Category: Football

Rosellas, Panthers in alliance

Cheltenham Football Club, the Rosellas, and Cheltenham Junior Football Club, the Panthers, are kicking goals together.

The pair signed a memorandum of association and formed a strategic alliance that should see them both thrive.

The clubs operate at different grounds – the Rosellas at Jack Barker Oval, and the Panthers at Le Page Park – and in different councils, and they will maintain their own identities and control their own business affairs.

The Rosellas are in their 127th year – making them one of the oldest local football clubs in metropolitan Melbourne, while the Panthers were formed in 1990 after the amalgamation of St Francis and Cheltenham Assumption, and now have over 400 registered players and field 19 teams – including 60 girls across four teams.

However, they will come together when it is mutually beneficial to work on bigger picture issues such as sponsorship and marketing, sharing of relevant information and ideas, and to fast track the development of players.

The memorandum of association signed by the clubs complies with AFL Victoria’s player-points system and will encourage the movement of players from the junior Panthers to the senior Rosellas.

Rosellas president John Graham said: “Our club is dedicated in our drive for positive action that will bring about and enable a professional, well run, structured sporting club for the community. We look forward to continuing to work with the Panthers to assist them in the development of their junior players and then welcoming those players to the Rosellas.”

Cheltenham Panthers president Tony Pitara said: “We are a club with a strong focus on player development and fostering community involvement. We want our junior players to have as many options as possible to continue their football growth and pathway to senior football. Our relationship with the Rosellas is as strong as ever and we look forward to working with them in other areas to continue to strengthen both clubs.”

The alliance is already bearing fruit with Carlisle Homes announced as their first joint sponsor. Carlisle Homes were thrilled to be able to play a role in supporting the community and grassroots sports with this exciting partnership, which is part of their significant community sports sponsorship program.

Cheltenham reclaims RSL Cup

The Rosellas reclaimed the RSL Cup from rivals Bentleigh after a hard-fought victory in their ANZAC Round clash at Jack Barker Oval.

It was a pulsating contest between the two sides for much of the afternoon, with the lead changing several times during the first three quarters. Both teams played scintillating football at times, however, neither could wrest control of the match.

But Cheltenham finally found another gear in the final term, kicking six goals to one to turn their narrow three quarter time deficit into a confidence-boosting 25-point victory.

Sean McLaren dominated in the ruck for the Rosellas all afternoon and duly earned best on ground honours. Teammates Tom Donnell and Daniel Vaughn were both prolific ball-winners and provided plenty of forward momentum, while the diminutive Ange Soldatos proved a livewire up forward.

Jackson Meredith and Brody Lawford were the standouts in what was an admirable performance from Bentleigh, who entered the clash with several key players missing from its best 22.

Ruckman Sean McLaren was best afield for the Rosellas.

With the weather goes Rosellas winning hopes

Heavy rain and a changing breeze in the final quarter ruined any chance Cheltenham had of upsetting reigning premier Dingley at Souter Oval.

With ex-Sandringham and Sydney rookie ruckman Sean McLaren in everything, the Rosellas took the game right up to the Dingoes early and trailed by a solitary point at the long break. Without the onset of heavy rain, the visitors may well have done some real damage with the strong breeze in the final term, with just a 13-point deficit at the last change.

But in the end, the Dingoes carried the day by 27 points, holding their visitors scoreless in that wet, final stanza.

Danny Ades and Luke Walmsley led the way for the Dingoes with three goals apiece, while Luke Bartholomew and Marcus Freeman also excelled. Troy McKenzie, back playing football after a basketball stint, was another to show out for the winners.

Former VFL midfielder Jarrad Matheson was among the Rosellas’ many good players, along with Daniel Vaughan, Bane Suboticki and Tom Donnell.

SFNL’s Cheltenham season preview

Courtesy of

Cheltenham is hoping to continue the impressive form it displayed at back end of 2016 as it begins its ascent up the Division 1 ladder.

Staring down the barrel of season wasted languishing in the bottom reaches of the ladder, the young Rosellas managed to turn their fortunes around with scintillating performances in the second half of the season. From a 2-6 start, they claimed five wins and a draw from their final 10 games and to finish the season on a positive note.

And coach Des Ryan says that the club is aiming to build on that late season form in 2017, and a return to September action may not be beyond the realms of possibility.

“We would be (pushing for finals), yeah,” Ryan said.

“It’s been a case of progressing our football club with talent, and we’ve managed to do that a little bit over the summer, and the natural progression of the boys from last year.

“The progress they made was fantastic, so we’re now looking to take the next step.”

The Rosellas have been active in the off-season, securing the signatures of several star players to strengthen its playing stocks. Former Sydney Swans rookie Sean McLaren has been the club’s highest-profile recruit, while ex-VFL players Will McTaggart and Jarrad Matheson also loom as key inclusions.

Ryan is confident the big-name trio, as well as a host of other inclusions, can help fill the deficiencies the club identified within its list.

“Look, we needed height, and we’ve topped up our list with three guys over 6’5 who are well credentialed and can play, so we’ve ticked that box,” Ryan said.

“Big-bodied, inside ball-winning players as well we’ve added to that. We’ve got Jarryd (Bloink) coming back from injury, he missed all of last year, so from an onball, big body perspective, we’re a lot healthier unit.”

After having his 2016 season ruined by a knee injury, gun ball-winner Bloink spent the year watching from the sidelines. And while he was impressed by what his team mates produced in the back half of the season, he can’t wait to take the field again for Round 1.

“Nothing quite like nine months on the sidelines to fire you up again so it will be good to get back out there,” Bloink said.

“It was good, though, watching the way the boys came together last year. I was really impressed with how much they got out of themselves and the work we did preseason really paid off so it’s really exciting coming into this year with another preseason under the belt of these guys together.”

The excitement generated by the club’s stunning late-season form has carried through the summer, with a buzz permeating Jack Barker Oval for the entirety of the preseason. Training numbers have been extremely healthy and everyone is gearing up for a big year ahead.

“Numbers have been great, they’re the best since I’ve been at the club, and that’s nearly been six years now, so everyone’s ready to go,” skipper Jack Worrall said.

“We’re a young, up and coming team and the boys are really putting the work in on the track and looking forward to Round 1.”

The club has under gone an off-field restructure as well. Popular President Col Anderson stepped down during the off-season after a five-year tenure, with Treasurer John Graham assuming the role.

Practice Match schedule

With the home and away season not far away, the club has locked in three practice matches to help fine tune the players prior to real stuff. If you are in the area, get down and show your support and get behind the Rosellas in 2017.

Saturday 11 March

Birchip-Watchem – North Central Football League

Venue: Nullawil Recreation Reserve, Railway St, Nullawil VIC 3529

Friday 17 March

Intra Club

Venue: TBA

Saturday 25 March

Highett – Southern Football Netball League (Division 2)

Venue: Highett Reserve, Turner Rd, Highett VIC 3190

Saturday 1 April

Norwood – Eastern Football League (Division 1)

Venue: Mullum Reserve, 59 Mullum Mullum Rd, Ringwood VIC 3134