Creating a path for the future

By
Updated: January 22, 2016
Junior co-ordinator Melissa Gilham (centre), Youth Girls coach George Sheppard and assistant coach Brooke Sheppard with players from Bell Post Hill's junior section. Picture: AL PACKER
Junior co-ordinator Melissa Gilham (centre), Youth Girls coach George Sheppard and assistant coach Brooke Sheppard with players from Bell Post Hill's junior section. Picture: AL PACKER

Junior co-ordinator Melissa Gilham (centre), Youth Girls coach George Sheppard and assistant coach Brooke Sheppard with players from Bell Post Hill’s junior section. Picture: AL PACKER

FOR all its recent success on the field in recent years, there has been one area of the club off-field Bell Post Hill has fallen short in.

Despite winning five of the last six GDFL senior premierships and appearing in eight consecutive grand finals, the Panthers have been unable to attract junior talent to Myers Reserve.

However, positive steps are being taken to ensure the next generation of stars at Bell Post Hill can continue an era that rivals that of North Shore and Ocean Grove as being the most dominant in local football in the modern era.

After being without juniors in 2013, an under 10 team was introduced in 2014, while an under 12 side was added last year.

Junior coordinator Mel Gilham is now eyeing off the introduction of both an under 14 team and Youth Girls side for 2016.

“We’ve pushed each year to build,” Gilham said.

“Because we’ve got half-a-dozen kids coming up from under 12s, I have to have that team this year because those kids will either branch off to other clubs or they’ll go play another sport.

“So, for the future, we really need to push 14s this year, and with a Youth Girls footy team – they’ve got brothers – hopefully we can build that team.”

The popularity of Youth Girls football has resulted in a number of teenagers approaching Gilham about forming a team under the Bell Post Hill banner.

They will be coached by George Sheppard, who spent time as president of GFL club Leopold in the 1990s, with his granddaughter Brooke to act as his assistant.

“The girls came to me and we’ve almost got the team set for the year,” Gilham said.

“A few more girls and we’ve got a bench for them to rotate. They’re ready to go.”

Gilham ultimately would like to see the Panthers fielding teams from under 10s to Colts (under 18s).

“That would be nice in the years to com, so that we’ve got a club for people to play their whole career at,” she said.

Training for the under 10, 12 and 14 age groups begins on February 1. For more details contact Mel Gilham on 0404 643 426.

For information on the Panthers’ Youth Girls team contact Brooke Sheppard on 0438 693 872.

Bell Post Hill is also hoping to run a four-week summer Auskick clinic.

Twitter: @tom_king79



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