 2002 – runners up W16A, played W19A in 2003 & 2004 before some players joined WSA
TEAM 3 – 2003 to 2006 – formative years, 2007 – runners up W18A, 2008 – runners up W21A, 2009 – runners up W21A, 2010 – runners up W21A, 2011 – WSA
TEAM 4 – 2005 to 2009 – formative years, 2010 – premiers W15B, 2011 – premiers W16A
A number of other teams have progressed through the grades over many years to complete the picture of a very strong women’s club which in 2011 fielded 2 all age women’s A grades with one making the grand final; A-graded teams in W21 and W16 who won their competition as well as W12 (2 teams), W14 (2 teams), W18B, W21B, WSG, WSB and 2 Women’s Over 30 teams. A pretty good development story in just 15 seasons.
In 2011 the Women’s A Grade became the first team in BBFC’s history to represent the club in the Champion of Champions tournament.
The first senior womens team played in 2002.
The club was runners up in the winners A grade in 2012 which was the culmination of 8 years of hard work at that level. This team also represented in Champion of Champions, a first for the club. In 2012 the club also field a second A Grade, a B Grade and a G grade signaling a coming of age in this section of the club.
The first Women’s 30’s team played in 2006 with teams representing the club from 2009.
These teams were comprised mainly of mums getting involved with a handful of players with invaluable experience.
Despite fielding a relatively small number of A grade teams BBFC has had a number of juniors go directly from our club to represent Sutherland in representative completion.
Norm (BJ) Johnston
BBFC has enjoyed the services of many good coaches over the years but the club is still developing in this area.
The introduction of professional coaching sessions through the mid 2000’s to support the efforts of our voluntary club coaches has seen marked improvement in the skill levels of most of our players, and more importantly guidance for all our coaches. The overall standard of coaching is improving as more people who have a background as players become involved.
2006 saw the introduction of an ambitious development program ever under the guidance of club coaches Gus Vickary and Cameron Young. Results in 2006 and 2007 showed the benefits but player retention was poor as stronger players sought greener pastures.
In 2011 BBFC made a commitment to introducing a development structure which will provide coaches with access to “whole of club curriculums” designed by professional coaches as well as a variety of leadership and sports psychology tools from the University of Wollongong.
It is hoped the club’s coaching fraternity will continue to evolve to become a tight-knit player focused team.