By Erle Levey
It was a year of resilience and team-building for Gympie Cats Junior Australian Football Club.
At the presentation day at Ray Warren Oval on Sunday the club celebrated the efforts of the Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16s.
The Under 12 team played in the grand final in the Sunshine Coast division for a fifth time straight, only to fall short to Coolum Blue.
This was after they had won the past four premierships.
The Under 14 team also played in the semi finals.
Club president Ann-Marie Warren said the future of the code in Gympie was bright with the Cats almost doubling their junior ranks this season from 36 to 55 players.
Ann-Marie expressed her appreciation of everyone involved, from those in the canteen to helping get the teams on the field.
Club coach Matt Hillier could not have been more proud of the commitment by the players in what was a challenging year due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
Gympie is also the club that travels furthest in the Sunshine Coast division.
The Under 12 team is merged with Pomona-Cooroy and the Under 16s with Glasshouse. Yet the club fields three stand-alone junior teams – Under 8, Under 10 and Under 14.
This year four players went to the Brisbane Lions Academy for training and to play games in a representative team of about 30 selected in the Brisbane-Sunshine Coast region.
“It was a hard year for everyone but this year our numbers have grown,’’ Matt said, “and we have done very well.
“We only missed three games due to lockdown.
“The kids love playing the game … boys and girls, they come to training.
“It takes so many people to get a team on the ground – runners, trainers, and umpires.’’
There is a Gympie Cats women’s senior team in conjunction with men’s seniors and reserves teams.
The club is hopeful of having a full girls team again next season in the Under 15s.
“It comes down to every one trying to help
“This is a family club and this is a great game to play.’’
The annual general meeting is to be held on October 9, and pre-season training for both women and men starts on the first Thursday in November.
Inquiries: Ann-Marie Warren 0438 105 920, president; Matt Hillier 0401 758 583, club coach.