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Auskick Round 13

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July 20

We had a surprise visitor this weekend in Tim Membrey from the Sydney Swans who decided to blend in with the Dads as he watched our Auskickers playing their game. Once I realised that he wasn't a Dad (no offense Dads, but his tracksuit did stand out a bit in terms of its style and fitting) I introduced myself and asked Tim if he would mind having a chat to our Auskickers after the game. Tim provided some excellent coaching tips at the end of the session and fielded some pretty tough questions from our Auskickers too.

 Swans Visit Tim MembreyJake Lloyd and the giant Mike Pyke were also in attendance. Some great photo opportunities and autograph signing ensued!

Auskick Half Time Game report - Swans Vs Carlton

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AuskickHalftime2014We haven't had as many opportunities for half-time play this year as we have had in previous years, so when my email went out that we had just 18 spots in our allocation and it was first-come, first served, it was little wonder that we had 'sold-out' within an hour. One Dad lamented that he did not sleep with his blackberry under his pillow so that he would have known there was in email in regarding the half-time game! For those Auskickers lucky enough to be involved, it was an evening to be long remembered.

The cold and light rain just added to the excitement as we took our positions in the new grandstand at the SCG. Hornsby Berowra were allowed to field two teams, each with 9 players.

Coach Dan headed up 'Team Buddy' and he was assisted by goal umpire Matt Castles. Team Buddy consisted of some true Auskick veterans in Hayden Agnew, Jake LeLievre, Jack Castles and Cam and Brad Pearce, who were ably assisted by  younger guns Connor Midgley, Henry Williams, William Bayley, and Lucas Sheldrick. 'Team Goodes' featured such veterans as Rebecca and Damien Browne, Luke Gee and Roy Merrick with newcomers Matthew Nuttall, Charlie Graham, Bailey Thompson, Natasha Hain and Rohan Hecker adding youth and speed to the team. My reasoning for having an even spread of ages in each team was so that we would avoid  the situation of a really young Hornsby team coming up against a team of really old and tall Auskickers and being completely mismatched. As it turned out, it wasn't a bad move. Both of our opponents actually featured players of immense height but what we lacked in age and height, we surely made up for in enthusiasm.

The games were played with gusto and as I umpired one of the games it was great to see our Auskickers using each others' names, calling for the ball, trying to make some space to receive the ball, then offload it and move it up the line. The game was over far too quickly and before we knew it, the Auskickers were off racing the wrong way around the ground high-fiving everyone on the boundary fence! It was lucky I spotted little Natasha as she skipped off in the wrong direction. The look on her face though was priceless as we ran back hand in hand off the field and into the tunnel. She clearly had the time of her life and so did everyone else. Some of the Auskickers had stories of high-fiving Swans players who were on their way back onto the field after half time and I am sure they will remember this for the rest of their lives.

I always say that it's not the actual game that the kids love the most - even though that is surely a highlight for them. It is the build-up to the night, the corralling during the first quarter, the changing into the Auskick uniforms in the club change rooms, the pre-game team photos, the warm-ups, the chanting in the tunnels and the running onto the field lit up by blazing lights, that makes the evening what it is.

I've done the half-time game at least five times over the years and I never tire of them. Thanks to everyone involved and may there be many more!



Auskick Round 12

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July 13

18 of our lucky Auskickers played the night before in front of tens of thousands of people at half time at the Swans v Carlton game at the SCG. It was a fun night with the build-up and anticipation just as fun as the game itself. Being a 7.40pm game, I feared that numbers would be low the following morning after such a later night out, but I was proven wrong!

The Auskickers were out in force at Rofe Park and according to coach Paul, we had a solid turn out for the U8s game at Cherrybrook too despite it being school holidays as well. What started as a few AFL-related questions during the warm-up, has turned into a regular Swans trivia segment with plenty of Auskickers knowing minute game details such as scores, leading goalkickers, positions on ladders and number of wins in succession. It's hard to beat Jake 'Moneyballl' LeLievre though who is fast becoming the stats man of the club with knowledge that professional commentators would be proud of.

Warm ups this week fast and furious. The morning was crisp but we had a clear morning without wind which made the warm-ups enjoyable and we soon saw the shedding of jackets and jumpers in readiness for our skill stations. This week we had the Wookies and Jedis playing a game of 'Handball-Netball' first off followed by a game of zig-zag handball. The Ewoks started with the zig-zag handball relay with each team winning one a piece. They then moved over to engage in handball activities set up in mini-stations.

Players of the day included Sam Crewe, Xavier O'Bryan, Kevin Hou and Lucas Sheldrick.

Well done Auskickers for some great gameplay but also some great participation on the skill stations. Thanks to parent-helpers Ben, Sarah, Barry, Trevor, Luke, Scott, Mark, Matt, Ryan and others and also to Connor for providing the game ideas and helping out with fellow junior player Ben. I've said it before this season and I'll say it again, the parent-help this year has been incredible and the best I have ever seen. Special mention must also go to Coach Dan for leading one of the teams out onto the field at the Swans game and also to Barry and Matt for their superb goal umpiring skills on the night too.

As the season reaches the last few weeks, I can sense that everyone is starting to really put together all of the skills in their games which is great to see.

Coach Matt

Auskick Round 11

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June 29

Auskick Round 11

Only the brave or foolhardy would venture out in galeforce wins on Sunday so it was good to see a solid quorum of eager Auskickers out for an early run. Some Auskickers thought it was a novelty to be wearing 4-5 layers of clothing but I have to say that this did not last long as we got straight into a warm-up run that spanned Rofe Park and ended with individual kick for goals on a giant row of goal posts that we had set up for the skill drills.

Our drills this week consisted of a mark-and-kick-for-goal drill and another kick-for-goal drill that involved pressure from the side called 'Spiders and Snakes'. Coaches Ben, Luke, Ryan and Trevor had the Auskickers marking like Tippett and challenged the Auskickers with some high balls that had them jumping. Coaches Scott and Connor concentrated on snap kicks with their Spiders and there was some great talent on display there.

In the game that followed, we had all ages involved in the one game and it worked well and seemed to lift the younger players. There were some notable marks and goals and whilst there were some rugby passes going on, generally, the handballing was exceptional too. We tried to keep everyone to their zones this week and will continue to work on this in the coming weeks.

Players of the day were Jake LeLievre, Lachlan Heath, Noah Harper and Connor Midgley.

Over at Pennant Hills, our mighty U8s did battle with the Demons in an 8am game played in the shade with a wind-chill factor that left some parents wondering why they do winter kids' sport. It didn't take long to remind them why they do it - the kids put some great teamwork together and most importantly had a lot of fun in the process. Thanks again to Paul Ackland for organising the team. Here's Paul's report:

" Despite the 8am start and single figure wind chill we took to the field with 15 footballers keen to get their hands on the ball, have a run, kick and stay warm. Penno are a developing side and the Eagles dominated all areas of the ground today with players kicking to mates in open space and keeping possession. There was no doubt that we also fought hard and usually came out with the ball in a contest which was great to see. This team has a promising future together.
Doug Baker did an excellent job of referee again, tailoring his decisions so that two teams with different skill levels could still have an enjoyable game. Coach Paul"

School Holidays are here so no Auskick next week. See everyone back on the 13th, the day after we crush Carlton at the SCG.

Auskick Round 10

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June 22

Auskick Round 10

My apologies for missing a few weekly reports. It's not that we haven't been busy at Auskick - we certainly have. With record registrations this year, the split between Ewoks, Wookies and Jedis is working well and we are tailoring the skills drills and games for children whose ages spread over 5 years. We are supported with some excellent parent help this year and we couldn't run the sessions without this. It is inspiring seeing so many mums and dads out there on the paddock helping not only their kids, but other kids as well.

This week we had the first of the u8s games starting. Our Auskickers clashed with St Ives over on the main field in front of the canteen. The game was very professional-looking and sounding. We even had hooters, oranges at half time and Paul had his whiteboard working overtime in the breaks as the players and coach discussed strategy and positioning. Here's what Coach Paul had to say about the game:

"Our U8's were not daunted by an older, taller and more experienced opposition in their first ever game and put in a very courageous effort. There were some fantastic contested ball wins, handpassing and kicking to get out of trouble. We were able to score several times which, considering the opposition was really well done. The St Ives coaches commented afterwards how good the game was considering the age and skill level differences. The message for our players this week was to continue working hard on kicking accuracy so we can keep the ball."

Over at Wookie and Ewok central, we had everyone working on kicking, running and bouncing and we initiated a new game this week with the Wookies called Handballing versus Sprinting which worked a treat. Our warm up game of Rollerball was the usual mayhem but a lot of fun!

Auskick Round 6

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May 18


It is a pleasure watching our Auskickers progress this season. Their skills are coming on and we find that as the weeks go on, we are able to increase the intensity of the skills stations as well as instil more of the rules of the game.

This week we started off with a game of Scarecrows. The parents were initially too good for the Auskickers who were 'scarecrowed' in no time. Once they got the hang of the game though, and the number of parents was reduced, the Auskickers were able to overcome the parents who all had to do 5 star jumps at the end of the game.

Our skills stations were: 'handball madness', 'mark and run' and 'advanced kicking'. When the tackle bags came out for the advanced kicking drill, the Auskickers eyes lit up. They thought they would be jumping on soft bags all morning!

Our games in the second half of the session went really well. The Jedis and Wookies enjoyed more game time than the Ewoks and from all reports, their teamwork is improving. As the weeks progress, we will be working on positions and zones a lot more and also enshrining the core Auskick rules of not running too far with the ball, handballing (not simply passing the ball a la rugby or rugby league) and not tackling but giving the player with possession space to move or offload the ball to a teammate.

Players of the day included: Damian Browne (who is now playing up with the Jedis), Cosmo Hatton, Noah Eddison, Thomas Higuera Fripp and Jamie Teh. Congratulations Auskickers!

Level 0 coaching with Mark Leavy was successful again with about 8 parents taking part. Thanks Mark for taking time to do this so early on a Sunday morning. The commitment from the AFL to improve the skill set of players and volunteer helpers is second to none amongst football codes in Australia.

Thanks also to our trusty volunteer canteen helpers and to our station leaders Matt Pearce and Paul Ackland to coach Dan for overseeing the skills stations and organising parent helpers.

Auskick Round 5

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May 11 Mother's Day Round

Another great session this morning and great to see the Mums out! Some light rain the night before meant that the ground was a little damp but spirits were high and the Auskickers came with bundles of energy. To my surprise, at least 30 hands went up when I asked who won the Swans v Hawthorn game the night before. What was even more surprising was that most of those actually knew the precise score. It indicated to me that there's AFL passion even in our very young.


Luke and Sophia (our oldest and one of our youngest Auskickers) lead the warm-ups this morning. We then trialled a new game - Poison Ball - where parents rolled the balls into an area that Auskickers had to run through before they could reach the safety of the other side. It was a fun activity and a great way to warm everyone up.

Our skills stations for the Wookies and Ewoks were 'kick, mark and run' and 'minesweeper'. The latter was a game we haven't played this season and it quickly became a favourite as teams squared off against each other to see who could accumulate the most cones. The older Jedis focused their skills entirely on a home-grown game called 'Zig Zag Game Time' which is designed to get them thinking about moving the ball up the line so that the forwards can ultimately score at the other end.

Players of the Day were Sophia Gee, Jake LeLievre, Willian Bayley, Jack Kleemeyer and Oscar Mepham.

My thanks to Connor McFadden, our U17s helper who gave a great kicking demo at the start of the session and also for helping out with Coach Paul and the Jedis. We are lucky to have such a talented player who the Auskickers look up to. Connor has been proactive in suggesting some advanced skill station ideas and we look forward to implementing these in the coming weeks.

Auskick Round 4

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May 4

There was some seriously heavy-duty rain on the Saturday night before the session and to everyone's surprise, the ground the following morning was almost bone dry. Such is the drainage at Rofe Park! Good news anyway for our Auskickers who came out in force for a run early in the morning.

Skills stations today included 'partner handball', 'leap and roll relay' and a great little obstacle course set up largely by Auskicker Rebecca Browne who is also shaping up to be quite the demonstrator! Games that followed saw some keen running and excellent passing, especially in the older groups.


Players of the Day were Raeke Laird, Lars Ackland, Billy Charlton, Tahlia and Sam Crewe, Zane Cakar and Keirali Hogarth.

Welcome to Connor McFadden who is working on getting some volunteer hours up for his Duke of Edinburgh award that he is doing at Knox. Connor is also an U17s player for Hornsby Berowra Eagles and we are so glad that he is going to come along and help us out. The Auskickers love watching and working with older players.

Auskick Round 3

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April 27 ANZAC Day Round

The clouds were looming but the rain held off for long enough to get our Auskick session in on Sunday morning. We had three new Auskickers on Sunday: Jamie, Bailey and Jimmy and all of them joined the illustrious ranks of the ever-growing Ewoks.

The day started with warm-ups with elder statesman Ben, who ensured that the Auskickers' feet were well and truly limbered up for the kicking activities that we had planned for the morning. One Auskicker mentioned he had 15 Easter Eggs for Easter and a chorus of similar boasters joined in, so Ben decided to increase his exercises to get everyone back in shape.

Our fun activity to begin with was split with Ewoks doing a brilliant relay/obstacle course devised by Auskicker Rebecca Browne who had worked tirelessly on it since 7.45am. It was a winner. Meanwhile the Wookies and Jedis occupied themselves with a circle activity of coach in the middle who handpassed a ball to Auskickers who had to run around the circle if they dropped the ball passed to them by the coach.

The three stations were: kicking to goal, leap and land and foot dribble. We ensured that the kicking station differed according to age groups and we found that this worked well, particularly with the Jedis who loved the challenge of trying to kick and hit one single goal post. Full marks to Damien Browne for helping me place the goal posts prior to the Auskick session.

The games to finish the session were superb. The Ewoks are so huge in numbers that we had two games going and the skill levels are improving vastly I have to say! Well Done to players of the Day Jimmy Ford, Bailey Thompson, Emile Vogrig, Connor Midgley, Riley Casey and Hunter Gaunt.

My thanks to Coach Dan who is back in action as well as Coaches Trevor, Shawn, Matthew, Doug, Scott, and Matt Pearce (who incidentally is off to Port Macquarie to compete in the triathlon/ironman next weekend and we wish him well). Thanks to Matt's wife Trish for stepping in at short notice on canteen and to Mike Cakar for running the BBQ single-handedly.

See you all next Sunday for more mayhem!

Coach Matt

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