The Annual and Special General meetings were held in February and I want to express my sincere thanks to all members and supporting personnel who brought these events together and who took the time to get involved in the process. The new constitutions of both clubs, which were adopted at the meetings, now incorporate several important improvements and I thank those who provided their valuable input. It was great to receive members’ questions from the floor and I trust that the board answered them to your satisfaction, noting that a couple of members will receive answers to their questions on notice directly. I also remind members that an election will be held very soon to fill the two casual vacancies for board positions. I encourage you to consider lodging a nomination form once they become available. I must congratulate Marteine Edwards who had her term extended for a further two year period as member-elected Director, as well as Mark Goddard who continues for a further two years as Finance Director and Vice President. I was also honoured with a further three year term as President and I wish to thank all members for your continued support of the Westies board.
This year we will be celebrating our 130th anniversary as a club. When you consider that we have survived and thrived through wars, depressions, recessions, pandemics and many other challenges it is a testament to the tenacity and willpower of all those who have gone before us. The history of Westies provides countless examples of people overcoming adversity. This year we must draw on those lessons from the past to make the club stronger and more united than ever. We’ll be kicking off the men’s season with a 130th anniversary celebration dinner on the evening of Saturday 2nd April at Hisense Stadium. It would be fantastic to see that event supported as a sell-out. Please make sure you get your tickets and then stay for the game against Sturt.
It has been wonderful this year to see the continued energy and enthusiasm displayed by our women’s teams. The growth of the women’s competition with the addition of the development squad is bringing a whole new group of supporters to our club. It has been pleasing to observe the various family groups that are attending the games, cheering loudly for the girls as they go in hard for the ball. Despite thirty-plus degree days our players are sticking to the task, which is a real testament to their fitness and their resolve under the watchful eyes of their coaching staff. The girls are real warriors and I encourage you all to get to the games and show that we are Stronger Together.
In my last message to you I mentioned that we will be deepening our ties with our regional zones this year and I know that many of you are aware of the Russell Ebert tribute match between the Bloods and the Magpies to be played in Loxton on 22nd May. This will be a home game for Westies and promises to be an exciting weekend in the Riverland. Many hours of planning have already gone into ensuring that this will be a huge success. Westies Vice-President, the club CEO and I spent a couple of days in Loxton and Berri in February discussing the event with key stakeholders from that region and it was very clear that there is enormous support for the game there. Riverland clubs will be participating on the day and we look forward to building on our great relationships with those clubs and local businesses.
In keeping with the stated purpose of our club, United in Our Pursuit of Premiership Success, this year we have brought our coterie groups together, along with key members of staff, to discuss and identify actions that can be taken to ensure we are all heading in the same direction. We’ve had two informal lunch meetings and it’s been great to see the Westonians, the Past Players and Officials and the History Group sharing ideas to make the club stronger. The depth of discussion so far has been impressive and I know that we are heading along a very positive path.
The time is approaching for the commencement of work by the West Torrens Council along the eastern side of the oval and we eagerly await the improvements that will be made. There have been a couple of delays to prevent disruption to showcase events, such as the AFL Community Series game on 5th March between Adelaide and Port Adelaide. But we expect that the project will begin very soon and will make the precinct more accessible to our local community. On the topic of facility improvements, I must say a huge thankyou to West Torrens Council for the repairs they made to our players race, which had deteriorated to the point where it was unsafe. It now looks great and is of a much better standard.
Finally, I encourage you to renew your Westies membership as soon as possible. Membership packs for 2022 will be sent out in the coming days and we want to make sure you get yours. We need to have a large increase in member numbers this year and we are relying on you all to renew and to actively encourage your friends and family to sign up as well. Let’s get together and each play an active role in the growth of our wonderful club.