I am reaching out to everyone to give you an update on all things Balmain Touch, update you on some recent changes within the club, and prepare for the upcoming Summer Touch Football competition. With the absence of our usual Winter competition (a slightly modified mini comp is currently running), I am sure that many of you are waiting eagerly to get back on the hallowed turf of Timbrell Park.

As some of you may be aware, the club recently held an Annual General Meeting (AGM) which has resulted in some changes in the Executive of the club. After many years of service, President Paul Robinson (Balmain Touch Life Member) has decided to resign from his position within the club. Our thanks to Paul for all the years of service he has given to Balmain Touch over the years.

Additionally, club Secretary / Treasurer, Brian Ware (affectionately known as Dixie to all) has also decided to call it a day in his role. Dixie (also a Balmain Touch Life Member) goes back basically as far as Balmain Touch does! In recent years he has been “the face” that everyone sees over the counter at the club house. Always great for a chat, we would all love to see Dixie’s face around again. Thanks for all you have done for Balmain Touch!!!

With their departure from those roles, the following people were elected as the new executive for the club:

Picture of the Balmain Touch Football executive committee President – Wayne Calleja
Vice President – Ben Jones
Secretary – Dilani Blundell
Treasurer – Richard Stone

On behalf of the new executive, I want to thank all that have chosen to entrust us to lead this club into a new era. I can assure you all that we have commenced our roles with a great amount of passion, and we all have great visions for ways to build the Balmain Touch Football club to even greater heights in the future. We hope to build on the legacy of those that came before us!

While there are a great number of tasks that have had to be taken on immediately, I think our visions can be summed up under the following three points:

  1. Grow the local park competition to levels not seen at Balmain for over a decade, and beyond;
  2. Build our representative pathways to ensure all Balmain Touch players have the best opportunity to excel at the highest levels; &
  3. Re-align the Balmain Senior Club to the Balmain Juniors, to provide a greater pathway to all players from our local area

Balmain SeniorsBalmain JuniorsTo expand a bit further, Balmain Touch aims to be the best place for all our community to play our great sport, whether you simply want to come down to Timbrell Park on a weeknight to get some exercise, or catch up with your friends, or you are aiming to compete at the higher levels of representative football. With alignment to our Junior club, this will help to ensure we are keeping all our junior players coming through to our senior park competition. This will both increase participation, and help to improve the quality of Touch played locally. Additionally, this creates a seamless pathway for referee development to continue from junior play, into senior park football, and for those interested, onwards to the representative scene. Additionally, alignment between the Juniors and Seniors will see closer interaction to allow more Senior players to help bring along our stars of tomorrow. This is a very exciting time! Our thanks and gratitude to everyone in the Balmain Juniors for all your recent support.

Our representative pathway is important to not only provide those that want to compete at higher levels that opportunity, but also enhances the player experience for our park competition. We would really like more people to compete at this level, and we aim to give everyone that wants the opportunity, to do so at Balmain. This means for all players, but importantly, coaches and referees as well. The more coaches and referees we produce, the more this quality comes back to Timbrell Park.

I think with all mentioned above, you can clearly see how park and rep football have a symbiotic relationship with each other. Please know that the new executive consider all this to be our key success criteria. We are very motivated to make this happen! We have a diverse background from a Touch perspective. We have played across numerous Touch affiliates over the years, and seen what works well in other places. I am not shy in saying we will happily take ideas that work elsewhere and bring it into our house. At our inaugural committee meeting, lots of new and exciting ideas were discussed as well, so stay tuned! The committee also cover all aspects of Touch at Balmain (women’s, mixed and men’s), so we believe you will see consideration to all forms of Touch.

Happily, we can inform that two key members of the non-executive committee have remained for the journey:

Sharlene Wong remains as the Digital Co-Ordinator for our club. Sharlene is responsible for all our digital aspects, from Facebook and email, through to managing our website and online competitions (a new interface is coming this year too, more on that later). On behalf of the new committee, we are truly indebted to Sharlene for helping us in our transition to the executive. Thank you!!!

Referees Director - Steve PrattSteve Pratt continues as the Referees Director (a role he holds for both the Seniors and Juniors). Steve has already done a lot to build the referees stocks at Timbrell, leveraging his relationships with other clubs to help Balmain as well. We have a lot planned for the future of referees at Balmain….more on that below. Again, thank you Steve for organising a role that is often taken for granted in all sports, but is arguably the most critical. And a shameless plug…this year Steve became the only referee to be awarded the highest level of achievement for our club. Accreditation levels are awarded from 1 to 6 for referees (starting at 1). At this years National Touch League, Steve was awarded with his Level 6 badge. Many years of work go into this, so a big congratulations to Steve on his fantastic achievement. That expertise is what will be guiding our referees at Timbrell Park.

We would love every player (and team) that has played down at Timbrell over the last decade or so that we no longer see to “come home” and do it all again. To those that were here last Summer, we can’t wait to do it all again soon. We hope to be able to offer all levels of competition in women’s, men’s and mixed games.

I hope this gives you a bit of an idea of some of the vision we have as a club. We would really like to open the door to everyone. We want to be available to everyone to approach, whether it is at the park, or via a digital means.

A few key happenings for the club right now:

Summer Competition – Tentatively lock in the dates of 13/14 October to start running again. So start building your teams, get your uniforms ready, and dust off the boots. More detail will follow within the next month.

Touch Football Australia logo New website, new registration process – Touch Football Australia decided to part with the previous database (Sports TG), and launch a new database called My Sideline. As a result, the club has launched a new website. This will look slightly different, but it will be business as usual.  balmaintouch.com.au and will also link with our Junior club.

With this new launch, we have decided to align the registration process to the more commonly used practice in Touch, which is an individual registration process. This means rather than one person registering the team and paying funds (having to collect on behalf an entire team), each player will register individually, and pay their own fee. It should simplify things for all team managers. More will come when we launch the competition within the next month.

Balmain Vawdon Cup logo Representative Season – Due to the Covid pandemic, the representative season has been delayed till September. Good luck to all involved. I am sure you will represent Balmain exceptionally. We have one Women’s team, and two Men’s side representing this year.

Covid…the competition will look different – Due to the pandemic, there will be some changes to the way we have to run the competition. Each affiliate has to have a Covid plan, which Balmain touch has already completed. To ensure that we can run a full competition, we will have to ensure compliance to this. Be assured that if all things remain as they are now (restrictions wise), we can run a full park competition. We will detail everything needed prior to us taking the field.

Sponsorship – Like any local sporting organisation, we need as much support as possible. We have three key channels that we are seeking support in:

  • Park competition – advertising to our local competition, via all means such as banner advertising, social media, website, email etc
  • Referees – They are the one constant face of every game. We would love to deck our Balmain park referees out with a custom uniform. Advertising on the referees shirts would give prime exposure to anyone involved in the park competition
  • Representative teams – this offers exposure to the entire NSW Touch network via the rep competitions, Vawdon Cup (Sydney Championships), and State Cup

Currently we are seeking all options, with opportunity for major sponsorship (prime jersey branding), through to support options for minor sponsorship. For any local businesses that our member base can support (local business, recreation venues, merchandise, physical wellbeing etc), we can offer support through our 500+ members, plus hosting of functions for our representative teams. While financial support to the club is vital, businesses that we can support in return are especially great so we can guarantee a return on investment.

Please reach out if you are interested. We are grateful to any support you can provide to help grow our club together.

Extended Committee Roles – Now that the executive committee has been finalised, the next step is to get as much support from our members as possible. Volunteers are crucial to the successful running of both our park comp, and the representative sides. The roles that we need assistance with are as follows:

  • Ground Official / Timekeeper / Canteen – manage the club house operations for our game nights. Multiple volunteers needed to ease load / allow game time for players
  • Uniform Co-Ordinator – ordering of uniforms for both park and representative teams
  • Representative Co-Ordinator – run the operations of the rep sides, from registrations, accommodation, ground hire, catering etc
  • Registrar – assist the Digital Co-Ordinator with online results entry, weekly attendance, registration etc

As the saying goes, “many hands make light work”. By no means are any of these roles “one person only”. We understand that most people will be playing, but if you can assist on game nights especially (before or after your game), these roles become much easier to manage for individuals. We are seeking greater inclusion from our members going forward to try build the sense of community / club within the Balmain Touch family.

Should you know someone that no longer plays / refs, but is keen to get involved (a parent / uncle / auntie etc), we would love to hear from them.

Referees Always Wanted - If the club can incent more people to “pick up a whistle”, we can grow our referee base, providing greater support to our men and women in white. This only helps our competition. New referees are always supported by experienced officials, and are coached continuously to help improve performance. The club will also put you through the relevant training courses (Level 1 course being the entry level) to ensure you are educated as required. Opportunities then exist to move on to representative officiating if you are interested.

So whether you are interested in a bit of extra fitness, a bit of extra spending money, or playing is no longer for you, why not give refereeing a try. Please let us know if you are interested, and we can support you accordingly. 

New Clubhouse coming soon – FYI, council are in the final stages of completing the design for the new clubhouse at Timbrell Park. How lucky we are to have a brand new facility being built at Timbrell park to cater for not only the thousands of Touch Football people, but all other sports as well. The design is hoped to be finalised in the next month or so. Current planning is aiming at the two current buildings being demolished in February 2020, with competition targeted for mid next year.
Proposed plan for new clubhouse at Timbrell Park

So to all Balmain Touch members, past and present, thank you for being with us. As mentioned, we have lots more to follow in the current months and years. As great as Touch has been at our local park for many years, we are always looking to grow and improve the experience for all. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know. We are always keen to know our members thoughts.

Can’t wait to get going again soon!!!

Balmain Touch Football logo
Wayne Calleja
BTFA President

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