Hello Members and Families,

A warm welcome to the 2021 year, it has been an interesting year so far, coming back from COVID-19 2020 season and it is almost unfathomable that we are in June already issuing our first Banter for the year. This is testament to the hard work all of our board directors have undertaken ensuring the best possible start to a return to hockey.

We hope that you are coping with the current lockdown and we certainly share your frustration at not being able to run around playing hockey.  However, community health must take priority and we are doing our bit to stay COVID compliant.

If you or anyone you know needs support please contact your coach, team manager, or a board member to see what we can assist with – even if just to have a chat about how you are feeling.

We hope its a short break and to be back at our games very soon. Now with the snap lockdown and Round 7 unable to be played last weekend, we can take a breather and reflect on all the happenings of 2021 so far. There is a lot to report on.

The Board is working hard to make sure that our facilities are completed to the best standard possible, and Premier League compliant as quickly as possible. Please see below updates about lighting, watering on ASF and the scoreboard.

Social Events:  Upcoming social events aim at keeping everyone connected and enjoying the Club environment – we have a lot of events coming up so please be sure to save the dates!

We are also releasing a limited edition FHC “McIvor Reserve Gin” as a fundraiser for the senior section of the Club and Junior Parents, and hope that you will support this initiative during the month of June.  Stay tuned for more details.

One last item – and a plug for Masters player Clive Quick who will be part of the support team for his son Tommy Quick who is planning to ride an incumbent bike across Australia and then up the East coast to raise $1m for stroke awareness.   For more details and to support his fantastic effort (please note any donations as being from FHC members as this will be a huge boost to both Tommy and Clive) go to www.4points.org  Tommy is really a great character and very committed to completing this amazing challenge.  More updates will follow as we track his progress.

If you have any questions about our club happenings, please don’t hesitate to contact our General Secretary Mel Morton at general.secretary@footscrayhockey.com.au she will direct your enquiry to the responsible Director.

Stay safe, keep connected and we will see you all on the track in no time.  May you all have a terrific season in 2021.

Rodney ‘RJ’ Johnstone



The board held its AGM in February 2021, a few months after the usual December meeting due to COVID.

10 board directors were elected and in the first meeting of the new board, Rodney Johnstone was elected as President and Nicole Virtuoso as Vice President.

We thank outgoing grounds director, Scott Shaw for his contributions and recognise Brendan Sheehan’s countless years of dedication to the Board.

We welcome Greg Hopkins to the planning and development portfolio and Mel Morton to the general secretary role. Neil ‘Cosi’ Coster returns to his role as grounds director.

We are all very happy to be having a real season (even if it has been interrupted) and enjoying being able to see everyone’s faces at the club. 



We are so appreciative to our members for complying with the rules to date and assisting us to run a COVID Safe season.

We take this opportunity to remind all members to please ensure that they are continuing to follow our COVID rules:

  1. Check in using the QR codes every time you come to the Club
  2. Sanitise your hands regularly
  3. Keep 1.5m
  4. If you have any symptoms, please stay home and get tested

Your assistance with this helps us to run our season and keep all of our members safe.



The first project of the year was to run the primary school road show clinics in 7 local primary schools, delivering a hockey experience to over 1800 primary school aged children. Facilitated by FHC’s very own coaches, the program was a huge success. In conjunction with the school hockey clinics, around 10,000 flyers were handed out as an invitation to attend 4 FREE Come and Try clincis.

Unfortuantely the first clinic was cancelled with the first Snap Lockdown in February, however the next 3 saw over 140 children give hockey a go.

A huge thank you to Nicole Virtuoso for arranging the school road show clinics and come and try sessions. This is the 7th year Nicole has been undertaking this task, seconded by the late Brendan Sheehan to use her knowledge of the school system. Brendan’s model lives on and this year converted close to 60 participants into new FHC members, predominantly in the U6, U8 and U10 program. We could not have had such success if it were not for our wonderful Junior Director Mel Sanders and all our volunteer coaches and admin helpers on the Come and Try evenings so thank you very much.



The biggest project of 2021, has undoubtedly been the completion of the Brendan Sheehan Field (BSF). Planning & Performance Director Greg Hopkins took over the reigns and continued Brendan’s work until completion.

Efforts with Maribyrnong Council & Polytan were a weekly occurrence with multitudes of correspondence being exchanged to get things finalised. Brendan’s amazing work to gain the best possible outcome for our club and members is evident in many of the key features of the pitch and surrounds.

The dugout area is still to be completed with 2 new dugouts for players, tech bench, and 2 storage areas. This funding was obtained from Maribyrnong Council in addition to the $1.7 million pitch redevelopment project. Recently Council and FHC have come to an agreed design and works should commence shortly after this lockdown is over.

We are finalising the fencing around the whole facility by finishing the northern end of  ASF and our western boundary.  All new fencing will be completed by Council around the areas that still have the old galvanised mesh. The northern fence on ASF will have an extra cut-out area for the filming scaffold to be permanently located.  We are also seeking to have the gaps in ASF for practice goal storage covered as well as the southern fence increased in size to match BSF side fencing. We anticipate that this will be completed before the end of the year.

To ensure that our renovated Clubrooms could be a ‘home’ for us all to be proud of, Greg Hopkins spent a substantial amount of time attending to the erection of flags, banners, memorabilia, and honour boards. How on earth would we have been ready for the opening in 2020!

We thank Greg and his band of Volunteers for all of the work they have done to create Clubrooms we can all enjoy and appreciate the history of our great club.

In the social area we are going to have the carpets and ceiling panels replaced with Councils 2021-2022 budget and this will effectively mean the entire facility has been renewed (with ASF pitch to be replaced in the normal cycle in a few years time).  Truly an amazing result with fantastic support from Council – so please next time you have an opportunity to thank Council staff or Councilors please do so.

Once completed it will be a terrific new complex to be proud of.



March 2021 finally gave us the chance to come together as a club and celebrate two of our club greats, Alby Speed and Brendan Sheehan.

We were blessed to hear from two of the most important people in Alby and Brendan’s lives, Alby’s wife, Bobbie, and Brendan’s wife, Julie-Anne (better known as JA). We heard from Mayor Cr. Michael Clarke, Hockey Victoria CEO Andrew Skillern and some of our board and club members.


Bobbie took the opportunity to remind us of the contributions that Alby had made not only to FHC but also to the broader community.

As two of the most important people in the history of our Club. The speeches were full of wonderful memories, and some laughs, paying tribute to two greats of not only our club, but the Hockey community as a whole.

The kids who attended on the day enjoyed a fun hockey session in honour of the contribution that Brendan and Alby made to developing our Club.



You will have noticed a change since the start of 2021 to the use of ASF (formerly F1) and BSF (formerly F2).

In order to properly honour our two club greats we made the decision to officially change the abbreviations of our two fields to match the field names.



FHC has already hosted 3 terrific functions, A Day on the Fields, Round 1 Ipod Shuffle Night and Women’s Round.

There is plenty more to come and I thank the organising committees of each one. Many hands make light work.

If you’d like to get involved in social functions or fundriasing please contact Rodney Johnstone sponsorship@footscrayhockey.com.au 


Round 1 kicked off with an Ipod Shuffle Night, many members attended, danced and listened to their chosen tunes.

Thank you to Georgia Hopkins for organising the evening.

Congratulations to Alex Shirley, Liam Briathwaite and Campbell Ashton for taking out the last 3 songs of the evening, agreeing to split the prize pool.


Women’s Round was celebrated in pink style with thanks to Georgia Hopkins, Georgia Cutrale, Hayley McAlinden and Julie-Anne Sheehan for all your support putting on a lovely Women’s afternoon tea.

Every Women & Girls team wore pink ribbons in their hair and many home teams provided afternoon tea for their opposition.

Thank you to all our generous members who helped us to raise $597.45 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

At FHC we are placing the emphasis around mental health and the role that belonging to a sporting organisation can play in creating a sense of connection and an opportunity to engage in dialogue with each other. We welcome past and present male players/supporters to come down and support our Premier League Men’s teams (MPL – 3:30pm, MPLR – 5:00pm) on Saturday the 19th of June at Alby Speed Field (F1) and socialise with each other in the rooms afterwards.
We extend a particular welcome to the premiership players of 2011 who played off in an absolute nail biter, going to sudden death strokes. Through their subsequent victory, they forged their place in our club’s history by earning us promotion into State League 1, now Premier League. Following the Men’s Premier League Reserves game we will be streaming the 2011 Grand Final inside the clubrooms, starting from 7pm. Please hang around and join us in remembering a very momentous occasion in our clubs’ history!
It would be a great opportunity to reconnect with past members, have a few laughs and reminisce about ‘the good old days’ whilst at the same time providing a very vocal supporter base for our Premier League Players as they take on TEM at the Kennel. Our Men’s Pennant C team will also be taking on TEM at 12:30pm on the Brendan Sheehan field. So blokes, get on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, SMS or whatever your choice of communication and get some old hockey mates and/or males in your family down to FHC so that we can keep connected!
**Please note, this is all COVID restriction pending! We may need to reschedule for a later date, if necessary.**

80’S NIGHT – Saturday 26th June

Huge thanks to Laura Anderson and her “Pentro” volunteers for putting on an 80’s dress up night.

So many people are really looking forward to donning their 80’s apparel and strutting their stuff on the night.

Stay tuned for further details!


Howard Niklas is organsing Naidoc week activities at the club with his committee; Mel Sanders, Mel Morton , Gabby Minett, Jodie Weerasekera, Carrol Burt and Caley Manzie (of Waverley HC).

There is SO SO SO much to do at our first ever NAIDOC Week event at Footscray Hockey Club! Come and celebrate with us!

Get up close to Native Animals such as the Saltwater Crocodiles and Giant Python, witness a Wurundjeri Elder conduct a smoking ceremony and learn about Aboriginal culture. Help Native Stingless Bees by building them a home and pot a Native Plant with our sponsor Bunnings Warehouse Australia to help lure them into your garden!!

Our Premier League also host Hawthorn Hockey Club on Sunday 11th July and it is the Hockey Victoria livestream round so expect a full house!







TRIVIA NIGHT – 31st July

VIP & SPONSOR’S DAY – 31st July

Stay tuned for further information!




Stay tuned, FHC are releasing a limited edition FHC “McIvor Reserve Gin” as a fundraiser for the senior section of the club and junior parents.

We hope that you will support this initiative during the month of June.



Undoubtedly the most frustrating barrier of 2021 has been the McIvor Reserve lighting issues.

The short version is when the footy club lights were installed a few years ago on the back oval, a lighting capacity board was installed by Maribyrnong Council for the whole of McIvor Reserve (for FHC, soccer and footy) at the back of the F2 pitch with a capacity of around 315 amps. Unfortunately the electrical engineer grossly understated the capacity required which is over 500 amps (council no longer engage with this electrical engineering company). 

 The impact was not fully realised, until after F1 and F2 had many of its blown globes replaced after the pavillion renovation was completed. McIvor Reserve kept tripping when soccer, footy and FHC were in use at the same time and after a number of months of investigations (in between lockdowns in 2020) it was discovered in mid 2020 that the capacity board needed to be upgraded by Council and they engaged wtih Jemena/Zinfra. Maribyrnong Council advised it would take around 12 months to recitry the problem and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade. The lockdowns in the 2nd half of 2020 did not help expedite the project.

The board has been following this up continuously, Nicole Virtuoso leading the communciations with Council. in May 2021, Jemena/Zinfra and Maribyrnong Council have signed off on the works to commence. Currently the status is for works to be completed within 12 weeks. Maribyrnong Council is paying for the upgrade of the lighting board. All in all the 12 month timeline is going to plan, considering the lockdowns of 2020 delaying the project.

The largest impact has been on Junior and Senior Pennant and Metro training and some Wednesday Masters and Friday Junior games. We thank all our members for their understanding during this period, please contact Nicole shoould you have any questions.

In the mean time, FHC, Yarraville Glory Soccer Club and Yarraville Eagles Football club work to the following agreed lighting schedule so that we don’t trip the whole of McIvor Resreve.

MON ASF lights used
BSF lights used
No lights used No lights used
TUE ASF 5.30pm – 10.00pm
BSF 8.30pm on
10.00pm off
7pm on
8.30pm off
5:45pm on
8pm off
WED ASF 5.30pm – 10.00pm
BSF 8.30pm on
10.00pm off
7pm on
8.30pm off
5:45pm on
8pm off
THU ASF 5.30pm – 10.00pm
BSF 8.30pm on
10.00pm off
7pm on
8.30pm off
5:45pm on
8pm off
FRI ASF 7.00pm – 10.00pm
BSF 8.30pm on
10.00pm off
7pm on
8.30pm off
No lights used
ASF lights used
BSF lights used
No lights used
No lights used
ASF 5.30pm – 10.00pm
BSF 8.30pm on
10.00pm off
7pm on
8.30pm off
5:45pm on
8pm off
ASF 5.30pm – 10.00pm
BSF 8.30pm on
10.00pm off
7pm on
8.30pm off
5:45pm on
8pm off
ASF 5.30pm – 10.00pm
BSF 8.30pm on
10.00pm off
7pm on
8.30pm off
5:45pm on
8pm off
ASF 7.00pm – 10.00pm
BSF 8.30pm on
10.00pm off
7pm on
8.30pm off
No lights used




Another frustration has been the watering system and scoreboard not functioning properly.

Firstly the watering system, when the builders were undertaking the pavilion project, they disconnected the main switchboard and wired up a temporary switch for the watering system. Unfortunately they did not re-wire up the fuse to drain the coffins of the 2 middle water cannons, thus the coffin did not drain when used next and the cannon, pump and all the electricals sat in water for some time. There has been many attempts by electricians, plumbers and water cannon specialists at getting the system back up and running.

Much work has been undertaken, only to find another issue. Presently due to the system being 25 years old, only a few people in Australia have the knowledge or skills to fix the issues. Presently the final programming is the next step and we are waiting for an expert to fly over from interstate to fix. Maribyrnong council is paying for these repairs and thanks to Neil Coster for all the follow up work on this project. Please reach out to Neil if you have any further questions.

The scoreboard initially had the same fate as the watering system, with re-wiring during the pavillion project halting electricity to the unit. Once this was resolved, a series of malfunctions continued every time it was in use. The company that installed the scoreboard is due to come out and conduct a full check and service. Some good news is that last round, it was working. Thanks to Rodney Johsntone for chasing this up, please reach out to Rodney if you have any further questions.




Are you a parent wanting to keep occupied while their child trains or a young adult looking to get some work experience around their school & training commitments? 

We are looking for some wonderful new volunteers for our hockey HQ to assist in running HQ Mondays – Thursdays between 5:30pm to 7pm.

You will learn how to use a POS, stock control etc.

If required a reference will be provided to any volunteer when they are seeking part time work.

If you are interested or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Karen Johnstone – Retail Director retail@footscrayhockey.com.au


HQ is open when volunteers are available to cover the following times Monday to Thursday 5.30pm to 7pm.  Fridays & Weekends are based on availability.


For those that are yet to meet her, Sally has taken on the role as our canteen manager and has been doing a terrific job.

We are very lucky to have a quality new kitchen. We love everyone’s enthusiasm for the new canteen but we remind everyone that because of our food safety obligations, only Karen (director), Sally (manager) and rostered volunteers are permitted in the canteen/kitchen area. Anyone else should first say hello and ask to enter. If others enter without permission we may lose our food licence which means no more hot chippies or schnitzel Thursdays so please ensure you are abiding by this. 

For all volunteers, we remind members to please introduce yourself at the window before entering the canteen.

The Junior Country Champs were held at Footscray recently and we thank all of the volunteers for their help and support in the canteen and HQ as well as around the facility generally, during that tournament.  We look forward to the Mens Country Champs over the Queens birthday weekend (assuming it all goes ahead) and hope to have your support once again. These events are a great supplement to the Clubs overall revenue and help keep our membership fees at reasonable levels.


Thanks to those who have used SignUp to select a time for their canteen duty, it is greatly appreciated.

For those that are yet to do so, we have 41% of spots filled and we will begin the process of allocating slots to those who are yet to SignUp for their or their child’s required duty. Check at SignUp for available days and times.


 A huge shout out to the Grants Sub Committee, Brie Keel, Howard Niklas and Harry Zac who have currently been successful in winning grants for:
  • COVID-19 recovery – Sanitising stations
  • City of Maribyrnong Community Grant – NAIDOC Week
  • Stockland Care Grant – NAIDOC Week
  • Australia Post, People of Post Grant – Goalkeeper Training Aid

If you have any interest in being involved in FHC grants, please contact Gerg Hopkins planning@footscrayhockey.com.au



At the next board meeting, the FHC board is going to discuss the possibility and implications of a Dog Trial at the club. Considerations include a safe area, rules for owners, protocols and member feedback. If you’d like to have your say for board consideration please e-mail general.secretary@footscrayhockey.com.au

While board members gather some general feedback, we remind all members and visitors that the current rule of NO DOGS inside the venue is in place. It is disapointing to see some of our members and outside visitors break this rule and bring their dogs inside the venue, clubrooms or changerooms! It begs to question if members will follow the rules of a Dog Trial if the current rule of NO DOGS can not be followed.

Please do the right thing so that an informed decision can be made about a trial.


The Women’s section is flourishing with entering an additional 8th team this season in the Pennant F competition.  We welcomed David Gorton PD, Sarah Houchar PE and Tania Bezzobs MB to the coaching team along with returning coaches Alex Shirley PL, Phil Frost RES, Laura Anderson PA, Tahlya Sleep PB, Nicole Virtuoso PF.

Pre-season was amazing, with training attendance the strongest it has been for several years and plenty of practice matches. Round 1 couldn’t have come quick enough with pre-season 4.0 done and dusted. Results have been pleasing to date and every team has improved across the first 6 rounds of the season. We have plenty of numbers and goal keepers to field 8 teams comfortably, a healthy fill in list and an abundance of juniors to call up for a game.

A few key people to thank; Lynda Thomas, Laura Anderson, Angela Thompson, Karen Johnstone, Andrew Wiseman and all the team managers and helpers.

Look out 2021, this year is going to be a solid foundation for many years to come.


The men’s section are currently seeing the best attendance at training the club has ever seen, all thanks to Chris Provis-Vincent who’s running the Pennant and Metro training sessions on Mondays. Thanks Chris!

We’ve welcomed Tim Strapp who’s introduced a new style to the PL side, coaching along side Hernie Isorema PLR and Damo Christensen PA.

Also thanks to those that have taken up the other grades, Chris Provis-Vincent PC, Nick Dabner PD, Tung Le MA and Jason Healey MB.

Thanks to all the off field volunteers that help on the men’s side.

Special thanks to Liam Braithwaite with the sponsorship, Andrew Wiseman for selection and photos and Nicole for the long mid week calls.

All the best for the remainder of the 2021 season.


Finally! Rounds 1-4 are in the books! Done, finished, completed and nothing can take them away from us!
For season 2021, we entered 13 teams into the Hockey Victoria Competition ranging from Under 10 to Under 16. We are also running a massive Under 8’s and Under 6’s program with almost 100 kids in the facility on a Wednesday night between 5.15pm and 6pm.
We have a full board of coaches and it is incredibly pleasing to see Emmy Wynn and Freya Hudson from our Under 12 Girls Shield team coaching the Tangerine Terriers in the Under 8 competition.
Our team managers and age group coordinators are doing an absolutely massive job getting teams and results sorted every week.
The appetite to learn how to umpire has also been developed this year with an amazing amount of beginners putting their hands up to begin their umpiring journey. It is so special to see all four of our Under 10 HV and both of our Under 12 Shield teams having an Under 14 Sibling or Under 14 Junior as their permanent umpire each week. These umpires are becoming more and more confident each week and I’m sure the financial incentive has nothing to do with how much they are enjoying the challenge!
We can’t wait to see you all after the break, refreshed and ready to go. Until then, stay safe and stay well!


What a pleasure it is to be playing again and enjoying the game and the camaraderie that we missed so much during 2020!

Here’s a quick snapshot of the Masters’ teams progress to date – some good results recently – of note the Men’s 45B recently beating the top team to notch up their first win.

Women’s 35A 4th
Men’s 45B – 5th
Women’s 45s – 6th
Men’s 50B 3rd
Men’s 60s 6th

Congratulations to the following FHC players and officials who were selected in the 2021 Victorian Masters teams who will compete in Newscastle later this year. We are very proud of your achievements!

45s Div1: Stu McLean, Tung Le, Nigel Toussaint
55s Div1: Greg Hopkins, Phil Frost (Coach), Heather Shaw (Manager)
55s Div 2: Geoff Peacock
65s: Geoff Lewis, Geoff Pilley, Nev Hopkins, Peter Byrne
70s: David Sonenberg, John Traill, Neil Coster (GK) John Munro (Coach)
75s: David Sinclair



Angus Le and David Leinert were selected in the U15 Victorian Development team. They competed in Bathurst, NSW in the U15’s National Tournament. It was a tough tournament for the Development Squad, but the lessons learned and friendships developed will stay with the boys for a lifetime.
Bridgette de la Mere and Sam O’Brien where selected in the U18 Victorian Women’s and Men’s teams respectively. Bridgette and Sam travelled to Launceston to compete in the U18 National Championships.
Sam played off in the Bronze medal match and the U18 Men’s team was successful in securing the third place.
Bridgette and her Under 18 Women’s team made it all the way to the big dance and brought home a silver to Victoria.
Emmy Wynn and Jack Tamblyn were selected in the School Sport Victoria U12 Teams, with Renee Brown being selected as a train on in the Girl’s Team.
Congratulations  to these athletes and we look forward to the U13 Draft Camps, trials and National Championships to be held in October.
Pictured: Sam O’Brien


Massive congratulations to Carly for her selection into the National Women’s Development Squad for 2021. She is one of 12 new additions and identified by her strong performances in last year’s Australian Junior Women’s Hockey Team (Jillaroos).
Hockeyroos coach Gaudoin said, “selection of this NDS group is very much about making sure that our next group of athletes not only get an opportunity to perform and be in a strong training environment, but also have the opportunity to realise their dreams of being selected for the national senior squad”.
Carly will continue to train in Melbourne for the NDS under the guidance of the national program coaches.
All the best Carly with your endevours, you make us so proud.


Congratulations to the following players who have been selected for the Western Wildcats teams! The Junior State Championships are being held in regional Victoria for the first time in a very long time, with all of the Boys age groups being played in Shepparton and all of the Girls age groups being played in Bendigo from 1st July – 4th July.
U13 BOYS Archie Harper, Archie Toussaint, Callum Wickson, Cooper Hibbard, Lachlan Toussaint, Max Dolence, Michael Aguilera, Oscar Tilders, Sebastian Dabner, Thomas Spottiswood
U13 GIRLS Audrey Boyle, Chiara Virtuoso, Erika Digney, Renee Brown, Ruby Gorton, Sage Toussaint, Elliott Thomson
U15 BOYS Angus Le, Caleb Fowler, Charlie Keating, David Lienert, Ned Graham
U15 GIRLS Evelyn Boyle, Hunnar Sandu, Jamie Lam, Renae McAlinden, Zoe Brown
U18 BOYS Daniel Lienert, Ewan Bezzobs
U18 GIRLS Jamie Colwell, Kate Lavers, Laura Milford, Maddi Price, Elena Serovski, Maddie Bezzobs


Congratulations to Ewan Bezzobs who has been selected in the Talented Umpire program and our very own Sam Cutrale is one of the Umpire Developers.
As a part of HV’s strategic plan they are dedicated to providing support and development to the officiating community.
The Talented Umpire Development Program will pair each umpire with one of our Zone Umpire Developers, who will work with participants on a range of umpire topics across 2021.
The content they will work through is based on the former Umpire Development Program from 2013, produced by our very own Victorian Officials.

Thank you

A huge thank you to all of the board directors who helped to get this Bulldog Banter finalised. In particular, Nicole Virtuoso for all of her editing efforts.

Do you want to be the new Bulldog Banter Editor?

We would love to hear form anyone who would like to take on the role as Bulldog banter Editor for 2021 (and ongoing if you’d like).

If you are interested, please email Mel Morton, general.secretary@footscrayhockey.com.au

Do you have any article suggestions?

We would love to hear from you. Please send through any suggestions to Mel Morton, general.secretary@footscrayhockey.com.au with the subject line “Bulldog Banter Article”