History of the Clubs Association with the Goldfields JF Association

How it Began and Through the Years

All junior clubs in the metro and country area have always been aligned to each of the WAFL clubs, thereby any talented player playing in a junior club in a WAFL clubs assigned district can automatically be recruited to play for their parent WAFL club only. If a junior, turning senior player wishes to play for another WAFL club then they must first apply for clearance from their parent club. This order of hierarchy is still in place today.

With this in mind, from the first day a Ballajura player stepped on a footy field in 1985 until the end of the 1995 season Ballajura was 'under the wing' of East Perth Football Club, as were most clubs in the northern Central District. Claremont, Scarborough, City Beach were in Subiaco district; Whitfords, Warwick, Sorrento, Kingsley were aligned to West Perth district and so on and so forth. East Perth FC's country zone included the South West and the Lower South West. In 1988 Ballajura set up a billeting, away and home game arrangement with the Busselton Junior Football Club similar to our arrangements today with Kalgoorlie, however at that time as we were a considerably much smaller club so, departed on Friday night returning Sunday afternoon we took away all of our 13's, 15's and 17's to Busselton for games.

During the 'off season' 1995/1996, the Football Development Trust, together with the WAFL Clubs (then WESTAR) decided that, because of large numbers of juniors in some regions and diminishing numbers in other regions, a rezoning of the WAFL catchment areas was necessary. As a result and because of our ever increasing number of playing members, and the fact that Subiaco FC had previously been suffering lack of numbers of teams to form a reasonable competition we were zoned out of the East Perth FC district and into the Subiaco FC 'fold'. Our name of Ballajura ROYALS really went down well as you can imagine, but we 'stuck to our guns' and insisted on keeping our name.

With the change of zones/WAFL Clubs, there also 'endeth' our, what was starting to become a well developed association with Busselton JFC. Then, before the start of our first 1996 season with Subiaco FC, Pat Croll, being President of BJFC at that time, was approached by Subiaco FC to see if we would be interested in hosting the Goldfields District combined under 12's during their visit to Perth. After numerous phone calls and discussions we went one step further and offered to billet the players during their stay and to include a game against a combined Ballajura team. All went well with the weekend being a great success ( even though Ballajura didn't even score a measly point to the Goldfields 10 goals + !!!). Possibly with revenge in mind and Pat Croll imagining that we could do the impossible, we/he suggested to the Goldfields officials that Ballajura should bring a team of 12's for a return game in Kalgoorlie. Immediately we investigated further into the feasibility of the project, together with an offer of almost free use of 2 Mercy College mini buses and the assistance at the Kalgoorlie end of Steve Boyce being the first Goldfields coach, our first trip to Kalgoorlie in 1996 started to take shape.

Point of interest: Among the first Goldfields group of under 12's to visit and be billeted in Ballajura was Jaymie Graham , today a West Coast Eagles player.

Only 24 under 12's players were selected in the first BJFC representative squad and a condition was that all players must be billeted in Kalgoorlie and Peter Bowers, being an under 12's Ballajura coach that year, was appointed as coach for the squad. Departing on the Friday morning with only a few stops along the way, we drove through to Kalgoorlie arriving around 5pm to meet the billeting parents. The total in our group consisted of 7 adults and 24 players and was funded totally by the club. Again, even though coming home on the Sunday after the mine tour with our tails between our legs from suffering another huge defeat, a great weekend was had by all. So much so, immediate plans were put in place for the 1997 season.

In 1997, the arrangements were repeated exactly, including the loses !! Mercy College buses, 24 players all billeting but with an increase to about 12 adult supervisors some travelling by car. The only major down side to our trips, the limit of 24 players and having to go to the combined 12's training knowing that more than half of the kids would be going home in tears after not being, 'one of the chosen few' who were selected in the squad.

1998 - Although the trips to Kalgoorlie had so far gone very smoothly, we suffered a bit of a set back with Mercy College suddenly deciding that they didn't want their buses doing country trips other than for their own school arranged excursions. This was then to add at least $1,600 in bus hire alone to the trip away putting the future of our Goldfields arrangement in jeopardy. The Club committee met and a suggestion was tabled and favourably decided on to purchase our own bus. Through Rob Elvish, already a long standing committee member coaxing DVG (then Galleria Toyota) in Morley, they agreed to sponsor the purchase of our first bus. At a total cost of $6,000 from the Infant Jesus Primary School in Morley, Ballajura Junior Football Club became mobile with a 1979 Hino 48 seater, ex MTT bus. Apart from the fact that with no power steering you literally had to stand up to turn the wheel, a 3 point turn required 2 rest breaks and a maximum speed of 75k's flat tack, the bus put a whole new perspective on a club providing for it's members both on and off the field. Pre season beach runs every Sunday, free transport for end of season trips and functions, fund raising events like Spring In The Valley, even providing an almost door to door service for a fare to and from club functions thereby avoiding drink driving. But more importantly, a saving of big dollars on our future 12's trips to Kalgoorlie

For that 1998 trip we decided that the bus was not as young as we would have desired and therefore, considered leaving the day before (Thursday) and finding somewhere to camp over about half way. First we looked at farm barns ..-.. too many mice and rats, Scout Halls ..-.. in Cunderdin or Tammin, I don't think so. After contacting Merredin Shire Council for suggestions we were put in contact with the President of Nukarni Football Club, Marty Major who very kindly offered us the use of their club rooms which were carpeted, had a wood heater *, plus canteen kitchen to make our stay self catering. However, leaving on the Thursday with the extra dinner and breakfast for now 26 kids and about 12 adults, all involved extra cost so, for the first time parents of the 26 boys were asked to assist in raising funds for the trip away. This went well, in no time at all we were able to find sponsors to assist with covering the cost of the trip away.

By now, at the first committee meeting of the year, we had reached the point on discussing when and how the Goldfields visit and trip away was going to take place that season, rather than 'if' it was going to happen. However, another spanner in the works ..-.. the 1998 Committee came up with the idea that the coaches sons and as a reward for parents on the committee, that committee members sons should be automatically selected in the team to go to Kalgoorlie. Unfortunately, this was voted on and passed - end result, another humiliating loss !!! However that year we had a convoy (of 3 cars) of parent supports deciding to make the trip but again, ALL players were billeted.

1999 and only making a few slight adjustments, like extra heaters in the Nukarni Club rooms having defrosted 25 icicles in the morning in Merredin the previous year, allowing more time for sitting on 70 to 75k's per hour all the way in the HINO, yet another great trip but again unsuccessful year on the field against Goldfields in Ballajura and in Kalgoorlie, however, scores were getting closer !!!

2000, the new millennium also brought about a new record in the club. In the previous years the Goldfields team had been sponsored by the RAC in Kal., and always arrived at Ballajura looking great in their matching full track suits, hats and bags. This year (2000), as with the previous year, we envisaged arriving in our 1979 bus, having slept in and not having changed our clothes for 2 days, and looking like we were about to lose - yet again. So through fund raising and sponsors we managed to cover the costs and provide at least track club jackets for the team. The concept of coaches sons and committee members sons given first positions in the team was dropped and the best 25 players were again selected.

Under coach Mil Prieato, Ballajura not only won in Ballajura but beat the Goldfields team on Boulder Oval (home of Mines Diorites and Boulder Tigers) in a very close hard fought game. Our wins and more competitiveness not only sparked new interest both in the Goldfields Clubs and in our Club but it ensured that the competition would continue for many years to come.

Now with more long term plans to consider and with the huge assistance of a parent and club sponsor Darren Smith from Smith Broughton and Sons, a company who handle the auctioning of not only plant machinery but also ex MTT buses, in early 2001, a more up to date Mercedes 305 (1986) bus was donated by Smith Broughton and Sons.

Our first trip in our new bus............ power steering, air ride drivers seat, feeling a million dollars............ exactly half way between Perth and Kalgoorlie, 64ks east of Merredin, with Don Heise driving I might add (!) the bottom end blew out of the motor bringing us to a grinding halt.

That year (2001) with 30 kids (8 not playing but just along for the ride) and 6 adults on the bus, we were going nowhere. For the first time we experienced what breaking down in the middle of the bush with 30 x 12 year olds and the amount of patience required is all about. As we were only a little over 1 hour away from our usual lunch spot east of Southern Cross, and having a bar-b-que plate on board, without a word to anyone, Lloyd Lockhart the coach that year arranged a circle of rocks, fire and the plate and cooked our lunch as though it was a normal break in our itinerary. In the mean time Don Heise had hitched a ride with a police car back to Merredin and had arranged a school bus to transport the kids on to Kalgoorlie. Believe it or not, our players were only 5 minutes late arriving to meet the billets in Kalgoorlie.

Our 2001 trip to Kalgoorlie was a high expense to the club. The small school bus which sufficed to get the boys to Kalgoorlie charged us $1,300 one way!! Plus, the bus had to be towed back to Perth @ $1,200 then, as we had no transport to return home, we returned with most of the players and officials on the Prospector train. Luckily the number of families travelling to Kalgoorlie to support the team had increased greatly from the earlier years therefore cars were filled in an attempt to reduce the cost.

We found out later that the bus was designed for city running with a maximum speed for the differential of 80k's, sitting on 95k's as we were obviously put too much strain on the motor. Incidentally our bus today now has a converted differential and is capable of sitting on 100ks all day towing a loaded trailer without any worry.

Transport around Kalgoorlie was another problem easily overcome with the assistance of the Kalgoorlie organisers/coaches Rick Dingle and Ray Collis. On arrival we were very kindly provided with a similar Mercedes 305 but this one was used for fishing trips with a large chest fridge fully stocked to the brim (no not fish) with beer. In the rear of the bus it had a gents urinal (probably installed after the beer fridge) and the bus came with full instructions - "Help yourself"!!!

On our return to Perth our mechanic, Phil Cooper who we have used since the purchase of our first bus and has always charged us the absolute minimum for work done, suggested we buy a second bus to strip for a motor and parts. This we did and has since proved invaluable advise.

I forgot to add that the Goldfields won in Ballajura however we had our second win in Kalgoorlie.

At the start of the 2002 season, to our surprise, our club was presented with an unusual trophy. One of the parents, Peter Dickenson who was on the bus for our previous breakdown experience, saved a large chunk of the crank case (motor casing) which had been pushed out by a piston, then through the summer had had it chromed and mounted on timber as a trophy. This has now become not only an important part of the club and Goldfields association history but also a valued perpetual trophy played for every year.

Fund raising by now had come to be expected by all involved with the Kalgoorlie trip away. The team for the first time were provided with full tracksuits, hats and travel bags.

We learn by experience; allowing the players to wear their tracksuits from departure on the Friday morning from Merredin, followed by the lunch break at the bar-b-que area east of Southern Cross proved fatal. As there are large gravel piles in the bar-b-que area used for road maintenance, the same as honey to a bee, they are a great attraction for 12 year old boys. Hence, pushing through to Kalgoorlie earlier than intended and about 10 players sitting in their jocks on the bus while their pants were being stitched by a seamstress in Kalgoorlie before meeting the billets. Since then, tracksuits are not worn until we are ready to leave the lunch venue. All part of the Kalgoorlie experience!!

With 2003 came change once again. For reasons known only to the powers at be in the WAFL and Football Development, the zones were once again were under review and Ballajura was rezoned back to East Perth FC district. With our association with the Goldfields by now in its 7th year of operation and fine tuned to run as smoothly as it can run with 30 sometimes unpredictable 12 year olds (!), despite pressure from East Perth and Subiaco to end our association, neither the Goldfields or our club were prepared to bend to their requests.

For 2003 and 2004 our visit by the Goldfields and return trips continued with a team of 25 players, more 12's along for the ride, a larger contingency of parents in cars every year, leaving Thursday returning Sunday, but still the sometimes heartbreaking experience of team selection and disappointment before the trip.

That is until 2005. 'Why hadn't we thought of it before?' By including a game in Merredin, plus an extra game in Kalgoorlie we could take ALL 40+ under 12's players.

  • Funds not a problem as there are always willing sponsors and other means of raising funds, just a little more effort needed.
  • We have a 42 seater bus, smaller players fit easily 3 to a seat (legally) if we have more than 42.
  • More parents travelling - higher safety factor in case of breakdown.
  • All players will get 2 games of footy either in Ballajura against the Goldfields, in Merredin and the two games in Kalgoorlie.
  • Kalgoorlie say "bring it on" we can billet as many players as you can bring up and welcome the 2 game concept.
  • We also must keep in mind that a strong team is required to play in Ballajura and the second game in Kalgoorlie as the Goldfields teams are made up of the best 12 year old players from all of their Goldfields clubs.
  • But most of all and the biggest benefit - no tears or disappointment through not being able to go at all

A few phone calls, a little redesigning and presenting a strong case to the committee of our club that we needed to take ALL 12's players to make up two teams to cover all games, then everything was in place. Initially we made a charge of $100 per player but by the time the 'fund raising committee' had finished not only did all of the kids have tracksuits, hats and bags and the trip cost covered completely, but also the $100 was refunded to every parent. The trip was a huge success. I can't remember if we won or lost the games , just that every player in the Ballajura under 12's was an overall winner that year.

To me, 2005 was the best year so far and will take a lot of beating.

2006 and 2007 around 45 players travelled each year with with the Merredin JFC link becoming stronger each year now including a social sausage sizzle before the game with the Merredin players and parents. After 11 years we have obviously fine tuned the operation from both the Kalgoorlie and Ballajura ends, ironed out any foreseeable problems and streamlined to be almost like clockwork

2008 - we can boast that at the return of this years trip away, we have taken in excess of 450 x 12 year olds over the 13 years of operation on not only a sporting, but educational weekend away. With close to 80% overall having been billeted without a single problem, many new friendships have been bonded, club comradely developed, all having exposure to higher skill levels in football, but the most important fact - 'have had fun doing it'.

2009 - Major changes faced us before plans were put in place for the 2009 Competition. For just reasons, after a Kalgoorlie junior basketball coach was convicted for indecent dealings, the Goldfields Junior Football Association decided that billeting of children with families would cease immediately. This created a problem not only for our trip away but also for the Goldfields visit to Ballajura.  We first approached the City of Swan to ask for the use of Kingfisher club rooms to 'house' the visitors over the weekend but were refused, therefore accommodation was then booked by the Goldfields at the Ern Halliday Centre at Hillarys.  A considerable amount of additional planning and catering was needed including entertainment for the kids for the entire weekend where in the past the majority of time was spent with their billets.

Our return trip to Merredin and Kalgoorlie was very much a trial and error trip away departing as usual on the Thursday morning, game and overnight in Merredin then on to Kalgoorlie on Friday.  The Goldfields had arranged for our use of the Boulder Tigers Club rooms for our stay and almost totally catered for all of our players meals and entertainment for the entire weekend until we left for Perth on the Sunday. The weekend went extremely well but unfortunately the boys found spending 3 nights sleeping on the club room floors a little too uncomfortable and the lack of sleep showed during their games on the Saturday morning when we lost the game by a large margin and the Goldfields winning the trophy again.

A new concept for the awarding of the perpetual trophy was also introduced at the start of 2009. Until then the trophy was won by the winning team after the Goldfields visit to Ballajura, then won again by the winner of the second game only in Kalgoorlie, hence 2 plates on the trophy for each year.  It has now been adopted that the scores are totalled for all three Ballajura v Goldfields games and the overall winner of the years competition wins the trophy.  This now makes every game equal importance however it also means that even though we may win the first 2 games, if we were to lose the 3rd game with a low score then we could also still lose the competition.

2010 -

Pat Croll.

Things We Have Learnt and Some Memorable Experiences

  • Scraping ice off the windscreen of the bus on the Friday morning in Merredin before hitting the road.
  • Taking the the Goldfields visiting team to the station for their return home to Kalgoorlie only to find that the coaches had not arrived. Don Heise (then BJFC President) was on board the train to accompany the boys home and return on the afternoon train. Then less than a minute before the train pulled out the coaches ran down the platform only just in time
  • Again taking the Goldfields players to the train only to find that they had been booked on the wrong day. Changing the booking to the afternoon a good day was spent by all at Hillarys with Red Rooster for lunch.
  • Learning how to improvise when broken down on the side of the road.
  • Now knowing not to stop for a toilet break on the side of the road near an electrified fence!!
  • Rhys Turner volunteering to umpire the Merredin game then breaking his arm only 5 minutes into the game.
  • Going to get a bag from the bus when it was parked up in Kalgoorlie only to catch 2 players not billeting hanging over the back fence of 'house of disrepute' on Hay Street.
  • Travel sickness is not just in the mind - it can be quite physical as well.
  • Arriving into Kal filthy dirty after 2 days on the dusty road on a particularly freezing cold weekend only to find that the hotel was under renovation and there would be no hot water for the entire weekend.
  • The surprise during the 2007 trophy presentations that the Goldfields (Nadia Turner) had introduced a Pat Croll Medallion award into the competition.  First winner: JAMIE McEWEN (BJFC-2007)
  •  Driving into Merredin and Kalgoorlie with Merredin spelt incorrectly on the side of the bus (photo).
  • More care needs to be taken where to store the fire extinguisher on the bus. It is no fun for the driver when it is set off by accident almost under his nose while cruising at 90ks an hour.
  • Unfinished............ more to come

Through the years...........

1996

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Winner: Goldfields

Coach: Peter Bowers 

Goldfields Organiser :

Goldfields Coach: Steve Boyce

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: GOLDFIELDS

1997

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll & Peter Bowers

Goldfields won

Coach: Graham Hocking and Tony Rowsen 

Goldfields Organiser :

Goldfields Coach: Steve Boyce

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: GOLDFIELDS

1998

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Goldfields won

Coach: 

Goldfields Organiser :

Goldfields Coach: Steve Boyce

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: GOLDFIELDS

1999

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Goldfields won

Coach:

Goldfields Organiser :

Goldfields Coach: Steve Boyce

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: GOLDFIELDS

2000

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Ballajura won

Coach: Mil Prieato

Goldfields Organiser :

Goldfields Coach: Steve Boyce

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: GOLDFIELDS

2000

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Ballajura won

Coach: Mil Prieato

Goldfields Organiser :

Goldfields Coach: Steve Boyce

Home winner: BALLAJURA

Away winner: BALLAJURA

2001

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Coach: Lloyd Lockhart

Goldfields Organiser : Rick Dingle

Goldfields Coach: Ray Collis

Home winner: BALLAJURA

Away winner: BALLAJURA

2002

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Ballajura won

Coach: Steve Reece

Goldfields Organiser : Rick Dingle

Goldfields Coach: Ray Collis

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: BALLAJURA

2003

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Goldfields won

Coach: Tony Mirco

Goldfields Organiser : Rick Dingle

Goldfields Coach: Ray Collis

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: GOLDFIELDS

2004

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Coach: Neil Harvey

Goldfields Organiser : Rick Dingle

Goldfields Coach: Ray Collis

Home winner: BALLAJURA

Away winner: BALLAJURA

2005

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll

Coach: Glynn Dobson & Daryl Skane

Goldfields Organiser: Rick Dingle

Goldfields Coach: Ray Collis

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: GOLDFIELDS

2006

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll - Tony Cuzens - Brett Turner

Coach: Matt Sanderson

Goldfields Organiser : Rick Dingle

Goldfields Coach: Tony Lennox

Home winner: BALLAJURA

Away winner: GOLDFIELDS

2007

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll - Tony Cuzens - Brett Turner

Coach: Craig Bull

Goldfields Organiser : Nadia Turner

Goldfields Coach: Tony Lennox

Home winner: GOLDFIELDS

Away winner: BALLAJURA

2008

Ballajura Organiser: Pat Croll - Tony Cuzens - Brett Turner

Coach: Glen (Saddles) Saddler

Goldfields Organiser : Nadia Turner

Goldfields Coach: Brett Royle

Home winner: BALLAJURA

Away winner: BALLAJURA

2009

Ballajura Organiser  Pat Croll - Tony Cuzens - Brett Turner

Coach: Darren Birtwistle

Goldfields Organiser : Nadia Turner

Goldfields Coach: Jeff Turner

2009 COMPETITION WINNER

GOLDFIELDS

2010

Ballajura Organiser  Pat Croll - Tony Cuzens

Coach: Tony Cuzens

Goldfields Organiser : Nadia Turner

Goldfields Coach: Jeff Turner

2010 COMPETITION WINNER

BALLAJURA