Googlong clubs receive a financial boost

GOOGONG SPORTS: Googong football club's Brenton Russell and junior netball player Jada Thurlang. Photo: James Hall.
GOOGONG SPORTS: Googong football club's Brenton Russell and junior netball player Jada Thurlang. Photo: James Hall.

The emerging sporting clubs in Googong received a financial boost on Friday to help pay for essential equipment and uniforms.

The Australian football club, which is beginning to incorporate a netball club, was given $3661 by the state government while the township’s rugby league club was given $500.

Deputy premier John Barilaro handed the funds over to club president Robin Von Schelberger, who said the money would be used to update equipment which was up to 15 years old.

Von Schelberger said the football club was growing with Googong but competition with other sports makes maintaining player numbers difficult.

“We've got the three other codes of football that we're dealing with as well, rugby league is starting out here, we've got soccer and rugby union,” Von Schelberger said.

“Everyone has got their own little niche that they enjoy.”

But the football club is taking a leaf out of the southern states and combining forces with the netball club to create a stronger community atmosphere.

In South Australia and Victoria, where Von Schelberger and his vice-president originally come from, netball clubs are commonly incorporated in football clubs to boost social engagement and finances.

"That's our vision here and hopefully we get some of the other codes to come and join,” Von Schelberger said.

One advantage to Googong’s infancy is the modern change rooms and immaculate grounds, a rarity for Australian football clubs in the region.

"We've had some great feedback from our opposition,” Von Schelberger said. "We've had Friday night games and the grounds have been dry with no dew.”

"The facilities are nice and the grounds have been designed to MCG specs, so when it rains there's no water on it”

Through Barilaro’s connection to his beloved Monaro Panthers soccer club, he said he was all too familiar with the difficulty of raising money for the many expenses of sporting clubs.

“We know how hard it is and how many sausages you have to sell at a sausage sizzle to raise $3000 or even $500,” Barilaro said.

He said the advancements of sports teams in new townships such as Googong was a vital part of developing identity.

“For regional communities I think sport is the fabric that brings communities together,” Barilaro said.

“It's where families come together over a sausage and a cup of coffee and watch your kids play.”

“A lot of people do come together, I was involved with the Panthers for 11 years and a lot of the friends I have today have came through that.”

The Queanbeyan junior Australian football club also received $2000.