With football clubs around the state continuing to isolate amidst the current COVID-19 regulations, captain of the Dalyston Football Netball Club in West Gippsland, Blake Carew, has provided a timely reminder of what community footy is all about with a social media post going viral in recent days.
When his side should have been readying for an ANZAC Day clash with Garfield last weekend, Blake was instead penning an ode to his club and community that struck at the heart of the grassroots game and has since been read by over 200,000 people online.
“Football has been part of me my whole life, but it’s not the game I miss.
I miss getting to training mid-week when it’s wet and windy, after being inside all day.
I miss seeing my friends in an environment where they are most completely themselves.
I miss building something together with my club, in it together.
I miss waking up on game day, packing my bag hardly being able to eat.
I miss watching the reserves and talking absolute jive with the boys, coffee in hand.
I miss the hour after the game, sitting and having a beer in the rooms.
It’s never been about the game, it’s been about the people, the club and the community.”
– Blake Carew, Captain – Dalyston Football Netball Club
The 27-year-old from Wonthaggi had been preparing to launch into his 12th season as a senior player at Dalyston, having played juniors from U13’s and extending on his families existing roots at the club.
“My Father Anthony played all of his football at the Dalyston Football Club, naturally, this meant that I have been out at the nest basically since I was born,” Carew said.
“Just like most footballers around the country, I had completed another full preseason and even managed to sneak in two practice matches before the COVID-19 lockdown stopped the season.
“Our preseason felt a little bit different this year, we really bolstered our support network at the football club and invested heavily in the people that had been long time magpies, I was really looking forward to seeing our guys see the progress they had made.”
Whilst the timeline for a return to the field for Carew and his Dalyston team-mates remains unknown, his pride in his club and community has only been strengthened during the lay-off period.
“As I have grown older I have realised that playing Football and Netball is simply a link that brings us together at our Club, our club has a rich history of being a family club and it’s something we are really proud of.
“We have an unbelievable committee led by President Andy Thomas who go above and beyond to give us a place to play and belong on Saturdays. Whether it’s Claire in the Canteen, Frank and Dennis serving beers in Bay 14, Nelly strapping my shoulders, Geoff hanging our jumpers out ready to throw on to play, you really do notice and appreciate the volunteers that make clubs what they are.
“If there’s one thing that I want more then anything to be at the end of this weird and wonderful time in football, it would be that every club that was active before the lockdown returns to the field in 2021 in as good a financial position as they did heading into 2020. And although I’d love to play football this year, I will refuse to play if it will hamstring my club, other clubs and leagues into the future.”
– Riley Brettell
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