At the 2022 end of season Award’s function, President Gary Barclay provided the following speech.
Firstly, some thank yous
- To our coaches Slobo and Spindles, thank you for the time and dedication you both put into the planning, training and game day support you provided your respective teams.
- To the assistant coaches, Hayley, Bec, Joel, Andrew & Jude thank you for your support and dedication to the teams throughout the season. Both teams were very lucky to have you.
- To our Team Managers Lynne & Rowan, thank you for contribution, support and advice when travelling and at home.
- To our captains Rowie and Ryan, thank you for your leadership and abilities to inspire your teams to perform throughout the season.
- To the Board and Governing Committees of the Victorian Phoenix, thank you for the time and effort put in behind the scenes to ensure the establishment and success of the club. Special mention to Danny Flahive, Andrew Post & Russell Small.
- Thank you to Jo, Laura and Jade for their support with the establishment of the website and social media content.
- To our financial benefactors / supporters. Thank you so much for your contribution towards re-establishing an AWL club. It is greatly appreciated by all players and coaches.
- To Water Polo Victoria, thank you for your support in multiple areas throughout the season, including assistance in accessing MSAC for our training sessions and games.
- To Alby Morrison and the match day crew thank you for your efforts throughout the season.
- To Lisa Flahive for all the work behind the scenes designing and ordering uniform and merchandise for the season and assisting at games.
- Thank you to chef who has returned to work here at the RSL to help with our function.
- And a big thank you to everyone else who was involved in our first season back
This past season
- We established a new club bringing together the Victorian water polo community
- We attained a 3 year licence into the Australian Water Polo League
- We ran training sessions and trials to select two squads for the season enabling many players who were otherwise unable to train due to Covid restrictions, to begin training again.
- We provided our squad with the most professional uniform in the league
- We played our first games back in the National League, travelling to Adelaide for the initial tournament
- We played our home games at two fantastic facilities – Caulfield Grammar and MSAC
- We were competitive in a majority of games
- We had a fantastic number of members, all receiving a Victorian Phoenix t-shirt and looking great promoting our sport
- We had some of the biggest and most supportive crowds seen at AWL games this season
- We had members from a majority of Victorian clubs play and/or support the teams
- We had one player reach their 200 game milestone over in Adelaide. Congratulations on 200 National League games, Maddie Morrison.
- We showed all young players and club coaches in Victoria that there is a pathway for players and coaches to play high performance water polo by staying in Victoria.
- And I know we would have made David Whittaker proud. It was his drive and support that provided the foundation for us to re-establish a club at the National League level.
We achieved the following outcomes throughout the season
- Respect – Having just spent last weekend with the key leaders of all AWL clubs, our Club, the Vic Phoenix, was spoken about in glowing terms and what we achieved throughout the season was highly respected by all other clubs
- Partnerships – We established partnerships with WPV, Stronger Healthcare, Green Planet Sport, Caulfield Grammar and MSAC
- Experience – We provided many players with AWL experience for the first time and many others with the opportunity to train and play at a very high level.
- Identity – People are hearing more about water polo in Victoria. The branding and wearing of t-shirts were fantastic and has led to many comments from the community.
As we go forward, we have a huge opportunity to build both teams to become very competitive in the AWL.
To do this we require all players and coaches to strive to be the best that they can be, build on their strengths and improve any weaknesses and work together as a team.
I encourage all players to be disciplined, starting now, in their preparation for next season. This competition is the highest level of domestic water polo in this country and we need to prepare for that. Start swimming at least twice a week, attend all the Phoenix training sessions and your Club training sessions. Play SL1 each week, working on improving your skills, fitness and teamwork.
We would like to take some giant strides in the new season and to do that, the work has to be completed over the next 6 months.
This is a high performance competition, we are a high performance squad and our standards and commitment will determine how successful we are. If you put in all the effort, all the hard work, you know that it’s going to pay off.
I look forward, together with the Board and our many volunteers, in supporting the coaches, managers and players as we begin working towards the new season.