It is with much excitement and pride that we release the following news that the EFNL Board have invited Park Orchards Football Netball Club to consider an invitation to be promoted to Premier Division for 2022.
Over the last 3 weeks the POFNC Committee, Coaches and more recently the playing leadership group have had the chance to review & discuss all of the pro’s and con’s for accepting this opportunity, We can now announce to our Sharks Community first that we have accepted the invitation from the EFNL Board to be the 12th team into Premier Division for 2022. The POFNC Committee had a committee meeting Wednesday night 8th September, and unanimously voted that we accept this offer and opportunity to enter Premier Division Football (Seniors, Reserves and U/19’s) in 2022.
Our club is proud, hard-working, strategic and we love our own people. This is a huge moment in time for our club and should be celebrated. This decision has been made carefully with all the information reviewed, and we have no doubt that the decision is the right one for the club long term. Although there is much excitement and hard work ahead, we understand that there are many challenges in accepting this opportunity. There may be people who don’t understand or even agree why our club has accepted this opportunity without a ‘technical’ Premiership win via a grand final (which is the traditional way). There are many reasons why we have accepted this opportunity and have decided to push forward positively.
Some of these reasons are listed below:
· The improvement over the last 2 years in our list and growth in off-field and on-field capability has developed very well (even without a home this year, with COVID difficulties and keeping our club together working at such a professional level remotely) and sadly we have not had the opportunity to aspire to the normal pathway of achieving GF success. We received the Division 1 Minor Premiership from the league in both the Seniors (1 loss from 11 games) and Reserves (undefeated) and our Under 19’s finished 3rd after 5 Premierships in a row.
· We have strategically been building towards this in all of our documented plans we release as a committee with the goal to be playing Premier by 2022. As a result, this is not a shock opportunity but more of a planned stage in our club’s journey we have been working towards.
· Are we ready to go up? It depends what you benchmark us against. The club leadership strongly and unreservedly would say that we are ready both on-field & off-field as a club. Our list development, coaching resources, off-field finances and personnel – we say yes we are. In any given “normal” year, if we had won the GF we would not knock back the opportunity to be promoted, we would go for it and fight to consolidate in the top tier.
· Something that has weight in our on-field performance is the strength of our list and how strong our Reserves perform week in week out. It shows depth and a health that flows through the club.
· Our Player Pathway from Junior to Senior club is second to none in the competition. We are proud of this and protect the program that is in place which has given us 8 Under 19’s premierships in 11 years and resulted in 72% of our senior games played this year by ex Sharks juniors. There is continued development of homegrown talent balanced with selective recruiting which has helped our list progress.
· Off-field we are in a strong financial position despite the challenges of the past 2 years, will have access to our brand new rooms at Domeney Reserve and have strong & loyal sponsorship & membership base which will need to expand to new levels.
· The EFNL have advised us that at the end of 2022 there will only be 1 team relegated from Premier to Division 1 and promotion from Division 1. The prospect of being possibly more than one team relegated was a concern for us and we wanted to confirm there would only be 1.
· The Premier Division clubs made a decision over a month ago they didn’t want the bye round going forward and ideally voiced a 12 team division moving forward – it is currently 11. If we did not accept the position it would leave it open for someone else to come in and grab the opportunity.
· We have experienced the most unique 2 years of football in all of our lives and hopefully we will not experience it ever again. It should be noted that the EFNL are operating in these unique times ‘outside of the box’ and assessing where clubs are really at and being flexible to historical methods of promotion & demotion. In the letter of offer, they believe that we are at Premier Division level, are capable and that we are ready from their perspective and hence the invitation. The league have a good gauge as to where each of the clubs are at and they back us in.
The process from here is that the EFNL will notify the league clubs of our decision re their invitation being accepted by the Sharks. We will prepare our club both on-field and off-field for the challenges ahead but also enjoy the excitement and buzz this will bring to our club.
I do ask that in the true ‘Sharks Way’ – we become ALL-IN on this decision as a club. Have the CLUB at heart, keep the positives as our focus on this ‘promotion’, and lets move ahead together into 2022 and prove that our decision as a club was warranted.
We are the Mighty Sharks
President – POFNC