In our first year as a club competing in 3rd division in the Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL) the Diamond Creek Women’s Football Team, affiliated with the Diamond Creek Football Club (DCFC) under President Graham Cannon, held our first training session at Wattle Glen Cricket Club in October 2001 where we had 19 potential players show up to see what it was all about.
A competition was ran through Leader Newspapers for a reader to design our Jumper as the Diamond Creek Football Clubs existing uniform clashed with another side in the VWFL.
The social side of our team was fantastic and who can forget the bus trip to Corio in the earlier rounds where we really got to know each other!!
In our first match against Nth Ballarat at home on Coventry Oval in Diamond Creek we won our first game by 100 odd points.
2002 saw us just miss out on a finals appearance by 2 match points!
2003 saw us make our first finals debut. In the Semi Final against Melton we went in completely underdone with 3 of our on-ballers out against a side that had defeated us twice throughout the season. The whole side stepped up and pulled off the win by 9 points in a thriller. Our season came to an end with a loss to Corio by 13 points in the Preliminary Final.
Part of Pre-season in 2004 consisted of constructing a flying football for entry into Moomba’s Birdman Rally. Piloted by Nicole Fisher it was the beginning of our recruiting drive in which we also ran clinics at local high schools and I believe this is where we may have picked up one Stacey Cross.
Finishing 3rd on the ladder with 10 wins & 4 losses we made the semi against rivals North Heidelberg who we matched for the first quarter but then fell away to end our season once again.
2005 started off very shaky for the DCWFT. With Nicole Fisher leaving the Football Operations of the team to focus more on her Director of Registration position with the VWFL it meant that someone else had to step up to take the reins and step up Melynda Dawson did! As well as having to handle the Football Op’s she was also Team Manager & a player. In what would have been very trying & challenging times thrown in at the deep end learning the intricacies and politics of running a team that was looking like it may fold due to poor training numbers, no more access to our home ground and no Coach to then taking us to a division 3 Premiership Victory was a huge achievement and something that she should be forever proud of.
As the DCFC has included an additional U/17’s in their club the Women’s team was relegated to play their home games from the non-facilitated Marngrook Oval which left the opposition side changing in the Toilets at the YMCA and us changing on the basketball courts or any other available space. With no canteen facilities or social rooms this was the beginning of our displacement which lasted 4 years.
3 weeks out of the start of the season things started coming together with a coaching appointment and greater training attendance. The first 3 rounds resulted in wins by over 100 points or more. There was a great sense of team going on at DCWT which was reflected by finishing the season in top position on the ladder.
Taking on North Heidelberg in the Grand Final was not going to be an easy game, and the first ¾’s reflected this however we came out in the last ¼ and blew them away finishing with a score of 11-6-72 to 3-7-25. The bus ride home was memorable!
On its affiliation with the Diamond Creek Football Club (DCFC)in 2002 the Diamond Creek Women’s Football Team initially played out of DCFC home ground Coventry Oval, however in 2005 we were removed from the ground to make way for an additional men’s u/17’s side. The impracticality of running Senior Women’s and Juniors from the one club is now fairly apparent as it doesn’t allow for growth of any of the associated stakeholders due to limited facilities available.
All home games from then on were played out of the non-facilitated Marngrook oval where we used the community Centre/YMCA facilities as a change room/warm-up room. The away team would use the female toilets whilst we changed on the basketball courts. For 3 years we were promised a room to get changed in but when they finally got around to cleaning it out after those 3 years it was decided it would be used for a spin class. This was after we were told we would not be able to use the basketball court anymore as they had decided to run an additional exercise class on there at the same time we would need it to get change/warm-up. It looked as though our change rooms were to be the great outdoors.
The VWFL changed the structure of the completion from divisions to Conferences (North West & South East) excluding the Premier & Reserves competition.
This left Diamond Creek playing in North West Conference playing against much the same sides that it had defeated in previous seasons excluding Hadfield who had come from division 2 giving us an additional rival alongside Heidelberg.
We went through this season with only one unexpected loss and again finished top of the table. Winning the semi final, once again put us straight into the Grand Final that was to be played against Hadfield. Once again the Creeker’s came out winners in a nail bitter 5.12.42 to 5.7.37.
2007 saw us being promoted to Premier Division. Although the season only produced 1 win there was still a sense of accomplishment playing against the much more experienced Premier Division sides yet maintaining a respectable competitiveness. The losses were expected and recognised as a necessary process in order to reach the Pinnacle of the VWFL Competition.
This season has seen us welcome players from Surrey Park Women’s Football club who were looking for a new home and due to the extra numbers allowed us to enter a reserves side into the VWFL. The Surrey Park girls have been an absolute asset to our club and have thrown themselves in by taking on leadership roles both on & off the field.
Our senior side remain in Premier division with Darren Logan again as coach and Renee Grant as Captain. We have improved considerably over the season, and have 2 wins under our belt with one of those in an upset against St Albans who sits 2nd on the ladder.
Our reserves side had its first win last week against a 2nd placed Melbourne Uni. One win doesn’t truly reflect the Reserves season given that a number of games have been lost by very small margins and with Emma Thompson’s debut year as a coach and the seasoned Kim Barnes as captain look forward to more success on the field.
Having 2 sides has allowed DCWFC to provide extra playing opportunities to the community. For the super competitive the seniors is the place to be whilst for others, less pressure means more enjoyment and you can get that from the reserves. The reserves are also a place you can develop your skills should you strive to play seniors.
2008 brought many exciting opportunities to DWFT we had an injection of new life which came in the form of the Surrey Park girls and a new “never give up attitude”. Training was been held at the back oval up at Hurstbridge which had poor lighting and a shipping container formed our club & storage rooms. Skills were improving thanks to the dedication from Darren Logan and the dedication that was put forward toward training from the girls.
We were still struggling at game day but there was a new belief around the club, every challenge was met head on and every experience was learnt from and that was the beginning of DCWFC’s growth as a club! DCWFC senior side finished 5th on the VWFL ladder and the “creeker” storm was brewing!! Season 2008 saw the team go from one team to two teams (Reserves) where the focus was recruitment and skill building and a new logo was unveiled halfway through the season which was obtained from a Leader Newspaper reader in a competition ran in that paper. Season 2008 also saw the start of the women’s committee, with Nicole Fisher being President.
When our reserves side was introduced in 2008 it meant that we had one shower to share between 80-90 people.
We have not had access to the DCFC social rooms as we play on a Sunday and as the juniors also play Sunday’s the club would not allow us access into the rooms after our games. Our fundraising opportunities have been limited as we were not able to host functions as they needed to be held on a Friday night which was also the main training night for the juniors so therefore the rooms were unavailable to us.
In order to provide food & refreshments to players and spectators on game days and as there was no storage available to us at Marngrook Oval we would have to hook up a trailer and get all the necessary equipment from our shipping container in Hurstbridge as well as other equipment including the BBQ from the DCFC storage room.
After our matches and in order to host the opposition we would go across the road to the pub which was found to be inappropriate given that some of our players were under the age of 18. However not many people would join us due to the inconvenience and the lacking club atmosphere that was created from our inability to provide social rooms.
Although we were playing our matches out of Marngrook we had not been able to train there for 2 years as the senior club needed the ground for training due to their ground at Coventry oval being resurfaced.
We had been training up at the 2nd oval at Hurstbridge where the players including the Youth Girls would have to get changed in a shipping container where we stored our equipment.
In 2009 we were thrown a lifeline by the council 2 weeks out from the start of the season. A women’s Premier division soccer club that was to play out of Plenty Park folded and as a result we were offered the opportunity to play our home matches from there. The ability to run a canteen, bar, and functions etc… was amazing for our club.
This year we introduced a side to compete in the AFL Victoria Youth Girls Competition which is for girls aged between 13 and 18. Two of our senior players who began their careers with us as 14 year olds took on the coaching role and had only 2 losses for the season.
9 of our players were selected to compete in the AFL Victoria Metropolitan Championships with 2 of these players being named as Captain and Vice Captain. Kirsty Lamb, who prior to coming to DCW played 103 games (Girls record) with the Yarrambat Junior (boys) Football Club, won best & ground in all of the metro games. A Semi-Final debut was a great result for the first season given that the majority of the players had never touched a football before!
5 of our players were selected to participate in the VWFL Academy which is a program designed for elite football players in the VWFL Community of which the 2009 State squad was selected to play for Victoria in the Nationals which were held in Perth in June. These players were selected from the 1000 players that participate across the VWFL‘s four divisions. 4 of our players made the final cut and were instrumental in retaining Victoria’s 15 year undefeated records. 2 of our players were named in the “All Australian” side.
The Diamond Creek Women’s senior side is one of the best 2 teams in Victoria and although untested most likely Australia. We have 100 current playing members with that to increase up to approximately 130 with the inclusion of a second Youth Girls side in 2010.
DCWFC was very committed to growing its sport by providing opportunity to Women of all ages and skill levels an avenue to play Football as per Community demand. Our club is built on respect, camaraderie good sportsmanship, health, fitness and enjoyment as per our Club Mission Statement. We provide an environment of acceptance and a feeling of belonging and are a valued contributor to the Community.
2009 started off with a huge pre season and the creekers came out with a point to prove! With Darren Logan’s coaching skills the senior team went all the way to the Grand Final. With only 2 losses for the season to the very same side we lost the Grand Final to, it was clear to all associated with the VWFL that our senior side should not be taken lightly going in to 2010.
The reserves had a much better season, just missing out on finals; they had 6 wins for the year which was a vast improvement on the last. Melynda Dawson played her 100th game a first for the Creeker’s history.
Excluding its first season the DCWFC has had players represent the VWFL in the annual VWFL Country V Metro games that have been played on the then Optus Oval as well as the MCG. We have also had several players represent the VWFL on a State level with one player being named Vice Captain for the Victorian under 19’s squad. All DCWFC players that have represented Victoria began playing football with the DCWFC as 14 year olds
In 2009 we held an Auskick curtain raiser at half time of a seniors match and due to the number of girls participating in this program next year we will be running all female Auskick exhibition matches.
This was the year that our senior side only lost 2 games for the entire season both of them against the seemingly undefeatable Darebin who were also victors against us in the Grand Final.
Thus far for 2010 we have 10 players participating in the VWFL Academy and have facilitated a second under 18’s side. DCWFC is now the largest female football club in Victoria.
2010 was definitely a year of achievement off the field. In December 2009 we affiliated as own Sporting Body incorporating our name as Diamond Creek Women’s Football Club and officially separating from Diamond Creek Football Club. In the off season many exciting things were occurring. Plenty Cricket Club welcomed us to become their permanent winter tenants and we achieved funding from Nillumbik Council for training lights however on obtaining quotes we fell short of the required amount hence an application was lodged to Valley Community Financial Services and with the support of Chairman Barry Henwood the additional $20K was funded through their grants program facilitated by Hurstbridge, Diamond Creek & Eltham Community Bank branches of Bendigo Bank. An application was also lodged through Nillumbik Council to Sport & Recreation Victoria to upgrade the changerooms and storage areas to accommodate our club. This application was successful and after many meetings the works were scheduled for January 2011.
Diamond Creek Women’s Football Club & Plenty Valley FM made history on Sunday July 11th when the PVFM “Winners A Plenty” team called the senior match from our home ground at Plenty Park. This is the first time ever that a Victorian Women’s Football League match has been broadcast and called live on the radio.
The day commenced from 10am were the Diamond Creek u/18’s took on Diamond Creek u/15’s followed by the Reserves and Seniors who both took on Scoresby.
Included in the day was our Sponsors, Past, Present & Future Players Day which proved very successful in showcasing our club to its Past Players & Sponsors.
Bianca Richmond participated in the weekly Winners a Plenty broadcast with Pete, Crooksy & Mongoose.
A second side was entered into AFL Victoria’s Youth Girls Competition giving us a U/15’s and U18’s. This was a challenging step as early in the season we were plagued by injuries and Deb Balls! Getting the numbers in both sides proved difficult and there was a lot of pressure on everybody. However having only one side would have been fraught with its own issues as we had too many players for one team.
Tiahn Cowan, Bianca Richmond & Jess Eberle all played their 100th game for the club.
There were new beginnings in the Reserves & Seniors with new coaches announced and a new professional DCWFC was in the makings.. After a grand final loss the creekers were keen to seek some revenge!
Our senior side were clearly targeted as the side to beat and some of the Clubs we defeated last season were successful. However once again we finished in 2nd spot and found ourselves in pretty much the same position as the year before. The preliminary final was an absolute nail bitter against East Burwood were we just got over the line by 1 point. Some say we were lucky, I say it’s a testament to the fighting spirit that comes out in the Creekers when put under incredible pressure.
2011 is shaping up to be our consolidation year, with our facilities upgrade nearly complete and a strong focus on Leadership & Personal Development.
This year DCWFC are encouraging players to further grow as people as well as footballers. We have begun facilitating Leadership and Club Culture sessions with our Committee, Coach’s and Leadership Group and we will also be employing the services of the Reach Foundation to run Leadership and Development sessions with the Youth Girls.
There is a bigger onus on player’s responsibility towards the club with ownership being a large focus. New expectations have been set for Member’s to abide by as we focus on becoming a blueprint for Women’s Football Clubs to aspire to.
Currently we have 5 players vying for a spot in the VWFL State side with that competition set to take place in June in Adelaide.
We have scaled back to one side in the Youth Girls due to the inclusion of new sides around our area. This will reduce a lot of pressure on the players and all associated with the running of the Youth Girls. Northern Football League have this year taken over the running of the Northern Region Youth Girls and thus far have been fantastic to work with we look forward to seeing a strategic plan put in place for this competition.
For Seniors & Reserves at the time of writing we have only played 2 games, however the expectation is for Grand Final Victories in the “Year of the Creeker”!