Aussie rules club Maryborough celebrates 150th anniversary by re-establishing its under 18s
Posted On April 30, 2022
A group of Maryborough men got together at the Bull and Mouth Hotel for a drink in 1872 and decided to have a regular kick of the footy.
Maryborough Football Netball Club was founded by a group of keen players in 1872
For the first time in six years the club has an under 18s side
The club will celebrate its 150th with a ball in June
Now, 150 years on, the Maryborough Football Netball Club is still alive and well, with a new under 18s team taking to the field for the first time in six years.
A lot has changed in a century and a half. Back in the 1800s, there was no structured competition, but Magpies president Kelvin Noonan said there were certainly games played.
“There was a lot of conjecture as to when we first were established,” he said.
“It was more just towns versus towns. It really wasn’t probably until 1923 that the club said, ‘We’re going to apply to go into the Ballarat League’, which they did.”
Maryborough had great success in its early days with premiership glory marked in 1924, 1925, 1927, and 1931.
The club has played in the Bendigo League since 1922 with their last taste of success being the Seconds’ premiership in 2012.
New kids on the block
After spending his junior footy days at Maryborough, Brady Neill has taken on coaching the new under 18s side for 2022, something that was not available to him at the club as a youngster.
“When I left, the main reason was [there was] no under 18s, so it’s good to be able to provide that path for them,” he said.
A local schoolteacher, Mr Neill was able to recruit players from the pool already rising through the club’s ranks and boys from around the region.
Once word got around about the reintroduction of the under 18s side, Mr Neill said it was not long before 25 players were ready to pull on their boots.
“We’ve had a pretty successful last three or four years within the junior ranks,” he said.
“It entices a lot of other players from around the district, from different leagues, to come in.”
While the under 18s Magpies have taken a few beatings in their first season, they have already added a win to their board and have 150th-anniversary celebrations to contribute towards.
“The mindset behind the under 18s is that they are a new team and they’re willing to learn and keep getting better,” Mr Neill said.
“We’re not result-driven. We’ve got factors that we focus on within the club that we’re really set on and trying to really strive for them.
Rebuilding 150 years on
While there has been a finals dry spell for the Magpies in recent years, Mr Noonan credits much of that to the lack of numbers that will hopefully be boosted in years to come by the renewed under 18s team.
“Our Seconds’ side has been rather depleted for the past six, seven, eight years. That was caused simply because of no under 18s coming through,” Mr Noonan said.